Real Sanyasa (Renunciation)
What is real sanyasa?


The question was like this:

“Hare Krishna Prabhuji . This question has been in my mind since a few days.. So who better than you to answer this question..

We have been given this priceless human body by the Lord, so what should be our aim in life? Achieving material success that’s completely different but what I am asking is from a spiritual perspective.

So what triggered my question is while I was reading shrimad bhagwat mahapuran, specifically prahalad ji’s katha, the part where he says that we have so less time and we should utilise it as much as possible for shri krishna’s sankirtan.

In the olden days, there was a system of 4 ashrams where after grihasthashram there was sanyas but now we don’t see this, so how can one focus on the ultimate completely? There should be some system similar to that in this age too?  Where we can focus on the ultimate rather than just pray, work and do our regular activities? Ok, so I agree on the karma yog part from the Bhagwad Gita where we perform each action as a yog and give that as an offering to shri Krishna, but my point in question is till what time? Lord has given us this birth as a human with some purpose in mind and according to me it is the best opportunity to attain him in this birth itself, then how can this happen?

Please guide Prabhuji this is my humble request to you and Shri Krishna to help me resolve this doubt and guide me further in my journey??

Hare Krishna.  (A small request, if u post this, pls do not disclose my name)”

(Is sanyasa for woman allowed if she is unmarried at 50 without caretakers? READ HERE!)


I like to use this reply to explain some new details about SANYASA – MEANING, TYPES & TIPS TO FOLLOW IN KALIYUGA!

First, the SANYASA SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN FOR A SELFISH MOTIVE like escaping from family burden or getting the elevation for us alone. IT SHOULD BE FOR A GENUINE SOCIAL CAUSE.

Let a man is tortured by his wife.  He likes to escape from her and live in a solitary place without the sight of women.  He leaves the dependent wife, children and even some loans and go to a forest.  He enjoys eating fruits, spending time lavishly alone without doing any works. He begs and satisfies his basic needs.  He sometimes try to perform some meditation.

Tell me, what is benefit to others by this man?  He alone is enjoying his life without any responsibilities. He does not excel in meditation also.  He is incomplete in his every effort.  In fact, he does not take any significant efforts at all.

He just escaped from his family duties to enjoy privacy.  That’s all.

This is not the real sanyasa. The scriptures write about many types of sanyasa.  They may confuse you and they may not be easy to follow in this advancing kaliyuga.

So, I will briefly explain the traditional classification as well as unconventional classification for kaliyuga.

(How to follow Sanyasa in Grahastha Ashram? READ HERE!)


Sanyasa is a Sanskrit term.

“nyasa” means purification;

“sannyasa”  means “Purification of Everything”.

In deeper division of the actual term “Samniayasa” we get –

“sam”-  means “together, all”;

“ni”- means “down”

“asa” means “to throw” or “to put”.

So, SA(M)NYASA means “To Throw All Together”.


There are many types of classifications of sanyasa. Let us see a TWO types of classifications here. One is the traditional type of classification of sanyasa. Another is the types of sanyasa for this kaliyuga that has been classified for easy understanding keeping Bhagavad Gita in mind:


Four Types of sanyasa:

(1) Vidvat Sanyasa:

This sanyasa is the cause of liberation while still living in the body (Jivanmukti).

(2) Vividisha Sannyasa:

This sanyasa is the cause of liberation after death (Videhamukti).

(3) Markata Sanyasa :

Markata means Monkey. So, this type of sanyasa will fall down because they take sanyasa after a tragedy in home, but, they fall when the grief goes away.

(4) Atura Sanyasa.

Out of four, Vidvat sanyasa is considered to be the actual sanyasa because it makes one mukta even in this body.


(1) Kuticaka

(2) Bahudaka

(3) Parivrajakacarya

(4)  Paramahaṁsa – This is the Topmost stage.

Srila Prabhupada explains these four stages:

Lecture on SB 5.5.10-13 — Vrndavana, November 1, 1976: 

“If you, by good fortune, if you get the association of a guru, qualified haṁsa, paramahaṁsa… Paramahaṁsa guru means sannyasi’s last stage is paramahaṁsa. Kuṭicaka, bahudaka, parivrajakacarya, and paramahamsa, these are the different stages.
When one takes sannyāsa, he lives outside the village in a kuṭi, in a cottage, and the family members goes and delivers him the food, because he is not practiced. So in the beginning, he keeps up this association of neighborhood or family, but he is not practiced. He therefore lives outside the village, and if somebody gives some food, he eats. Then when he becomes experienced, then he does not accept food from one, either his own home or one home. He takes foodstuff from many homes: “Give me a little piece of capaṭi.” So somebody gives half, because they are also not overburdened. If they have to deliver, so many sannyasis come, and sumptuous food, then how the grhastha will provide? Therefore though… They do not overburden. There may be other sannyasis, therefore little only. Madhupuri. The Gosvamis practiced this madhupuri in Vrndavana. They lived, but they would take little only from the house. This is called bahudaka. Then when he has practiced more, he travels all over the world, Parivrajakacarya. And when he is fully experienced, then, in spiritual life and everything, then he is Paramahaṁsa. So one must find out a guru who is paramahaṁsa.”


In this class, You like to escape from births and deaths and hence desert the material attachments. So, you alone will get liberated after this birth.  If you like to go back to Vaikunta, you will target Krishna and you alone will go there.  Of course, your spouse and seven generations will be given the bonus of liberation in due course of time.  That’s all.  Not the society. There will be no COMMON CAUSE in this type of sanyasa.


This class of sanyasa involves two sub groups:


You should take sanyasa as per the varnashrama system in which you have to follow brahmacharya first, then, marry and lead a grahastha life, then follow vanaprastha (retirement from sex life) and finally take sanyasa. In this case, the person should leave his family ONLY AFTER MAKING ALL THE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE SURVIVAL OF HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN.  He has to wait till his son grows and starts earning.  Then, that son should agree to take care of mother.  Then, that person should take sanyasa after entrusting his wife to his son.  If he takes sanyasa allowing his wife and children to suffer, it is not a right form of sanyasa as Per Varnashrama Dharma.


Taking sanyasa without entering into grahastha life is condemned in kaliyuga. However, In this case, if a person likes to get sanyasa bypassing grahastha and vanaprastha stages, it is also allowed in rare cases with conditionsThat son should not leave his parents to suffer without completing his duties as a son. If he has a brother who agrees to take care of parents, this guy can take sanyasa.

If not, he can take sanyasa after the demise of the parents.


Why these conditions for the above two cases? Because, they take sanyasa for their own upliftment without a common cause.

(Why people become sanyasis though Krishna has advised to perform our assigned duties? READ HERE!)


In ISKCON, such type of sanyasa is followed to liberate / uplift others. The sanyasis actively preach to others. So, they use their sanyasa ashram to preach about Krishna.

In this class of sanysa, there are no conditions to leave the family.  Though he has a beautiful young wife, he can leave her and get sanyasa.


Because, he is taking sanyasa to help the fallen souls to get liberated.  When he aims to serve the entire society, a family will be a burden for him.  He has to engage all his attention to plan and implement the process that will help thousands of people to get elevated/ liberated.

Then, what about that wife?

By allowing her husband to serve thousands of fallen souls, she is performing a sacrifice of her husband itself.  Thus, she also will be liberated when her husband of past ashrama (when he was a grahastha) gets liberated.  If he goes back to Krishna, she too goes automatically.  This is the gift for her sacrifice.

The point is that the wife sacrifices her husband for the uplifting thousands of people.  This is a social cause.


You may ask: Is it right to leave a young wife to get sanyasa? You told above that one should entrust his wife to the son and then leave?

Yes.  That guy takes sanyasa for his own liberation without a social cause.  He deserts his wife for his own benefit.  Hence it was condemned.

This guy takes sanyasa to serve the entire society and help for the liberation of thousands of people. He deserts his wife for the benefit of the society.  Therefore, the wife is in a position to happily send her husband for the social causes.

Some examples can be given for this class.  Lord Sri Caitanya left his young wife and took sanyasa with the purpose of giving Hari Nama to the entire society.  He traveled all over the country and spread Hari Nam.  A.C. Bakthi Vedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, left his wife and children and took sanyasa, for giving Hari Nama to the entire world. Sri Ramanuja Acharya left his young wife to distribute Hari Nama to the fallen souls.

(Are women Priests, Sanyasis and Gurus allowed in Sanathana Dharma? READ HERE!)

Thus, one can leave his family only if he can not take care of it because he has to help thousands of people without any personal interests. If he has a family, it will pull him back from his social activities.  Hence, the wife is expected to do that sacrifice.

However, if he starts even before marrying it will be nice.  For example in the sampradhaya (mayavada school) that follows Adhi Shankara, the Sankaracharyas are chosen in their ages of 10-15 itself, and cultivated in gurukul under the guidance of his spiritual master (present sankaracharya)  and then made the next sankaracharya.

However, if the initiative/ desire to serve the society comes only after his marriage, what can he do?  We have to take it as the will of the almighty.

(How can a wife remain detached in a family life? READ HERE!?)


In this kaliyuga, one can not remain even in the forests peacefully. Therefore, you can follow sanyasa being in your family ITSELF.

Only your body should be with your family members.  Your heart and mind should be fixed on Krishna.

Perform your prescribed duties to the family, society, etc using your body.  But, do not develop attachment with them.  Always keep in mind that they are not your permanent associates and only Krishna is your permanent associate.  The material relations are for bodies only.  The devotion is related to athma/ soul.  Therefore, connect the athma with the Lord and perform your assigned duties to others using your body.

Remember, while performing your duties to the family and others, you should not feel that you are doing it.  It will give ego and pride.  You should treat those services as the ones blessed by the Lord using you as an instrument.

Always keep in mind:  You are not the doer.  Only Krishna is the doer. We are just the instruments in His hands. This is the real sanyasa.

Perform your prescribed duties without attachment and develop prema to Krishna like gopis did from family.  Gopis lived with their husbands and in-laws.  But, their hearts were with Krishna.

(Can one really follow Krishna Consciousness in family life? READ HERE!)

That kind of prema can be followed even as a grahastha by educating your wife and win her cooperation.  If you marry a like minded devotee girl this support will be instantly available.  If not you may have to spend come time to make her a sincere devotee like you.

That’s all.

Follow the practically feasible way of developing Prema to Lord even keeping your body in your family like Gopis did.

You too can go back to Krishna even from this Grahastha life.

It is possible if you are sincere in your goal of getting Krishna.

These are some details about sanyasa.

Then, What is the right process of sanyasa and devotion in kaliyuga?

Out of all the above explained three types, only the last TWO TYPES of sanyasa, ie, Sanyasa to uplift/ liberate others AND SANYASA FROM HOME are possible now a days.

(After coming to devotion, I hate and avoid non-devotee family and others that makes them angry. Why Krishna allows this? READ HERE!)


Even among these last two types of sanyasis, if they aim for mukthi, ie, just liberation, there are chances for fall down from sanyasa, though they try to follow sincerely Because, they have no powerful target that can safeguard them from fall down.

Whereas, if we target Krishna and like to take sanyasa to distribute Krishna and His names to thousands of people, and REMAIN VERY SINCERE AND RIGHTEOUS IN OUR MOTIVE, then, we will get the direct protection of Krishna from the fall down.

Krishna gives protection for those who sincerely wish to distribute Himself and His names to others because, He calls such devotees as His dear devotees in Bhagavad Gita.

We can be His dear devotees even keeping our bodies with the family and soul with Krishna.

This is my recommendation to you also.

Start chanting Lord’s Names sincerely from now itself and slowly develop material detachment and simultaneously attachment to Krishna.

Then, Your going back to Krishna is ASSURED.


Author: RAJAN

RAJAN from Tamil Nadu, India, a Life Patron and an Initiated Devotee being in ISKCON for nearly three decades, serves anonymously to avoid Prominence and crowd as an insignificant, Humble and Neutral Servant for all the devotees of Krishna! He promotes Social media forums and this blog-website as e-satsangha (e-forums) blessed with Lakhs of followers, to give Spiritual Solutions for all the Material Problems of the devotees since 2011! He writes friendly and practical tips to practice devotion (i) without hurting the followers of other paths, (ii) without affecting the personal and career life, and (iii) without the blind, superstitious and ritualistic approach! He dedicates all the glories and credits to his Guru and Krishna.

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