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Urdu, Hindi sannyāsī, = Sanskrit saṃnyāsin laying aside, abandoning, ascetic, < saṃ together + ni down + as to throw. Saṃnyāsa in Sanskrit means "renunciation", "abandonment". It is a tripartite compound of saṃ- has "collective" meaning, ni- means "down" and āsa is from the root as, meaning "to throw" or "to put", so a literal translation would be "laying it all down". In Dravidian languages, "sanyasi" is pronounced as "sanyasi" and also "sannasi" in colloquial form.



Sannyasa (Devanagari: सन्यास, sannyāsa) is the order of life of the renouncer within Hindu scheme of āśramas, or life stages. It is considered the topmost and final stage of the ashram systems and is traditionally taken by men at or beyond the age of fifty years old or by young monks who wish to dedicate their entire life towards spiritual pursuits. In this phase of life, the person develops vairāgya, or a state of dispassion and detachment from material life. He renounces all worldly thoughts and desires, and spends the rest of his life in spiritual contemplation. One within the sannyasa order is known as a sannyasin.

There are a number of types of sannyasi in accordance with socio-religious context. Traditionally there are four types of forest hermits with different stages of dedication.[1] In recent history, two distinct orders are observed "ekadanda" (literally single stick) and "tridanda' (triple rod or stick) saffron robed monks,[2] the first being part of Sankaracarya tradition and the second is sannyasa followed by various vaishnava traditions and introduced to the west by followers of the reformer Siddhanta Sarasvati. Austerities and attributes associated with the order, as well as expectations will differ in both.

The sannyasi lives a celibate life without possessions, practises yoga meditation — or in other traditions, bhakti, or devotional meditation, with prayers to their chosen deity or God. The goal of the Hindu Sannsyasin is moksha (liberation), the conception of which also varies. For the devotion oriented traditions, liberation consists of union with the Divine, while for Yoga oriented traditions, liberation is the experience of the highest samādhi (enlightenment). For the Advaita tradition, liberation is the removal of all ignorance and realising oneself as one with the Supreme Brahman.

See also