Marriage or Sannyasa

Swami Satyananda speaks on the necessity of accepting one's path in life without suffering from dissatisfaction or guilt, Medellin, 8.10.80

Sannyasa is a special path in which you must be free from family life. There are many people who think they can be sannyasin and householder at the same time. This is a confused and self-contradictory way of thinking. A householder is no less than a sannyasin, Sannyasa is no less than the life of a householder. They are two distinct paths leading to higher experiences of life. The moment you think of integrating sannyasa with household life, you are suffering from guilt on account of being a householder only.

If you are a householder, that's fine. You don't need to be a sannyasin as a householder. If you are a sannyasin, that's fine. You have to follow your own way as a householder or as a sannyasin. These are the two distinct paths according to the capacity, nature and temperament of the person. There are those who are strong in mind, who can live alone without attachments, no money, property, wife, children, love, emotion, no mine, no thine. They are the sannyasins and this is their path. The householders, on the other hand, live amongst all the turmoil's of life. They are happy one moment and unhappy the next. They have family and social commitments, a lot of money or none. They have to deal with anger, greed, frustration, attraction, repulsion, and still keep on the track. This is the life of a householder.

Household life is the way of external turmoil and sannyasa is the way of internal turmoil. The sannyasin must face everything within him, while the householder faces everything outside. These are the two distinct paths described in Srimat Bhagavad Gita, when Krishna is instructing Arjuna about the path of sannyasa and the path of karma yoga. The householder is primarily a karma yogi and the sannyasin is primarily a raja and gyana yogi. Therefore, please do not suffer from guilt. If you want to take sannyasa, I'm ready to shave your head and give you this robe. If o you don't want it, be whatever you are. But don't say, 'I'm a Sannyasi and householder.' This is the occidental way of confusing capability and guilt.

A householder should be proud of his station in life. A sannyasin must be confirmed in the way he is walking. If either have any inferiority or guilt about their paths in life then they are finished; they can't proceed any further.

These days, I find many householders everywhere who put on the robe of a sannyasin. They are married with children, and they go to the public offices in this robe. In fact, this is not a very healthy psychological approach to life. In my opinion, these people are suffering from some sort of mental imbalance. If you have respect for sannyasa, come out. If you are proud of your station in life, stay there.

As a householder you must respect sannyasins. Learn from them. Find out the depth of their mind and intuition. Get the best out of them. And if you are a sannyasin, teach the householders, love them, serve them, respect them and get your guru dakshina from them.