As we mature through our lives, from childhood to adulthood and so on, we eventually reach older age.

Within the Hindu scheme of things, a person in the later stage of their life can elect to become a sannyasin (male) or sannyasini (female). In this sannayasa phase they have completed their duties as a householder, and are now embarking a life of spiritual contemplation, free from the demands of excess materialism.

How many Hindus actually adopt this sannayasa option I don’t know. What I find interesting, is that the concept of this life-style exists at all.


In our Western mindset, I’m not sure we even have this concept. We have retirement (assuming you can afford it) and for those who can afford it, travelling the world, following the dreams you put off while you had a family etc. But, a life of spiritual contemplation? More likely another round of golf, or tune into the latest edition of our favorite soap opera.

Now that many more people in Western societies are living longer, perhaps introducing the concept of the sannayasa phase could be a valuable alternative? Again, I’m not sure how many would actually adopt it, but at least it would not be an alien concept. Then again, I’m not sure how many in the West, have reached the point where they can acknowledge the concept of living a ‘spiritual life’ at all.

© David R. Durham
Spirit Healer Web Link
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