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Principal Upanishads

  1. Kena

  2. Katha

  3. Prasna

  4. Taittiriya

  5. Mundaka

  6. Aitareya

  7. Isavasya

  8. Maitrayani

  9. Mandukya

  10. Chandogya

  11. Svetasvatara

  12. Brihadaranyaka

  13. Kaushitaki-Brahmana

Minor Upanishads

  1. Sita

  2. Atma

  3. Maha

  4. Akshi

  5. Aruni

  6. Surya

  7. Jabala

  8. Savitri

  9. Subala

  10. Varaha

  11. Garbha

  12. Skanda

  13. Tripura

  14. Brahma

  15. Kundika

  16. Muktika

  17. Nirvana

  18. Mudgala

  19. Kaivalya

  20. Paingala

  21. Sariraka

  22. Mantrika

  23. Maitreya

  24. Sannyasa

  25. Avadhuta

  26. Bahvricha

  27. Niralamba

  28. Bhikshuka

  29. Adhyatma

  30. Tejo-Bindu

  31. Annapurna

  32. Katharudra

  33. Sarva-Sara

  34. Nada-Bindu

  35. Yajnavalkya

  36. Atma-Bodha

  37. Satyayaniya

  38. Vajrasuchika

  39. Yoga-Tattva

  40. Amrita-Bindu

  41. Para-Brahma

  42. Paramahamsa

  43. Kali-Santarana

  44. Maha-Narayana

  45. Narada-Parivrajaka

  46. Turiyatita-Avadhuta

  47. Paramahamsa-Parivrajaka

Sannyasa Upanishad

Om ! Let my limbs and speech, Prana, eyes, ears, vitality And all the senses grow in strength. All existence is the Brahman of the Upanishads. May I never deny Brahman, nor Brahman deny me. Let there be no denial at all: Let there be no denial at least from me. May the virtues that are proclaimed in the Upanishads be in me, Who am devoted to the Atman; may they reside in me.

Om ! Let there be Peace in me ! Let there be Peace in my environment ! Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !


   1. Now we shall expound the Upanishad on renunciation. He who in due order (of the stages of life) gives up (the primary inclinations such as the desire for wealth, etc.,) becomes one who has renounced (worldly life). What is this called renunciation ? How does one renounce ? One who guards himself by the (following) activities, who has (for his renunciation) the approval of mother, father, wife, sons and kinsmen should assemble all the officiating priests known to him and as before (with their approval) perform the Vaishvanara sacrifice (for the welfare of all people).

He shall (after partition) give away all his wealth to the officiating priests. For the priests are the singers (of the Vedic hymns, deserving the gift). The (five) vital airs, Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana, shall be (symbolically) placed in all the sacrificial vessels over the (five) sacred fires, the ahavaniya, garhapatya, anvaharyapachana, sabhya and avasathya. Shaving off his hair along with the tuft, snapping the sacred thread and seeing his son, he shall consecrate (himself) with the mantras ‘You are the god Brahma, you are the sacrifice, you are everything’. If he has no son he should consecrate himself thus and not minding (anything) proceed as a mendicant monk eastward or northward.
 He may receive alms from (people of the) four castes. He should eat from the vessel of his hands. He shall consider food as medicine. He should take food as medicine (i.e. in great moderation). He should eat as and when he gets (food, without discontent and not asking for more, like Oliver Twist) for bare sustenance and in such a way that there is no increase of fat. Having grown lean he may shelter one night in a village, five nights in a town; he may reside during the four rainy months in a village or town. (Interpreting) fortnights as months, he may reside (in a fixed abode) for two months. If he is unable to endure (heat or cold) he may accept as gift a tattered garment or bark dress. He shall not accept any other. For penance is to suffer pain (with equanimity).

What then is the sacred thread, the tuft and the ceremonial sipping of water to one who thus renounces in the prescribed manner and who thus views it (in the correct perspective) ? To him (the questioner) is this reply. This is his sacred thread (namely) that he meditates on the Atman; the (practice of) Brahma-vidya is the tuft; that he quenches his thirst with the vessel of his belly accomplishes (the ceremonial) duty with water that is present everywhere. His residence is at the bank of (a reservoir of) water. When the sun has set, how can he (ceremoniously) sip water ? As (he touches water) during day, so at night; (for) he has neither night nor day. (The enlightened ascetic is above the restrictions of time). This has been said by the Vedic sage (in a mantra): ‘To him there is (only) one (time), the day.’ He who knows thus realizes the Atman through this (renunciation).


   1. That person alone is entitled to renunciation who has undergone the forty purificatory rites (samskaras), has detachment from all (worldly) things, has acquired purity of mind, has burnt out desires, envy, intolerance and egotism, and is equipped with the four disciplines of spiritual life (sadhanas).

   2. Having resolved on renunciation he who does not embrace it shall perform the penance (Prajapatya) alone (as an atonement); thereafter he is entitled to renounce (the world).

   3. One who (having resolved on renunciation, later) denounces it, one who supports a fallen ascetic (as if he were genuine), and one who throws obstacles (in the path of those desiring renunciation) – these three (classes of people) are to be known as fallen.

   4. Now these (persons, though possessing dispassion, are not entitled to renunciation – a eunuch, a fallen man, a maimed person, women, a deaf person, a child, a dumb person, a heretic, an informer, a student (who has not completed his study), a Vaikhanasa anchorite (belonging to a Vaishnava sect), an ardent Saivite (Haradvija), a salaried teacher, a man without prepuce and one without ritual fire. Even if they renounce the world they are not entitled to instruction in the great scriptural texts (such as 'That Thou Art').

   5. The son of one who has fallen from ascetic grace, one having disease of the nails, one who is brown toothed, a consumptive, as well as a deformed person – these are never entitled to renounce.

   6. One should never allow renunciation to those who have just settled as house-holders, those who have committed great sins, those who have lost caste due to non-performance of the principal purificatory rites (vratyas) and the accursed.

   7. (Again) one should never allow renunciation to one who is devoid of religious observances, religious acts (yajnas), penance, charity, offering, oblations in ritual fire and study of scripture; and those fallen from truth and purity. These do not deserve to renounce; (and no one) can dispense with the due order except one sorely afflicted.

   8. The person (entitled to renounce) should discard his tuft reciting ‘Om Bhuh Svaha’. Saying the mantra ‘The sacred thread shall not remain externally. Grant me fame, strength, spiritual wisdom, dispassion and intelligence’, he shall snap the sacred thread and leave it in the waters along with his garment and waist-band muttering ‘Om Svaha’; then he should repeat thrice, ‘I have renounced’.

   9. Seeing a Brahmana who has renounced the world the sun moves from his place (thinking), ‘This person will reach Brahman breaking through my disc’.

   10. That wise man who says ‘I have renounced’ raises to glory sixty generations of his family before him and sixty generations after him.

   11. All the defects born of bad sons and all defects born of bodily weakness, the Praisa fire (at the time of renouncing) shall burn out, just as the fire of chaff does to gold.

   12. (Reciting the mantra) ‘Friend, guard me’, he (the renouncer) shall accept the (emblematic) staff.

   13. The ascetic should bear a staff which shall be of bamboo, smooth, whole (with the bark), of even joints, grown in holy ground and cleaned of all defects;

   14. It shall be unscarred (by forest fire), uninjured by worms, shining with its joints, (of length) reaching upto the nose, head or the eyebrows.

   15. Close association is always enjoined between the staff and the person; a wise man shall not move without the staff a distance three times that of an arrow-throw.

   16. Reciting the mantra ‘You are the receptacle of water which sustains the world; never say nay to me, you who are always agreeable to all’, he should receive the water vessel; and invested with the yogic garment (as aid to meditation) he shall go about in an agreeable frame of mind.

   17. Give up (concepts of) righteousness and unrighteousness (dharma and adharma), give up both truth and untruth; having given up both truth and untruth discard that by which you abandon (all these) (i.e. duality).

   18. Ascetic due to dispassion, ascetic due to spiritual wisdom, ascetic due to wisdom and dispassion and ascetic due to renunciation of action; these are the four kinds (of ascetics) obtained.

   19. This is how it is. He is the ascetic due to dispassion who has become indifferent to sensory objects that are seen or heard of and who has renounced (the world) due to the influence of good actions done previously.

   20. He alone is the ascetic due to Jnana, who, being dead to worldly life due to the (true) knowledge of the scripture and listening to the experiences of the people in sin and goodness and who, having discarded lingering attachment to the body, scripture and the world and considering as worthless like vomit all worldly actions, possesses the fourfold discipline in spiritual life and then renounces the world.

   21. Having studied in the prescribed manner all (scripture) and experienced all (vicissitudes of) life he is the ascetic due to Jnana and dispassion who has his body alone left to him by meditation on the nature of the Self due to Jnana and dispassion and then renounces and becomes unclad (as he was when born).

   22. Having completed the period of celibate studentship, becoming a house-holder and then embracing the stage of forest life (Vanaprastha), he, who renounces (the world) only in order to observe the order of the stages of life even though without dispassion, is the ascetic who renounces action.

   23. Renunciation is of six kinds: (and the ascetics are called) Kutichaka, Bahudaka, Hamsa, Paramahamsa, Turiyatita and Avadhuta.

   24. The Kutichaka ascetic has tuft and sacred thread, bears a staff and water vessel, wears a loin-cloth and patched garment, is devoted to the service of father, mother and preceptor, is equipped with a vessel, spade, sling, etc., alone, is addicted to eating food in one place, wears on the forehead a perpendicular mark of white sandal and holds a threefold (emblematic) staff.

   25. The Bahudaka ascetic wears tuft, etc., patched garment and three (horizontal) lines of holy ash on his forehead and is similar in all respects to the Kutichaka ascetic (except) that he subsists on eight mouthfuls of food gathered (as alms from eight houses), as a bee (does honey).

   26. The Hamsa ascetic wears matter hair, puts on the forehead the mark of either the horizontal lines of holy ash or the perpendicular one of sandal, subsists on food gathered as alms without restriction and wears a piece of loin-cloth.

   27. The Paramahamsa ascetic is devoid of tuft and sacred thread, receives
alms in the vessel of his hands, wears a single loin-cloth, has a single (patched) garment, one bamboo staff, either wears a single garment or is smeared with holy ashes and has discarded all (possessions and attachments).

   28. The Turiyatita ascetic subsists of fruits receiving them in his mouth like a cow; if he eats cooked rice (he receives them as alms) from three houses. He has his body alone left to him (without any possessions and attachment), is unclad (dressed by the points of the compass) and treats his body as if it were a corpse.

   29. The Avadhuta ascetic has no fixed rules. He eats food like a python as and when he gets it, from persons of all castes except those who are fallen or accursed and is ever intent on meditation on the nature of the Self.

   30. I am not surely of this world consisting of trees, grass and mountains. How can I, the supreme Being, be this external (phenomenon) which is intensely inert ? I am not the body which is non-sentient and perishable in a short time.  

Sannyasa Upanishad - Part2, Part3