- (f. sannyasini)A sannyasi is a male renunciant who has “thrown everything down.” (Rarely, there will be female sannyasinis.) Many sects in India have sannyasis, men who are seen as no longer a part of the every-day world (only a very few allow women renun-ciants). The rules or vows vary in the different traditions, but until modern times, sannyasis were expected to shun worldly occupations, living only through alms or in a monastic environment.The vows for sannyasis all entail dietary restrictions that limit the number and size of meals, avoidance of women, prohibition on use of alcohol, and a focus on the divine at all times. Sannyasi is the fourth stage of life or ASHRAMA FOR BRAHMIN males, the point at which they ideally throw down all conventional life and take up a life of wandering as they focus on God or BRAHMAN.Further reading: Patrick Olivelle, “Contributions to the Semantic History of Samnyasa,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 101 (1981): 265–274; ———, Renun-ciation in Hinduism: A Mediaeval Debate, 2 vols. (Vienna: University of Vienna, 1986–87).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.