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Sannyasa Upanishads – 17 Upanishads That Deal With Renunciation

Sannyasa Upanishads are Upanishad that deal with the nature of ascetics (Sanyasi) and renunciation.  There are 17 Sannyasa Upanishads that deal with the topic of renunciation.
Of the 108 main Upanishads, 17 come under the class of Sannyasa Upanishads.

Among these seventeen, six Upanishads belong to the Shukla Yajurvda

They are
  1. Jabala Upanishad,
  2. Turiyatita Upanishad,
  3. Paramahamsa Upanishad,
  4. Bhikshuka Upanishad,
  5. Yajnavalkya Upanishad and
  6. Satyayaniya Upanishad

Four belong to Sama Veda
  1. Aruni Upanishad,
  2. Kundika Upanishad,
  3. Maitreya Upanishad
  4. Sannyasa Upanishad

Three belong to Krishna Yajurveda
  1. Avadhuta Upanishad
  2. Katharudra Upanishad
  3. Brahma Upanishad

Three belong to Atharva Veda
  1. Narada Parivrajaka Upanishad
  2. Parabrahma Parivrajaka Upanishad
  3. Paramahansa Upanishad

One Belong to Rig Veda
  • Nirvana Upanishad

Sannyasa or renunciation is the giving up of primary inclinations, such as the desire for wealth and the like. There are six kinds of renunciations, kuticaka, bahudaka, hamsa, paramahamsa, turiyatita and avadhuta. These are differentiated by the type of mark worn on the forehead of the ascetics, the staff held by them and the type of food taken by them (Sannyasa Upanishad and Bhikshuka Upanishad).

Rules regarding the seat, drinking vessel and staff of an ascetic are dealt with in Aruniya Upanishad.

Paramahamsa Upanishad and Yajnavalkya Upanishad set for the characteristics of a paramahansa ascetic.

Giving up all desires, he remains in communion with the non-dual, transcendent state.
The characteristics of an avadhuta ascetic are set forth in Avadhuta Upanishad, Turiyatita Upanishad and Nirvana Upanishad. The avadhuta is called so because he is all knowing and immortal.

The procedure for taking to Sannyasa (renunciation) is set forth in the Upanishads like Katharudra and Paramahamsa Parivrajaka.

Bibliography
The Sannyasa Upanishads (1992) - Translated by Patrick Olivelle - Oxford University Press, New York 
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume IX page 226 - 227




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