Samnyasa, aka: Saṃnyāsa, Sannyasa, Sannyāsa; 7 Definition(s)


Samnyasa means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Rasashastra (chemistry and alchemy)

Sannyāsa (सन्न्यास) refers to “malignant swoon”.—This is a disease which attacks a weak man when a highly abnormal excess of vāyu, pitta, and kapha, as well as the other dirty matter in the body, have recourse to the vital parts of the body, and especially the heart and the respiratory system, and thereby stop the action of the vocal system, the external body, and of the mind, making the patient fall down as dead-like as a log of wood.

(Source): Rasa-Jala-Nidhi: Or Ocean of indian chemistry and alchemy
Rasashastra book cover
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Rasaśāstra (रसशास्त्र, rasashastra) is an important branch of Ayurveda, specialising in chemical interactions with herbs, metals and minerals. Some texts combine yogic and tantric practices with various alchemical operations. The ultimate goal of Rasashastra is not only to preserve and prolong life, but also to bestow wealth upon humankind.


Sannyāsa (सन्न्यास).—Giving up of karmas by.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 32. 58; Matsya-purāṇa 145. 54.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Sannyasa is the life stage of the renouncer within the Hindu scheme of four age-based life stages known as ashrams. It is the topmost and final stage of the ashram system and is traditionally taken by men or women over fifty or by young Brahmacharis who wish to renounce worldly and materialistic pursuits and dedicate their lives to spiritual pursuits.

During the sannyasa phase of life, a person abandons fire, or Agnihotra, allowed to the Grihastha ashram or householder phase of life. People who have entered the sannyasa ashram may choose not to cook, perform fire rituals or take heat from fire. In practice, however, Sannyasis do various services and partake in sacred rituals to set an example for others.

Sannyasa focuses only on the self and spirituality and not even the gods (as abandoning fire suggests). Symbolically, a sannyasi casts his physical body into fire by wearing saffron robes when entering this phase, signifying purification of body through fire thus freeing the soul while the body is still alive. Hence, sannyasis are not cremated after death as most Hindus are, but may instead be buried.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Saṃnyāsa (सम्̣न्यास).—The last āśrama, that of the world renouncing mendicant, is referred to in late Sanskrit texts by the term saṃnyāsa. Literally meaning “to cast down together,” the term is used in Vedic texts and ritual manuals to refer to throwing down unwanted things in a pile. This meaning of discarding and rejecting is present in its usage within the ascetic vocabulary.

In its earliest usage, however, saṃnyāsa is specifically associated with retirement in old age, thus in some way corresponding to the position of ascetic institutions in the classical āśrama system. The most explicit statement in this regard is found in the Māna-vaśrautasūtra (8.25) where the saṃnyāsavidhi (procedure of retirement) is described with reference to a grandfather who wishes to give up his ritual and domestic obligations. The legal treatise of Manu (Manu-smṛti. 1.114; 6.86–96) makes a clear distinction between such old age saṃnyāsa and the life of a wandering mendicant, which is referred to as mokṣa.

(Source): Texas Liberal Arts: Āśrama and Saṃnyāsa

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

sannyāsa (सन्न्यास).—m (S) Abandonment of all worldly possessions and earthly affections. Ex. sannyāsa- dīkṣā nirdhāri || jēṇēṃ sthāpilī vidhiyukta ||. sa0 ghēūna āīcā utarāī hōṇēṃ To be quit of all obligation to one's mother by taking sannyāsa; the mother, by this sacrifice on the part of her son, obtaining regeneration as a male.

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sannyāsa (संन्यास).—This is the popular form. See the correct form sannyasta &c.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

sannyāsa (संन्यास).—m Abandonment of all worldly possessions and earthly affections.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Saṃnyāsa (संन्यास).—

1) Leaving, abandonment.

2) Complete renunciation of the world and its possessions and attachments, abandonment of temporal concerns; काम्यानां कर्मणां न्यासं संन्यासं कवयो विदुः (kāmyānāṃ karmaṇāṃ nyāsaṃ saṃnyāsaṃ kavayo viduḥ) Bg.18.2; Ms.1.114; 5.18.

3) A deposit, trust; एतद्राज्यं मम भ्रात्रा दत्तं संन्यास- मुत्तमम् (etadrājyaṃ mama bhrātrā dattaṃ saṃnyāsa- muttamam) Rām.2.115.14.

4) A stake or wager in a game.

5) Giving up the body, death.

6) Indian spikenard.

7) Compact, agreement.

Derivable forms: saṃnyāsaḥ (संन्यासः).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

Relevant definitions

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