A Renunciate Order for the New Age

renunciate-order“Renunciation, as practised in the past, no longer appeals to people in this age of greater freedom of thought and consciousness. It is more uplifting nowadays to concentrate on the positive aspects of renunciation.”
—Swami Kriyananda

The Nayaswami Order is a new movement in renunciation launched in late 2009 by Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple for over 60 years of the great yoga Master, Paramhansa Yogananda.

In his book, A Renunciate Order for the New Age, Swami Kriyananda describes a new model based on positive aspects of renunciation—rather than the traditional world-negating approach. It is intended for people from all walks of life, married or single, who are committed to finding God, and is open to people of every religious affiliation.

You may have noticed that those who are Swamis (Nayaswamis) at Ananda Sangha wear blue robes. Swami Kriyanandaji was inspired to change the color of renunciation to represent this new movement.

Excerpts from A Renunciate Order for the New Age:

My Intention

“My intention in these pages is to propose a new model of renunciation for this age of energy. Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, my paramguru (guru’s guru), described it as such, giving it its ancient Sanskrit name, Dwapara. Having explained this matter already in several of my other writings (notably in Religion in the New Age), I’d rather proceed here at once to my main subject: renunciation in this age of energy.

The monastic order of swamis in India was founded, or rather reorganized, many centuries ago by the first, or adi, Swami Shankara. The age in which he lived was known as Kali, or dark (literally, “black”) Yuga (age). It was far more materialistic than the age in which we live today. Shankara wrote rules and ideals for his renunciate order that were appropriate for those times, when society faced a different set of realities.

People weren’t nearly so mobile then as they are today. Travel, by nayaswami-first-smpresent-day standards, was very slow. There were no motorized vehicles, no airplanes, no steamships. People’s mental horizons, too, were narrowly circumscribed. To accomplish anything, one’s self-definition, too, had to be narrow.

To find God, or to realise the Divine Presence in one’s life, was almost impossible for those whose lives were not specifically devoted to spiritual progress. Those who lived in the world, who engaged in profit, and particularly who were married and had families, simply could not expand their horizons to include the divine search.

In the Christian world, renunciates sometimes went so far as to have themselves walled up in cells, with only little openings through which food was passed. To find God, renunciation of all distractions had, in fact, to be complete, for every attachment to the world needed to be shattered. In India, renunciates were told not to find enjoyment in anything, even in a beautiful sunset. They were expected to go by foot from place to place; never to stay in one place more than three days; and be careful not to regard anyone or any place as their own. “Neti, neti” — literally, “Not this; not that” — was the common practice for the spiritual seeker. It was a way of rejecting everything in the manifested universe as false. The old method of renunciation was world-negating; the new one is samadhi-affirming. One’s concentration, in other words, is on the joy of soul-freedom in God.

What I propose to do here is open the path of renunciation to all those, whether married or single, who deeply yearn to know God.”

The Vows of the Nayaswami Order

The Nayaswami Order is open to anyone on any spiritual path who desires to make the commitment to devote his or her life to God. We recommend that you read the book A Renunciate Order for the New Age in order to see if your ideals match those which Swami Kriyananda have defined for this new renunciate order.

The different vows within the Nayaswami order are:

Pilgrim: Intention of Renunciation (Vow given regularly at Ananda Chennai)

Brahmachari/Brahmacharini: Preliminary Renunciation (for single people)

Tyagi/Tyagini: Preliminary Renunciation (for married couples)

Nayaswami: Full Renunciation (Sannyas for single or married people)

How to Join

If, after reading Swami Kriyananda’s book, A Renunciate Order for the New Age, you are interested in joining the Nayaswami Order, please contact Nayaswamis Dharmarajan and Dharmini. Also, visit the website: