Those who are initiated into the sannyasa ashrama, the fourth and the highest or the final ashrama or station in life, are addressed as Swami, as those who enter grhastaashrama are addressed as Shrimaan or Shrimati.
At a superficial level Avadhuta simply means an ascetic. Ananda is Bliss. So Avadhutananda simply means ‘bliss of asceticism’ or ‘bliss of an ascetic’ or ‘bliss of being an ascetic’. A sannyaasi has no choice but to be in Bliss! Now if we take just the word Avadhuta, literally it means any person or thing that has been washed or purified well. Hence an ascetic, who having renounced the world, has been purified by the performance of his expiatory rites.
Avadhuta also means one who is beyond all varna-s (casyte) and ashrama-s (station in life). According to Mahaanirvaan Tantra, “yo vilangyaashramaanvarnaan atmanyevasthita pumaan / ativarnaashrami yogi avadhuta sa uchyate” (“The person who disregardful of the varna-s and ashrama-s is engrossed only on the amelioration of his self, that person, practised in the yoga and above the divisions of varna-s and ashrama-s is called Avadhuta”). Each ashrama has its own rights, duties, obligations and norms to be followed. Since an Avadhuta is beyond all ashrama-s none of these rules and regulations apply to him. He is a free man and not bound by any social customs and conventions. An Avadhuta is the one who has renounced all posessions, all distinctions of caste, all rites and ceremonies and all attachment to any particular country, nation or religion. Generally the origins of Avadhuta-s are unknown. They manifest at a particular time, in a particular place for a purpose and become unmanifest / drop their bodies as soon as their leela is over.
Some of the famous Avadhuta-s are Lord Dattaatraya, as mentioned in the Bhaagavat Mahaapuraan, Shirdi Saibaabaa, Swami Nityaananda of Ganeshpuri, Gajaanan Mahaaraaj of Shegaon and Swami Samartha Akkalkot Maharaj.
One also needs to understand the meaning of Avadhuta at a deeper and subtler level. One should learn the characteristics of a supreme A – VA – DHU – TA, syllable by syllable, as explained by the teachers of veda-s andvedaanta, who are adept in understanding the syllables and the meaning of the veda-s.
As per Avadhuta Geeta, the syllable A of Avadhuta indicates that he is free from the snare of hopes and expectations. His life is pure from its beginning, through its middle, to its end; and he always dwells in bliss.
The syllable VA of Avadhuta indicates that he has uprooted all desires. His speech is purifying, and he always lives in the ever-present Brahman.
The syllable DHU of Avadhuta indicates that, though his body is besmeared with gray dust from lack of body-consciousness, his mind is pure and healthy. He no longer needs to practise concentration and meditation.
The syllable TA of Avadhuta inditcates that he is absorbed in the thought of Brahman, and that he does not suffer from anxiety or feel obliged to exert himself. He is completely free from both egotism and ignorance.
That is the full meaning of Avadhuta, syllable by syllable.
Saraswati is one of the lineages in the Dashanaami Saampradaaya. There are ten lineages or ten orders of sannyaasa formed by Adi Guru Shankarcharya, which include Saraswati, Puri, Tirtha, Bharati, Giri, Parvat, Vanam, Aranya, Aashrama and Saagar. They are akin to a person’s surname or family name. Since our Param Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda was initiated into sannyaasa by Swami Shivananda of Rishikesh, who belonged to the Saraswati order, we, his disciples, also belong to the same order.
This is the full meaning of Swami Avadhutananda Saraswati.
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