BhartRhari was a great man. He has composed a *shatakaM*, that is, a piece of hundred verses, with great feeling and majesty, about Sannyasa and Sannyasi. He could have as well named it “Sannyasa shatakaM”. Instead he has named it “VairAgya shatakaM*. If VairAgyam is there Sannyasa is not far behind – seems to be the thought.
What else is ‘San-nyAsaM’? Is it not a total ‘renunciation’? Unless you renounce that which is called desire, how can you renounce everything else? So it is not surprising that Sannyasam, as well as Renunciation, are both synonymous with vairAgyaM.
The great Tiruvalluvar has told us in Tamil about Dharma. In the chapter on Renunciation, he says that renunciation is when we attach ourselves only to the attachmentless God, thus renouncing all other attachments. It is by desire, by rAga, that one gets attachment. Alternatively, when we have an association with something, that is when we are attached to something, then there arises desire towards that – just as the Lord has said *sangAt sanjAyate kAmaH* (II – 62). Thus both desire and attachment are mutually cause and effect for each other. Therefore when Tiruvalluvar says *patru viDarkku* (abandonment of attachment), he is actually referring to the rise of vairAgyaM. He calls that renunciation and closes that chapter with the words *patru viDarkku*.
In the same section of chapters there is another chapter called “cutting off of desires” (*avA aruttal*), which is also only vairAgyaM. VairAgyam is the walking off from all wealth. That VairAgyam itself is a great wealth, There is nothing equivalent to that in the whole world, why, nothing in the divine world either – says he very beautifully:
*VenDamai anna vizhuccelvam INDillai
ANDum akdu oppadu il*.
Almost the same thought (about renunciation and vairAgyam) has been expressed by Sadashiva Brahmendra.
In his Atma-vidyA-vilAsaM he visualises the Sannyasi as a king (of the spiritual kingdom) and says: *svIkRRita-vairAgya-sarvasvaH* -- the one who has appropriated all the treasures of vairAgyaM. He himself was like that! Men like BhartRhari, Tiruvalluvar and Sadashiva Brahmendra were themselves in possession of great vairAgya.
Their thoughts about vairAgya touch our hearts -- at least for that moment!