Legitimacy of ‘Bal Sanyasa’ in India

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“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life; dream of it; suppose of it; live on that idea.”

-Swami Vivekanand


In Hinduism[1], Sanyasa is the genuine indication of spiritual existence. It’s allowed to be the simplest and most direct path to moksha, or emancipation. “To Achieve” connotes materialism, seeking for commodity, whereas repudiation requires one to live without aiming for anything in particular, including deliverance, emancipation. In Hinduism, having no purpose is the central element of sanyasa. The ultimate thing of these ways is to overcome materialistic pretensions and to train the mind in checking oneself or God. Numerous people avoid them since they are seen as radical. Hinduism encourages its novices to achieve peace and compassion by engaging in extraordinary acts of tone-redundancy to draw public sport and critique or purposefully subjecting themselves to tone-torturing pain and suffering to cultivate calm and indifference.


In Hinduism, Sanyasa is also recognised as one of the four ashramas or stages in a mortal being’s life, the other three being brahmacharya, grihastha, and vanaprastha. Finally, Sanyasa, or the life of repudiation, arrives. According to the Gautama Sutras, the third stage is that of an ascetic -bhikshu, and the fourth is that of a hermit in the forest. Because they do not have children, the householder is the source of the remaining three.

Several rules are prescribed in the law books for ascetics and renunciants. For example, except for begging, ascetics were not permitted to enter villages. They were instructed to beg late, after people had finished their meals, and to wear only a rag to cover their bodies. They were also not permitted to relocate during the rainy season. A Sanyasi was not even permitted to beg. He had to rely on roots and tubers or wild growing vegetables to survive. He was permitted to eat the flesh of animals killed by carnivorous beasts, according to the Gautama Sutras.

In the history, when a person entered Sanyasa, he’d have to shoulder a pledge by performing one last fire sacrifice to give up all attachments and social individualities analogous to his name or family name and not to maintain any active relationship with his family or buddies. It was meant to make a break with his history and begin again his life as a tone-reliant, free soul, on his way to ultimate freedom from the mortal life and revivification. He was anticipated to withdraw the sacrificial fire into himself by ritually extinguishing with it so that he would himself come an instantiation of fire and the source of the radiant, spiritual energy, which would burn the impurities of the mind and body and the idle prints of his formerly lives. He was also interdicted from the use of fire for cookery, heating or ritual purposes.

The Bhagavadgita goes on to say that true sanyasa is giving up conjurations and desire for the fruit of conduct rather than giving up conduct itself. He can carry out his arrears without conjuring and offer them to God as a sacrifice. He is equally good, if not better, for liberation and the life of repudiation, according to Karmayoga.

  • First and foremost, Sanyasi[3]

Amritapuri, formerly Parayakadavu, is the primary Vihara of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, a world-famed spiritual master also known as the hugging saint. Amma, which means Mother’ in numerous South Indian languages, is another name for her. Balu, who came to Amma in 1979 and later became Brahmachari Amritatma Chaitanya, was ceremoniously initiated in Sanyasa by Amma in October 1989, in a solemn atmosphere of devotion and joy, amidst the chanting of Vedic mantras and puja. Swami Amrita Swarupananda Puri is the name given to him by Amma. Amma has since initiated many Brahmacharis into Sanyasa.


The legitimacy of ‘Bal Sanyasa,’ was upheld by The Karnataka High Court[4], ruling that there’s no indigenous prohibition on minors taking sanyasa. The court stated that other religions, such as Buddhism, have a tradition of taking sanyas at a young age. After studying religious textbooks, the court concluded that there is no indigenous bar to taking sanyas. The court stated that this practice has been going on for 800 years as an essential religious practice that is not opposed to morality, public order, or any abecedarian right.[5] Citing the MP High Court’s decision in the Adarsh Seva Marg Trust case concerning Jainism rituals[6], The Court does not have a magic wand to deal with theological issues, and it will not interfere in religious matters unnecessarily[7].

In the above-mentioned case passed by The Karnataka High Court[8], the amicus curiae argued that generalizing the case would be incorrect because each case has its factual context, as the counsel for the petitioners stated that this practice deprives children of material benefits and forces them to engage in “material abandonment,” an abecedarian right protected under Article 21.[9]

Advocate SS Naganand brought the Shiur Katte Mutt Case[10] into light. The Supreme Court ruled that the term “minor” does not apply to all situations. The age of maturity of 18 times is only for contracting purposes. This was the intent behind the passage of the Majority Act in 1875[11]. Religion, religious solemnities, and religious exercises are kept out of the majority purview thereby stating a person cannot be presumed to be a minor solely because he is under the age of 18.


The thing of sanyasa is to withdraw from the world and look inward in order to see the eternal state. He must give up his individuality and identity in order to do so. A sanyasi may have a name, but he will not use it to boost his pride or bind him to the world. He understands that his name and form are flashes, whereas his Tone is eternal, transcendental, pure, and imperishable. As a result, he avoids tone-creation. He may recognize his oneness, but he will not feel compelled to cover, promote, or save it. He may look after his mind and body, but he does so in honour of God or the Tone that resides within him. True Repudiation is, therefore, a station of indifference, serenity, or sameness. It’s a way of life, in which the renunciant sets aside his conjurations and prospects to let go out all purposeful trouble and compulsive planning.

Thus, keeping this notion in mind and relying on the precedents that age of maturity of 18 is only for entering into contract keeping religion, religious solemnities, and exercises out of it, balsanyasa is considered to be legal and the only demand is that he should be virgin, deeksha is given after taking concurrence of his father and mama and there’s no forceful duty.[12]

  1. The Constitution of India, 1950, Article 25(2)(b) Explanation II

  2. Jayaram V, https://www.hinduwebsite.com/sanyasmeans.asp

  3. https://www.amritapuri.org/activity/cultural/sannyas

  4. Mustafa Plumber, 29 Sep 2021, https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/bala-sanyasa-judgment-karnataka-high-court-minor-becoming-swami-no-statutory-constitutional-bar-shirur-mutt-182691

  5. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-48879591

  6. Vasantha Kumar, Sep 30, 2021, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/hc-no-legal-bar-on-minors-getting-sanyasa-deeksha/articleshow/86632572.cms

  7. Aarsh Marg Seva Trust and ors. vs State of Madhya Pradesh, WP No 8310/2019

  8. P Lathavya Acharya v. State Of Karnataka, WP 8926/2021

  9. Ishakatyal, September 29, 2021, https://allindialegalforum.in/2021/09/29/bal-sanyasa-is-legal-no-constitutional-bar-against-minor-becoming-swami-karnataka-high-court/

  10. The Commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras Vs. Sri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar Of Sri Shirur Mutt, 1954 Air 282, 1954 Scr 1005

  11. The Indian Majority Act, 1875, S.2

  12. Mustafa Plumber, 29 Sep 2021, https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/bala-sanyasa-judgment-karnataka-high-court-minor-becoming-swami-no-statutory-constitutional-bar-shirur-mutt-182691

This article has been written by Apurva Singh. She is a BBALLB(H) student at Presidency University School of Law, Bangalore.