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Avadhoota Upanishad

Avadhoota Upanishad is a small Upanishad consisting of around 32 mantras. It falls under the category of Sanyasa Upanishads and is a part of Krishna Yajurveda.

Avadhoota Upanishad takes the form of a dialog between Dattatreya and Rishi Samkriti and explains the nature of an Avadhoota. Avadhoota is an advanced stage of Sanyasa tradition. Avadhootas are known for their extreme detachment and constant oneness with the supreme reality.

One day Rishi Samkriti asks Dattatreya the following questions:

  • Who is an Avadhoota?
  • What is his state?
  • What are the signs of Avadhoota?
  • How does he lives?

The part that follows is the answers given by compassionate Dattatreya.

Who is an Avadhoota?

Avadhoota is called so because he is beyond any decay, he lives freely as per his will, he destroys the bondage of worldly  desires and his only goal is Tat Twam Asi i.e. you are that.

Avadhoota goes far beyond all the casts (such as bramhin, vaishya, kshtriya and sudra) and ashramas (such as bramhacharya, grihastha, vanaprasta and sanyasa). He is the higest Yogi who establishes himself in the constant state of self-realization.

What is his state?

An Avadhoota always enjoys the supreme bliss. The divine joy represents his head, happiness is his right wing, ecstasy represents his left wing and bliss is his very nature. A life of an Avadhoota shows extreme detachment.

What are the signs of Avadhoota? How does he lives?

An Avadhoota lives as per his own will. He may wear cloths or he may live naked. There is no difference between Dharma or Adharma, sacrifice or non sacrifice for him because he is beyond these aspects. He performs inner sacrifice and that forms their Ashvamedha Yagna. He is a great Yogi who remains unaffected even when he engages in worldly objects. He remains pure.

Ocean accepts water from all the rivers but still remains unchanged. Similarly, an Avadhoota is unaffected by worldly objects. He is always at peace and (like the ocean) all the desires are absorbed in this supreme peace.

For an Avadhoota there is no birth or death, bondage or liberation. He might have performed various actions for the sake of liberation but they become history once he becomes an Avadhoota. He is ever satisfied. Others wander with the intention of fulfilling their desires. But an Avadhoota being already satisfied doesn't run after any desire. Others do various rituals for the sake of heaven but an Avadhoota is already established in the omnipresent state and hence needs no rituals.

Other qualified teachers spend time in teaching scriptures (Vedas) but Avadhoota goes beyond any such activities for he is actionless. He doesn't have any desire for sleep, begging (bhiksha), bathing or cleaning.

An Avadhoota is ever free from doubts and since he is always in union with the supreme reality he need not even meditate. Meditation is for the people who are not yet one with God but an Avadhoota is always in the state of union and hence needs no meditation.

Those who are behind Karmas (actions) get plastered with Vasanas. These Vasanas haunt them even when they finish their Prarabdha Karma. Ordinary men meditate because they wish to fulfill their desires. However, an Avadhoota always stays away from such trap. His mind is beyond mental destructions and Samadhi. Mental destructions as well as Samadhi are possibly modifications of the mind. Avadhoota is already eternal and hence there is nothing to be achieved for him.

Following worldly duties is like an arrow released from a bow i.e. they can not be stopped from giving good or bad fruits causing a cycle of action-reaction. However, an Avadhoota is non doer at all levels and is not involved in any action.

Having attained such a stage of detachment an Avadhoota remains unaffected even if he follows a way of life as prescribed by scriptures. Even if he engages in actions such as worshipping God, bathing, begging etc. he remains unattached from them. He lives like a witness and hence doesn't perform any action.

An Avadhoota can clearly see Bramhan in front of his eyes. He is free from ignorance or Maya. He has no actions left to be performed and nothing to be achieved further. He is totally contented and there is no one else with whom he can be compared.


Bipin Joshi is an independent software consultant, trainer, author, yoga mentor, and meditation teacher with over 24 years of experience in classical form of Yoga. He is an internationally published author and has authored or co-authored more than twelve books on .NET technologies. He has been awarded as a Most Valuable Professional by Microsoft. He has also written a few Marathi books including Devachya Davya Hati and Natha Sankentincha Danshu. Having embraced the Yoga way of life he also teaches Ajapa Yoga to selected individuals.

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Posted On : 27 April 2007


Tags : Yoga Upanishads Vedanta