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
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
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
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.