Aruṇeyī Upaniṣad

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By Swami Harshananda

Aruṇeyī Upaniṣad also known as ‘Aruṇi-’ and ‘Aruṇika-’ Upaniṣad, is a minor work belonging to the Sāmaveda. It deals with sanyāsa or monastic life. This Upaniṣad has five sections in it. An overview of the gist of these sections is mentioned below :

  • First Section : The sage Āruṇi goes to the abode of Prajāpati (‘Lord of beings;’ same as Brahmā, the Creator) and asks Him as to how can he give up all the actions. Prajāpati replies that he should give up the following and accept sanyāsa or monastic life.
  1. His family and friends
  2. The holy thread
  3. The sacrificial system and the scriptures that advocate them
  4. The desire for attaining any of the well-known worlds or planes of existence
  • Second Section : It clearly states that anyone, from any stage of life, can take to the monastic life, intense spirit of renunciation being the only criterion. The process of ceremonially giving up the sacred thread (yajñopavīta) and the fires, and the exhortation to study the Araṇyakas and Upaniṣads, follow next.
  • Third Section : It gives the well- known praiṣamantra, the sacred formula to be repeated thrice, signifying that the aspirant has totally renounced the three worlds. A Vedic prayer for protection, instructions regarding food, wearing of the loin-cloth and observance of disciplines like brahmacarya (chastity), ahirnsā (non¬injury) and satya (truthfulness) are given at the end.
  • Fourth Section : It deals with the conduct of ‘paramahariisa-parivrājaka,’ the highest class of itinerant monks. They should sleep on the ground, use a bowl of clay, gourd or wood for water, give up lust, anger, avarice and other evil passions and constantly move about, all alone, except during the rainy season.
  • Fifth Section : It describes the mode of begging, uttering the sacred ‘Om,’ and closes with a well-known Vedic prayer that describes the state of enlightenment of sages.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore