Sadhu - Marriage and Family



The renunciation of family life and the married state are characteristic of the ascetic life. It has been suggested that marital breakdown is, in fact, one of the motivating factors in the adoption of mendicant life by some sadhus. Some may never have been married. An individual ascetic may, at his discretion, choose disciples who serve apprenticeships under him. Alternately, young children (orphans, runaways, and others) may be dedicated to the service of an order. After a period of training (which may last weeks, months, or years), they are sent out to fulfill their socioreligious duties within the context of the larger society. Yet a third route to socialization as a sadhu involves following the Vedic progression of life stages. An important part of the initiation process is the changing of the natal name. This may involve the addition of suffixes to it or the complete alteration of the name. In general, the new name identifies the place of the initiate within the order and as a votary of a particular god.


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