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In Hinduism, one who renounces all ties with family and society and pursues spiritual liberation. Sannyasis are a class of sadhu that do not live in communities, instead leading a mendicant, itinerant life. Those recognized as having achieved full self-knowledge are considered free of all worldly rules and duties, including those pertaining to caste, and are not required to carry out image worship or offerings. After death, their bodies, rather than being cremated, are buried in a seated, meditative posture.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on sannyasi, visit Britannica.com.