Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha was the 35th Sankaracharya of Sringeri, regarded as a jivanmukta, living in the 20th Century. The following are extracts from “Exalting Elucidations”
D: Should actions be renounced?
A: Unnecessary actions should not be done. In spiritual life, one should not try to discard all actions right at the beginning, but should dedicate them to Īśvara. It may be noted that actions themselves will leave one as one’s mind gets purer and purer. Just as cleaning-nut powder settles down at the bottom along with the impurities in water, all actions dissociate themselves from an advanced person on their own. That is the period best suited for one to take up saṁnyāsa.
D: Should saṁnyāsa be taken up before or after the attainment of jñāna?
A: The saṁnyāsa taken up after the attainment of jñāna is called vidvat–saṁnyāsa while that taken before knowledge is termed vividiṣā–saṁnyāsa. The former is superior to the latter.
D: What state of mind qualifies one for saṁnyāsa?
A: After properly analysing the world, one concludes that one will not get any lasting happiness from it, and leads a spiritual life. Subsequently, when one becomes unconcerned about actions and their renunciation, then indeed one is truly fit for saṁnyāsa. One should have attained equipoise prior to taking up saṁnyāsa.
D: Can one take up saṁnyāsa even at a young age?
A: Yes, provided one has intense vairāgya.
yadahareva virajet tadahareva pravrajet43
(JU, 4) (Let him take to saṁnyāsa on the very day that he attains intense vairāgya.)
D: If a saṁnyāsin does not get food for some days, should he make efforts to get food or should he keep quiet thinking, “I will not try to get it even if my spiritual life is affected.”
A: The saṁnyāsin who has realised the Truth need not worry about food or death.
D: Will a man who has attained jñāna care for saṁnyāsa? Why should one lead a saṁnyāsin’s life after jñāna dawns?
A: It is not that he puts in great effort and takes up saṁnyāsa. Actions wither away from him of their own accord. Thus, he becomes a vidvat–saṁnyāsin to remain as an undisturbed jīvanmukta.
D: Why are jñānin-s compassionate?
A: Prior to the dawn of knowledge, a jñānin’s mind should have been very pure, for jñāna dawns only after the mind is thoroughly purified. Hence, compassion should have been cultivated earlier. That manifests itself more prominently after realisation of the Truth. Jñānin-s have nothing to attain through any action. They are ever content, having attained what is to be attained. Therefore, it may be said that they live only for the welfare of others.