Jaṭilo muṇdī luñjita keśaḥ kāshāyāmbara bahukṛta veṣaḥ |
Paśyannapi ca na paśyati mūdhaḥ udara nimittaṃ bahukṛta veṣaḥ || 14 ||
Meaning – There are many who wear matted locks or completely shave their head, wear saffron clothes (kashaya vastram) and take on various other disguises. All these are all garbs taken by them to earn a livelihood. Yet the foolish man does not realize it.
Kāshāya danda mātrena yatihi pujyo na samṣayah – this verse has been composed with utmost respect/ reverence towards the sanyasa ashrama and Yateeshwaras. Because of the reverence that Shankara Bhagawad-pādāchārya Swami earned, the world has immense reverence towards holy saints.
Taking undue advantage of this and finding this as a good source of livelihood, a few impersonators move under the garb of saints. Such foolish persons, who cheat others by moving about in this garb of sanyasis, will reach hell (naraka) after death. To kidnap Sita, Demon Ravana disguised as a sanyasi and appeared at her doorstep. He cheated her and ultimately was ruined completely. Such persons who disguise themselves as saints for the purpose of their livelihood are fools (moodha).
It is wrong to assume that adhering to the rules of the sanyasa ashrama means to completely stay away from the society and be seated in the forests with eyes closed in deep meditation. The real state of sanyasa means to develop inward vision/ focus (antar drishti) and to completely cut off all attachments and bondages from the mind. Such persons will not seek any external garb or worldly recognition. They would have adopted sanyasa as a way of life after realizing the hollowness in these worldly pleasures, joys and luxuries and thus lead a peaceful and contented life as a sanyasi. Eternally they will contemplate upon God and focus upon understanding the Absolute Truth. They will be sharing their experiences with the people of this world. To indicate the disciplines they have taken on they wear saffron clothes. Their life is completely filled with principles and disciplines. They are over and above the feelings of love-hate, like- dislike, jealousy etc.
Contrary to this, those who step into Sanyasa ashrama for name, fame, money, power or as a livelihood are cheating themselves. Externally they may exhibit tremendous adherence to righteousness (dharma), yet internally they lack any peace of mind. We come across many such persons in this world. They are fools. We should be vigilant and not fall into their trap. In addition to cheating themselves such people also cheat others in this world. All other guises for the purposes of livelihood may perhaps be acceptable, but here, by disguising as saints, they are cheating their own self on this sacred path of Self-realization.