The ultimate title of Avadhoota is an achievement of many lifetimes of spiritual progress. Only a few rare souls merit such an exalted title. In any one epoch, only a handful of Avadhootas grace this Earth. So what is an Avadhoota? Let us consider this question by looking at the meaning of the name itself and seeing what are the essential characteristics of an Avadhoota.
- " A " : One who has achieved complete liberation from the bonds of desires. One who is absolutely pure and is ever absorbed in total, inner, bliss.
- " VA " : One who has eliminated all desires and is infallible to the three kinds of problems, namely, (a) diseases of the body, (b) illness caused by poisons of such creatures as scorpion, snakes etc, (c) adverse effects of natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes etc. An Avadhoota always lives in the present, forever happy in what this moment has to give.
- " DHOO " : Though an Avadhoota's body may be smeared with dust or ashes, the mind is cleansed of all impurities. Having reached the goal, such an Avadhoota is beyond mere disciplines of concentration (Dharana) and meditation (Dhyana).
- " TA " : One who is eternally engrossed in the contemplation of the Absolute Truth. To this end, one has abandoned all worldly activities and even its thoughts. Such a soul has erased the ego, merging completely with the universal spirit.
Main characteristic of an Avdhoota are:
- One who is a sinless philosopher and has cast off the shackles of ignorance (ajnana).
- One who lives in the stateless state and enjoys its experience all the time. One revels in this blissful state, unperturbed by the material world.
- In this unique state, the Avadhoota is neither waking nor in deep sleep, there is neither any sign of life nor any death; it is a state defying all description.
- It is the state of infinite bliss, which the finite language is incapable of describing. It can only be intuited purely by our intellect.
- A state which is neither truth or non-truth, neither existence nor non-existence.
- One who has realized their identity with the imperishable, who possesses incomparable excellence; who has shaken off the bonds of Samsara and never swerves from the goal. That thou Art (TATVAMASI), and other Upanishadic declarations, are ever present in the mind of such an enlightened soul.
- That sage who is rooted in the plenary experience of "Verily, I am Brahman (Aham Brahmaasmi)", "All this is Brahman (Sarvam Chilvidam Brahman)", and that " ...there is no plurality, God and I are one and the same.” Supported by personal experience of such Vedic statements, one moves freely in a state of total bliss. Such a person is a renunciate, liberated, Yogi, Paramahamsa, Brahmana, Avadhoota.