Who is a saint? To answer this, Ramkrishna once said on a lighter note: a sadhu “saint” is more worried about his loincloth than other worldly possession. Undoubtedly, celibacy is considered to be one of the most important features of Hindu saints; however, not all Hindu saints – ancient as well as contemporary – were celibate. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu once explained to Nityananda: a man entangled in worldly affairs can never be free. Here loincloth is a metaphor for simple, solitary life with little or no possession and people nearby. There is a popular saying in India that three things are strictly prohibited for a saint, anna vikraya, stri vikraya, and dharma vikraya “to sell food, to sell woman, and to sell religion”; the meaning is that a saint neither engages in worldly affairs nor earns his living from religious teaching.
According to Swami Sivananda, one who lives in God, and who is free from likes and dislikes, egoism, lust, greed, selfishness, and anger, and who is...