They were once successful professionals, enjoying every bit of their lives. But a sudden call of divinity made them renounce the world as they knew it and embrace sanyas.
This Kumbh, many of these professionals-turned-sanyasis are arriving at Sangam in quest of moksha (salvation).
Asked about their leap of faith, the sanyasis recall the moment their soul connected with divinity.
For instance, Leela Bhandari - now known as Shree Mahant Meerapuri of Juna Sanyasini Akhara - was an All India Radio artiste in Himachal Pradesh for nearly four decades. An army officer's daughter, she renounced materialistic pleasures about 11 years ago.
"In my childhood, my family guruji used to tell me to worship god with complete devotion and renounce everything for him. I used to ignore his advice. One day, I experienced an inexplicable divine call. It was an instant decision to give up everything, leaving my near and dear ones shocked," she said.
Similarly, Shree Mahant Devya Giri - formerly known as Arunima Singh - of Mankameshwar temple, Lucknow, made the U-turn 12 years ago, abandoning her dream of setting up a pathology laboratory in Mumbai.
Her connect with divinity happened when she touched a Shivling. "Everything (for the pathology laboratory) had been finalised. But fate had something else in store. And here I am as a part of Panch Dashanam Joona Akhada," she said.
Nicole from the US quit a flourishing career in the media about a decade ago and stepped over to the world of sanyas. "It was a divine call."