I just now finished reading KA by Roberto Calasso . I have already written some of my vague musings on early Aryan migration in an earlier blog. Now it looks to me that the early Aryans did not believe in Sannyasam (RENOUNCING). There appears to be no renouncers among the early Aryans. It looked as if the first sannyasi (renouncer) was Buddha and his Bikshus. I checked with relevant Wikipedia. We also know that in Hindu social structure there were three stages of life Brahmacharya, Grihastha and Vanaprastha. Vanaprastham is not renouncing but something equivalent to modern “retirement”. To avoid any conflict of interest the elders moved out. (I hope the present day Indian elders consider this concept of Vanaprastha. They need not go to forests but renounce authority of the family). The rishis we have heard about Vasista, Viswamitra, Gauthama, Kanva etc. were not sannyasis . They did not renounce families or life. Their lives might not be luxurious but many of them living in forests they led simple lives. Wikipedia says that there was mention of “Muni” in early Vedic literature, perhaps equivalent to mendicants (I think what you see in present day Kumbh Mela). They were long haired, in dirty clothes (or perhaps nude), soil covered, perhaps unhygienic. But in Puranas there has been no mention of names of any famous Munis though names of number of rishis were mentioned. Perhaps (this is my guess) early Aryans did not have great respect for these mendicants or to the concept of sannyasam. So we can take it the concept of sannyasi became prominent only in Buddhism. But the first famous sannyasi in the Hindu religion was ADI SHANKARA. (8th century CE). Then the history was different. Then Buddhism and Jainism were powerful in the whole of India including in Tamil Country. Many kings and rich trading community were followers of these two apostate religions. Hindu religious leaders had to fight this and that needed unattached savants and fighters to stop onslaught of these two religions and reestablish the Hindu religion among the people. I guess the conflicts were nasty and leading to lot of violence.
In Tamil religion there were Sidhars ( around 500 to 300 BCE)who were renouncers but with great intellectual abilities “knowledgeable in Science, Technology, Astronomy, Literature, Fine Arts, Music, Drama, Dance, and provided solutions to common people in their illness and advice for their future” (ref: wikipedia)