Compilation of Prabhupada’s Teachings on Sannyasa Asrama
A sannyasi has to be alone without any support or guarantee of support, he has to depend on the mercy of Krishna. If he thinks, After I leave my connections, who will protect me? He should not accept the renounced order of life.
yam hi na vyathayanty ete
so ‘mrtatvaya kalpate
O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.
Anyone who is steady in his determination for the advanced stage of spiritual realization and CAN EQUALLY TOLERATE THE ONSLAUGHTS OF DISTRESS AND HAPPINESS IS CERTAINLY A PERSON ELIGIBLE FOR LIBERATION. In the varnasrama institution, THE FOURTH STAGE OF LIFE, NAMELY THE RENOUNCED ORDER (SANNYASA), IS A PAINSTAKING SITUATION. BUT ONE WHO IS SERIOUS ABOUT MAKING HIS LIFE PERFECT SURELY ADOPTS THE SANNYASA ORDER OF LIFE IN SPITE OF ALL DIFFICULTIES. The difficulties usually arise from having to sever family relationships, to give up the connection of wife and children. But if anyone is able to tolerate such difficulties, surely his path to spiritual realization is complete.
IN THE VARNASRAMA INSTITUTION THE SANNYASI, OR THE PERSON IN THE RENOUNCED ORDER OF LIFE, IS CONSIDERED TO BE THE HEAD OR THE SPIRITUAL MASTER OF ALL THE SOCIAL STATUSES AND ORDERS. A brahmana is considered to be the spiritual master of the three other sections of a society, namely, the ksatriyas, the vaisyas and the sudras, but a sannyasi, who is on the top of the institution, is considered to be the spiritual master of the brahmanas also. For a sannyasi, the first qualification should be fearlessness. BECAUSE A SANNYASI HAS TO BE ALONE WITHOUT ANY SUPPORT OR GUARANTEE OF SUPPORT, HE HAS SIMPLY TO DEPEND ON THE MERCY OF THE SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD. IF HE THINKS, “AFTER I LEAVE MY CONNECTIONS, WHO WILL PROTECT ME?” HE SHOULD NOT ACCEPT THE RENOUNCED ORDER OF LIFE. One must be fully convinced that Krsna or the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His localized aspect as Paramatma is always within, that He is seeing everything and that He always knows what one intends to do. One must thus have firm conviction that Krsna as Paramatma will take care of a soul surrendered to Him. “I shall never be alone,” one should think. “Even if I live in the darkest regions of a forest I shall be accompanied by Krsna, and He will give me all protection.” That conviction is called abhayam, without fear. This state of mind is necessary for a person in the renounced order of life. Then he has to purify his existence. There are so many rules and regulations to be followed in the renounced order of life. MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, A SANNYASI IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN TO HAVE ANY INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH A WOMAN. HE IS EVEN FORBIDDEN TO TALK WITH A WOMAN IN A SECLUDED PLACE. Lord Caitanya was an ideal sannyasi, and when He was at Puri His feminine devotees could not even come near to offer their respects. THEY WERE ADVISED TO BOW DOWN FROM A DISTANT PLACE. THIS IS NOT A SIGN OF HATRED FOR WOMEN AS A CLASS, BUT IT IS A STRICTURE IMPOSED ON THE SANNYASI NOT TO HAVE CLOSE CONNECTIONS WITH WOMEN. One has to follow the rules and regulations of a particular status of life in order to purify his existence. For a sannyasi, intimate relations with women and possession of wealth for sense gratification are strictly forbidden. The ideal sannyasi was Lord Caitanya Himself, and we can learn from His life that He was very strict in regards to women. Although He is considered to be the most liberal incarnation of Godhead, accepting the most fallen conditioned souls, He strictly followed the rules and regulations of the sannyasa order of life in connection with association with woman. One of His personal associates, namely Chota Haridasa, was personally associated with Lord Caitanya along with His other confidential personal associates, but somehow or other this Chota Haridasa looked lustily on a young woman, and Lord Caitanya was so strict that He at once rejected him from the society of His personal associates. Lord Caitanya said, “FOR A SANNYASI OR ANYONE WHO IS ASPIRING TO GET OUT OF THE CLUTCHES OF MATERIAL NATURE AND TRYING TO ELEVATE HIMSELF TO THE SPIRITUAL NATURE AND GO BACK HOME, BACK TO GODHEAD, FOR HIM, LOOKING TOWARD MATERIAL POSSESSIONS AND WOMEN FOR SENSE GRATIFICATION–NOT EVEN ENJOYING THEM, BUT JUST LOOKING TOWARD THEM WITH SUCH A PROPENSITY–IS SO CONDEMNED THAT HE HAD BETTER COMMIT SUICIDE BEFORE EXPERIENCING SUCH ILLICIT DESIRES.” SO THESE ARE THE PROCESSES FOR PURIFICATION.
As far as simplicity is concerned, not only should a particular order of life follow this principle, but every member, be he in the brahmacari asrama, or grhastha asrama, or vanaprastha asrama or sannyasa asrama. ONE MUST LIVE VERY SIMPLY.
While He was contemplating accepting the sannyasa order, it so happened that Kesava Bharati, a sannyasi of the Mayavadi school and resident of Katwa (in Bengal), visited Navadvipa and was invited to dine with the Lord. When Kesava Bharati came to His house, the Lord asked him to award Him the sannyasa order of life. THIS WAS A MATTER OF FORMALITY. THE SANNYASA ORDER IS TO BE ACCEPTED FROM ANOTHER SANNYASI. ALTHOUGH THE LORD WAS INDEPENDENT IN ALL RESPECTS, STILL, TO KEEP UP THE FORMALITIES OF THE SASTRAS, HE ACCEPTED THE SANNYASA ORDER FROM KESAVA BHARATI, ALTHOUGH KESAVA BHARATI WAS NOT IN THE VAISNAVA-SAMPRADAYA (SCHOOL).
Prabhupada: So Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Prakasananda Sarasvati, they are now together. Now there will be discussion. Now Prakasananda Sarasvati, he (is) asking Caitanya Mahaprabhu, “I think Your name is Sri Krsna Caitanya, and You are disciple, You have accepted this renounced order of life from Kesava Bharati.” AS I’VE EXPLAINED TO YOU, THAT THERE ARE TEN DIFFERENT NAMES IN THE SANKARA SAMPRADAYA OF THE SANNYASIS, AND THERE ARE 108 NAMES AMONGST THE VAISNAVA SANNYASA. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu, although He was initiated by Vaisnava, He took sannyasa, He accepted sannyasa, from Bharati, who belongs to the Sankara sampradaya, Sankara sect. THE RULE IS THAT IF ONE HAS TO ACCEPT RENOUNCED ORDER OF LIFE, THERE IS CEREMONY; AS THERE IS CEREMONY OF INITIATION, THERE IS CEREMONY OF ACCEPTING THIS RENOUNCED ORDER OF LIFE. AND THAT CEREMONY MUST BE PERFORMED BY ANOTHER BONA FIDE, I MEAN TO…, SANNYASI, RENOUNCED ORDER. IT IS NOT THAT YOU TAKE YOUR CLOTH AND GET IT COLORED AND ONE DAY YOU BECOME A SANNYASI. NO. THERE ARE CEREMONIES.
This spiritual realization is obtained by tapasya, or undergoing voluntarily the path of penance and abstinence from material pleasure. THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN TRAINED FOR ABSTINENCE IN MATERIAL PLEASURES ARE CALLED DHIRA, OR MEN UNDISTURBED BY THE SENSES. ONLY THESE DHIRAS CAN ACCEPT THE ORDERS OF SANNYASA, AND THEY CAN GRADUALLY RISE TO THE STATUS OF THE PARAMAHAMSA, WHICH IS ADORED BY ALL MEMBERS OF SOCIETY.
SB 5.1.27 P
THE PARAMAHAMSA STAGE IS THE TOPMOST POSITION IN RENOUNCED LIFE. IN SANNYASA, THE RENOUNCED ORDER, THERE ARE FOUR STAGES–KUTICAKA, BAHUDAKA, PARIVRAJAKACARYA AND PARAMAHAMSA. According to the Vedic system, when one accepts the renounced order, he stays outside his village in a cottage, and his necessities, especially his food, are supplied from home. This is called the kuticaka stage. When a sannyasi advances further, he no longer accepts anything from home: instead, he collects his necessities, especially his food, from many places. This system is called madhukari, which literally means “the profession of the bumblebees.” AS BUMBLEBEES COLLECT HONEY FROM MANY FLOWERS, A LITTLE FROM EACH, SO A SANNYASI SHOULD BEG FROM DOOR TO DOOR BUT NOT ACCEPT VERY MUCH FOOD FROM ANY PARTICULAR HOUSE; HE SHOULD COLLECT A LITTLE BIT FROM EVERY HOUSE. THIS IS CALLED THE BAHUDAKA STAGE. When a sannyasi is still more experienced, he travels all over the world to preach the glories of Lord Vasudeva. He is then known as parivrajakacarya. The sannyasi reaches the paramahamsa stage when he finishes his preaching work and sits down in one place, strictly for the sake of advancing in spiritual life. AN ACTUAL PARAMAHAMSA IS ONE WHO COMPLETELY CONTROLS HIS SENSES AND ENGAGES IN THE UNALLOYED SERVICE OF THE LORD.
SB 2.4.13 P
The paramahamsa stage of existence is the highest perfectional stage of spiritual values. ACCORDING TO SRIMATI KUNTIDEVI, THE LORD IS FACTUALLY UNDERSTOOD BY THE PARAMAHAMSAS ONLY. As there is gradual realization of the transcendence from impersonal Brahman to localized Paramatma to the Personality of Godhead, Purusottama, Lord Krsna, similarly there is gradual promotion of one’s situation in the spiritual life of sannyasa. Kuticaka, bahudaka, parivrajakacarya and paramahamsa are gradual progressive stages in the renounced order of life, sannyasa, and Queen Kuntidevi, the mother of the Pandavas, has spoken about them in her prayers for Lord Krsna (Canto One, Chapter Eight). THE PARAMAHAMSAS ARE GENERALLY FOUND AMONG BOTH THE IMPERSONALISTS AND THE DEVOTEES, BUT ACCORDING TO SRIMAD-BHAGAVATAM (AS CLEARLY STATED BY KUNTIDEVI), PURE BHAKTI-YOGA IS UNDERSTOOD BY THE PARAMAHAMSAS, AND KUNTIDEVI HAS ESPECIALLY MENTIONED THAT THE LORD DESCENDS (PARITRANAYA SADHUNAM) ESPECIALLY TO AWARD BHAKTI-YOGA TO THE PARAMAHAMSAS. SO ULTIMATELY THE PARAMAHAMSAS, IN THE TRUE SENSE OF THE TERM, ARE UNALLOYED DEVOTEES OF THE LORD. Srila Jiva Gosvami has directly accepted that the highest destination is bhakti-yoga, by which one accepts the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Those who accept the path of bhakti-yoga are the factual paramahamsas.
SB 3.22.19 P
After fulfilling his responsibility to produce a nice child, one should take sannyasa and engage in the perfectional paramahamsa stage. paramahamsa refers to the most highly elevated perfectional stage of life. There are four stages within sannyasa life, and paramahamsa is the highest order. The Srimad-Bhagavatam is called the paramahamsa-samhita, the treatise for the highest class of human beings. THE PARAMAHAMSA IS FREE FROM ENVY. IN OTHER STAGES, EVEN IN THE HOUSEHOLDER STAGE OF LIFE, THERE IS COMPETITION AND ENVY, BUT SINCE THE ACTIVITIES OF THE HUMAN BEING IN THE PARAMAHAMSA STAGE ARE COMPLETELY ENGAGED IN KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS, OR DEVOTIONAL SERVICE, THERE IS NO SCOPE FOR ENVY.
The mystery of the sannyasa-danda (staff) of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has been explained by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the order of sannyasa from a Mayavadi sannyasi. The Mayavadi sannyasis generally carry one staff, or danda. Taking advantage of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s absence, Srila Nityananda Prabhu broke the staff into three parts and threw it into the river now known as the Danda-bhanga-nadi. In the sannyasa order there are four divisions–kuticaka, bahudaka, hamsa and paramahamsa. ONLY WHEN THE SANNYASI REMAINS ON THE KUTICAKA AND BAHUDAKA PLATFORMS CAN HE CARRY A STAFF. HOWEVER, WHEN ONE IS ELEVATED TO THE STATUS OF HAMSA OR PARAMAHAMSA, AFTER TOURING AND PREACHING THE BHAKTI CULT, HE MUST GIVE UP THE SANNYASA STAFF.
SB 3.24.35 P
In this age of Kali-yuga sannyasa is prohibited because persons in this age are all sudras and cannot follow the rules and regulations of sannyasa life. It is very commonly found that so-called sannyasis are addicted to nonsense–even to having private relationships with women. This is the abominable situation in this age. ALTHOUGH THEY DRESS THEMSELVES AS SANNYASIS, THEY STILL CANNOT FREE THEMSELVES FROM THE FOUR PRINCIPLES OF SINFUL LIFE, NAMELY ILLICIT SEX LIFE, MEAT-EATING, INTOXICATION AND GAMBLING. SINCE THEY ARE NOT FREED FROM THESE FOUR PRINCIPLES, THEY ARE CHEATING THE PUBLIC BY POSING AS SVAMIS.
IN KALI-YUGA THE INJUNCTION IS THAT NO ONE SHOULD ACCEPT SANNYASA. OF COURSE, THOSE WHO ACTUALLY FOLLOW THE RULES AND REGULATIONS MUST TAKE SANNYASA. Generally, however, people are unable to accept sannyasa life, and therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu stressed, kalau nasty eva nasty eva na-sty eva gatir anyatha. In this age there is no other alternative, no other alternative, no other alternative than to chant the holy name of the Lord: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. THE MAIN PURPOSE OF SANNYASA LIFE IS TO BE IN CONSTANT COMPANIONSHIP WITH THE SUPREME LORD, EITHER BY THINKING OF HIM WITHIN THE HEART OR HEARING OF HIM THROUGH AURAL RECEPTION. IN THIS AGE, HEARING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THINKING BECAUSE ONE’S THINKING MAY BE DISTURBED BY MENTAL AGITATION, BUT IF ONE CONCENTRATES ON HEARING, HE WILL BE FORCED TO ASSOCIATE WITH THE SOUND VIBRATION OF KRSNA. Krsna and the sound vibration “Krsna” are nondifferent, so if one loudly vibrates Hare Krsna, he will be able to think of Krsna immediately. This process of chanting is the best process of self-realization in this age; therefore Lord Caitanya preached it so nicely for the benefit of all humanity.
It is sometimes said that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not approve of the acceptance of the sannyasa order in this Kali-yuga because in the sastra it is said:
kalau panca vivarjayet
“In this Kali-yuga the performance of the asvamedha-yajna or gomedha-yajna, sacrifices in which a horse or cow is offered, should be avoided, as should the acceptance of sannyasa, the renounced order of life.” (Brahma-vaivarta Purana, Krsna-janma-khanda 185.180)
Nevertheless we see that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself accepted sannyasa and approved of the sannyasa of His elder brother, Visvarupa. It is clearly said here, bhala haila,—-visvarupa sannyasa karila pitr-kula, matr-kula,—-dui uddharila. THEREFORE, SHOULD IT BE THOUGHT THAT SRI CAITANYA MAHAPRABHU MADE STATEMENTS THAT ARE CONTRADICTORY? NO, ACTUALLY HE DID NOT. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT ONE ACCEPT SANNYASA TO DEDICATE HIS LIFE FOR THE SERVICE OF THE LORD, AND EVERYONE MUST TAKE THAT KIND OF SANNYASA, FOR BY ACCEPTING SUCH SANNYASA ONE RENDERS THE BEST SERVICE TO BOTH HIS PATERNAL AND MATERNAL FAMILIES. But one should not accept the sannyasa order of the Mayavada school, which has practically no meaning. WE FIND MANY MAYAVADI SANNYASIS SIMPLY LOITERING IN THE STREET THINKING THEMSELVES BRAHMAN OR NARAYANA AND SPENDING ALL DAY AND NIGHT BEGGING SO THEY CAN FILL THEIR HUNGRY BELLIES. MAYAVADI SANNYASIS HAVE BECOME SO DEGRADED THAT THERE IS A SECTION OF THEM WHO EAT EVERYTHING, JUST LIKE HOGS AND DOGS. IT IS SUCH DEGRADED SANNYASA THAT IS PROHIBITED IN THIS AGE. Actually, Srila Sankaracarya’s principles for the acceptance of sannyasa were very strict, but later the so-called Mayavadi sannyasis became degraded because of their false philosophy, which propounds that by accepting sannyasa one becomes Narayana. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu rejected that kind of sannyasa. But the acceptance of sannyasa is one of the items of the varnasrama-dharma. How then can it be rejected?
Prabhupada: …SANNYASI SHOULD GO ON PREACHING, PREACHING, PREACHING, PREACHING. Practically, I was sitting here in Vrndavana, in Radha-Damodara temple. So at the age of seventy years, nobody goes out. At least from Vrndavana nobody goes at the age of seventy years. But Krsna asked me. I thought that I must go, Guru Maharaja wanted it, Caitanya Mahaprabhu… Let me try. SO IF I HAD NOT GONE THEN THIS INSTITUTION WOULD NOT HAVE DEVELOPED. SO THIS IS PRACTICAL. Mahatah nirvicaranam.(?) Mahatma, they must move. So when there is absolute necessity they may stay. OTHERWISE, THEY MUST MOVE. MOVE ON, MOVE ON, MOVE ON, MOVE ON, MOVE ON. NO STAYING. THAT IS PRINCIPLE. NO STAYING. I am this old age, I cannot move… My… I… So many… Still I am traveling all over the world. I am simply interested that whatever I have done, it may not be vanquished in my absence. Let me go and encourage them. Otherwise, I have no capacity to move now. But still I am moving. Only for this purpose. Girinam grhna-cetasam.(?) So a sannyasi must move. A SANNYASI MUST NOT STAY ANYWHERE MORE THAN THREE DAYS. THAT IS THE PRINCIPLE. So he was moving, but his moving is creating disturbances here. Therefore I have stopped. And besides that, a temple is nirguna. A SANNYASI IS FORBIDDEN TO STAY ANYWHERE ELSE, BUT IN A TEMPLE HE CAN STAY FOR MORE THAN THREE DAYS PROVIDED THERE IS BUSINESS. OTHERWISE, THERE IS NO NECESSITY. SO THIS IS THE EXCLUSION
Prabhupada: Yam pravrajantam. Pravrajantam means to leave home in renounced order of life. That is called pravrajantam. Therefore a sannyasi is called parivrajakacarya. A SANNYASI IS SUPPOSED TO BE WANDERING WITHOUT ANY SHELTER. THAT IS CALLED PRAVRAJYA. So Sukadeva Gosvami, he remained sixteen years within the womb of his mother. He did not come out. HE WAS HEARING HIS FATHER WITHIN THE WOMB. SO THIS IS CALLED PARAMAHAMSA. SO A PARAMAHAMSA DOES NOT REQUIRE ANY REFORMATORY PROCESS, BECAUSE THEY ARE ALREADY REFORMED.
SB 4.19.23 P
At the present moment, however, many so-called sannyasis or mendicants have no understanding of God consciousness. Such sannyasa was introduced by Indra because of his jealousy of Maharaja Prthu, and what he introduced is again appearing in the age of Kali. PRACTICALLY NONE OF THE SANNYASIS IN THIS AGE ARE BONA FIDE.
In Kali-yuga, however, the entire system has gone topsy-turvy. The student lives in luxury at the expense of the father or the father-in-law. When the educated, indulgent student becomes a householder by the strength of university degrees, he requires money by all means for all kinds of bodily comfort, and therefore he cannot spare even a penny for the so-called vanaprasthas and sannyasis. THE VANAPRASTHAS AND SANNYASIS NOWADAYS ARE THOSE WHO WERE UNSUCCESSFUL IN FAMILY LIFE. THUS THE SO-CALLED SANNYASIS TRY TO CONSTRUCT ANOTHER HOME IN THE NAME OF THE SANNYASA-ASRAMA AND GLIDE DOWN INTO ALL SORTS OF LUXURY AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS. SO ALL THESE VARNAS AND ASRAMAS HAVE NOW BECOME SO MANY TRANSCENDENTAL FRAUDS.
But that does not mean that there is no reality in them. One should not conclude that there is no good money simply because one has met with counterfeit coins. The sannyasa-asrama is meant for complete freedom from all anxieties, and it is meant for uplifting the fallen souls, who are merged in materialism. BUT UNLESS THE SANNYASI IS FREED FROM ALL CARES AND ANXIETIES, LIKE A WHITE CLOUD, IT IS DIFFICULT FOR HIM TO DO ANYTHING GOOD FOR SOCIETY.
SB 3.24.34 P
Actually, sannyasa, or renunciation of material household life, necessitates complete absorption in Krsna consciousness and immersion in the self. ONE DOES NOT TAKE SANNYASA, FREEDOM FROM FAMILY RESPONSIBILITY IN THE RENOUNCED ORDER OF LIFE, TO MAKE ANOTHER FAMILY OR TO CREATE AN EMBARRASSING TRANSCENDENTAL FRAUD IN THE NAME OF SANNYASA. THE SANNYASI’S BUSINESS IS NOT TO BECOME PROPRIETOR OF SO MANY THINGS AND AMASS MONEY FROM THE INNOCENT PUBLIC.
“Have I taken sannyasa for such happiness? Accepting this oil would bring My ruination, and all of you would laugh.
Antya 12.113 P
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu declared Himself a strict sannyasi. A SANNYASI IS NOT SUPPOSED TO TAKE HELP FROM ANYONE. Retaining a masseur to give Him massages would indicate His DEPENDENCE ON OTHERS. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to follow very strictly the principle of not accepting anyone’s help for His bodily comfort.
Note: now we see many big temples ruled by **boards** temple presidents and sannyasis etc(many secret inside dealings) in “equal?” salaries deal? . Janmastimi etc Hindu jackpots for big pay shareout among members? THIS is what it means to be come darkened if you take money for YOURSELF it affects the mind and you become materialist also.
Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu has said that visayira anna khaile malina haya mana. SUCH GREAT PERSONALITIES BECAME DARKENED BECAUSE THEY TOOK MONEY FROM THEM, ANNA. IF I AM PROVIDED BY SOMEBODY WHO IS TOO MUCH MATERIALIST, THEN THAT WILL AFFECT ME. I WILL BECOME ALSO MATERIALIST. I will also become materialist. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu has warned that “Those who are visayi, those who are not devotees, do not accept anything from them because it will make your mind unclean.” So therefore a brahmana and a Vaisnava, they do not accept directly money. They accept bhiksa. Bhiksa. Bhiksa you can… Just like here it is said bhaiksyam. Sreyo bhoktum bhaiksyam apiha loke. When you ask somebody… STILL, BHIKSA IS ALSO SOMETIMES PROHIBITED FROM A PERSON WHO IS TOO MUCH MATERIALIST. But bhiksa is allowed for sannyasis, for brahmana.
The local management has to be done by temple president, GBC should see whether management is going on nicely, and if there are any discrepancies that will be discussed at the GBC meeting in Mayapur. That is the process. SANNYASIS ARE MEANT FOR PREACHING ONLY. THAT IS THE PRINCIPLE. BUT, CONTRARY TO THE PRINCIPLE IF THINGS ARE BEING EMBEZZLED THEN HOW CAN I SAVE THEM. How one man can manage the whole world affairs? This is my concern.
72-07-29. Letter: Hrdayananda
SANNYASI MUST BE INDEPENDENT AND NOT RELY UPON TEMPLES TO PAY HIS EXPENSIVE TRAVELLING COSTS, SIMPLY HE MUST TAKE KRISHNA’S MERCY WHENEVER AND WHEREVER IT IS OFFERED.
Note: It has become a fashion to travel the world at the exploits of temple funds which could be used for distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books—this sense gratification is NOT called Parivrajakacarya. Also Srila Prabhupada just added “swami” to the former names nowadays they CHANGE their former names.
SB 1.6.13 P
It is the DUTY OF A MENDICANT (PARIVRAJAKACARYA) TO EXPERIENCE ALL VARIETIES OF GOD’S CREATION BY TRAVELING ALONE THROUGH ALL FORESTS, HILLS, TOWNS, VILLAGES, ETC., TO GAIN FAITH IN GOD AND STRENGTH OF MIND AS WELL AS TO ENLIGHTEN THE INHABITANTS WITH THE MESSAGE OF GOD. A SANNYASI IS DUTY-BOUND TO TAKE ALL THESE RISKS WITHOUT FEAR, and the most typical sannyasi of the present age is Lord Caitanya, who traveled in the same manner through the central Indian jungles, enlightening even the tigers, bears, snakes, deer, elephants and many other jungle animals. In this age of Kali, sannyasa is forbidden for ordinary men. ONE WHO CHANGES HIS DRESS TO MAKE PROPAGANDA IS A DIFFERENT MAN FROM THE ORIGINAL IDEAL SANNYASI. One should, however, take the vow to stop social intercourse completely and devote life exclusively to the service of the Lord. THE CHANGE OF DRESS IS ONLY A FORMALITY. LORD CAITANYA DID NOT ACCEPT THE NAME OF A SANNYASI, AND IN THIS AGE OF KALI THE SO-CALLED SANNYASIS SHOULD NOT CHANGE THEIR FORMER NAMES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF LORD CAITANYA. In this age, devotional service of hearing and repeating the holy glories of the Lord is strongly recommended, and one who takes the vow of renunciation of family life need not imitate the parivrajakacarya like Narada or Lord Caitanya, BUT MAY SIT DOWN AT SOME HOLY PLACE AND DEVOTE HIS WHOLE TIME AND ENERGY TO HEAR AND REPEATEDLY CHANT THE HOLY SCRIPTURES LEFT BY THE GREAT ACARYAS LIKE THE SIX GOSVAMIS OF VRNDAVANA.
Prabhupada: Anasritah karma-phalam karyam karma karoti yah. Do not take shelter of your result of your activities. You must take it as duty. He is sannyasi. Anasritam karma-phalam karyam karma karoti yah, sa sannyasi. He’s actually sannyasi. A SANNYASI DOES NOT BECOME SIMPLY BY CHANGING DRESS. NO. SANNYASI MEANS HE’S TO WORK FOR KRSNA. WITHOUT TAKING SHELTER OF THE RESULT. It doesn’t matter. “Krsna has ordered, and Krsna’s representative has ordered. Therefore I have to do it.” Karyam karma karoti yah. sa sannyasi.
Prabhupada: Well, brahmacari means he has gone out of home. Brahmacari does not remain at home. He goes to the spiritual master’s home. So there is no question of giving wife’s charge to a brahmacari. He is not at home. Do you follow? Yes. The elderly children mean those who are married also, those who are in grhastha life, for him, not for the brahmacari or sannyasi. Just try to understand. A brahmacari and sannyasi does not remain at home. THE BRAHMACARI GOES TO THE SPIRITUAL MASTER’S HOME AND THE SANNYASI, HE IS A TRAVELER FROM ONE COUNTRY TO ANOTHER, PREACHING. SO THEY ARE NOT AT HOME. So if they are not at home, who is taking charge? To give charge means the elderly son who is a married man, who is living at home, the charge is given of the mother to him. Is that all right?
This is very nice point. Try to understand. The sannyasi… Just like we are sannyasi. According to our Vedic system, we are allowed to beg alms from the householders. The social system, the varnasrama institution, is so made that the brahmacari, vanaprastha, and the sannyasi, and the grhastha… Grhastha means the householder. NOW, THE BRAHMACARI WILL BEG FROM THE HOUSEHOLDER, THE VANAPRASTHA WILL BEG FROM THE HOUSEHOLDER, AND THE SANNYASI ALSO BEG FROM THE HOUSEHOLDER. SO HOUSEHOLDER IS THE ONLY EARNING MEMBER WHO WILL FEED ALL THESE THREE DIFFERENT STATUS OF SOCIAL ORDERS. BUT IN THE KALI-YUGA, IN THIS AGE, SOME UNSCRUPULOUS PERSONS, THEY ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THIS DRESS BECAUSE THIS DRESS IS NOT VERY COSTLY. Any kind of cotton cloth, you take, two paisa worth from, or two cent worth, and color, and you get it orange-colored and put on. Because in this age nobody is inquiring whether he is actually a sannyasi or not, simply by dress… Of course, the dress is the badge.
Prabhupada: No. I cannot see. I cannot see at least my wife. BUT IF MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS COME TO SEE ME, THEY CAN SEE. But my wife cannot see me. That is stopped. That is the system of sannyasa. A SANNYASI CANNOT MEET HIS WIFE AGAIN. THAT IS RENOUNCEMENT. RENOUNCEMENT MEANS RENOUNCING CONNECTION WITH WOMAN, OR RENOUNCING SEX LIFE. THAT IS RENOUNCEMENT.
SAT NYASA, SANNYASA. THIS IS THE COMBINATION. SAT MEANS THE SUPREME, THE EVER-EXISTING, AND NYASA MEANS RENUNCIATION. That means one who has renounced EVERYTHING FOR SERVING THE SUPREME, he is real sannyasa. He may take this dress or not, that doesn’t matter. Anyone who has sacrificed his life for service of the Supreme Lord, he’s a sannyasi. That will be explained in the Fifth Chapter.
Prabhupada: Those who are sudras, they should not be allowed to take sannyasa. Only those who are QUALIFIED BRAHMANAS, they’ll be allowed to take sannyasa.
Ata saba hari ara varnasrama-dharma, niskincana haya laya krsnaika sarana.(?) This is the… Varnasrama-dharma, that is material. VARNASRAMA IS PLANNED FOR MATERIAL LIFE IN A SYSTEMATIC WAY SO THAT, IN DUE COURSE OF TIME, ONE MAY GIVE UP THE FAMILY RELATIONSHIP AND TAKE SANNYASA AND COMPLETELY DEVOTE FOR KRSNA’S SERVICE. THIS IS THE PLAN OF VARNASRAMA-DHARMA. Varnasrama-dharma is not meant for planning something, and you remain in the family. No. The Varnasrama… Varna means brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra. Catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah. Guna, not everyone is qualified in the same way. Therefore you… The acarya will pick up that “They are meant for becoming brahmanas. They are meant for ksatriyas.” Or for coming from ksatriya family, or the brahmana family… So first of all, these varnas, then asrama. THE BRAHMANA, ONE WHO IS QUALIFIED AS A BRAHMANA, HE HAS TO OBSERVE THE FOUR ASRAMAS, A BRAHMANA: THE BRAHMACARI-ASRAMA, THE GRHASTHA-ASRAMA, THE VANAPRASTHA-ASRAMA AND SANNYASA-ASRAMA. THE KSATRIYA, THEY’LL HAVE TO OBSERVE THREE ASRAMAS: BRAHMACARI, GRHASTHA AND VANAPRASTHA. AND THE VAISYAS, TWO ASRAMAS: BRAHMACARI AND GRHASTHA. AND SUDRA, ONLY ONE ASRAMA, ONLY GRHASTHA. A SUDRA IS NEVER OFFERED SANNYASA. A… ONLY THE BRAHMANA IS OFFERED.
70-04-30 Letter: Jayapataka
REGARDING YOUR QUESTIONS HOW TO OFFER RESPECTS TO SANNYASIS. EVERY SANNYASI, EVEN IF YOU SEE A MAYAVADI SANNYASI, OFFER HIM YOUR RESPECTS–THERE WILL BE NO HARM. As you have observed we shall follow Lord Caitanya’s instruction that we give all due respects to others regarding their position, but there is no need of always associating with each of them. EVEN IF ONE IS VAISNAVA, BUT NOT OF GOOD CHARACTER, WE CAN GIVE HIM THE VAISNAVA RESPECT, BUT WE CANNOT ASSOCIATE WITH HIM.
saba namaskari’ gela pada-praksalane
pada praksalana kari vasila sei sthane
Now, just see the behavior of Lord Caitanya. Although He was not in agreement with the other party, still, because they were sannyasis, renounced order of life, Caitanya Mahaprabhu offered His respect by bowing down before them. It is the duty of everyone, not only between the sannyasi and sannyasi. IT IS THE CUSTOM OF VEDIC SYSTEM. AS SOON AS ONE WOULD SEE A SANNYASI, AT ONCE HE SHOULD OFFER HIS RESPECT. IF HE DOES NOT OFFER HIS RESPECT, THEN IT IS ENJOINED THAT HE SHOULD FAST ONE DAY AS PUNISHMENT. HE SHOULD NOT EAT. “OH, I SAW A SANNYASI, BUT I DID NOT OFFER MY RESPECT. THEREFORE THE PENANCE SHOULD BE THAT I SHOULD FAST ONE DAY.” THIS IS THE INJUNCTION. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu, although He was God Himself, but His behavior and His etiquette was excellent. At once He saw the sannyasis, He offered His respect. Pada praksalana kari vasila sei sthane. AND IT IS THE SYSTEM THAT WHEN ONE COMES FROM OUTSIDE, HE HAS TO WASH HIS FEET BEFORE HE ENTERS ROOM, ESPECIALLY FOR THE SANNYASIS. So He washed His feet and sat down outside where the other sannyasis were sitting, a little off, just the place where He washed His feet.
70-10-28. Letter: Rupanuga
I’ve sent the sannyasis letters requesting them to preach from different centers. I’m glad that Subala das Swami has gone to Amsterdam. Similarly the other three may go to other places. WHY THEY ARE TOGETHER? SANNYAS MEANS THEY SHOULD TRAVEL EXTENSIVELY, CREATE NEW CENTERS AND NEW DEVOTEES–THAT IS SANNYASA BUSINESS. ALSO THEY CAN CREATE LIFE MEMBERS.
70-11-13. Letter: Rupanuga
Regarding the Sannyasis, they should be INDEPENDENT. Why they should take help from you? They are strong men, so they should manage on their OWN strength. THAT is the TEST OF THEIR EFFECTIVE PREACHING WORK.
Note: to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books awards fearlessness–Abhay means without fear.
TO AWARD FEARLESSNESS TO THE COMMON MAN IS THE GREATEST ACT OF CHARITY. A sannyasi, or one who is in the renounced order of life, should WANDER from door to door, from village to village, from town to town and from country to country, all over the world AS FAR AS HE IS ABLE TO TRAVEL, AND ENLIGHTEN THE HOUSEHOLDERS ABOUT KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS.
SB 4.19.12 P
The word PAKHANDA used in this verse is sometimes pronounced PASANDA. Both of these words indicate an imposter who presents himself as a very religious person but in actuality is sinful. Indra took up the saffron-colored dress as a way of cheating others. THIS SAFFRON DRESS HAS BEEN MISUSED BY MANY IMPOSTERS WHO PRESENT THEMSELVES AS LIBERATED PERSONS OR INCARNATIONS OF GOD. IN THIS WAY PEOPLE ARE CHEATED. As we have mentioned many times, the conditioned soul has a tendency to cheat; therefore this quality is also visible in a person like King Indra. It is understood that even King Indra is not liberated from the clutches of material contamination. Thus the words amuktam iva, meaning “as if he were liberated,” are used. The saffron dress worn by a sannyasi announces to the world that he HAS RENOUNCED ALL WORLDLY AFFAIRS and is simply engaged in the SERVICE OF THE LORD. Such a devotee is actually a sannyasi, or liberated person. In Bhagavad-gita (6.1) it is said:
karyam karma karoti yah
sa sannyasi ca yogi ca
na niragnir na cakriyah
“One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic, not he who lights no fire and performs no work.”
In other words, one who offers the results of his activities to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is actually a sannyasi and yogi. CHEATING SANNYASIS AND YOGIS HAVE EXISTED SINCE THE TIME OF PRTHU MAHARAJA’S SACRIFICE. This cheating was very foolishly INTRODUCED BY KING INDRA. IN SOME AGES SUCH CHEATING IS VERY PROMINENT, AND IN OTHER AGES NOT SO PROMINENT. It is the duty of a sannyasi to be very cautious because, as stated by Lord Caitanya, SANNYASIRA ALPA CHIDRA SARVA-LOKE GAYA: A LITTLE SPOT IN A SANNYASI’S CHARACTER WILL BE MAGNIFIED BY THE PUBLIC (CC. MADHYA 12.51). THEREFORE, UNLESS ONE IS VERY SINCERE AND SERIOUS, HE SHOULD NOT TAKE UP THE ORDER OF SANNYASA. ONE SHOULD NOT USE THIS ORDER AS A MEANS TO CHEAT THE PUBLIC. IT IS BETTER NOT TO TAKE UP SANNYASA IN THIS AGE OF KALI BECAUSE PROVOCATIONS ARE VERY STRONG IN THIS AGE. ONLY A VERY EXALTED PERSON ADVANCED IN SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING SHOULD ATTEMPT TO TAKE UP SANNYASA. ONE SHOULD NOT ADOPT THIS ORDER AS A MEANS OF LIVELIHOOD OR FOR SOME MATERIAL PURPOSE.
Note: we now see some are so eager to live in luxury at motels, private homes,luxury mobile homes etc exploiting the devotees and temples.
SB 3.24.42 P
Here the words anagnir aniketanah are very significant. A SANNYASI SHOULD BE COMPLETELY DETACHED FROM FIRE AND ANY RESIDENTIAL QUARTERS. A grhastha has a relationship with fire, either for offering sacrifices or for cooking, but a sannyasi is freed from these two responsibilities. He does not have to cook or offer fire for sacrifice because he is always engaged in Krsna consciousness; therefore he has already accomplished