Taking Sannyasa: Right or wrong?

Sacinandana plays “Sannyasi” (Nrsimha Festival, Jandelsbrunn, Germany)

Since after the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada we have seen so many deviations of the GBC self-appointed Sannyasis who come and go after their fall downs.

But was it actually still permitted to take Sannyasa right after His disappearance?

Sannyāsa Ashram outlawed

“If you talk in the modern society they will laugh: “What nonsense this man is… ‘By sex life one becomes conditioned.’ “ They cannot understand. Hare Krsna…This should be strictly outlawed, no more sannyasis. And those sannyasis who have fallen, you get them married, live like a… No more this showbottle, cheating. It is very ludicrous. Even there is a promise that “We shall not fall down again,” that is also not believable. What is the use?”

(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, 7/1/77)

Breaking all Sannyasi rules (Brian Tibbits)

Prabhupada made very bad experiences with many Sannyasis that only pretended to be following strictly. So because of that Prabhupada had declared His desire to prohibit to appoint new Sannyasis (but later he said that sannyasa is compulsory)

In the Vedas we also find that Sannyasa is forbidden:

aśvamedhaṁ gavālambhaṁ

sannyāsaṁ pala-paitṛkam

devareṇa sutotpattiṁ

kalau pañca vivarjayet

“In this age of Kali, five acts are forbidden: the offering of a horse in sacrifice, the offering of a cow in sacrifice, the acceptance of the order of sannyāsa, the offering of oblations of flesh to the forefathers, and a man’s begetting children in his brother’s wife.” (CC Adi 17.164)

Quotation from the Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa (Kṛṣṇa-janma-khaṇḍa 185.180)

This verse is specially for Mayavadis because in this age they’re so much degraded. But a devotee who is advanced can actually take the renounced order.

Here again Prabhupada expressed His desire to not create Sannyasis anymore:

“And this kind of hypocrisy–they have taken sannyasa and mixing with woman. This is not to be allowed. If you want woman you get yourself married, live respectfully. We have no objection. But this hypocrisy should be stopped. There have been so many fallen down. First of all there will be no sannyasi anymore. I have got very bad experience. And at least, we are not going to create new sannyasis. And those who have fallen down, let them marry, live like respectable gentlemen. I have no objection. […]

Get one wife and live like a gentleman. Similarly woman. Live with one husband fastidiously, with children. What is the wrong there? We have so many grhastha devotees. […]

But what is this nonsense that you take sannyasa and make relation with…? This should be completely stopped.”

(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, 7/1/77)

Paramadvaita “Pool Swami” embrassing girl

“And we discussed the sannyasa recommendations. […]

And for next year no recommendations were made.”

(Room Conversation GBC Members, 2nd and 3rd March, 1977)

Here the GBC is telling Prabhupada that they have fulfilled His desire to not create anymore Sannyasis.

After this Srila Prabhupada expressed his desire that the sannyasa order should continue especially in the light etablishing the varnasrama dharma system.

Also Srila Prabhupada did conduct Sannyasa initiations later in 1977:

Resolved: Radha Krsna Das who was recommended last year to take Sannyasa this year, will wait for another trial year, as recommended by Hridayananda Goswami.

Somaka Das, recommended for Sannyasa by Bhagavan Das did not come to Mayapur. Bhagavan feels he is eligible for initiation, if Srila Prabhupada visits Europe he could receive initiation then.

There were no recommendations this year by the GBC for new Sannyasis..”
(GBC Resolution 3, 3/3/1977)

And Srila Prabhupada was personally involved with the 3 final sannyasa initiations awarded in ISKCON on 29/5/77 (although it seems to be an exception since these initiations weren’t in accordance with the GBC procedures for sannyasa initiations which Srila Prabhupada himself had approved, and none of these individuals having been recommended for sannyasa either at the 1976 or 1977 GBC meetings, with Bhakti Caru having only received 1st initiation a few months previously)

Lectures : Bhagavad-gita Lectures : Bg 7: Lectures : Bhagavad-gita 7.1 — Bhuvanesvara, January 22, 1977 : 770122BG.BHU :

So there is necessity of the four classes. At the present moment they are trying to create classless society. That is chaotic society. That is not real society. That is not Vedic civilization. Vedic civilization means when there is classified society begins: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, and sannyāsa. And without this classification, the whole society will remain in chaotic condition…

Lectures : General Lectures : Evening Lecture — Bhuvanesvara, January 23, 1977 : 770123LE.BHU :

Prabhupāda: … So to accept this position-brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, and sannyāsa—is compulsory. It is not that one has to take sannyāsa as a fashion. No. Actually it is absolutely necessary for any person at the last stage of life to accept sannyāsa 

Conversations : 1977 Conversations : January, 1977 : Evening Conversation — January 25, 1977, Puri : 770125rc.pur :

Prabhupāda: Yes. No, you can accept a suitable situation according to your convenience. There is brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa. Four orders are there. Whichever is suitable for you, accept. But don’t forget the problem and the aim of life. And we don’t want men giving some quotation from a book just like these so-called scholars do. He has not gone through the book, but take some suitable passage and note, and then he advertises himself that he has studied so many book. “Bibliography.” Is it not? So-called scholar?

Conversations : 1977 Conversations : May, 1977 : Evening Darsana — May 13, 1977, Hrishikesh : 770513ed.hri :

Prabhupāda: (aside:) Don’t talk. Why you are talking? So our real trouble is that we have become conditioned by the material identification, “I am this body.” Everyone is thinking, “I am Indian,” “I am American,” “I am brāhmaṇa,” “I am sannyāsī,” everything, identification with the body. That is the dirty thing. So one has to purify, that “I am neither American, neither Indian, norbrāhmaṇa, or so many designations.” Then it is called cleansing the heart. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. That is mukti, when you don’t identify with this material body. And so long you identify with this material body, either you become a sannyāsī with some beard or a gṛhastha without some beard, the same thing, identifying with the body. So ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12] means to become free from the bodily designation. And śāstra says,yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke [SB 10.84.13]. This body is composition of three dhātu, kapha, pitta, vāyu, according to Āyur Veda; and according to medical science, it is skin and then muscle, blood, bone, and marrow, stool, urine, those, combination. So I am not this combination of stool, bone, skin, blood. But people are taking that. When they are diseased, they take care of the body. Of course, it is not that we should not take care. But that is superficial. Real care should be taken of the soul within the body. Dehino ‘smin yathā dehe [Bg. 2.13]. Dehinaḥ, dehī. Dehinaḥ and deha. So anyone who is identifying with this body in either… According to Vedic civilization, the bodily identification is divided into eight: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, and sannyāsa. Varṇāśrama-dharma. So human civilization begins, according to Vedic understanding, when there is varṇāśrama system. Otherwise it is not human civilization. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭam [Bg. 4.13].This system should be followed. Then, gradually, one has to come to the spiritual. Chaotic society cannot help us. There must be systematic social order: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, cātur-varṇyam, and brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, and sannyāsa. Sannyāsa is not voluntary, but it is compulsory. At the last stage one must take sannyāsa. After fiftieth year one must take to vānaprastha, vanaṁ vrajet. This is system. So… System of purification, how to become designationless. And if we keep the designation, then, śāstra says, sa eva go-kharaḥ: [SB 10.84.13] “One who keeps the bodily designation, he’s no better than the cows and the asses, animal.” So Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommends that… Caitanya Mahā… This is the shastric, Vedic culture, that we have to purify ourselves from the bodily designation. That is called ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12], cleansing the dirty things within the core of the heart, that “I am this”—”I am Indian,” “I am American,” “I am brāhmaṇa,” “I am sannyāsī,” “I am gṛhastha,” “I am white,” “I am black.” These are the dirty things. So these dirty things can be cleansed by chanting this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ [SB 1.2.17]. This chanting and hearing is puṇya-śravaṇa. If you do not know anything about, if you simply chant and hear, you become purified, puṇya, because on account of dirty things, impious life, you have become covered by different bodies. Mṛtyu-saṁsāra-vartmani. Different bodies means the way of birth and death. That you have to stop. And that is stopped when you get Kṛṣṇa; otherwise not. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, I think, in the Ninth Chapter… Find out this verse, aśraddadhānāḥ puruṣā dharmasyāsya parantapa, mām aprāpya [Bg. 9.3]. You cannot get Kṛṣṇa. If you have no faith in Bhagavad-gītā, then you cannot get Kṛṣṇa. If you don’t care for Kṛṣṇa, that is another thing, but if you want to get Kṛṣṇa, then what Kṛṣṇa says, you follow. Read. 

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