I Definition and Purpose of Sannyasa

 >> “Srila Prabhupada Quotes”  > Definition and purpose of sannyasa

1. Definition of sannyasa
2. Definition of svami and gosvami
3. Definition of paramahamsa
4. Four stages of sannyasa described
5. Sannyasa is meant for preaching
6. Sannyasa is meant for reaching ultimate goal
7. Sannyasa as civil suicide
8. Purpose of tyaga (renunciation)
9. A sannyasi makes no material distinctions
10. A sannyasi does not glorify the body as the self

 

1. DEFINITION OF SANNYASA

 A SANNYASI WORKS WITHOUT ATTACHMENT

 sri bhagavan uvaca
anasritah karma-phalam
karyam karma karoti yah
sa sannyasi ca yogi ca
na niragnir na cakriya

TRANSLATION: The Blessed Lord said: One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obliged is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic: not he who lights no fire and performs no work.
(B.g. 6.1 )

A SANNYASI’S ONLY INTEREST IS DEDICATION TO DEVOTIONAL SERVICE

Anyone who has no other interest but to dedicate his life to the service of the Lord is actually a sannyasi. Such a person always thinks of himself as an eternal servant, dependent on the supreme will of the Lord. As such, whatever he does, he does it for the benefit of the Lord. Whatever action he performs, he performs it as a service to the Lord.
(B.g. 9.28 , purp.)

RENUNCIATE IS ONE WHO GIVES EVERYTHING TO KRSNA

It is said in Bhagavad-gita that one can never give up work at any time. Therefore he who works for Krsna and does not enjoy the fruitive results, who offers everything to Krsna, is actually a renouncer. There are many members of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness who work very hard in the office or in the factory or some other place, and whatever they earn they give to the Society. Such highly elevated souls are actually sannyasis and are situated in the renounced order of life. It is clearly outlined here how to renounce the fruits of work and for what purpose fruits should be renounced.
(B.g. 18.10, purp.)

A SANNYASI ACTS FOR THE SATISFACTION OF THE COMPLETE WHOLE

To act in Krsna consciousness is the duty of every living entity because all are constitutionally part and parcel of the Supreme. The parts of the body work for the satisfaction of the whole body. The limbs of the body do not act for self-satisfaction but for the satisfaction of the complete whole. Similarly, the living entity who acts for the satisfaction of the supreme whole and not for personal satisfaction is the perfect annyasi, the perfect yogi.
(B.g. 6.1, purp.)

A SANNYASI IS ONE WHO ACTS TRANSCENDENTALLY

The transcendental attitude of the devotee in the performance of activities is actually that of renunciation, and this is called sannyasa. Anyone acting under the direction of the Supreme Lord is actually a sannyasi and a yogi, and not the man who has simply taken the dress of the sannyasi. or a pseudo-yogi.
(B.g. 10.3, purp.)

A SANNYASI SHOULD NOT DEPEND ON OTHERS

“A vairagi [a person in the renounced order] should not depend on others. If he does so, he will be unsuccessful, and he will be neglected by Krsna.
(Cc. Antya 6.224 )

PERFECT SANNYASI’S CRITERION IS THE SATISFACTION OF KRSNA TRANSLATION:

The Blessed Lord said: 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.

PURPORT: The sannyasis sometimes artificially think that they have become liberated from all material duties, and therefore they cease to perform agnihotra yajnas (fire sacrifices), but actually they are self-interested because their goal is becoming one with the impersonal Brahman. Such a desire is greater than any material desire, but it is not without self-interest. Similarly, the mystic yogi who practices the yoga system with half-open eyes, ceasing all material activities, desires some satisfaction for his personal self. But a person acting in Krsna consciousness works for the satisfaction of the whole, without self-interest. A Krsna conscious person has no desire for self-satisfaction. His criterion of success is the satisfaction of Krsna, and thus he is the perfect sannyasi, or the perfect yogi. Lord Caitanya, the highest perfectional symbol of renunciation, prays in this way:

na dhanam na janam na sundarim
kavitam va jagadisa kamaye
mama jnamani janmanisvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi

“O Almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor to enjoy beautiful women. Nor do I want any number of followers. What I want only is the causeless mercy of Your devotional service in my life, birth after birth.”
(B.g. 6.1 purp )

ONE ACTUALLY BECOMES A SANNYASI WHEN MIND AND BODY ARE COMPLETELY DEVOTED TO THE LORD

TRANSLATION: Passing through the tract of land known as Radha-desa, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recited the following verse in ecstasy. [As a brahmana from Avanti-desa said:] “I shall cross over the insurmountable ocean of nescience by being firmly fixed in the service of the lotus feet of Krsna. This was approved by the previous acaryas, who were fixed in firm devotion to the Lord, Paramatma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” PURPORT: In connection with this verse, which is a quotation from Srimad- Bhagavatam (11.23.58) , Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that of the sixty-four items required for rendering devotional service, acceptance of the symbolic marks of sannyasa is a regulative principle. If one accepts the sannyasa order, his main business is to devote his life completely to the service of Mukunda, Krsna. If one does not completely devote his mind and body to the service of the Lord, he does not actually become a sannyasi. It is not simply a matter of changing dress. In Bhagavad-gita (6.1 ) it is also stated, anasritah karma-phalam karyam karma karoti yah/ sa sannyasi ca yogi ca: one who works devotedly for the satisfaction of Krsna is a sannyasi. The dress is not sannyasa, but the attitude of service to Krsna is. The word paratma-nistha means being a devotee of Lord Krsna. Paratma, the Supreme Person, is Krsna. Isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid- ananda-vigrahah. Those who are completely dedicated to the lotus feet of Krsna in service are actually sannyasis. As a matter of formality, the devotee accepts the sannyasa dress as previous acaryas did. He also accepts the three dandas. Later Visnusvami considered that accepting the dress of a tri-dandi was parat-ma-nistha: Therefore sincere devotees add another danda, the jiva-danda, to the three existing dandas. The Vaisnava sannyasi is known as a tridandi-sannyasi. The Mayavadi sannyasi accepts only one danda, not understanding the purpose of tri-danda. Later, many persons in the community of Siva Svami gave up the atma-nistha (devotional service) of the Lord and followed the path of Sankaracarya. Instead of accepting 108 names, those in the Siva Svami-sampradaya follow the path of Sankaracarya and accept the ten names of sannyasa. Although Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the then-existing order of sannyasa (namely eka-danda), He still recited a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam about the tridanda-sannyasa accepted by the brahmana of Avantipura. Indirectly He declared that within that eka-danda, one danda, four dandas existed as one. Accepting ekadanda-sannyasa without paratma-nistha (devotional service to Lord Krsna) is not acceptable to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In addition, according to the exact regulative principles, one should add the jiva-danda to the tri-danda. These four dandas, bound together as one, are symbolic of unalloyed devotional service to the Lord. Because the ekadandi-sannyasis of the Mayavada school are not devoted to the service of Krsna, they try to merge into the Brahman effulgence, which is a marginal position between material and spiritual existence. They accept this impersonal position as liberation. Mayavadi sannyasis, not knowing that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was a tri-dandi, think of Caitanya Mahaprabhu as an ekadandi-sannyasi. This is due to their vivarta, bewilderment. In Srimad- Bhagavatam there is no such thing as an ekadandi-sannyasi; indeed, the tri-dandi- sannyasi is accepted as the symbolic representation of the sannyasa order. By citing this verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the sannyasa order recommended in Srimad-Bhagavatam. The Mayavadi sannyasis, who are enamored of the external energy of the Lord, cannot understand the mind of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. To date, all the devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, following in His footsteps, accept the sannyasa order and keep the sacred thread a tuft of unshaved hair. The ekadandi- sannyasis of the Mayavadi school give up the sacred thread and do not keep any tuft of hair. Therefore they are unable to understand the purport of tridanda-sannyasa, and as such they are not inclined to dedicate their lives to the service of Mukunda. They simply think of merging into the existence of Brahman because of their disgust with material existence. The acaryas who advocate the daiva- varnasrama (the social order of catur-varnyam mentioned in Bhagavad-gita) do not accept the proposition of asura-varnasrama, which maintains that the social order of varna is indicated by birth. The most intimate devotee of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, namely Gadadhara Pandita, accepted tridanda-sannyasa and also accepted Madhava Upadhyaya as his tridandi-sannyasi disciple. It is said that from this Madhavacarya the sampradaya known in western India as the Vallabhacarya- sampradaya has begun. Srila Gopala Bhatta Bose, who is known as a smrtyacarya in the Gaudiya-Vaisnava-sampradaya, later accepted the tridanda-sannyasa order from Tridandipada Prabodhananda Sarasvati. Although acceptance of tridanda- sannyasa is not distinctly mentioned in the Gaudiya Vaisnava literature, the first verse of Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Upadesamrta advocates that one should accept the tridanda-sannyasa order by controlling the six forces:

vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam etan
vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat

“One who can control the forces of speech, mind, anger, belly, tongue and genitals is known as a gosvami and is competent to accept disciples all over the world.”

The followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu never accepted the Mayavada order of sannyasa, and for this they cannot be blamed. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted Sridhara Svami, who was a tridandi-sannyasi, but the Mayavadi sannyasis, not understanding Sridhara Svami, sometimes think that Sridhara Svami belonged to the Mayavada ekadanda- sannyasa community. Actually this was not the case.
(Cc. Madhya 3.5-6 )

A KRSNA CONSCIOUS PERSON IS A SANNYASI AND A YOGI

Therefore, when one is in complete knowledge, one ceases all material sense gratification, or renounces all kinds of sense gratificatory activities. This is practiced by the yogis who restrain the senses from material attachment. But a person in Krsna consciousness has no opportunity to engage his senses in anything which is not for the purpose of Krsna. Therefore, a Krsna conscious person is simultaneously a sannyasi and yogi.
(B.g. 6.2, purp.)

THE REGULATIVE PRINCIPLES GOVERNING THE RENOUNCED ORDER ARE MEANT TO BRING ONE TO SERVE THE SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD EXCLUSIVELY

TRANSLATION: He was very enthusiastic to worship Sri Krsna without disturbance; therefore it was almost in madness that he accepted the sannyasa order. Upon accepting sannyasa, Purusottama Acarya followed the regulative principles by giving up his tuft of hair and sacred thread, but he did not accept the saffron colored dress. Also, he did not accept a sannyasi title but remained as a naisthika- brahmacari.

PURPORT: There are regulative principles governing the renounced order. One has to perform eight kinds of sraddha. One must offer oblations to one’s forefathers and perform the sacrifice of viraja-homa. Then one must cut off the tuft of hair called a sikha and also give up the sacred thread. These are preliminary processes in the acceptance of sannyasa, and Svarupa Damodara accepted all these. However, Purusottama Acarya did not accept the saffron color, a sannyasi name or a danda. He retained his brahmacari name. Actually Purusottama Acarya did not accept the sannyasa formally, but he renounced worldly life. He did not want to be disturbed by the formality of the sannyasa order. He simply wanted to worship Lord Sri Krsna without disturbance; therefore with heart and soul he took up the renounced order but not the formalities accompanying it. Renunciation means not doing anything but serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. When one acts on this platform, trying to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one is both a sannyasi and a yogi.
(Cc. Madhya 10.107-108)

DRESS IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO MAKE A SANNYASI, BUT ACTING UNDER THE DIRECTIONS OF THE LORD IS

Anyone acting under the direction of the Supreme Lord is actually a sannyasi and a yogi, and not the man who has simply taken the dress of the sannyasi or a pseudo-yogi.
(B.g. 10.3, purp.)

2. DEFINITION OF SVAMI AND GOSVAMI (top)

 SVAMI MEANS MASTER OF THE SENSES. WHEN ONE ACCEPTS SANNYASA HE IS AUTOMATICALLY GIVEN THE TITLE SVAMI OR GOSVAMI

The conclusion is that one who can control these six items– speech, mind, anger, tongue, belly and genitals–is to be called a svami or gosvami. Svami means master, and gosvami means master of the go, or senses. When one accepts the renounced order of life, he automatically assumes the title of svami. This does not mean that he is the master of his family, community or society; he must be master of his senses. Unless one is master of his senses, he should not be called gosvami, but go-dasa, servant of the senses. Following in the footsteps of the six Gosvamis of Vrndavana, all svamis and gosvamis should fully engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
(NOI, Text 1, pages 12-13)

SVAMIS AND GOSVAMIS CONTROL THE SIX URGES OF THE MATERIAL SENSES

TRANSLATION: Before giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is a yogi and is happy in this world.

PURPORT: If one wants to make steady progress on the path of self- realization, he must try to control the forces of the material senses. There are the forces of talk, forces of anger, forces of mind, forces of the stomach, forces of the genitals, and forces of the tongue. One who is able to control the forces of all these different senses, and the mind, is called gosvami, or svami. Such gosvamis live strictly controlled lives, and forego altogether the forces of the senses. Material desires, when unsatiated, generate anger, and thus the mind, eyes and chest become agitated. Therefore, one must practice to control them before one gives up this material body. One who can do this is understood to be self- realized and is thus happy in the state of self-realization. It is the duty of the transcendentalist to try strenuously to control desire and anger.
(B.g. 5.23)

ONE WHO ENJOYS THE SUPERTITLE OF SVAMI OR GOSVAMI MUST BE VERY STRICT IN CONTROLLING HIS SENSES

One can advance by controlling the senses (yamaih). By controlling the senses, one can become a svami or gosvami. One who is therefore enjoying this supertitle, svami or gosvami, must be very strict in controlling his senses. Indeed, he must be master of his senses. This is possible when one does not desire any material sense gratification. If, by chance, the senses want to work independently, he must control them. If we simply practice avoiding material sense gratification, controlling the senses is automatically achieved.
(Bhag. 4.22.24, purp.)

THE MEANING OF SVAMI AND GOSVAMI IS “MASTER OF THE SENSES

“After some time, when he advances still further and is willing to give up this material world, he is given the sannyasa order. At that time he receives the title svami or gosvami, both of which mean “master of the senses.”
(Cc. Adi 17.265)

THE TITLE SVAMI OR GOSVAMI MEANS JITENDRIYA, OR CONTROLLER OF THE SENSES

If one engages in devotional service from the beginning of life, he easily attains vairagya-vidya, or asakti, detachment, and becomes jitendriya, the controller of his senses. One who perfectly engages in devotional service is therefore called gosvami or svami, master of the senses.
(Bhag. 7.6.9, purp.)

THE GOSVAMI TITLE IS NOT BASED ON MATERIAL CONSIDERATIONS BUT IS THE MONOPOLY OF PURE DEVOTEES

Even though a pure devotee may not be born in a brahmana or gosvami family, if he is engaged in the service of the Lord he should not be neglected. In actuality there cannot be a family of gosvamis based on material considerations, caste or heredity. The gosvami title is actually the monopoly of the pure devotees; thus we speak of the six Gosvamis, headed by Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami. Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami had practically become Mohammedans and had therefore changed their names to Dabira Khasa and Sakara Mallika, but Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself made them gosvamis. Therefore the gosvami title is not hereditary. The word gosvami refers to one who can control his senses, who is master of the senses. A devotee is not controlled by the senses, but is the controller of the senses. Consequently he should be called svami or gosvami, even though he may not be born in a gosvami family. According to this formula, the gosvamis who are descendants of Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Advaita Prabhu are certainly devotees, but devotees coming from other families should not be discriminated against; indeed, whether the devotees come from a family of previous acaryas or from an ordinary family, they should be treated equally. One should not think, “Oh, here is an American gosvami,” and discriminate against him. Nor should one think, “Here is a nityananda-vamsa-gosvami.” There is an undercurrent of protest against our awarding the title gosvami to the American Vaisnavas of the Krsna consciousness movement. Sometimes people flatly tell the American devotees that their sannyasa or title of gosvami is not bona fide. However, according to the statements of Srila Rupa Gosvami in this verse, an American gosvami and a gosvami in a family of acaryas are non different.

On the other hand, a devotee who has attained the title of gosvami but is not born of a brahmana father or of a gosvami in the family of Nityananda or Advaita Prabhu should not be artificially puffed up by thinking that he has become a gosvami. He should always remember that as soon as he becomes materially puffed up, he immediately falls do n. This Krsna consciousness movement is a transcendental science, and there is no room for jealousy. This movement is meant for the paramahamsas who are completely free from all jealousy (paramam nirmatsaranam). One should not be jealous, whether he is born in a family of gosvamis or has the title of gosvami awarded to him. As soon as anyone becomes envious, he falls from the platform of paramahamsa.
(NOI, Text 6, pages 62-63)

GOSVAMI IS NOT AN HEREDITARY TITLE BUT REFERS TO ONE’S QUALIFICATIONS

Gosani means gosvami. A person who has full control over the senses and mind is called a gosvami or gosani. One who does not have such control is called godasa, or a servant of the senses, and cannot become a spiritual master. A spiritual master who actually has control over the mind and senses is called gosvami. Although the gosvami title has become a hereditary designation for unscrupulous men, actually the title gosani or gosvami began from Sri Rupa Gosvami, who presented himself as an ordinary grhastha and minister in government service but became gosvami when he was actually elevated by the instruction of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Therefore gosvami is not a hereditary title but refers to one’s qualifications. When one is highly elevated in spiritual advancement, regardless, of wherefrom he comes, he may be called gosvami. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Advaita Gosani Prabhu are natural gosvamis because They belong to the Visnu-tattva category. As such, all of Them are prabhus (“predominators” or “masters”), and They are sometimes called Caitanya Gosani, Nityananda Gosani and Advaita Gosani. Unfortunately Their so-called descendants who do not have the qualifications of gosvamis have accepted this title as a hereditary designation or a professional degree. That is not in accord with the sastric injunctions.
(Cc. Adi 7.13)

A GOSVAMI IS ONE WHO EXECUTES THE ORDER OF SRI CAITANYA MAHAPRABHU

sri caitanya-mano-‘bhistam
sthapitam yena bhu-tale
svayam rupah kada mahyam
dadati sva-padantikam

“When will Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada, who has established within the material world the mission to fulfill the desire of Lord Caitanya, give me shelter under his lotus feet?” Srila Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami were previously ministers directly in charge of the government of Nawab Hussain Shah, and they were also householders, but later they became gosvamis. A gosvami, therefore, is one who executes the will of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The title “gosvami” is not an inherited designation; it is meant for a person who has controlled his sense gratification and dedicated his life to executing the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Therefore Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Srila Rupa Gosvami became genuine gosvamis after dedicating their lives to the service of the Lord.
(Cc. Antya 4.217, purp.)

THE GOSVAMI TITLE IS FOR THOSE IN THE RENOUNCED ORDER

In the modern age the title gosvami is used by a caste of grhasthas, but formerly it was not. Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami, for example, were called gosvami because they were in the renounced order. Similarly, because Paramananda Puri was a sannyasi, he was called Puri Gosvami. By careful scrutiny, therefore, one will find that gosvami is not the title for a certain caste; rather, it is properly the title for a person in the renounced order.
(Cc. Antya 8.8, purp.)

A GOSVAMI IS ONE WHO IS SELF-CONTROLLED

One who is not self-controlled, specifically in sex life, can become neither a disciple nor a spiritual master. One must have disciplinary training in controlling speaking, anger, the tongue, the mind, the belly and the genitals. One who has controlled the particular senses mentioned above is called a gosvami. Without becoming a gosvami one can become neither a disciple nor a spiritual master.
(Bhag. 2.9.43 , purp.)

A GOSVAMI IS ONE WHO CAN WITHSTAND THE ONSLAUGHTS OF MATERIAL NATURE

“Anyone who, by his actions, mind and words, lives only for the transcendental loving service of the Lord, is certainly a liberated soul, even though he may appear to be in a condition of material existence.”
[Brs. 1.2.187].

Uddhava was in such a transcendental position, and thus he was selected to be the factual representative of the Lord in His bodily absence from the vision of the world. Such a devotee of the Lord is never affected by material strength, intelligence or even renunciation. Such a devotee of the Lord can withstand all onslaughts of material nature, and therefore he is known as gosvami. Only such gosvamis can penetrate the mysteries of the Lord’s transcendental loving relationships.
(Bhag. 3.4.31, purp.)

A GOSVAMI IS A BONA FIDE REPRESENTATIVE OF SRI VYASADEVA

All bona fide representatives of Sri Vyasadeva in the chain of disciple succession are to be understood to be gosvamis. These gosvamis restrain all their senses, and they stick to the path made by the previous acaryas. The gosvamis do not deliver lectures on the Bhagavatam capriciously. Rather, they execute their services most carefully, following their predecessors who delivered the spiritual message unbroken to them.
(Bhag. 1.1.5, purp.)

A GOSVAMI MUST BE FREE FROM ALL VICES BEFORE HE CAN DARE SIT ON

THE VYASASANA

A gosvami, or the bona fide representative of Sri Vyasadeva, must be free from all kinds of vices. The four major vices of Kali-yuga are (1 ) illicit connection with women, (2 ) animal slaughter, (3 ) intoxication, (4 ) speculative gambling of all sorts. A gosvami must be free from all these vices before he can dare sit on the vyasasana. No one should be allowed to sit on the vyasasana who is not spotless in character and who is not freed from the above-mentioned vices. He not only should be freed from all such vices, but must also be well versed in all revealed scriptures or in the Vedas. The Puranas are also parts of the Vedas. And histories like the Mahabharata or Ramayana are also parts of the Vedas. The acarya or the gosvami must be well acquainted with all these literatures. To hear and explain them is more important than reading them. One can assimilate the knowledge of the revealed scriptures only by hearing and explaining. Hearing is called sravana, and explaining is called kirtana. The two processes of sravana and kirtana are of primary importance to progressive spiritual life. Only one who has properly grasped the transcendental knowledge from the right source by submissive hearing can properly explain the subject.
(Bhag. 1.1.6, purp.)

A GOSVAMI IS ONE WHO CONTROLS THE MIND AND SENSES IN PREPARATION TO BECOMING A PURE DEVOTEE

Advancement in Krsna consciousness depends on the attitude of the follower. A follower of the Krsna consciousness movement should become a perfect gosvami. Vaisnavas are generally known as gosvamis. In Vrndavana, this is the title by which the director of each temple is known. One who wants to become a perfect devotee of Krsna must become a gosvami. Go means “the senses,” and svami means “the master.” Unless one controls his senses and mind, one cannot become a gosvami. To achieve the highest success in life by becoming a gosvami and then a pure devotee of the Lord, one must follow the instructions known as Upadesamrta, which have been given by Srila Rupa Gosvami. Srila Rupa Gosvami has given many other books, such as Bhakti- rasamrta- sindhu, Vidagdha-madhava and Lalita-madhava, but Upadesamrta constitutes the first instructions for neophyte devotees. One should follow these instructions very strictly. Then it will be easier to make one’s life successful. Hare Krsna.
(NOI, Preface, page viii)

A GOSVAMI MUST BE WELL ACQUAINTED WITH THE VEDIC LITERATURES LIKE THE PURANAS, THE MAHABHARATA AND THE RAMAYANA

The Puranas are also parts of the Vedas. And histories like the Mahabharata or Ramayana are also part of the Vedas. The acarya or the gosvami must be well acquainted with all these literatures. To hear and explain them is more important than reading them.
(Bhag. 1.1.6 purp.)

3. DEFINITION OF PARAMAHAMSA (top)

SANNYASIS WHO SEE ALL LIVING ENTITIES EQUALLY, DESIRE TO SEE THE LOTUS FEET OF THE SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD. THEY MAKE NO DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN NATIONS OR COMMUNITIES, THEY ARE PEACEFUL AND ARE CALLED PARAMAHAMSAS

TRANSLATION: Renunciants and great sages who see all living beings equally, who are friendly to everyone and who flawlessly practice in the forest the vows of brahmacarya, vanaprastha and sannyasa desire to see the all-auspicious lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. May that same Supreme Personality of Godhead be my destination.

PURPORT: This verse describes the qualifications for devotees or persons highly elevated in spiritual consciousness. Devotees are always equal to everyone, seeing no distinction between lower and higher classes. Panditah sama-darsinah. They look upon everyone as a spirit soul who is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. Thus they are competent to search for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Understanding that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the friend of everyone (suhrdam sarva-bhutanam), they act as friends of everyone on behalf of the Supreme Lord. Making no distinction between one nation and another or one community and another, they preach Krsna consciousness, the teachings of Bhagavad-gita, everywhere. Thus they are competent to see the lotus feet of the Lord. Such preachers in Krsna consciousness are called paramahamsas. As indicated by the word vimukta-sanga, they have nothing to do with material conditions. One must take shelter of such a devotee in order to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
(Bhag. 8.3.7)

PARAMAHAMSA MEANS THE SUPREME SWAN

The word paramahamsa mentioned here means the supreme swan. It is said that the swan can draw milk from a reservoir of water; it can take only the milk portion and reject the watery portion. Similarly, a person who can draw out the spiritual portion from this material world and who can live alone, depending only on the Supreme Spirit, not on the material world, is called paramahamsa. When one achieves the paramahamsa platform, he is no longer under the regulative principles of the Vedic injunctions. A paramahamsa accepts only the association of pure devotees and rejects others who are too materially addicted. In other words, those who are materially addicted cannot understand the value of the paramahamsa, but those who are fortunately advanced in spiritual sense take shelter of the paramahamsa and thus successfully complete the mission of human life.
(Krsna Book Vol. III, Ch. 16, Return of the Six Dead Sons of Devaki by Lord Krsna, p.118 )

PARAMAHAMSA STAGE DESCRIBED

TRANSLATION: Advaita Acarya said: “You are a reject paramahamsa, and You have accepted the renounced order of life just to fill up your belly. I can understand that Your business is to give trouble to brahmanas.”

PURPORT: There is always a difference of opinion between a smarta- brahmana and a Vaisnava gosvami. There are even smarta opinions and Vaisnava gosvami opinions available in astrological and astronomical calculations. By calling Nityananda Prabhu a bhrasta avadhuta (a rejected paramahamsa), Advaita Acarya Prabhu in a sense accepted Nityananda Prabhu as a paramahamsa. In other words, Nityananda Prabhu had nothing to do with the rules governing smarta-brahmanas. Thus under pretense of condemning Him, Advaita Acarya was actually praising Him. In the avadhuta stage, the paramahamsa stage, which is the supermost stage, one may appear to be visayi, on the platform of sense gratification. At that stage, a person sometimes accepts the symptoms and dress of a sannyasi and sometimes does not. Sometimes he dresses like a householder. We should know, however, that these are all joking words between Advaita Acarya and Nityananda Prabhu. They are not to be taken as insults.
(Cc. Madhya 3.85 )

THE PARAMAHAMSA STAGE FURTHER DESCRIBED

A sannyasi cannot act like a householder, nor can a householder act like a sannyasi, but above these two kinds of persons, one who engages in material activities and one who has renounced material activities, there is the person who is transcendental to both. Lord Siva is in the transcendental position because, as stated before, he is always absorbed in the thought of Lord Vasudeva within himself. Therefore neither the activities of the grhastha nor those of the sannyasi in the renounced order can be applicable for him. He is in the paramahamsa stage, the highest perfectional stage of life.
(Bhag. 4.4.20, purp.)

HOW A PARAMAHAMSA THINKS AND FEELS

A devotee on the topmost platform of devotional service humbly thinks that he is not rendering any devotional service. He thinks that he is poor in devotional service and that his body is material. On the other hand, those known as the sahajiyas foolishly think that their material bodies are transcendental.

Because of this, they are always bereft of the association of pure devotees, and thus they cannot behave like vaisnavas. Observing the defects of the sahajiyas, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura has sung as follows in his book Kalyana-kalpa-taru:

ami ta vaisnava, ei buddhi ha-ile, amani na haba ami
pratisthasa asi, hridaya dusibe ha-iba niraya-gami
nije srestha jani, ucchistadi-dane, habe abhimana bhara
tai sisysa tava,thakiya sarvada, na la-iba puja kara

“If I think I am a Vaisnava, I shall look forward to receiving respect from others. And if the desire for fame and reputation pollutes my heart, certainly I shall go to hell. By giving others the remnants of my food, I shall consider myself superior and shall be burdened with the weight of false pride. Therefore, always remaining your surrendered disciple, I shall not accept worship from anyone else.” Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has written (Antya-lila 20.28):

premera svabhava – yahan premera sambhandha
sei mane, – krsne mora nahi prema gandha’

“Whenever there is a relationship of love of Godhead. the natural symptoms are that the devotee does not think himself a devotee, but always thinks that he has not a drop of love for Krsna.”
(Cc. Antya 4.173)

PARAMAHAMSAS CONQUER DESIRE FOR SLEEP, FOOD AND SENSE GRATIFICATION

TRANSLATION: Madhavendra Puri avoided begging. He was completely unattached and indifferent to material things. He would not beg. If someone offered him some food, he would eat; otherwise he would fast.

PURPORT: This is the paramahamsa stage, the highest stage for a sannyasi. A sannyasi can beg from door to door just to collect food, but a paramahamsa who has taken ayacita-vrtti, or ajagara- vrtti, does not ask anyone for food. If someone offers him food voluntarily, he eats. Ayacita-vrtti means being accustomed to refrain from begging, and ajagara-vrtti indicates one who is compared to a python, the big snake that makes no effort to acquire food, but rather allows food to come automatically within its mouth. In other words, a paramahamsa simply engages exclusively in the service of the Lord, without caring even for eating or sleeping. It was stated about the six Gosvamis: nidrahara-viharakadi-vijitau. In the paramahamsa stage one conquers the desire for sleep, food and sense gratification. One remains a humble, meek mendicant engaged in the service of the Lord day and night. Madhavendra Puri had attained this paramahamsa stage.
(Cc. Madhya 4.123)

The paramahamsa is therefore called vijita-sad-guna. He must conquer the six material qualities–kama, krodha, lobha, moha, matsara, and ksuda-trsna (lust, anger, greed, illusion, enviousness, hunger and thirst.)
(Cc. Madhya 4.124)

PARAMAHAMSA FOLLOW THE REGULATIVE PRINCIPLE UNFAILINGLY

Nonetheless, to indicate that everyone should take sannyasa at the end of life in order to engage fully in the service of the Lord, even paramahamsas like Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His confidential devotees follow the regulative principles unfailingly. Indeed, that was His purpose.
(Cc. Madhya 5.158, purp.)

EVEN A PARAMAHAMSA CANNOT GIVE UP CHANTING

Although Madhavendra Puri was not interested in eating and sleeping, his interest in chanting the maha-mantra was as acute as he were an aspiring transcendentalist rather than a paramahamsa. This means that even in the paramahamsa stage, one cannot give up chanting.
(Cc. 4.125, purp.)

TRUE PARAMAHAMSAS ARE PURE DEVOTEES OF THE LORD

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.
(Bhag. 2.4.13, purp.)

PARAMAHAMSA IS THE HIGHEST PERFECTIONAL STAGE OF LIFE, FREE FROM

COMPETITION AND ENVY

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, the is no scope for envy.
(Bhag. 3.22.19, purp.)

AFTER TOURING AND PREACHING THE BHAKTI CULT, A SANNYASI IS ELEVATED TO THE STAGE OF HAMSA OR PARAMAHAMSA

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.
(Cc. Madhya 5.143, purp.)

SANNYASA ORDER AS MEANS TO STOP IMITATION PARAMAHAMSA

Paramahamsa stage is not to be imitation. So to stop this imitation, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura introduced this system, sannyasa. He personally became sannyasa, and to many of his disciples, he gave sannyasa.
(LECTURE Bhag. 1.8.41, Oct. 21, 1974, Sri Mayapur)

INEXPERIENCED NEOPHYTES SHOULD NOT IMITATE PARAMAHAMSAS

It is said in Bhagavad-gita, yad yad acarati sresthas tat tad evetaro janah: Whatever great people do, others follow. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to follow the Vedic principles strictly in order to save inexperienced neophytes who try to imitate paramahamsas.
(Cc. Madhya 5.152, purp.)

A PARAMAHAMSA NEED NOT ACCEPT THE SYMBOLS OF SANNYASA

TRANSLATION: A peaceful, equipoised person who is factually advanced in spiritual consciousness does not need to accept the symbols of a sannyasi, such as the tridanda and kamandalu. According to necessity, he may sometimes accept those symbols and sometimes reject them.

PURPORT: There are four stages of the renounced order of life– kuticaka, bahudaka, parivrajakacarya and paramahamsa. Herein, Srimad-Bhagavatam considers the paramahamsas among the sannyasis. The Mayavadi impersonalist sannyasis cannot attain the paramahamsa stage. This is because of their impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate.

The Absolute Truth is perceived in three stages, of which bhagavan, or realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is meant for the paramahamsas. Indeed, Srimad-Bhagavatam itself is meant for the paramahamsas (paramo nirmatsaranam satam). Unless one is in the paramahamsa stage, he is not eligible to understand the Srimad-Bhagavatam. For paramahamsas, or sannyasis in the Vaisnava order, preaching is the first duty. To preach, such sannyasis may accept the symbols of sannyasa, such as the danda and kamandalu, or sometimes they may not. Generally the Vaisnava sannyasis, being paramahamsas, are automatically called babajis, and they do not carry a kamandalu or danda. Such a sannyasi is free to accept or reject the marks of sannyasa. His only thought is “Where is there an opportunity to spread Krsna consciousness?” Sometimes the Krsna consciousness movement sends its representative sannyasis to foreign countries where the danda and kamandalu are not very much appreciated. We send our preachers in ordinary dress to introduce our books and philosophy. Our only concern is to attract people to Krsna consciousness. We may do this in the dress of sannyasis or in the regular dress of gentlemen. Our only concern is to spread interest in Krsna consciousness.
(Bhag. 7.13.9)

A GREAT KRSNA CONSCIOUS PERSONALITY MAY NOT SHOW HIMSELF BY ACCEPTING THE SIGNS OF SANNYASA

TRANSLATION: Although a saintly person may not expose himself to the vision of human society, by his behavior his purpose is disclosed. To human society he should present himself like a restless child, and although he is the greatest thoughtful orator, he should present himself like a dumb man.

PURPORT: A great personality very much advanced in Krsna consciousness may not expose himself by the signs of a sannyasi. To cover himself, he may live like a restless child or a dumb person, although he is the greatest orator or poet.
(Bhag. 7.13.10)

FROM THE STAGE OF DHIRA ONE MAY ACCEPT SANNYASA AND THEN RAISE TO

THE STATUS OF PARAMAHAMSA

Human life is meant for attaining eternal and unlimited happiness by spiritual realization. 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. King Rsabha propagated this mission, and at the last stage He became completely aloof from the material bodily needs, which is a rare stage not to be imitated by foolish men, but to be worshiped by all.
(Bhag. 1.3.13, purp.)

PARAMAHAMSA HIGHEST OF FOUR STAGES OF SANNYASA

In the sannyasa order also there are four stages of upliftment toward perfection. These stage are called kuticaka, bahudaka, parivrajakacarya, and paramahamsa. The paramahamsa stage of life is the highest stage of perfection. This order of life is respected by all others.
(Bhag. 1.3.13, purp.)

A BABAJI, OR ONE WHO HAS REACHED THE PARAMAHAMSA STAGE IS TO STRICTLY FOLLOW THE MADHUKARI PROCESS

A madhukari is a saintly person or a mendicant who does not accept a full meal at one house but begs from door to door, taking a little food from each householder’s place. In this way he does not overeat or give householders unnecessary trouble. madhukari process is strictly to be followed by ababaji, that is, one who has attained the paramahamsa stage.
(Cc. Madhya 20.81 , purp.)

4. FOUR STAGES OF SANNYASA DESCRIBED (top)

THE FOUR DIVISIONS OF SANNYASA

The divisions of sannyasa are kuticaka, bahudaka, hamsa and niskrya. There are two kinds of sannyasis, who are called dhiras and narottamas, as stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.13.26-27) .
(Cc. Adi 7.34, purp.)

KUTICHAK, BAHUDAK, PARIVRAJAKACARYA AND PARAMAHAMSA EXPLAINED

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.
(Bhag. 5.1.27 , purp.)

A PARIVRAJA, AN ITINERANT MENDICANT, SHOULD NOT LIVE ANYWHERE FOR MORE THAN THREE DAYS

Parivraja means “an itinerant mendicant.” A mendicant sannyasi should not live anywhere for more than three days. He must be always moving because hisduty is to move from door to door and enlighten people about Krsna consciousness.
(Bhag. 3.24.34, purp.)

THE FOUR DIVISIONS OF VANAPRASTHA AND SANNYASA

TRANSLATION: The four divisions of retired life are the vaikhanasas, valakhilyas, audumbaras and phenapas. The four divisions of the renounced order of life are the kuticakas, bahvodas, hamsas and niskriyas. All these were manifestedfrom Brahma.
(Bhag. 3.12.43)

FOUR STAGES OF SANNYASA DESCRIBED

The sannyasa stage has got four stages: kuticaka, bahudaka, parivrajakacarya and paramahamsa. Kuticaka. When one takes sannyasa… These are the processes. He is not practiced to beg from door to door. Therefore in the beginning he makes a cottage outside the village. And the foodstuff comes from his home. But he has no connection because by vanaprastha he has already left home, and by sannyasa, completely… But takes prasadam from home. That is called kuticaka. Then when he’s practiced, he goes from door to door, and that is called bahudaka. And then, when he’s still more practiced, he becomes a preacher, parivrajakacarya, goes from country to country, state to state, for preaching. And after preaching, when the preaching is advanced to some extent, then he sits down in a place as paramahamsa.
(LECTURE Bhag. 1.8.41, Oct. 21, 1974, Sri Mayapur)

5. SANNYASA IS MEANT FOR PREACHING (top)

SANNYASA AS SACRIFICE FOR DELIVERING THE FALLEN SOULS

Thus at the end of His twenty-fourth year the Lord accepted the sannyasa order of life in the month of Magha. After accepting this order He became a full- fledged preacher of the Bhagavata-dharma. Although He was doing the same preaching work in His householder life, when He experienced some obstacles to His preaching He sacrificed even the comfort of His home life for the sake of the fallen souls.
(Bhag. Intro, page 15)

SANNYASA AS A METHOD DEVISED BY THE LORD TO FULFILL HIS MISSION

To fulfill His mission of bestowing love of God upon conditioned souls, Lord Caitanya devised many methods to attract those people disinterested in Love of God. After He accepted the renounced order, all agnostics, critics, atheists and mental speculators became His students and followers. Even many who were not Hindus and who did not follow the Vedic principles accepted Lord Caitanya as the supreme teacher.
(TLC ch. 18, page 190)

SANNYASA IS FOR PREACHING MISSION.

Lord Caitanya could have performed His missionary activities as a householder, but He found householder life an obstruction to His mission. Therefore He decided to accept the renounced order, sannyasa.
(Cc. Adi 3.34 , purp.)

SANNYASA IS MEANT TO FACILITATE PREACHING OF DEVOTIONAL SERVICE

TRANSLATION: Thus the Lord accepted the sannyasa order of life after full consideration.

PURPORT: There was no need for Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to accept sannyasa, for He is God Himself and therefore has nothing to do with the material bodily concept of life. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not identify Himself with any of the eight varnas and asramas, namely, brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, brahmacari, grihasta, vanaprastha and sannyasa. He identified Himself as the Supreme Spirit. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, or for that matter any pure devotee, never identifies with these social and spiritual divisions of life, for a devotee is always transcendental to these different gradations of society. Nevertheless, Lord Caitanya decided to accept sannyasa on the grounds that when He became a sannyasi everyone would show Him respect and in that way be favored. Although there was actually no need for Him to accept sannyasa, He did so for the benefit of those who might think Him an ordinary human being. The main purpose of His accepting sannyasa was to deliver the Mayavadi sannyasis.

Those who criticize devotional service are called nindakas (blasphemers). Similarly, nondevotees who consider devotional activities to be material are also called pasandis, and scholars with a similar viewpoint are called adhama paduyas. The kutarkikas, nindakas, pasandis and adhama paduyas all avoided the benefit of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement of developing love of Godhead. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu felt compassion for them, and it is for this reason that He decided to accept the sannyasa order, for by seeing Him as a sannyasi they would offer Him respects. The sannyasa order is still respected in India. Indeed, the very dress of a sannyasi still commands respect from the Indian public. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted sannyasa to facilitate preaching His devotional cult, although otherwise He had no need to accept the fourth order of spiritual life.
(Cc. Adi 7.33 )

SANNYASA IS FOR THE DISTRIBUTION OF KNOWLEDGE

The next item is jnana-yoga-vyavastitih: being engaged in the cultivation of knowledge. Sannyasis life is meant for distributing knowledge to the householders and others who have forgotten their real life of spiritual advancement.
(B.g. 16.1-3, purp.)

SANNYASA AS A MEANS TO PREACH

“My mission is to deliver all the fallen souls of this age,” He thought, “but if they commit offenses against Me, thinking Me to be an ordinary man, they will not benefit. If they are to begin their life of spiritual realization, they must some way or another offer obeisance to Me.” Thus the Lord decided to accept the renounced order of life (sannyasa) because people in general were inclined to offer respect to a sannyasi.
(Bhag. Intro, page 14)

THE ATTRACTIVE FEATURE OF LORD CAITANYA’S SANNYASA WAS TO DELIVER LOVE OF GOD TO ALL CLASSES

Lord Caitanya remained a householder until His twenty-fourth year, and in the twenty-fifth year of His life He accepted the renounced order. After accepting the renounced order (sannyasa), He attracted many other sannyasis. When He had been spreading the sankirtan movement as a family man, many Mayavadi sannyasis did not take His movement very seriously, but after the Lord accepted the sannyasa order of life, He delivered speculative students, atheists and those who are attracted to fruitive activities and unnecessary criticism. The Lord was so kind that He accepted all these people and delivered to them the most important factor of life: love of God.
(TLC ch. 17, page 190 )

SANNYASA IS COMPULSORY FOR FIRST CLASS HUMAN BEINGS, AND SHOULD

BE ACCEPTED TO ELEVATE SOCIETY TO A PROPER UNDERSTANDING OF LIFE

TRANSLATION: O demigods, one who has no compassion for humanity in its suffering and does not sacrifice his impermanent body for the higher causes of religious principles or eternal glory is certainly pitied even by the immovable beings.

PURPORT: In this regard, a very exalted example was set by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Gosvamis of Vrndavana. Concerning Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu it is said in Srimad- Bhagavatam (11.5.34):

tyaktva sudustyaja-surepsita-rajya-laksmim
dharmistha arya-vacasa yad agad aranyam
maya-mrgam dayitayepsitam anvadhavad
vande maha-purusa te caranaravindam

“We offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of the Lord, upon whom one should always meditate. He left His householder life, leaving aside His eternal consort, whom even the denizens of heaven adore. He went into the forest to deliver the fallen souls, who are put into illusion by material energy.” To accept sannyasa means to commit civil suicide, but sannyasa is compulsory, at least for every brahmana, every first-class human being. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had a very young and beautiful wife and a very affectionate mother. Indeed, the affectionate dealings of His family members were so pleasing that even the demigods could not expect such happiness at home. Nevertheless, for the deliverance of all the fallen souls of the world, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa and left home when He was only twenty-four years old. He lived a very strict life as a sannyasi, refusing all bodily comforts. Similarly, His disciples the six Gosvamis were ministers who held exalted positions in society, but they also left everything to join the movement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Srinivasa Acarya says:

tyaktva turnam asesa-mandala-pati-srenim sada tucchavat
bhutva dina-ganesakau karunaya kaupina-kanthasritau

These Gosvamis left their very comfortable lives as ministers, Zamindars and learned scholars and joined Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement, just to show mercy to the fallen souls of the world (dina-ganesakau karuanaya). Accepting very humble lives as mendicants, wearing no more than loincloths and torn quilts (kaupina-kantha), they lived in Vrndavana and followed Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s order to excavate Vrndavana’s lost glories.

Similarly, everyone else with a materially comfortable condition in this world should joi n the Krsna consciousness movement to elevate the fallen souls. The words bhuta-dayaya, maya-mrgam dayitayepsitam and dina-ganesakau karunaya all convey the same sense. These are very significant words for those interested in elevating human society to a proper understanding of life. One should joi n the Krsna consciousness movement, following the examples of such great personalities as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the six Gosvamis and, before them, the great sage Dadhici. Instead of wasting one’s life for temporary bodily comforts, one should always be prepared to give up one’s life for better causes. After all, the body will be destroyed. Therefore one should sacrifice it for the glory of distributing religious principles throughout the world.
(Bhag. 6.10.8)

A DEVOTEE CUTS THE TIES OF FAMILY AFFECTION TO WIDEN THE SCOPE OF HIS DEVOTIONAL SERVICE

A pure devotee cuts off the limited ties of affection for his family and widens his activities of devotional service for all forgotten souls. The typical example is the band of six Gosvamis, who followed the path of Lord Caitanya. All of them belonged to the most enlightened and cultured rich families of the higher castes, but for the benefit of the mass of population they left their comfortable homes and became mendicants. To cut off all family affection means to broaden the field of activities. Without doing this, no one can be qualified as a brahmana, a king, a public leader, or a devotee of the Lord. The Personality of Godhead, as an ideal king showed this by example. Sri Ramacandra cut off the tie of affection for His beloved wife to manifest the qualities of an ideal king. Such personalities as a brahmana, a devotee, a king, or a public leader must be very broad-minded in discharging their respective duties. Srimati Kuntidevi was conscious of this fact, and being weak she prayed to be free from such bondage of family affection. The Lord is addressed as the Lord of the universe, or the Lord of the universal mind, indicating His all-powerful ability to cut the hard knot of family affection. Therefore, it is sometimes experienced that the Lord, out of His special affinity toward a weak devotee, breaks the family affection by force of circumstances arranged by His all-powerful energy. By doing so He causes the devotee to become completely dependent on Him and thus clears the path for his going back to Godhead.
(TQK, page 178 )

6. SANNYASA IS MEANT FOR REACHING ULTIMATE GOAL (top)

SANNYASA IS TO HELP REACH THE ULTIMATE GOAL

So the purificatory process is necessary for reaching this point of Krsna consciousness. Therefore sannyasa, or any purificatory process, is to help reach the ultimate goal of becoming Krsna conscious, without which everything is considered a failure.
(B.g. 3.5, purp.)

SANNYASA IS FOR TOTAL DEDICATION TO THE DEVOTIONAL SERVICE OF THE LORD

TRANSLATION: This is the first synopsis: After accepting the sannyasa order, Caitanya Mahaprabhu proceeded toward Vrndavana.

PURPORT: Clearly these statements are a real account of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s acceptance of the renounced order of life. His acceptance of this renounced order is not at all comparable to the acceptance of sannyasa by Mayavadis. After accepting sannyasa, Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s aim was to reach Vrndavana. He was unlike the Mayavadi sannyasis, who desire to merge into the existence of the Absolute. For a Vaisnava, acceptance of sannyasa means getting relief from all material activities and completely devoting oneself to the transcendental loving service of the Lord. This is confirmed by Srila Rupa Gosvami (B.r.s. 1.2.255): anasaktasya visayan yatharham upayunjatah/ nirbandhah krsna- sambandhe yuktam vairagyam ucyate. For a Vaisnava, the renounced order means completely giving up attachment for material things and engaging nonstop in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. The Mayavadi sannyasis, however, do

not know how to engage everything in the service of the Lord. Because they have no devotional training, they think material objects to be untouchable. Brahma- satyam jagan-mithya. The Mayavadis think that the world is false, but the Vaisnava sannyasis do no think like this. Vaisnavas say, “Why should the world be false? It is reality, and it is meant for the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” For a Vaisnava sannyasi, renunciation means not accepting anything for personal sense enjoyment. Devotional service means engaging everything for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
(Cc. Madhya 1.91)

SANNYASA IS ACCEPTED TO DEDICATE ONESELF TO THE SERVICE OF MUKUNDA

TRANSLATION: The real purpose of accepting sannyasa is to dedicate oneself to the service of Mukunda. By serving Mukunda, one can actually be liberated from the bondage of material existence.
(Cc. Madhya 3.8 )

7. SANNYASA AS CIVIL SUICIDE (top)

SANNYASA AS CIVIL SUICIDE

And then, when he is practiced to remain aloof from the [family]…, then wife is also sent back to the family, to the care of elderly children, and the man takes sannyasa, compulsory. It is called “civil suicide.” My guru maharaja used to say, “Commit civil suicide”. Mean… If you commit suicide it is criminal. It is also suicide, no more connection with family. This is also suicide, but it is civil. There is no criminal action against… But it is also voluntarily committing suicide–no more connection with anyone.
(LECTURE Bhag. 1.8.41, Oct. 21, 1974, Sri Mayapur)

8. PURPOSE OF TYAGA (RENUNCIATION) (top)

PURPOSE OF TYAGA AND SANNYASA

arjuna uvaca
sannyasasya mahabaho
tattvam icchami veditum
tyagasya ca hrsikesa
prtak kesinisudhana

TRANSLATION: Arjuna said, O mighty-armed one, I wish to understand the purpose of renunciation [tyaga] and of the renounced order of life [sannyasa], O killer of the Kesi demon, Hrsikesa.

PURPORT: The purpose of life is indicated to be renunciation and attainment of the transcendental position above the three material modes of nature. Arjuna wants to clarify the two distinct subject matters of Bhagavad-gita, namely renunciation (tyaga) and the renounced order of life (sannyasa). Thus he is asking the meaning of these two words.
(B.g. 18.1)

sri bhagavan uvaca
kamyanam karmanam nyasam
sannyasam kavayo viduh
sarva-karma-phala-tyagam
prahus tyagam vicaksnah

TRANSLATION: The Supreme Lord said, To give up the results of all activities is called renunciation [tyaga] by the wise. And that state is called the renounced order of life [sannyasa] by great learned men.

PURPORT: The performance of activities for results has to be given up. This is the instruction of Bhagavad-gita. But activities leading to advanced spiritual knowledge are not to be given up. However, sacrifice for the purification of one’s heart or for advancement in the spiritual science should not be given up.
(B.g. 18.2)

A SANNYASI SHOULD UNDERSTAND AND PRACTICE ELEVATING THE SELF BY ASSOCIATING WITH THE SUPERSELF, AND SPECIFICALLY REMOVE HIMSELF FROM THE URGES OF THE TONGUE, BELLY AND GENITALS

Of course, everyone in this material world is interested in maintaining the body for sense gratification, but by cultivating knowledge one should gradually understand that the body is not the self. Both the soul and the Supersoul are transcendental to the material world. This is to be understood in the human form of life, especially when one takes sannyasa. A sannyasi, one who has understood the self, should be engaged in elevating the self and associating with the Superself. Our Krsna consciousness movement is meant for elevating the living being for promotion back home, back to Godhead. Seeking such elevation is one’s duty in the human form of life. Unless one performs this duty, why should one maintain the body? Especially if a sannyasi not only maintains the body by ordinary means but does everything to maintain the body, including even eating meat and other abominable things, he must be a lampatah, a greedy person simply engaged in sense gratification. A sannyasi must specifically remove himself from the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals, which disturb one as long as one is not fully aware that the body is separate from the soul.
(Bhag. 7.15.40, purp.)

9. A SANNYASI MAKES NO MATERIAL DISTINCTIONS (top)

A SANNYASI SHOULD NOT MAKE DISTINCTIONS ON THE MATERIAL PLANE

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told Sanatana Gosvami, “Since you are a Vaisnava, your body is spiritual, not material. Therefore you should not consider this body to be subjected to superior or inferior qualities. Moreover, I am a sannyasi. Therefore even if your body were material, a sannyasi should see no distinction between a good body and a bad body.
(Cc. Antya 4.174, purp.)

10. A SANNYASI DOES NOT GLORIFY THE BODY AS THE SELF (top)

A SANNYASI WHO GIVES IMPORTANCE TO THE BODY AND GLORIFIES IT AS THE SELF, IS THE GREATEST RASCAL

TRANSLATION: Sannyasis who first consider that the body is subject to death, when it will be transformed into stool, worms or ashes, but who again give importance to the body and glorify it as the self, are to be considered the greatest rascals.

PURPORT: A sannyasi is one who has clearly understood, through advancement in knowledge, that Brahman–he, the person himself– is the soul, not the body. One who has this understanding may take sannyasa, for he is situated in the “aham brahmasmi” position. Brahma-butah prasannatma na socati na kanksati. Such a person, who no longer laments or hankers to maintain his body and who can accept all living entities as spirit souls, can then enter the devotional service of the Lord. If one does not enter the devotional service of the Lord but artificially considers himself Brahman or Narayana, not perfectly understanding that the soul and body are different, one certainly falls down (patanty adhah). Such a person again gives importance to the body. There are many sannyasis in India who stress the importance of the body. Some of them give special importance to the body of the poor man, accepting him as daridra-narayana, as if Narayana had a material body. Many other sannyasis stress the importance of the social position of the body as a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra. Such sannyasis are considered the greatest rascals (asattamah). They are shameless because they have not yet understood the difference between the body and the soul and instead have accepted the body of a brahmana to be a brahmana. Brahmanism (brahmanya) consists of the knowledge of Brahman. But actually the body of a brahmana is not Brahman. Similarly, the body is neither rich nor poor. If the body of a poor man were daridra-narayana, this would mean that the body of a rich man, on the contrary, must be dhani-narayana. Therefore sannyasis who do not know the meaning of Narayana, those who regard the body as Brahman or as Narayana, are described here as asattamah, the most abominable rascals. Following the bodily concept of life, such sannyasis make various programs to serve the body. They conduct farcial missions consisting of so-called religious activities meant to mislead all of human society. These sannyasis have been described herein as apatrapah and asattamah–shameless and fallen from spiritual life.
(Bhag. 7.15.37)