VII Sannyasa And Preaching

>> “Srila Prabhupada Quotes” > Sannyasa And Preaching

1. Propagates sankirtana
2. Goes door to door
3. Travels all over the world
4. Travels alone to enlighten everyone
5. Does not stay in one place more than three days
6. Does not travel during rainy season
7. Disseminates knowledge to everyone
8. Holds discourses
9. His only business is to preach
10. Example of how to preach
11. Criticism can hamper preaching work

1. PROPAGATES SANKIRTANA (top)

SANKIRTAN AS AN UNIQUE EXHIBITION OF PREACHING FOR THE MASSES

The Lord’s congregational sankirtan movement at Puri was a unique exhibition for the mass of people. That is the way to turn the mass mind towards spiritual realization. The Lord inaugurated this system of mass sankirtan, and leaders of all countries can take advantage of this spiritual movement in order to keep the mass of people in a pure state of peace and friendship with one another. This is now the demand of the present human society all over the world.
(Bhag. Intro., page 32 )

PEOPLE IN GENERAL BECOME ATTRACTED BY LORD CAITANYA’S MASS SANKIRTAN MOVEMENT

At that time Varanasi was headed by a great sannyasi of the Mayavada school named Sripada Prakasananda Sarasvati. When the Lord was at Varanasi, the people in general became more attracted to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu on account of His mass sankirtan movement. Wherever He visited, especially the Visvanatha temple, thousands of pilgrims would follow Him. Some were attracted by His bodily features, and others were attracted by His melodious songs glorifying the Lord.
In India there is always a kind of spiritual rivalry between the Mayavada and Bhagavata schools, and thus when the news of the Lord reached Prakasananda he knew that the Lord was a Vaisnava sannyasi, and therefore he minimized the value of the Lord before those who brought him the news. He deprecated the activities of the Lord because of His preaching the sankirtan movement, which was in his opinion nothing but religious sentiment. Prakasananda was a profound student of the Vedanta, and he advised his followers to give attention to the Vedanta and not to indulge in sankirtan.
(Bhag. Intro., page 33 )

PREACHING PURE BHAKTI

The sannyasis of Benares soon fell at the feet of Caitanya and asked for His grace (kripa). Caitanya then preached pure bhakti and instilled into their hearts spiritual love for Krsna which obliged them to give up sectarian feelings. The whole population of Benares, on this wonderful conversion of the sannyasis, turned vaisnavas, and they made a master sankirtan with their new Lord.
(TLC Prologue, page xxi [Bhaktivinode])

2. GOES DOOR TO DOOR (top)

SANNYASIS BEG DOOR TO DOOR FOR MISSIONARY PURPOSES, NOT FOR MONEY

In the Vedic literature, charity is also to be awarded to the renouncer of life, the sannyasi. The sannyasis beg form door to door, not for money, but for missionary purposes. The system is that they go from door to door to awaken the householders from the slumber of ignorance. Because the householders are engaged in family affairs and have forgotten their actual purpose in life–awakening their Krsna consciousness–it is the business of the sannyasis to go as beggars to the householders and encourage them to be Krsna conscious. As it is said in the Vedas, one should awake and achieve what is due him in this human form of life. This knowledge and method is distributed by the sannyasis; hence charity is to be given to the renouncer of life, to the brahmanas, and similar good causes, not to any whimsical cause.
(B.g. 10.5 purp..)

A SANNYASI IS NOT A BEGGAR

A sannyasi is supposed to beg from door to door for his livelihood, but this does not mean that he is a beggar. Humility is also one of the qualifications of a transcendentally situated person, and out of sheer humility the sannyasi goes from door to door, not exactly for the purpose of begging, but to see the householders and awaken them to Krsna consciousness. This is the duty of a sannyasi.
(B.g. 16.1-3 purp.)

A SANNYASI GOES DOOR TO DOOR NOT EXACTLY FOR BEGGING, BUT TO INTRODUCE KRSNA CONSCIOUS LITERATURE

TRANSLATION: “It is the general practice of all saintly people to deliver the fallen. Therefore they go to people’s houses, although they have no personal business there. PURPORT: A sannyasi is supposed to beg from door to door. He does not beg simply because he is hungry. His real purpose is to enlighten the occupant of every house by preaching Krsna consciousness. A sannyasi does not abandon his superior position and become a beggar just for the sake of begging. Similarly, a person in householder life may be very important, but he may also voluntarily take to the mendicant way of life. Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami were ministers, but they voluntarily accepted the mendicant’s life in order to humbly preach Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s message. It is said about them: tyaktva turnam asesa-mandala-pati-srenim sada tucchavat bhutva dina-ganesakau karunaya kaupina-kanthasritau. Although the Gosvamis were very aristocratic, they became mendicants just to deliver the fallen souls according to the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. One should also consider that those who engage in the missionary activities of Krsna consciousness are under the guidance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. They are not actually beggars; their real business is to deliver fallen souls. Therefore they may go from door to door just to introduce a book about Krsna consciousness so that people can become enlightened by reading. Formerly brahmacaris and sannyasis used to beg from door to door. At the present moment, especially in the Western countries, a person may be handed over to the police if he begs from door to door. In Western countries, begging is considered criminal.

Members of the Krsna consciousness movement have no business begging. Instead, they work very hark to introduce some literatures about Krsna consciousness so that people can read them and be benefited. However, if one gives some contribution to a Krsna conscious man, he never refuses it.
(Cc. Madhya 8.39 )

A SANNYASI GOES DOOR TO DOOR TO AWAKEN HOUSEHOLDERS TO KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS

Humility is also one of the qualifications of a transcendentally situated person, and out of sheer humility the sannyasi goes from door to door, not exactly for the purpose of begging, but to see the householders and awaken them to Krsna consciousness. This is the duty of a sannyasi.
(Bg. 16.1-3, purp.)

A SANNYASI DISTRIBUTES KNOWLEDGE OF SPIRITUAL LIFE TO EVERY HOME

After preparing himself fully, he should become a sannyasi to distribute the knowledge of spiritual life to each and every home.
(Bhag. 3.30.14 , purp.)

3. TRAVELS ALL OVER THE WORLD (top)

IT IS THE DUTY OF A SANNYASI TO GO DOOR TO DOOR ALL OVER THE WORLD TO ENLIGHTEN THE HOUSEHOLDERS IN KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS AND GIVE THEM ASSURANCE OF FEARLESSNESS

A sannyasi, one in the renounced order of life, is meant to give enlightenment to the people. He should travel, going from home to home to enlighten. The householder, by the spell of maya, becomes absorbed in family affairs and forgets his relationship with Krsna. If he dies in forgetfulness, like the cats and dogs, then his life is spoiled. It is the duty of a sannyasi, therefore, to go and awaken the forgetful souls with enlightenment of their eternal relationship with the Lord and to engage them in devotional service. The devotee should show mercy to the fallen souls and also give them the assurance of fearlessness. As soon as one becomes a devotee of the Lord, he is convinced that he is protected by the Lord. Fear itself is afraid of the Lord; therefore, what has he to do with fearfulness?
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. A person who is a householder but is initiated by a sannyasi has the duty to spread Krsna consciousness at home; as far as possible, he should call his friends and neighbors to his house and hold classes in Krsna consciousness. Holding a class means chanting the holy name of Krsna and speaking from Bhagavad-gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam.
There are immense literatures for spreading Krsna consciousness, and it is the duty of each and every householder to learn about Krsna from his sannyasi spiritual master. There is a division of labor in the Lord’s service. The householder’s duty is to earn money because a sannyasi is not supposed to earn money but is completely dependent on the householder. The householder should earn money by business or by profession and spend at least fifty percent of his income to spread Krsna consciousness; twenty-five percent he can spend for his family, and twenty-five percent he should save to meet emergencies. This example was shown by Rupa Gosvami, so devotees should follow it.
(Bhag. 3.21.31 , purp.)

THE SANNYASIS’ DUTY IS TO TRAVEL EVERYWHERE JUST TO FAVOR THE HOUSEHOLDERS

TRANSLATION: A person who is not very rich and is attached to family life becomes highly glorified when saintly persons are present in his home. The master and servants who are engaged in offering the exalted visitors water, a sitting place and paraphernalia for reception are glorified, and the home itself is also glorified. PURPORT: Materially if a man is not very rich, he is not glorious, and spiritually if a man is too attached to family life, he is also not glorious. But saintly persons are quite ready to visit the house of a poor man or a man who is attached to material family life. When this happens, the owner of the house and his servants are glorified because they offer water for washing the feet of a saintly person, sitting places and other things to receive him. The conclusion is that if a saintly person goes to the house of even an unimportant man, such a person becomes glorious by his blessings. It is therefore the Vedic system that a householder invite a saintly person in his home to receive his blessings. This system is still current in India, and therefore saintly persons, wherever they go, are hosted by the householders, who in turn get an opportunity to receive transcendental knowledge. It is the duty of a sannyasi, therefore, to travel everywhere just to favor the householders, who are generally ignorant of the values of spiritual life.
(Bhag. 4.22.10 )

A SANNYASI TRAVELS ALL OVER THE WORLD TO SPREAD THE LORD’S GLORIES

TRANSLATION: Thus I began chanting the holy name and fame of the Lord by repeated recitation, ignoring all the formalities of the material world. Such chanting and remembering of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord are benedictory. So doing, I traveled all over the earth, fully satisfied, humble and unenvious.
PURPORT: The life of a sincere devotee of the Lord is thus explained in a nutshell by Narada Muni by his personal example. Such a devotee, after his initiation by the Lord or His bona fide representative, takes very seriously chanting of the glories of the Lord and traveling all over the world so that others may also hear the glories of the Lord. Such devotees have no desire for material gain. They are conducted by one single desire: to go back to Godhead. This awaits them in due course on quitting the material body. Because they have the highest aim of life, going back to Godhead, they are never envious of anyone, nor are they proud of being eligible to go back to Godhead. Their only business is to chant and remember the holy name, fame and pastimes of the Lord and, according to personal capacity, to distribute the message for others’ welfare without motive of material gain.
(Bhag. 1.6.26 )

A SANNYASI SHOULD TRAVEL ALL OVER THE WORLD

TRANSLATION: Sri Narada Muni said: A person able to cultivate spiritual knowledge should renounce all material connections, and merely keeping the body inhabitable, he should travel from one place to another, passing only one night in each village. In this way, without dependence in regard to the needs of the body, the sannyasi should travel all over the world.
(Bhag. 7.13.1 )

SANNYASIS MUST TAKE CHARGE OF TRAVAILING ALL OVER THE WORLD

If my young disciples, especially those who have taken sannyasa, take charge of traveling all over the world, it may be possible for me to transfer the curse of the parents to these young preachers. Then I may sit down conveniently in one place for the work of translation.
(Bhag. 6.5.43 )

4. TRAVELS ALONE TO ENLIGHTEN EVERYONE (top)

A SANNYASI IS DUTY BOUND TO TRAVEL ALONE TAKING RISKS FEARLESSLY

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.
(Bhag. 1.6.13, purp.)

LORD CAITANYA TRAVELED IN S.INDIA PREACHING SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM

After taking sannyasa, the Lord made His headquarters at Jagannatha Puri due to the request of His mother, Srimati Sacidevi. The Lord remained for twenty- four years at Puri. For six years of this time He travelled continuously all over India (and especially throughout southern India) preaching the Srimad- Bhagavatam.
(Bhag. Intro., page 4)

5. DOES NOT STAY IN ONE PLACE MORE THAN THREE DAYS (top)

A SANNYASI SHOULD NOT LIVE MORE THAN THREE DAYS IN ANY PLACE

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

BY THE CURSE OF PRAJAPATI DAKSA A PREACHER CANNOT REMAIN IN ONE PLACE

TRANSLATION: You have made me lose my sons once, and now you have again done the same inauspicious thing. Therefore you are a rascal who does not know how to behave toward others. You may travel all over the universe, but I curse you to have no residence anywhere.
PURPORT: Because Prajapati Daksa was a grhamedhi who wanted to remain in household life, he thought that if Narada Muni could not remain in one place, but had to travel all over the world, that would be a great punishment for him. Actually, however, such a punishment is a boon for a preacher. A preacher is known as parivrajakacarya–an acarya, or teacher, who always travels for the benefit of human society. Prajapati Daksa cursed Narada Muni by saying that although he had the facility to travel all over the universe, he would never be able to stay in one place. In the parampara system from Narada Muni, I have also been cursed. Although I have many centers that would be suitable places of residence, I cannot stay anywhere, for I have been cursed by the parents of my young disciples. Since the Krsna consciousness movement was started, I have traveled all over the world two or three times a year, and although I am provided comfortable places to stay wherever I go, I cannot stay anywhere for more than three days or a week. I do not mind this curse by the parents of my disciples, but now it is necessary that I stay in one place to finish another task–this translation of Srimad-Bhagavatam. If my young disciples, especially those who have taken sannyasa, take charge of traveling all over the world, it may be possible for me to transfer the curse of the parents to these young preachers. Then I may sit down conveniently in one place for the work of translation.
(Bhag. 6.5.43 )

6. DOES NOT TRAVEL DURING RAINY SEASON (top)

SANNYASIS OBSERVE CATURMASYA VRATA

Sannyasis are generally meant to travel all over the country for preaching work, but during the four months of the rainy season in India, from September through December, they do not travel, but take shelter in one place and remain there without moving. This non-movement of the sannyasi is called Caturmasya- vrata. When a sannyasi stays in a place for four months, the local inhabitants of that place take advantage of his presence to become spiritually advanced. Arjuna, in the dress of a tridandi-sannyasi, remained in the city of Dvaraka for four months, devising a plan whereby he could get Subhadra as his wife. The inhabitants of Dvaraka as well as Lord Balarama could not recognize the sannyasi to be Arjuna; therefore all of them offered their respect and obeisances to the sannyasi without knowing the actual situation.
(Krsna Book Vol. 3, Ch. 17, The Kidnaping of Subhadra, p. 121 )

7. DISSEMINATES KNOWLEDGE TO EVERYONE (top)

PARIVRAJAKACARYAS DISSEMINATE TRANSCENDENTAL KNOWLEDGE TO EVERYONE

The difference between the Vedas and the Puranas is like that between the brahmanas and the Parivrajakas. The brahmanas are meant to administer some fruitive sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas, but the parivrajakacaryas, or learned preachers, are meant to disseminate transcendental knowledge to one and all. As such, the parivrajakacaryas are not always expert in pronouncing the Vedic mantras, which are practiced systematically by accent and meter by the brahmanas who are meant for administering Vedic rites. Yet it should not be considered that the brahmanas are more important than the itinerant preachers. They are one and different simultaneously because they are meant for the same end in different ways.
(Bhag. 1.4.13, purp.)

8. HOLDS DISCOURSES (top)

A SANNYASI SHOULD CAREFULLY PREACH, ESPECIALLY BY HOLDING DISCOURSES FROM BHAGAVAD-GITA, SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM, NECTAR OF DEVOTION AND CAITANYA CARITAMRITA

The Krsna consciousness movement is spreading all over the world simply by describing Krsna. We have published many books, including Sri Caitanya- caritamrta in seventeen volumes, four hundred pages each, as well as Bhagavad- gita and The Nectar of Devotion. We are also publishing Srimad-Bhagavatam, in sixty volumes. Wherever a speaker holds discourses from these books and an audience hears him, this will create a good and auspicious situation. Therefore the preaching of Krsna consciousness must be done very carefully by the members of the Krsna consciousness movement, especially the sannyasis. This will create an auspicious atmosphere.
(Bhag. 8.1.32 , purp.)

9. HIS ONLY BUSINESS IS TO PREACH (top)

A SANNYASI’S ONLY BUSINESS IS TO PREACH KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS

The only business of a saintly person or sannyasi, a person in the renounced order, is to preach Krsna consciousness.
(Bhag. 10.10.17 , purp.)

A SANNYASI’S DUTY IS TO ENLIGHTEN PEOPLE IN KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS AND SHOULD THEREFORE NOT BE RESTRICTED OR REFUSED ANY GIFT HE MAY DEMAND FROM A HOUSEHOLDER

According to the Vedic system, a sannyasi, a person in the renounced order of life, is dressed in saffron-colored garments. This saffron dress is practically a passport for the mendicant and sannyasi to go anywhere. The sannyasi’s duty is to enlighten people in Krsna consciousness. Those in the renounced order of life have no other business but preaching the glories and supremacy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the Vedic sociological conception is that a sannyasi should not be restricted; he is allowed to go anywhere and everywhere he wants, and he is not refused any gift he might demand from a householder.
(Bhag. 3.15.31 , purp.)

 
10. EXAMPLE OF HOW TO PREACH (top)

EXAMPLE OF HOW A SANNYASI SHOULD PREACH

Here is an example of how a sannyasi should preach. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to Varanasi, He went there alone, not with a big party. Locally, however, He made friendships with Candrasekhara and Tapana Misra, and Sanatana Gosvami also came to see Him. Therefore, although He did not have many friends there, due to His sound preaching and His victory in arguing with the local sannyasis on Vedanta philosophy, He became greatly famous in that part of the country, as explained in the next verse.
(Cc. Adi 7.153 )

EXAMPLE OF HOW A SANNYASI SHOULD PREACH BY VERY RESPECTFULLY FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF SRI CAITANYA MAHAPRABHU

TRANSLATION: Thus Lord Caitanya excused all the offenses of the Mayavadi sannyasis and very mercifully blessed them with Krsna-nama.
PURPORT: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the mercy incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is addressed by Srila Rupa Gosvami as maha- vadanyavatara, or the most magnanimous incarnation. Srila Rupa Gosvami also says, karunayavatirnah kalau: it is only by His mercy that He has descended in this age of Kali. Here this is exemplified. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not like to see Mayavadi sannyasis because He thought of them as offenders to the lotus feet of Krsna, but here He excuses them (tan-sabara ksami’ aparadha). This is an example in preaching. Apani acari’ bhakti-sikhaimu sabare. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu teaches us that those whom preachers meet are almost all offenders who are opposed to Krsna consciousness, but it is a preacher’s duty to convince them of the Krsna consciousness movement and then induce them to chant the Hare Krsna maha- mantra. Our propagation of the sankirtana movement is continuing, despite many opponents, and people are taking this chanting process even in remote parts of the world like Africa. By inducing the offenders to chant the Hare Krsna mantra, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu exemplified the success of the Krsna consciousness movement. We should follow very respectfully in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya, and there is no doubt that we shall be successful in our attempts.
(Cc. Adi 7.150 )

A SANNYASI SHOULD PREACH BY FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF SRI CAITANYA MAHAPRABHU, BY QUOTING FROM THE SASTRAS AND PRESENTING THE CONCLUSION OF THE PREVIOUS ACARYAS

Similarly, all preachers will have to meet opponents, but they should not make them more inimical. They are already enemies, and if we talk with them harshly or inpolitely their enmity will merely increase. We should therefore follow in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu as far as possible and try to convince the opposition by quoting from the sastras and presenting the conclusion of the acaryas. It is in this way that we should try to defeat all the enemies of the Lord.
(Cc. Adi 7.99 )

11. CRITICISM CAN HAMPER PREACHING WORK (top)

A SANNYASI IS ALWAYS SUBJECT TO PUBLIC CRITICISM WHICH CAN HAMPER HIS PREACHING WORK

A sannyasi is always subjected to public criticism, and a small fault on his part is taken seriously by the public. People actually expect a sannyasi to preach and not take part in any social or political matters. If a sannyasi is subject to public criticism, his preaching will not be fruitful. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu specifically wanted to avoid such criticism so that His preaching work would not be hampered.
(Cc. Madhya 12.25 purp.)

A SANNYASI MUST BE SPOTLESS

TRANSLATION: “As soon as the general public finds a little fault in the behavior of a sannyasi, they advertise it like wildfire. A black spot of ink cannot be hidden on a white cloth. It is always very prominent.”
(Cc. Madhya 12.51 )