>> “Srila Prabhupada Quotes” > Sannyasa in varnasrama
1. As training for transcendental life
2. Devised for perfection in spiritual life
3. Compulsory to give up home at the age of fifty
4. A sannyasi cannot meet former wife
5. Wife cannot remain as servitor in the sannyasa stage
6. A sannyasi’s son stays at home to deliver the mother
……A woman does not take sannyasa
7. Sannyasa is not meant directly for ksatriyas
8. Householder’s duty is to give alms to the mendicant
9. A sannyasi may only beg within prescribed limit
10. Sannyasis are not meant to be parasites
11. A sannyasi is naturally offered respect
12. A grihasta cannot falsely adopt the title of gosvami
13. Grihasta stage is surpassed through proper training
14. A Sannyasi Can Encourage Marriage Ceremony
1. AS TRAINING FOR TRANSCENDENTAL LIFE (top)
SANNYASA IN VARNASRAMA DHARMA IS TO COME TO THE TRANSCENDENTAL POSITION
The Vedic activities are so designed that the conditioned soul who has come to enjoy the material world may do so under direction so that at the end he becomes detached from such material enjoyment and is eligible to enter into the transcendental position. The four different social orders– brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa–gradually train a person to come to the platform of transcendental life. The activities and dress of a grhastha, or householder, are different from those of a sannyasi, one in the renounced order of life. It is impossible for one person to adopt both orders. 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.
(Bhag. 4.4.20 , purp.)
HUMAN LIFE IS MEANT FOR FINISHING THE MISERIES OF MATERIAL EXISTENCE
TRANSLATION: Despite your unwillingness to die and your desire to live even at the cost of honor and prestige, your miserly body will certainly dwindle and deteriorate like an old garment.
PURPORT: The words krpanasya jijivisoh are significant. There are two classes of men. One is called the krpana, and the other is called the brahmana. The krpana, or the miserly man, has no estimation of his material body, but the brahmana has a true estimation of himself and the material body. The krpana, having a wrong estimation of his material body, wants to enjoy sense gratification with his utmost strength, and even in old age he wants to become a young man by medical treatment or otherwise. Dhrtarastra is addressed herein as a krpana because without any estimation of his material body he wants to live at any cost. Vidura is trying to open his eyes to see that he cannot live more than his term and that he must prepare for death. Since death is inevitable, why should he accept such a humiliating position for living? It is better to take the right path, even at the risk of death. Human life is meant for finishing all kinds of miseries of material existence, and life should be so regulated that one can achieve the desired goal. Dhrtarastra, due to his wrong conception of life, had already spoiled eighty percent of his achieved energy, so it behooved him to utilize the remaining days of his miserly life for the ultimate good. Such a life is called miserly because one cannot properly utilize the assets of the human form of life. Only by good luck does such a miserly man meet a self-realized soul like Vidura and by his instruction gets rid of the nescience of material existence.
(Bhag. 1.13.25 )
KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS SURPASSES ALL RITUALS OF VARNASRAMA
By carrying out the orders of brahmacari, householder, vanaprastha, and finally sannyasa, one becomes elevated to the perfectional stage of life. Some are then elevated to the heavenly kingdoms, and when they become even more advanced they are liberated in the spiritual sky, either in the impersonal brahmajyoti or in the Vaikuntha planets or Krsnaloka. This is the path outlined by Vedic literatures.
The beauty of Krsna consciousness, however, is that by one stroke, by engaging in devotional service, one can surpass all rituals of the different orders of life.
(B.g. 8.28 , purp.)
2. DEVISED FOR PERFECTION IN SPIRITUAL LIFE (top)
SANNYASA WITHIN VARNASRAMA IS FOR PERFECTION IN SPIRITUAL LIFE The four division of human life, namely the brahmacari, the grhastha, the vanaprastha, and the sannyasi, are all meant to help men become perfect yogis or transcendentalists. Since human life is not meant for our enjoying sense gratification like the animals, the four orders of human life are so arranged that one may become perfect in spiritual life.
(B.g. 4.26 , purp.)
VARNASRAMA IS DESIGNED TO BECOME DETACHED FROM THE ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN
The first stage of life is brahmacari, the second stage grhastha, the third stage vanaprastha, and the fourth stage sannyasa. All these stages are devised to enable one to detach himself from the association of women.
(Bhag. 4.28.27 , purp.)
SPIRITUAL CULTURE IS THE COMMON FACTOR OF VARNASRAMA
For spiritual advancement of knowledge a suitable place and atmosphere are definitely required. The place on the western bank of the Sarasvati is especially suitable for this purpose. And there is the asrama of Vyasadeva at Samyaprasa. Srila Vyasadeva was a householder, yet his residential place is called an asrama. An asrama is a place where spiritual culture is always foremost. It does not matter whether the place belongs to a householder or a mendicant. The whole varnasrama system is so designed that each and every status of life is called an asrama. This means that spiritual culture is the common factor for all. The brahmacaris, the grhasthas, the vanaprasthas and the sannyasis all belong to the same mission of life, namely, realization of the Supreme. Therefore none of them are less important as far as spiritual culture is concerned. The difference is a matter of formality on the strength of renunciation. The sannyasis are held in high estimation on the strength of practical renunciation.
(Bhag. 1.7.2, purp.)
HOUSEHOLD LIFE IS A LICENSE FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT REMAIN ALONE AS RENUNCIATES
It is best to remain alone as a brahmacari, sannyasi or vanaprastha and cultivate Krsna consciousness throughout one’s whole life. Those who are unable to remain alone are given license to live in household life with wife and children, not for sense gratification but for cultivation of Krsna consciousness.
(Bhag. 3.33.12 , purp.)
BY PROGRESSIVELY FOLLOWING VARNASRAMA ONE IS ELEVATED TO THE PERFECTIONAL STAGE
By carrying out the orders of brahmacari, householder, vanaprastha, and finally sannyasa, one becomes elevated to the perfectional stage of life. Some are then elevated to the heavenly kingdoms, and when they become even more advanced they are liberated in the spiritual sky, either in the impersonal brahmajyoti or in the Vaikuntha planets or Krsnaloka. This is the path outlined by Vedic literatures. The beauty of Krsna consciousness, however, is that by one stroke, by engaging in devotional service, one can surpass all rituals of the different orders of life.
(B.g. 8.28 , purp.)
PERFECTION OF LIFE IS TO ACCEPT SANNYASA FROM THE HOUSEHOLDER OR VANAPRASTHA ASRAMA
Although in this age a lifetime of one hundred years is generally not possible, even if one has one hundred years, the calculation is that fifty years are wasted in sleeping, twenty years in childhood and boyhood, and twenty years in invalidity (jara-vyadhi). This leaves only a few more years, but because of too much attachment to household life, those years are also spent with no purpose, without God consciousness. Therefore, one should be trained to be a perfect brahmacari in the beginning of life and then to be perfect in sense control, following the regulative principles, if one becomes a householder. From household life one is ordered to accept vanaprastha life and go to the forest and then accept sannyasa. That is the perfection of life. From the very beginning of life, those who are ajitendriya, who cannot control their senses, are educated only for sense gratification, as we have seen in the Western countries. Thus the entire duration of a life of even one hundred years is wasted and misused, and at the time of death one transmigrates to another body, which may not be human. At the end of one hundred years, one who has not acted as a human being in a life of tapasya (austerity and penance) must certainly be embodied again in a body like those of cats, dogs and hogs. Therefore this life of lusty desires and sense gratification is extremely risky.
(Bhag. 7.6.8, purp.)
3. COMPULSORY TO GIVE UP HOME AT THE AGE OF FIFTY (top)
VARNASRAMA IS THE TRAINING PROCESS FOR ACCEPTANCE OF SANNYASA BEFORE INEVITABLE DEATH
The life of a human being is a chance to prepare oneself to go back to Godhead, or to get rid of the material existence, the repetition of birth and death. Thus in the system of varnasrama- dharma every man and woman is trained for this purpose. In other words, the system of varnasrama-dharma is known also as sanatana- dharma, or the eternal occupation. The system of varnasrama- dharma prepares a man for going back to Godhead, and thus a householder is ordered to go to the forest as vanaprastha to acquire complete knowledge and then to take sannyasa prior to his inevitable death.
(Bhag. 1.19.4 purp.)
SEX LIFE IS ALLOWED FOR TWENTY FIVE YEARS BETWEEN THE AGES OF TWENTY FIVE AND FIFTY
The word pravayasah indicates Ajamila’s sinfulness because although he was eighty-eight years old, he had a very young child. According to Vedic culture, one should leave home as soon as he has reached fifty years of age; one should not live at home and go on producing children. Sex life is allowed for twenty- five years, between the ages of twenty-five and forty-five or, at most, fifty. After that one should give up the habit of sex life and leave home as a vanaprastha and then properly take sannyasa.
(Bhag. 6.1.24 , purp.)
ONE SHOULD RETIRE FROM FAMILY ENCUMBRANCE AT THE AGE OF FIFTY, PRACTICE SELF CONTROL AND CELIBACY WITHOUT DESIRE FOR SEX INDULGENCE
TRANSLATION: One should leave home and practice self-control. In a sacred place he should bathe regularly and sit down in a lonely place duly sanctified. PURPORT: To prepare oneself for the better next life, one must get out of one’s so- called home. The system of varnasrama-dharma, or sanatana-dharma, prescribes retirement from family encumbrances as early as possible after one has passed fifty years of age.
/…In order to be saved from the danger of spoiling the human form of life and being attached to unreal things, one must take warning of death at the age of fifty, if not earlier. The principle is that one should take it for granted that the death warning is already there, even prior to the attainment of fifty years of age, and thus at any stage of life one should prepare himself for a better next life. The system of the sanatana- dharma institution is so made that the follower is trained for the better next life without any chance that the human life will be spoiled. The holy places all over the world are meant for the residential purposes of retired persons getting ready for a better next life. Intelligent persons must go there at the end of life, and for that matter, after fifty years of age, to live a life of spiritual regeneration for the sake of being freed from family attachment, which is considered to be the shackle of material life. One is recommended to quit home just to get rid of material attachment because one who sticks to family life until death cannot get rid of material attachment and as long as one is materially attached one cannot understand spiritual freedom. One should not, however, become self-complacent simply by leaving home or by creating another home at the holy place, either lawfully or unlawfully. Many persons leave home and go to such holy places, but due to bad association, again become family men by illicit connection with the opposite sex. The illusory energy of matter is so strong that one is apt to be under such illusion at every stage of life, even after quitting one’s happy home. Therefore, it is essential that one practice self-control by celibacy without the least desire for sex indulgence. For a man desiring to improve the condition of his existence, sex indulgence is considered suicidal, or even worse. Therefore, to live apart from family life means to become self-controlled in regard to all sense desires, especially sex desires.
(Bhag. 2.1.16 )
FOR THE VANAPRASTHAS AND SANNYASIS IT IS COMPULSORY TO GIVE UP HOME
The King began to think in terms of attachment and detachment from one’s material home. According to Prahlada Maharaja, the material home is compared to a blind well. If a man falls down into a blind well, it is very difficult to get out of it and begin life again. Prahlada Maharaja has advised that one give up this blind well of home life as soon as possible and go to the forest to take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. According to Vedic civilization, this giving up of home by vanaprastha and sannyasa is compulsory. But people are so attached to their homes that even up to the point of death they do not like to retire from home life. King Anga, therefore, thinking in terms of detachment, accepted his bad son as a good impetus for detachment from home life. He therefore considered his bad son his friend since he was helping him become detached from his home. Ultimately one has to learn how to detach oneself from attachment to material life; therefore, if a bad son, by his bad behavior, helps a householder to go away from home, it is a boon.
(Bhag. 4.13.46 , purp.)
AT THE AGE OF FIFTY OR EARLIER, ONE IS REQUIRED TO GIVE UP HIS ATTACHMENT FOR FAMILY, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL LIFE
Death is nothing but sleeping for a few months in order to develop another term of bodily encagement, which we are awarded by the law of nature according to our aspiration. Therefore, one has only to change the aspiration during the course of this present body, and for this there is need of training in the current duration of human life. This training can be begun at any stage of life, or even a few seconds before death, but the usual procedure is for one to get the training from very early life, from the stage of brahmacarya, and gradually progress to the grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa orders of life. The institution which gives such training is called varnasrama- dharma, or the system of sanatana-dharma, the best procedure for making the human life perfect. One is therefore required to give up the attachment to family or social or political life just at the age of fifty years, if not earlier, and the training in the vanaprastha and sannyasa-asramas is given for preparation of the next life. Foolish materialists, in the garb of leaders of the people in general, stick to family affairs without attempting to cut off relations with them, and thus they become victims of nature’s law and get gross bodies again, according to their work. /…The best thing is, therefore, that everyone voluntarily give up family relations by transferring the attachment from family, society, country and everything thereof to the devotional service of the Lord. It is stated herein that one should give up all desires of family attachment. One must have a chance for better desires; otherwise there is no chance of giving up such morbid desires. Desire is the concomitant factor of the living entity. The living entity is eternal, and therefore his desires, which are natural for a living being, are also eternal. One cannot, therefore, stop desiring, but the subject matter for desires can be changed. So one must develop the desires for returning home, back to Godhead, and automatically the desires for material gain, material honor and material popularity will diminish in proportion to the development of devotional service.
(Bhag. 2.1.15 , purp.)
AT THE END OF HIS LIFE ONE MUST BECOME A SVAMI OR GOSVAMI
Too much enjoyment of any of the senses (not only sex) results in sinful activities. Therefore one has to become a svami or gosvami at the end of his life. One may beget children up to the age of fifty, but after fifty, one must stop begetting children and should accept the vanaprastha order. In this way he must leave home and then become a sannyasi.
(Bhag. 4.27.7 , purp.)
BEFORE THE SYMPTOMS OF DEATH BEGIN TO ATTACK, ONE SHOULD LEAVE HOME AND TAKE SANNYASA
When the vital force within the body becomes weak, the body itself also becomes weak. At such a time the death symptoms– that is, the dangerous soldiers of death’s superintendent, Yamaraja–begin to attack very severely. According to the Vedic system, before coming to such a stage one should leave home and take sannyasa to preach the message of God for the duration of life.
(Bhag. 4.28.2 , purp.)
PRAHLADA MAHARAJA ADVISES ONE TO LEAVE HOME, WHICH IS SIMPLY A MEANS OF KILLING THE SOUL
TRANSLATION: The great saint Maitreya continued: After that, the Pracetas lived at home for thousands of years and developed perfect knowledge in spiritual consciousness. At last they remembered the blessings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and left home, putting their wife in charge of a perfect son.
PURPORT: After the Pracetas had finished their penances, they were blessed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord blessed them by telling them that after finishing their family life they would return home, back to Godhead, in due course of time. After finishing their family life, which lasted thousands of years according to the calculations of the demigods, the Pracetas decided to leave home, putting their wife in the charge of a son named Daksa. This is the process of Vedic civilization. In the beginning of life, as a brahmacari, one has to undergo severe penances and austerities in order to be educated in spiritual values. The brahmacari, or student, is never allowed to mingle with women and learn from the beginning of life about sex enjoyment. The basic flaw in modern civilization is that boys and girls are given freedom during school and college to enjoy sex life. Most of the children are varna-sankara, meaning “born of undesirable fathers and mothers.” Consequently, the whole world is in chaos. Actually, human civilization should be based on the Vedic principles. This means that in the beginning of life boys and girls should undergo penances and austerities. When they are grown, they should get married, live for some time at home and beget children. When the children are grown up, the man should leave home and search for Krsna consciousness. In this way one can make one’s life perfect by going home to the Kingdom of God.
Unless one practices penances and austerities in his student life, he cannot understand the existence of God. Without realizing Krsna, one cannot make his life perfect. The conclusion is that when the children are grown, the wife should be put in the children’s charge. The husband may then leave home to develop Krsna consciousness. Everything depends on the development of mature knowledge. King Pracinabarhisat, the father of the Pracetas, left home before the arrival of his sons, who were engaged in austerity within the water. As soon as the time is ripe, or as soon as one has developed perfect Krsna consciousness, he should leave home, even though all his duties may not be fulfilled. Pracinabarhisat was waiting for the arrival of his sons, but following the instructions of Narada, as soon as his intelligence was properly developed, he simply left instructions for his ministers to impart to his sons. Thus without waiting for their arrival, he left home.
Giving up a comfortable home life is absolutely necessary for human beings and is advised by Prahlada Maharaja. Hitvatma- patam grham andha-kupam: to finish the materialistic way of life, one should leave his so-called comfortable home life, which is simply a means for killing the soul (atma-patam). The home is considered to be a dark well covered by grass, and if one falls within this well, he simply dies without anyone’s caring. One should therefore not be too much attached to family life, for it will spoil one’s development of Krsna consciousness.
(Bhag. 4.31.1 )
IN MIDDLE AGE ONE HAS TO VOLUNTARILY RETIRE FROM FAMILY LIFE
According to the varnasrama institution, one has to retire from family life in
middle age: pancasordhvam vanam vrajet. One should voluntarily retire from family life at the age of fifty and go to Vrndavana or a forest. …There is no benefit in transferring from one forest to another. One must go to the Vrndavana forest and take shelter of Govinda. That will make one happy. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is therefore constructing a Krsna-Balarama temple to invite its members as well as outsiders to come and live peacefully in a spiritual atmosphere. That will help one become elevated to the transcendental world and return home, back to Godhead. …Being disgusted with family life, one separates from the family by divorce or some other means. If one has to separate, why not separate willingly? Systematic separation is better than forced separation. Forced separation cannot make anyone happy, but by mutual consent or by the Vedic arrangement one must separate from his family affairs at a certain age and fully depend on Krsna. This makes one’s life successful.
(Bhag. 5.13.8 , purp.)
HOUSEHOLDER LIFE IS ALLOWED ONLY UNTIL THE FIFTIETH YEAR
No one should waste his time in the so-called happiness of materialistic household life. In the Vedic civilization, this type of crippled life is allowed only until one’s fiftieth year, when one must give up family life and enter either the order of vanaprastha (independent retired life for cultivation of spiritual knowledge) or sannyasa (the renounced order, in which one completely takes shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead).
(Bhag. 5.18.13 , purp.)
ONE MUST GIVE UP HOUSEHOLD LIFE AT THE END OF THE FIFTIETH YEAR; HOWEVER, THE YOUNGER GENERATION CAN JOIN THE HARE KRSNA MOVEMENT IMMEDIATELY
The Vedic civilization therefore enjoins that at the end of one’s fiftieth year one must give up household life. This is compulsory. However, because modern civilization is mislead, householders want to remain in family life until death, and therefore they are suffering. In that case the disciples of Narada Muni advise all the members of the younger generation to joi n the Krsna Consciousness movement immediately. There is nothing wrong in this.
(Bhag. 6.5.36 , purp.)
THE VEDAS ENJOIN THAT AT FIFTY ONE MUST GIVE UP FAMILY LIFE AND LIVE ALONE IN THE FOREST
In the Vedic way of life one has to give up family life when he is strong enough. It is advised that before getting too weak and being baffled in material activities, and before becoming diseased, one should give up family life and engage oneself completely in the service of the Lord for the remaining days of his life. It is enjoined, therefore, in the Vedic scriptures, that as soon as one passes fifty years of age, he must give up family life and live alone in the forest. 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.)
THE MEANING OF GOING TO THE FOREST EXPLAINED
Going to the forest is compulsory for everyone. It is not a mental excursion upon which one person goes and another does not. Everyone should go to the forest at least as a vanaprastha. Forest-going means to take one-hundred-percent shelter of the Supreme Lord, as explained by Prahlada Maharaja in his talks with his father. Sada samudvigna-dhiyam (Bhag. 7.5.5). People who have accepted a temporary, material body are always full of anxieties. One should not, therefore, be very much affected by this material body, but should try to be freed. The preliminary process to become freed is to go to the forest or give up family relationships and exclusively engage in Krsna consciousness. That is the purpose of going to the forest. Otherwise, the forest is only a place of monkeys and wild animals. To go to the forest does not mean to become a monkey or a ferocious animal. It means to accept exclusively the shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and engage oneself in full service. One does not actually have to go to the forest. At the present moment this is not at all advisable for a man who has spent his life all along in big cities. As explained by Prahlada Maharaja (hitvatma-patam grham andha-kupam), one should not remain always engaged in the responsibilities of family life because family life without Krsna consciousness is just like a blind well. Alone in a field, if one falls into a blind well and no one is there to save him, he may cry for years, and no one well see or hear where the crying is coming from. Death is sure. Similarly, those who are forgetful of their eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord are in the blind well of family life; their position is very ominous. Prahlada Maharaja advised that one should give up this well somehow or other and take to Krsna consciousness and thus be freed from material entanglement, which is full of anxieties.
(Bhag. 3.24.41 , purp.)
IN INDIA, IT WAS THE PRACTICE OF SAINTLY KINGS TO GIVE UP THEIR KINGDOMS AND GO TO THE FOREST TO PRACTICE AUSTERITIES
TRANSLATION: After considering his advanced age and deliberating on the welfare of his spiritual self, King Uttanapada detached himself from worldly affairs and entered the forest. PURPORT: This is the sign of a rajarsi. King Uttanapada was very opulent and was emperor of the world, and these attachments were certainly very great. …It is within our experience that the politicians in India do not quit their positions until death. This was not the practice in olden days, as it is evident from the behavior of King Uttanapada. Immediately after installing his worthy son Dhruva Maharaja on the throne, he left his home and palace. There are hundreds and thousands of instances like this in which kings, in their mature age, would give up their kingdoms and go to the forest to practice austerity.
(Bhag. 4.9.67 )
VEDIC LITERATURES ENJOIN LEAVING HOME AND MEETING DEATH GLORIOUSLY WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OF FAMILY MEMBERS
Before meeting death one is sure to become a diseased invalid, and when he is neglected by his family members, his life becomes less than a dog’s because he is put into so many miserable conditions. Vedic literatures enjoin, therefore, that before the arrival of such miserable conditions, one should leave home and die without the knowledge of his family members. If a man leaves home and dies without his family’s knowing, that is considered to be a glorious death.
(Bhag. 3.30.15 , purp.)
ONE WHO HAS SPOILED HIS LIFE WITHOUT HAVING CULTIVATED DEVOTIONAL SERVICE TO THE LORD SHOULD FREE HIMSELF FROM ALL OBLIGATIONS TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND GIVE UP HIS BODY AT AN UNKNOWN PLACE
TRANSLATION: He is called undisturbed who goes to an unknown, remote place and, freed from all obligations, quits his material body when it has become useless. PURPORT: Narottama dasa Thakura, a great devotee and acarya of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sect, has sung: “My Lord, I have simply wasted my life. Having obtained the human body, I have neglected to worship Your Lordship, and therefore I have willingly drunk poison.” In other words, the human body is especially meant for cultivating knowledge of devotional service to the Lord, without which life becomes full of anxieties and miserable conditions. Therefore, one who has spoiled his life without such cultural activities is advised to leave home without knowledge of friends and relatives and, being thus freed from all obligations of family, society, country, etc., give up the body at some unknown destination so that others may not know where and how he has met his death.
(Bhag. 1.13.26 )
TO STICK TO FAMILY LIFE UNTIL THE END IS THE GROSSES TYPE OF DEGRADATION
The system of varnasrama religion sets aside a part of one’s life completely for the purpose of self-realization and attainment of salvation in the human form of life. That is a routine division of life, but persons like Dhrtarastra, even at their weary ripened age, want to stay home, even in a degraded condition of accepting charity from enemies. Vidura wanted to point this out and impressed upon him that it was better to die like his sons than accept such humiliating charity. Five thousand years ago there was one Dhrtarastra, but at the present moment there are Dhrtarastras in every home. Politicians especially do not retire from political activities unless they are dragged by the cruel hand of death or killed by some opposing element. To stick to family life to the end of one’s human life is the grossest type of degradation and there is an absolute need for the Viduras to educate such Dhrtarastras, even at the present moment.
(Bhag. 1.13.24, purp.)
UNDUE AFFECTION FOR FAMILY OBSTRUCTS SELF-REALIZATION Dhira means one who is not disturbed, even when there is sufficient provocation. One cannot give up a comfortable family life due to his affectionate relation with wife and children. Self-realization is obstructed by such undue affection for family, and if anyone is at all able to forget such a relation, he is called undisturbed, or dhira. This is, however, the path of renunciation based on a frustrated life, but stabilization of such renunciation is possible only by association with bona fide saints and self-realized souls by which one can be engaged in the loving devotional service of the Lord. Sincere surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord is possible by awakening the transcendental sense of service. This is made possible by association with pure devotees of the Lord. Dhrtarastra was lucky enough to have a brother whose very association was a source of liberation for this frustrated life.
(Bhag. 1.13.26, purp.)
TO CONTINUE IN FAMILY LIFE UNTIL THE END IS CONSIDERED SUICIDAL
We have discussed many times before that the system of varnasrama-dharma, as it was strictly followed by the inhabitants of the world, specifically by those who inhabited the Aryavarta province of the world, emphasizes the importance of leaving all household connections at a certain stage of life. The training and education was so imparted, and thus a respectable person like Maharaja Yudhisthira had to leave all family connection for self-realization and going back to Godhead. No king or respectable gentleman would continue family life till the end, because that was considered suicidal and against the interest of the perfection of human life. In order to be free from all family encumbrances and devote oneself cent percent in the devotional service of Lord Krsna, this system is always recommended for everyone because it is the path of authority. The Lord instructs in the Bhagavad-gita (18.62 ) that one must become a devotee of the Lord at least at the last stage of one’s life. A sincere soul of the Lord like Maharaja Yudhisthira must abide by this instruction of the Lord for his own interest.
(Bhag. 1.15.44, purp.)
DESPITE HAVING THE SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD AT HOME AS HIS SON, KARDAMA MUNI LEFT HOME JUST TO OBEY THE AUTHORITY OF VEDIC INJUNCTIONS
Kardama Muni was to leave his family life to completely engage in the service of the Lord. But since he knew that the Lord Himself, as Kapila, had taken birth in his home as his own son, why was he preparing to leave home to search out self- realization or God realization? God Himself was present in his home–why should he leave home? Such a question may certainly arise. But here it is said that whatever is spoken in the Vedas and whatever is practiced in accordance with the injunctions of the Vedas is to be accepted as authoritative in society. Vedic authority says that a householder must leave home after his fiftieth year. Panca- sordhvam vanam vrajet: one must leave his family life and enter the forest after the age of fifty. This is an authoritative statement of the Vedas, based on the division of social life into four departments of activity–brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa. Kardama Muni practiced yoga very rigidly as a brahmacari before his marriage, and he became so powerful and attained so much mystic power that his father, Brahma, ordered him to marry and beget children as a householder. Kardama did that also; he begot nine good daughters and one son, Kapila Muni, and thus his householder duty was also performed nicely, and now his duty was to leave. Even though he had the Supreme Personality of Godhead as his son, he had to respect the authority of the Vedas. This is a very important lesson. Even if one has God in his home as his son, one should still follow the Vedic injunctions. It is stated, mahajano yena gatah sa panthah: one should traverse the path which is followed by great personalities.
Kardama Muni’s example is very instructive, for in spite of having the Supreme Personality of Godhead as his son, he left home just to obey the authority of the Vedic injunction. Kardama Muni stated here the main purpose of his leaving home: while traveling all over the world as a mendicant, he would always remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart and thereby be freed from all the anxieties of material existence.
The main purpose of sannyasa life is to be in constant companionship with the Supreme Lord, either by thinking of Him within the heart or hearing of Him through aural reception. In this age, hearing is more important than thinking because one’s thinking may be disturbed by mental agitation, but if one concentrates on hearing, he will be forced to associate with the sound vibration of Krsna. Krsna and the sound vibration “Krsna” are nondifferent, so if one loudly vibrates Hare Krsna, he will be able to think of Krsna immediately. This process of chanting is the best process of self-realization in this age; therefore Lord Caitanya preached it so nicely for the benefit of all humanity.
(Bhag. 3.24.35 , purp.)
IF ONE PERMANENTLY CONCENTRATES ON LIVING WITH HIS FAMILY WITHOUT PROMOTING HIMSELF TO VANAPRASTHA AND SANNYASA IT IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD THAT HE IS KILLING HIMSELF
The vanaprasthas, who have retired from family life, generally lament about their past family life because it engaged them in trying to fulfill lusty desires. Prahlada Maharaja said that one should retire from family life as soon as possible, and he described family life as the darkest well (hitvatma-patam grham andha-kupam). If one continuously or permanently concentrates on living with his family, he should be understood to be killing himself. In the Vedic civilization, therefore, it is recommended that one retire from family life at the end of his fiftieth year and go to vana, the forest. When he becomes expert or accustomed to forest life, or retired life as a vanaprastha, he should accept sannyasa. Vanam gato yad dharim asrayeta. Sannyasa means accepting unalloyed engagement in the service of the Lord. Vedic civilization therefore recommends four different stages of life–brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa. One should be very much ashamed of remaining a householder and not promoting oneself to the two higher stages, namely vanaprastha and sannyasa.
(Bhag. 9.19.2 , purp.)
ONE SHOULD RETIRE BY FORCE FROM ATTACHED FAMILY LIFE, THEN HE WILL BE SUCCESSFUL
When Maharaja Yayati accepted Devayani, he became too attached and had sex life not only with her but with others, like Sarmistha. Yet still he was dissatisfied. Therefore one should retire by force from such family life as Yayati’s. When one is fully convinced of the degrading nature of worldly family life, one should completely renounce this way of life, take sannyasa, and engage himself fully in the service of the Lord. Then one’s life will be successful. (Bhag. 9.19.3 , purp.)
VEDIC CIVILIZATION IS SUCH THAT ONE MUST TAKE VANAPRASTHA (RETIRED LIFE) AND CUT OF F AFFECTION FOR FAMILY
Therefore the Vedic civilization is that the affection is to be cut off compulsory at a certain age, not that the affection should continue. If the affection continues, then there is no chance of my becoming free from this material world. There is no chance. Therefore vanaprastha. Because the wife’s, affection with the wife, is very, very strong. So vanaprastha means the husband and wife, they give up the affection, not give up, go away from home, and they travel in the holy places just to purify, and again, when the affection draws, they come to the family. Again remain for one or two months, then again go away. So the wife, there is no sex connection, but wife remains as assistant to the man to be accustomed how to remain aloof from the family.
(LECTURE Bhag. 1.8.41 Oct. 21, 1974, Sri Mayapur)
IT IS ESSENTIAL TO RENOUNCE FAMILY RESPONSIBILITY AND FULLY CONCENTRATE ON THE LOTUS FEE T OF VASUDEVA
TRANSLATION: Srila Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Thereafter, because of his advanced position in devotional life, Maharaja Ambarisa, who no longer desired to live with material things, retired from active family life. He divided his property among his sons, who were equally as qualified, and he himself took the order of vanaprastha and went to the forest to concentrate his mind fully upon Lord Vasudeva.
PURPORT: Maharaja Ambarisa was undoubtedly liberated in any condition, but as an ideal king he accepted the vanaprastha order of retirement from family life. It is essential for one to renounce family responsibilities and fully concentrate on the lotus feet of Vasudeva. Therefore Maharaja Ambarisa divided the kingdom among his sons and retired from family life.
(Bhag. 9.5.26 )
AFTER HOUSEHOLDER LIFE ONE SHOULD RETIRE
Tapas, or austerity is especially meant for the retired life. One should not remain a householder throughout his whole life; he must always remember that there are four divisions of life, brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa. So after grhastha, householder life, one should retire. If one lives for a hundred years, he should spend twenty-five years in student life, twenty-five years in householder life, twenty-five years in retired life and twenty-five in the renounced order of life. These are the regulations of the Vedic religious discipline.
(B.g. 16.1-3, purp.)
VARNASRAMA IS PLANNED SO THAT ONE MAY TAKE SANNYASA IN DUE COURSE
Varnasrama is planned for material life in a systematic way so that, in due course of time, one may give up the family relationship and take sannyasa, and completely devote for Krsna’s service. This is the plan of varnasrama-dharma. Varnasrama-dharma is not meant for planning something, and you remain in the family.
(LECTURE Bhag. 1.8.41, Oct. 21, 1974, Sri Mayapur)
BECAUSE HE HAS NO WIFE , A SANNYASI IS NOT CONSIDERED TO LIVE AT “HOME”
Another significant phrase here is naite grhan hy avasan, “they did not live at home.” Grha means “home” as well as “wife”. In fact, “home” means wife; “home” does not mean a room or a house. One who lives with a wife lives at home, otherwise a sannyasi or brahmacari, even though he may live in a room or in a house, does not live at home. That they did not live at home means that they did not accept a wife.
(Bhag. 4.8.1 , purp.)
AFTER ENJOYING FAMILY LIFE, ONE SHOULD TAKE SANNYASA AT THE AGE OF FIFTY TO PLEASE LORD VISNU
Prahlada Maharaja recommends that while one’s senses are there and one is strong enough, he should abandon the grhastha- asrama and take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord, going to the forest of Vrndavana. According to Vedic civilization, one has to give up family life at a certain age (the age of fifty), take vanaprastha and eventually remain alone as a sannyasi. That is the prescribed method of Vedic civilization known as varnasrama-dharma. When one takes sannyasa after enjoying family life, he pleases the Supreme Lord Visnu.
(Bhag. 4.29.54 , purp.)
ONE WHO LEAVES HOME TO DEPEND FULLY ON THE PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD IS A FIRST CLASS MAN
TRANSLATION: He is certainly a first-class man who awakens and understands, either by himself or from others, the falsity and misery of this material world and thus leaves home and depends fully on the Personality of Godhead residing within his heart.
(Bhag. 1.13.27 )
FALSE RELATIONSHIPS OF FAMILY BONDAGE ARE AN ENTANGLEMENT PURPORT: The four sons of Brahma, the Kumaras, declined to become family men even on the request of their great father, Brahma. Those who are serious about gaining release from material bondage should not be entangled in the false relationship of family bondage.
(Bhag. 3.12.5 , purp.)
4. A SANNYASI CANNOT MEET FORMER WIFE (top)
A SANNYASI’S RELATIONSHIP WITH FORMER WIF E EXPLAINED
The Lord stayed at Sri Advaita Prabhu’s house for a few days, and knowing well that the Lord was leaving His hearth and home for good, Sri Advaita Prabhu sent His men to Navadvipa to bring mother Saci to have a last meeting with her son. Some unscrupulous people say that Lord Caitanya met His wife also after taking sannyasa and offered her His wooden slipper for worship, but the authentic sources give no information about such a meeting.
(Bhag. Intro, page 16)
5. WIFE CANNOT REMAIN AS SERVITOR IN THE SANNYASA STAGE (top)
THE WIF E CAN REMAIN AS A VOLUNTARY SERVITOR IN THE VANAPRASTHA STAGE, BUT NOT IN THE SANNYASA STAGE
TRANSLATION:The gentle and chaste Gandhari, who was the daughter of king Subala of Kandahar [or Gandhara], followed her husband, seeing that he was going to the Himalaya Mountains, which are the delight of those who have accepted the staff of the renounced order like fighters who have accepted a good lashing from the enemy.
PURPORT: As a woman, Gandhari could have remained at home at her father’s house, but as a chaste and gentle lady she followed her husband without consideration. Instructions for the renounced order of life were imparted to Dhrtarastra by Vidura, and Gandhari was by the side of her husband. But he did nor ask her to follow him because at that time he was fully determined, like a great warrior who faces all kinds of dangers on the battlefield. He was no longer attracted to so called wife or relatives, and he decided to start alone, but as a chaste lady Gandhari decided to follow her husband till the last moment. Maharaja Dhrtarastra accepted the order of vanaprastha, and at this stage the wife is allowed to remain as a voluntary servitor, but in the sannyasa stage no wife can stay with her former husband. A sannyasi is considered to be a dead man civilly, and therefore the wife becomes a civil widow without connection with her former husband. Maharaja Dhrtarastra did not deny his faithful wife, and she followed her husband at her own risk.
(Bhag. 1.13.30 )
THE RETIRED HOUSEHOLDER, AFTER TRAINING IN THE VANAPRASTHA ASRAMA WOULD BECOME A SANNYASI STRICTLY SEPARATED FROM WOMEN, EVEN FROM HIS WIFE
The householder who associates with woman under scriptural restrictions, after a thorough training of brahmacarya, cannot be a householder like cats and dogs. Such a householder, after fifty years of age, would retire from the association of woman as a vanaprastha to be trained to live alone without the association of woman. When the practice is complete, the same retired householder becomes a sannyasi, strictly separate from woman, even from his married wife.
(Bhag. 2.7.6, purp.)
A SANNYASI DOES NOT TAKE HIS WIF E WITH HIM
A sannyasi is not supposed to take his wife with him. At the vanaprastha stage of retired life, or the stage midway between householder life and renounced life, one may keep his wife as an assistant without sex relations, but in the sannyasa order of life one cannot keep his wife with him.
(Bhag. 3.24.40 , purp.)
SRIMATI VISNUPRIYA BORE SEPARATION FROM LORD CAITANYA THROUGHOUT HER LIFE
For His first twenty-four years He remained at Navadvipa as a student and householder. His first wife was Srimati Laxmiprya, who died at an early age when the Lord was away from home. When He returned from East Bengal He was requested by His mother to accept a second wife, and He agreed. His second wife was Srimati Visnupriya Devi, who bore the separation of the Lord throughout the her life because the Lord took the order of sannyasa at the age of twenty-four, when Srimati Visnupriya was barely sixteen years old.
(Bhag. Intro, page 4)
6. A SANNYASI’S SON STAYS AT HOME TO DELIVER THE MOTHER (top)
WHEN A MAN TAKES SANNYASA, HIS SON STAYS AT HOME TO DELIVER THE MOTHER
Kardama Muni was anxious about his good wife, Devahuti, while leaving home, and so the worthy son promised that not only would Kardama Muni be freed from the material entanglement, but Devahuti would also be freed by receiving instruction from her son. A very good example is set here: the husband goes away, taking the sannyasa order for self-realization, but his representative, the son, who is equally educated, remains at home to deliver the mother. A sannyasi is not supposed to take his wife with him. At the vanaprastha stage of retired life, or the stage midway between householder life and renounced life, one may keep his wife as an assistant without sex relations, but in the sannyasa order of life one cannot keep his wife with him. Otherwise, a person like Kardama Muni could have kept his wife with him, and there would have been no hindrance to his prosecution of self-realization.
Kardama Muni followed the Vedic injunction that no one in sannyasa life can have any kind of relationship with women. But what is the position of a woman who is left by her husband? She is entrusted to the son, and the son promises that he will deliver his mother from entanglement. A woman is not supposed to take sannyasa. So-called spiritual societies concocted in modern times give sannyasa even to women, although there is no sanction in the Vedic literature for a woman’s accepting sannyasa. Otherwise, if it were sanctioned, Kardama Muni could have taken his wife and given her sannyasa. The woman must remain at home. She has only three stages of life: dependency on the father in childhood, dependency on the husband in youth, and, in old age, dependency on the grown-up son, such as Kapila. In old age the progress of woman depends on the grown-up son. The ideal son, Kapila Muni, is assuring His father of the deliverance of His mother so that His father may go peacefully without anxiety for his good wife.
(Bhag. 3.24.40 , purp.)
7. SANNYASA IS NOT MEANT FOR KSATRIYAS (top)
DIRECT SANNYASA NOT MEANT FOR KSATRIYAS
The ksatriyas are especially trained for challenging and killing because religious violence is sometimes a necessary factor. Therefore ksatriyas are never meant for accepting directly the order of sannyasa or renunciation.
(B.g. 2.31 , purp.)
8. HOUSEHOLDER’S DUTY IS TO GIVE ALMS TO THE MENDICANT (top)
HOUSEHOLDERS SHOULD TREAT MENDICANTS AS THEIR OWN CHILDREN
In the sanatana-dharma institution, alms-giving to the mendicant is part of a householder’s duty, and it is advised in the scriptures that the householders should treat the mendicants as their family children and should provide them with food, clothing, etc., without being asked.
(Bhag. 2.2.5, purp.)
IT IS THE DUTY OF HOUSEHOLDERS TO MAINTAIN THE SANNYASIS LIKE THEIR CHILDREN
TRANSLATION: O powerful brahmana, it is said that you hardly stay in the houses of men long enough to milk a cow.
PURPORT: Saints and sages in the renounced order of life go to the houses of the householders at the time they milk the cows, early in the morning, and ask some quantity of milk for subsistence. A pound of milk fresh from the milk bag of a cow is sufficient to feed and adult with all vitamin values, and therefore saints and sages live only on milk. Even the poorest of the householders keep at least ten cows, each delivering twelve to twenty quarts of milk, and therefore no one hesitates to spare a few pounds of milk for the mendicants. It is the duty of householders to maintain the saints and sages, like the children. So a saint like Sukadeva Gosvami would hardly stay at the house of a householder for more than five minutes in the morning. In other words, such saints are very rarely seen in the houses of householders, and Maharaja Pariksit therefore prayed to him to instruct him as soon as possible. The householders also should be intelligent enough to get some transcendental information from visiting sages. The householder should not foolishly ask a saint to deliver what is available in the market. That should be the reciprocal relation between the saints and the householders.
(Bhag. 1.19.39 )
IT IS THE DUTY OF A GRIHASTA TO INVITE A SANNYASI TO HIS HOME
It is the duty of all grhasthas to invite a sannyasi to their homes if he happens to be in the neighborhood or village. This very system is still current in India. If a sannyasi is in the neighborhood of a village, he is invited by all householders, one after another. As long as a sannyasi remains in the village, he enlightens the inhabitants in spiritual understanding. In other words, a sannyasi has no housing or food problems even when he travels extensively.
(Cc. Madhya 3.168 , purp.)
HOUSEHOLDERS ALSO MAKE ADVANCEMENT BY HELPING THE OTHER THREE ORDERS
There are four social orders for cooperation in the endeavor for liberation from material existence. The orders of brahmacarya, or pious student life, household life with a wife, retired life and renounced life all depend for successful advancement on the householder who lives with a wife. This cooperation is essential for the proper functioning of the institution of the four social orders and the four spiritual orders of life. This Vedic varnasrama system is generally known as the caste system. The man who lives with a wife has a great responsibility in maintaining the members of the other social order–the brahmacaris, vanaprasthas and sannyasis. Except for the grhasthas, or the householders, everyone is supposed to engage in the spiritual advancement of life, and therefore the brahmacari, the vanaprastha and the sannyasi have very little time to earn a livelihood. They therefore collect alms from the grhasthas, and thus they secure the bare necessities of life and cultivate spiritual understanding. By helping the other three sections of society cultivate spiritual values, the householder also makes advancement in spiritual life. Ultimately every member of society automatically becomes spiritually advanced and easily crosses the ocean of nescience.
(Bhag. 3.14.18 , purp.)
A HOUSEHOLDER SHOULD GIVE A SANNYASI WHATEVER HE WANTS
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.)
9. A SANNYASI MAY BEG ONLY WITHIN THE PRESCRIBED LIMIT (top)
A SANNYASI SHOULD NOT BEG INAPPROPRIATE SUMS
TRANSLATION0N: “Of course a sannyasi or brahmana may beg for up to five gandas, but why should he be granted the inappropriate sum of 200,00 0 kahanas of conchshells?”
(Cc. Antya 9.40 )
PURPORT: The kaudi is like an American cent or Japanese yen. In the old medium of exchange, the first unit of currency was a small conchshell called a kaudi. Four kaudis made one ganda, twenty gandas made one pana, and sixteen panas made one kahana.
(Cc. Antya 9.119 , purp.)
A SANNYASI IS PUNISHABLE IF HE TAKES MORE THAN NECESSARY
A brahmana or sannyasi is qualified to ask charity from others, but if he takes more than necessary he is punishable. No one can use more of the Supreme Lord’s property than necessary. Lord Vamanadeva indirectly indicated to Bali Maharaja that he was occupying more land than he needed. In the material world, all distresses are due to extravagance. One acquires money extravagantly and also spends it extravagantly. Such activities are sinful. All property belongs to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all living beings, who are sons of the Supreme Lord, have the right to use the Supreme Father’s property, but one cannot take more than necessary. This principle should especially be followed by brahmanas and sannyasis who live at the cost of others.
(Bhag. 8.19.17 , purp.)
ONE SHOULD BE CONTENT WITH THE BAREST NECESSITIES
To teach this highest culture, varnasrama-dharma is recommended. The aim of the varnasrama divisions–brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, brahmacarya, grhasta, vanaprastha and sannyasa–is to train one to control the senses and be content with the bare necessities.
(Bhag. 8.19.21 , purp.)
10. SANNYASIS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE PARASITES (top)
SANNYASIS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE PARASITES AT THE EXPENSE OF SOCIETY
The renounced order of life is never meant for begging or living at the cost of others as a parasite. According to the dictionary, a parasite is a sycophant who lives at the cost of society without making any contribution to that society. The renounced order is meant for contributing something substantial to society and not depending on the earnings of the householders. On the contrary, acceptance of alms from the householders by the bona fide mendicant is an opportunity afforded by the saint for the tangible benefit of the donor. In the sanatana-dharma institution, alms-giving to the mendicant is part of a householder’s duty, and it is advised in the scriptures that the householders should treat the mendicants as their family children and should provide them with food, clothing, etc., without being asked. Pseudo-mendicants, therefore, should not take advantage of the charitable disposition of the faithful householders.
(Bhag 2.2.5, purp.)
11. A SANNYASI IS NATURALLY OFFERED RESPECT (top)
A SANNYASI IS NATURALLY OFFERED RESPECT
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu decided to take sannyasa so that people would not commit offenses against Him, considering Him an ordinary householder, for in India even now a sannyasi is naturally offered respect.
(Cc. Adi 17.250 , purp.)
TRANSLATION: If a person offers obeisances to Lord Caitanya , even due to accepting HIm only as an ordinary sannyasi, his material distresses will diminish, and he will ultimately get liberation.
(Cc. Adi 8.11 )
ONE SHOULD IMMEDIATELY OFFER RESPECT UPON SEEING A SANNYASI
Devotees and saintly persons advanced in the renounced order can deliver even the Ganges. Tirthi-kurvanti tirthani svantah-sthena gadabhrita (Bhag. 1.13.10) . Because saintly devotees always keep the Lord within the core of their heart, they can perfectly cleanse the holy places of all sinful reactions. Therefore, people in general must always respectfully honor saintly persons. It is ordered that as soon as one sees a vaisnava or even a sannyasi, one should immediately offer respects to such a holy man. If one forgets to show respect in this way, one must observe a fast for that day. This is a Vedic injunction. One must be extremely careful to refrain from committing offenses at the lotus feet of a devotee or saintly person.
(Bhag. 9.9. 6 purp.)
IF ONE NEGLECTS TO OFFER OBEISANCES TO A SANNYASI THE PRESCRIBED PRAYASCITTA (ATONEMENT) IS TO FAST FOR ONE DAY
The sastric injunction declares:
yatim caiva tridandinam
namaskaram na kuryad
yah prayascittiyate narah
TRANSLATION: “One who does not offer respect to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to His Deity in the temple or to a tridandi sannyasi must undergo prayascitta [atonement].” If one does not offer obeisances to such a sannyasi, the prescribed prayascitta is to fast for one day.
(Cc. Adi 17.265 )
OFFERING OBEISANCES TO A SANNYASI DIMINISHES OFFENSES AND PURIFIES THE HEART
TRANSLATION: “Offering obeisances will relieve them of all the reactions to their offenses. Then by My grace, devotional service [bhakti] will awaken in their pure hearts.
PURPORT: According to Vedic injunctions, only a brahmana may be offered sannyasa. The Sankara-sampradaya (ekadanda-sannyasa- sampradaya) awards the sannyasa order only to caste brahmanas, or born brahmanas, but in the Vaisnava system even one not born in a brahmana family may be made a brahmana according to the direction of the Hari-bhakti-vilasa (tatha diksa-vidhanena dvijatvam jayate nrnam). Any person from any part of the world may be made a brahmana by the regular process of initiation, and when he follows brahminical behavior, observing the principle of abstaining from intoxication, illicit sex, meat- eating and gambling, he may be offered sannyasa. All the sannyasis in the Krsna consciousness movement, who are preaching all over the world, are regular brahmana-sannyasis. Thus the so-called caste brahmanas should not object to offering them respectful obeisances. By offering such obeisances, as recommended by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, they will diminish their offenses and automatically awaken to their natural position of devotional service. As it is said, nitya-siddha krsna-prema sadhya kabhu naya: krsna-prema can be awakened in a purified heart. The more we offer obeisances to sannyasis, especially Vaisnava sannyasis, the more we diminish our offenses and purify our hearts. Only in a purified heart can krsna- prema awaken. This is the process of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s cult, the Krsna consciousness movement.
(Cc. Adi 17.266 )
A SANNYASI IS OFFERED A HIGHER SEAT OUT OF RESPECT TO HIS POSITION
TRANSLATION: When they entered the temple, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya offered Caitanya Mahaprabhu a seat, while he himself sat down on the floor out of due respect for a sannyasi.
(Cc. Madhya 6.119 )
12. A GRHASTA CANNOT FALSELY ADOPT THE TITLE OF GOSVAMI (top)
A GRHASTA CANNOT FALSELY ADOPT THE TITLE GOSVAMI
One who is still in family life should not misuse the title gosvami. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura did not recognize the caste gosvamis because they were not in the line of the six Gosvamis in the renounced order who were direct disciples of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu–namely, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Bhatta Raghunatha Gosvami, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said that the grhasthasrama, or the status of family life, is a sort of concession for sense gratification. Therefore a grhastha should not falsely adopt the title gosvami. The ISKCON movement has never conferred the title gosvami upon a householder. Although all the sannyasis we have initiated in ISKCON are young, we have awarded them the titles of the renounced order of life, svami and gosvami, because they have completely dedicated their lives to preach the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
(Cc. Adi 12.27, purp.)
13. GRIHASTA STAGE IS SURPASSED THROUGH PROPER TRAINING (top)
THROUGH PROPER TRAINING ONE SURPASSES THE STAGE OF GRIHASTA AND GOES TO THE FOREST TO TAKE SANNYASA
A trained grhastha can gradually give up household life and go to the forest to become increasingly enlightened in spiritual life and at last take sannyasa. Prahlada Maharaja explained to his father that to be freed from all material anxieties one should go to the forest. Hitvatma-patam grhan andha-kupam. One should give up his household, which is a place for going further and further down into the darkest regions of material existence. The first advice, therefore, is that one must give up household life (grham andha-kupam). However, if one prefers to remain in the dark well of household life because of uncontrolled senses, he becomes increasingly entangled by ropes of affection for his wife, children, servants, house, money and so on. Such a person cannot attain liberation from material bondage. Therefore children should be taught from the very beginning of life to be first-class brahmacaris. Then it will be possible for them to give up household life in the future.
To return home, back to Godhead, one must be completely free from material attachment. Therefore, bhakti-yoga means vairagya- vidya, the art that can help one develop a distaste for material enjoyment. …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. Unless one is master of the senses, he should not accept the renounced order of life, sannyasa. A strong inclination for sense enjoyment is the cause of the material body. Without full knowledge one cannot be unattached to material enjoyment, but as long as one is not in that position one is not fit to return home, back to Godhead.
(Bhag. 7.6.9, purp.)
14. A SANNYASI CAN ENCOURAGE MARRIAGE CEREMONY (top)
SANNYASIS CAN ENCOURAGE MARRIAGE CEREMONY
Should a sannyasi, who is in the renounced order of life and who has given up his family relations, encourage the marriage ceremony? The Lord says here that any sacrifice which is meant for human welfare should never be given up. Vivaha- yajna, the marriage ceremony, is meant to regulate the human mind to become peaceful for spiritual advancement. For most men, this vivaha- yajna should be encouraged even by persons in the renounced order of life. sannyasis should never associate with women, but that does not mean that one who is in the lower stages of life, a young man, should not accept a wife in the marriage ceremony.
(B.g. 18.5, purp.)
TO SPREAD KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS A SANNYASI MAY SOMETIMES TAKE PART IN A MARRIAGE CEREMONY
Sometimes we take part in a marriage ceremony for our disciples, but this does not mean that we are interested in karma-kanda activities. Sometimes, not knowing the Vaisnava philosophy, an outsider criticizes such activity, maintaining that a sannyasi should not take part in a marriage ceremony between a young boy and girl. However, this is not a karma-kanda activity because our purpose is to spread the Krsna consciousness movement. We are giving all facility to the general populace to take to Krsna consciousness, and in order to fix the devotees in concentration on the service of the Lord, marriage is sometimes allowed. We have experienced that such married couples actually render very important service to the mission. Therefore, one should not misunderstand when a sannyasi takes part in a marriage ceremony. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu took great pleasure in hearing about the marriage ceremony between the young brahmana and the daughter of the elderly brahmana.
(Cc. Madhya 5.24 , purp.)
SANNYASI MAY PERFORM THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY FOR HIS DISCIPLE
Similarly, a sannyasi may perform a marriage ceremony to help his disciple in the advancement of Krsna consciousness. If one renounces such activities, it is to be understood that he is acting in the mode of darkness.
(B.g. 18.7, purp.)
TO ESTABLISH DAIVA VARNASRAMA A SANNYASA CAN TAKE PART IN THE MARRIAGE OF HIS DISCIPLES
Sometimes we are criticized because although I am a sannyasi, I have taken part in the marriage ceremonies of my disciples. It must be explained, however, that since we have started a Krsna conscious society and since a human society must also have ideal marriages, to correctly establish and ideal society we must take part in marrying some of its members, although we have taken to the path of renunciation. This may be astonishing to persons who are not very interested in establishing daiva-varnasrama, the transcendental system of four social orders and four spiritual order. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, however, wanted to re-establish daiva- varnasrama. In daiva-varnasrama there cannot be acknowledgment of social status according to birthright because in Bhagavad-gita it is said that the determining considerations are guna and karma, one’s qualities and work. It is this daiva-varnasrama that should be established all over the world to continue a perfect society for Krsna consciousness. This may be astonishing to foolish critics, but it is one of the functions of a Krsna conscious society.
(Bhag. 5.1.24 , purp.)
SANNYASIS DO NOT GENERALLY PARTICIPATE IN MARRIAGE CEREMONIES
Since boys and girls in the Western countries freely intermingle, special concessions regarding their customs and habits are necessary to bring them to Krsna consciousness. The acarya must devise a means to bring them to devotional service. Therefore, although I am a sannyasi I sometimes take part in getting boys and girls married, although in the history of sannyasa no sannyasi has personally taken part in marrying his disciples.