XIII Miscellaneous Facts

>> “Srila Prabhupada Quotes” >Miscellaneous Facts

1. Names of sannyasis
2. Promoted to brahmaloka
3. Can enter into sun globe
4. Addressed as maharaja
5. Do not offer blessings or obeisances
6. Sannyasa dress
7. A sannyasi’s body is buried, not burned
8. Various sannyasis and pseudo sannyasis described

1. NAMES OF SANNYASIS (top)

NAMES OF SANNYASIS

According to the Sankara sect there are ten different names for sannyasis. Out of them, three names–Tirtha, Asrama and Sarasvati–are given to the sannyasis considered to be the most enlightened and cultured. Since Lord Caitanya was a vaisnava, He was naturally humble and meek, and He wanted to give the better sitting place to Prakasananda, who belonged to the sarasvati sampradaya.
According to sankara’s principles, a brahmacari of the Bharatic school is called Caitanya. However, although Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, He kept His brahmacari name and did not take up the title of Bharati.
(TLC ch. 18, page 197 )

NAMES OF SANNYASIS IN THE SANKARA SAMPRADAYA

In the Sankara-sampradaya there are ten different names awarded to sannyasis: (1 ) Tirtha, (2 ) Asrama, (3 ) Vana, (4 ) Aranya, (5 ) Giri, (6 ) Parvata, (7 ) Sagara, (8 ) Sarasvati, (9 ) Bharati and (10 ) Puri. Before one enters sannyasa, he has one of the various names for a brahmacari, the assistant to a sannyasi. Sannyasis with the titles Tirtha and Asrama generally stay at Dvaraka, and their brahmacari name is Svarupa. Those known by the names Vana and Aranya stay at Purusottama, or Jagannatha Puri, and their brahmacari name is Prakasa. Those with the names Giri, Parvata and Sagara generally stay at Badarikasrama, and their brahmacari name is Ananda. Those with the titles Sarasvati, Bharati and Puri usually live at Sringeri in South India, and their brahmacari name is Caitanya.
(Cc. Adi 3.34 , purp.)

SRILA BHAKTISIDDHANTA SARASVATI GOSVAMI MAHARAJA EXPLAINS WHY LORD CAITANYA KEPT HIS BRAHMACARI NAME

The great authorities in the disciplic succession had not offered to explain why Lord Caitanya refused to take the name Bharati after He took sannyasa from a Bharati, until Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja volunteered the explanation that because a sannyasi in the Sankara-sampradaya thinks that he has become the Supreme, Lord Caitanya, wanting to avoid such a misconception, kept the name Sri Krsna Caitanya, placing Himself as an eternal servitor. A brahmacari is supposed to serve the spiritual master; therefore He did not negate that relationship of servitude to His spiritual master. Accepting such a position is favorable for the relationship between the disciple and the spiritual master.
The authentic biographers also mention that Lord Caitanya accepted the danda (rod) and the begging pot, symbolic of the sannyasa order, at the time He took sannyasa.
(Cc. Adi 3.34 , purp.)

LORD CAITANYA KEPT BRAHMACARI NAME PLACING HIMSELF AS ETERNAL SERVITOR

Lord Caitanya remained an householder until His twenty fourth-year had passed. Then He entered the renounced order and remained manifest in this material world until His forty-eight year. Therefore sesa-lila, or the final portion of His activities, lasted twenty-four years. Some so-called Vaisnavas say that the renounced order of life is not accepted in the Vaisnava sampradaya, or disciplic succession, from Lord Caitanya. This is not a very intelligent proposition. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took the sannyasa order from Sripada Kesava Bharati, who belonged to the Sankara sect, which approves of only ten names for sannyasis. Long before the advent of Sripada Sankaracarya, however, the sannyasa order existed in the Vaisnava line of Visnusvami. In the Visnusvami Vaisnava sampradaya, there are ten different kinds of sannyasa names and 108 different names for sannyasis who accept the tri- danda, the triple staff of sannyasa. This is approved by the Vedic rules. Therefore Vaisnava sannyasa was existent even before the appearance of Sankaracarya, although those who know nothing about Vaisnava sannyasa unnecessarily declare that there is no sannyasa in the Vaisnava sampradaya. During the time of Lord Caitanya, the influence of Sankaracarya in society was very strong. People thought that one could accept sannyasa only in the disciplic succession of Sankaracarya. 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. Since His acceptance of sannyasa was also designed to attract public attention, Lord Caitanya, not wishing to disturb the social convention, took the renounced order of life from a sannyasi in the disciplic succession of Sankaracarya, although sannyasa was also sanctioned in the Vaisnava sampradaya.
(Cc. Adi 3.34 )

SANNYASIS SHOULD NOT CHANGE THEIR FORMER NAMES

Lord Caitanya did not accept the name of a sannyasi, and in this age of kali the so called sannyasis should not change their former names, following in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya.
(Bhag. 1.6.13, purp.)

THE NAME BRAHMANANDA IS ACCEPTED BY VAISNAVA SANNYASIS.

Brahmananda Puri. Sri Brahmananda Puri was one of the associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu while He was performing kirtana in Navadvipa, and he also joined Lord Caitanya in Jagannatha Puri. We may note in this connection that the

name Brahmananda is accepted not only by Mayavadi sannyasis but Vaisnava sannyasis also. One of our foolish Godbrothers criticized our sannyasi Brahmananda Svami, saying that this was a Mayavadi name. The foolish man did not know that Brahmananda does not always refer to the impersonal. Parabrahman, the Supreme Brahman, is Krsna. A devotee of Krsna can therefore also be called Brahmananda; this is evident from the fact that Brahmananda Puri was one of the chief sannyasi associates of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
(Cc. Adi 9.13-15 , purp.)

SANNYASA NAMES AND ATTRIBUTES DESCRIBED

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted sannyasa from the Bharati sampradaya (community), which belongs to the disciplic succession of Sankaracarya. Sankaracarya introduced names for his sannyasa disciples, and these are ten in number. Out of these, the surnames Tirtha, Asrama and Sarasvati are considered topmost. In the monastery at Srngeri, the surname Sarasvati is considered first class, Bharati second class and Puri third class. A sannyasi who has very nicely understood the slogan tat tvam asi and who takes his bath at the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Sarasvati is called a Tirtha. A person who is very eager to accept sannyasa, who is detached from worldly activities, who has no desire for any kind of material facilities and who is thus saved from repeated birth and death is known as Asrama. When a sannyasi lives in a beautiful, solitary place in the forest and is freed from all material desires, he is called Vana. A sannyasi who always lives in the forest and renounces all connection with the world in order to be elevated to the heavenly planets, where he can live in the nandana-kanana, is called Aranya. One who prefers living in the mountains engaging in the study of Bhagavad-gita and whose intelligence is fixed is called Giri. One who prefers living in great mountains, even among ferocious animals, to attain the summit of philosophical speculation (understanding that the essence of this material world is useless) is called Parvata. A sannyasi who has dipped into the ocean of the Absolute Truth and collected some valuable stones of knowledge from that ocean, who never falls from the regulative principles of a sannyasi, is called Sagara. One who has learned the classical art of music, who engages in its culture and who has become expert and completely aloof from material attachment is called Sarasvati. Sarasvati is the goddess of music and learning, and in one hand she holds a musical instrument called a vina. A sannyasi who is always engaged in music for spiritual elevation is called Sarasvati. One who has become completely educated and is freed from all kinds of ignorance and who is never unhappy, even in a distressed condition, is called Bharati. One who has become very expert in absolute knowledge, who is situated in the Absolute Truth and who always discusses the Absolute Truth is called Puri.
All these sannyasis are assisted by brahmacaris, who are described as follows: One who knows his real identity and is fixed in his particular occupational duty, who is always happy in spiritual understanding, is called Svarupa-brahmacari. One who completely knows the Brahman effulgence and is always engaged in the practice of yoga is called Prakasa-brahmacari. One who has acquired absolute knowledge and who always meditates on the Absolute Truth, knowledge, the unlimited and the Brahman effulgence, thus keeping himself in transcendental bliss, is called Ananda-brahmacari. One who is able to distinguish between matter and spirit, who is never disturbed by material transformations and who meditates on the unlimited, inexhaustible, auspicious Brahman effulgence is a first-class, learned brahmacari and is named Caitanya. When Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was talking with Gopinatha Acarya about Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sannyasa community, he appreciated the first name, “Sri Krsna”, but did not like the surname “Caitanya”, which is the name for a brahmacari belonging to the Bharati community. He therefore suggested that the Lord be elevated to the Sarasvati community. However, Gopinatha Acarya pointed out that the Lord does not depend on any external formality. Gopinatha Acarya was firmly convinced that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was Krsna Himself and therefore independent of any external ritual or formality. If one wants to engage in pure devotional service, he does not require titular superiority as a Bharati or a Sarasvati.
(Cc. Madhya 6.73 , purp.)

NAMES OF BRAHMACARIS AND SANNYASIS

In the Vedic discipline there are ten names for sannyasis, and it is customary for a brahmacari assisting a sannyasi of the designation Tirtha or Asrama to receive the title Svarupa. Damodara Svarupa was formerly a resident of Navadvipa, and his name was Purusottama Acarya. When he went to Varanasi, he took sannyasa from a sannyasi designated Tirtha. Although he received the title Svarupa in his brahmacari stage, he did not change his name when he took sannyasa. Actually as a sannyasi he should have been called Tirtha, but he chose to retain his original brahmacari title as Svarupa.
(Cc. Madhya 10.102 , purp.)

MUNI REFERS TO ONE IN THE RENOUNCED ORDER

TRANSLATION: “The word muni refers to one who is thoughtful, one who is grave or silent, an ascetic, one who keeps great vows, one in the renounced order, a saint. These are the different meanings of the word muni.
(Cc. Madhya 24.15 )

2. PROMOTED TO BRAHMALOKA (top)

EVEN THOUGH PROMOTED TO BRAHMALOKA, SANNYASIS ARE STILL SUBJECT TO DEATH

Elevated sannyasis are promoted to Brahma’s particular planet, Brahmaloka, which is the highest planet in the material universe and which survives all the heavenly planets in the upper strata of the planetary system, but in due course Brahma and inhabitants of Brahmaloka are subject to death, according to the law of material nature.
(B.g. 8.17 , purp.)

3. CAN ENTER INTO SUN GLOBE (top)

SANNYASIS ARE ELIGIBLE TO ENTER INTO SUN GLOBE IF ABSOLUTELY DEVOTED TO SPIRITUAL CULTURE

It is said that two kinds of men, namely the ksatriya who dies directly in front of the battlefield under Krsna’s personal orders and the person in the renounced order of life who is absolutely devoted to spiritual culture, are eligible to enter into the sun-globe, which is so powerful and dazzling.
(B.g. 1.31, purp.)

4. ADDRESSED AS MAHARAJA (top)

BECAUSE THEY ARE KINGS OF THEIR SENSES SANNYASIS ARE ADDRESSED AS MAHARAJA

In this verse Vidura is addressed as rajan, which means “O King.” In this regard, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments that a dhira never becomes angry because he is always situated in devotional service. Advanced devotees can control their senses; therefore a devotee can be addressed as rajan. A king controls and rules in various ways among citizens; similarly, one who can control his senses is the king of his senses. He is svami or gosvami. The svamis and gosvamis are therefore sometimes addressed as maharaja, or king.
(Bhag. 4.30.45 , purp.)

5. DO NOT OFFER BLESSINGS OR OBEISANCES (top)

A SANNYASI DOES NOT OFFE R BLESSINGS OR OBEISANCES TO ANYONE

According to smrti-sastra, a sannyasi does not offer obeisances or blessings
to anyone. It is said, sannyasi nirasir nirnamaskriyah: a sannyasi should not offer anyone blessings or obeisances.

(Cc. Antya 8.9, purp.)

6. SANNYASA DRESS (top)

DRESS FOR ACCEPTANCE OF SANNYASA

As a sannyasi, Krsna Caitanya put on nothing but a kaupina and a bahirvasa (outer covering). His head was without hair, and His hands bore a danda (stick) and a kamandalu (hermit’s water pot).
(TLC Prologue, page xvii [Bhaktivinode])

SANNYASIS DRESS IN SAFFRON CLOTH

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.
(Bhag. 3.15.31 , purp.)

VAISNAVA SANNYASIS USE SAFFRON COLORED LOINCLOTH

Brahmananda Bharati. Brahmananda Bharati went to see Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu at Jagannatha-dhama. At that time he used to wear only a deerskin to cover himself, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu indirectly indicated that He did not like this deerskin covering. Brahmananda Bharati therefore gave it up and accepted a loincloth of saffron color as used by Vaisnava sannyasis. For some time he lived with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu at Jagannatha Puri.
(Cc. Adi 9.14-15 , purp.)

A SANNYASI SHOULD NOT WEAR A DEERSKIN

Brahmananda Bharati belonged to the Sankara-sampradaya. The title bharati indicates one of the ten sannyasis in the Sankara- sampradaya. It is customary for a person who has renounced the world to cover his body with a deerskin or the bark of a tree. This is enjoined by Manu-samhita. However, if a sannyasi who has renounced the world simply wears a deerskin and does not spiritually advance, he is simply puffed up and conceited. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not like to see Brahmananda Bharati wearing a deerskin.
(Cc. Madhya 10.154 , purp.)

TRANSLATION: As soon as Brahmananda Bharati gave up his deerskin and covered himself with sannyasi robes, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came and offered His respects at his lotus feet.
(Cc. Madhya 10.161 )

Brahmananda Bharati went to see Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu at Jagannatha-dhama. At that time he used to wear only a deerskin to cover himself, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu indirectly indicated that He did not like this deerskin covering. Brahmananda Bharati therefore gave it up and accepted a loincloth of saffron color as used by Vaisnava sannyasis.
(Cc. Adi 9.1 5 purp.)

A SANNYASI SHOULD NOT DRESS HIMSELF IN CLOTHES SEWN BY A NEEDLE

The Vedas enjoin that for every ritualistic ceremony one must first become clean by bathing either in the water of the Ganges or Yamuna or in the sea. Then one may perform the ritualistic ceremony and offer clarified butter into the fire. In this verse the words paridhaya ahatani are especially significant. A sannyasi or a person about to perform a ritualistic ceremony should not dress himself in clothing sewn with a needle.
(Bhag. 8.9.14-15 , purp.)

SANNYASA DRESS AS A MATERIAL FORMALITY

The sannyasi dress is actually an attraction for material formality. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not like such formality, but He wanted the essence of it–service to Mukunda.
(Cc. Madhya 3.8, purp.)

7. A SANNYASI’S BODY IS BURIED, NOT BURNED (top)

BODIES OF SPIRITUALLY HIGH PERSONALITIES ARE BURIED, NOT BURNED

According to the Vedic system, the body of a high personality, a sannyasi, is not burned but buried, because a sannyasi’s body is considered spiritual, having ceased to engage in material activities.
(Path Of Perfection, page 5)

8. VARIOUS SANNYASIS AND PSEUDO SANNYASIS DESCRIBED (top)

EVEN AMONG SANNYASIS THERE ARE ENEMIES OF THE KRSNA CONSCIOUS MOVEMENT

TRANSLATION: By no means could he find any fault in the character of Haridasa Thakur. Therefore he called for local prostitutes and began a plan to discredit His Holiness. PURPORT: This is typical of atheistic men, but even among so-called religionists, sadhus, mendicants, sannyasis, and brahmacaris there are many enemies of the Krsna consciousness movement who always try to find faults in it, not considering that the movement is spreading automatically by the grace of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who wanted it spread all over the world, in every town and village.
(Cc. Antya 3.104 )

VARIOUS TYPES OF SANNYASIS, PSEUDO SANNYASIS, AND THEIR ACTIVITIES DESCRIBED

TRANSLATION: Then the great hero, Vijitasva, the son of King Prthu, again took the horse and returned to his father’s sacrificial arena. Since that time, certain men with a poor fund of knowledge have adopted the dress of a false sannyasi. It was King Indra who introduced this. PURPORT: Since time immemorial, the sannyasa order has carried the tridanda. Later Sankaracarya introduced the ekadandi- sannyasa. A tridandi-sannyasi is a Vaisnava sannyasi, and an ekadandi-sannyasi is a Mayavadi sannyasi. There are many other types of sannyasis, who are not approved by Vedic rituals. A type of pseudo-sannyasa was introduced by Indra when he tried to hide himself from the attack of Vijitasva, the great son of King Prthu. Now there are many different types of sannyasis. Some of them go naked, and some of them carry a skull and trident, generally known as kapalika. All of them were introduced under some meaningless circumstances, and those who have a poor fund of knowledge accept these false sannyasis and their pretenses, although they are not bona fide guides to spiritual advancement. At the present moment some missionary institutions, without referring to the Vedic rituals, have introduced some sannyasis who engage in sinful activities. The sinful activities forbidden by the sastras are illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating and gambling. These so-called sannyasis indulge in all these activities. They eat meat and flesh, fish, eggs and just about everything. They sometimes drink with the excuse that without alcohol, fish and meat, it is impossible to remain in the cold countries near the Arctic zone. These sannyasis introduce all these sinful activities in the name of serving the poor, and consequently poor animals are cut to pieces and go into the bellies of these sannyasis. As described in the following verses, such sannyasis are pakhandis. Vedic literature states that a person who puts lord Narayana on the level with Lord Siva or Lord Brahma immediately becomes a pakhandi. …In Kali- yuga the pakhandis are very prominent. However, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has tried to kill all these pakhandis by introducing His sankirtana movement.
Those who take advantage of this sankirtana movement of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness will be able to save themselves from the influence of these pakhandis.
(Bhag. 4.19.22 )

END