Prohibition of Degraded Sannyasa

By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada




pitr-kula, mātr-kula,—dui uddhārila [Cc Adi 15.14]


“My dear mother and father,” Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “it is very good that Viśvarūpa has accepted the sannyāsa order, for thus He has delivered both His father’s family and His mother’s family.”


It is sometimes said that Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu disapproved of the acceptance of the sannyāsa (renounced) order in this Kali-yuga because in the śāstra it is said:

aśvamedham gavālambham sannyāsam pala-paitrkam

devarena sutotpattim kalau panca vivarjayet

[Cc. Ādi 17.164]

“In this Age of Kali, five acts are forbidden: the offering of a horse in sacrifice, the offering of a cow in sacrifice, the acceptance of the order of sannyāsa, the offering of oblations of flesh to the forefathers, and a man’s begetting children in his brother’s wife.” (Brahma-vaivartaPurāna, Krishna-janma-khanda 185.180)

Nevertheless, we see that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself accepted sannyāsa and approved of the sannyāsa of His elder brother, Viśvarūpa. It is clearly said here, bhālahaila,—viśvarūpa sannyāsa karila pitr-kula, mātr-kula,—dui uddhārila. Therefore, should it be thought that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu made statements that are contradictory?

No, actually He did not. It is recommended that one accept sannyāsa to dedicate his life for the service of the Lord, and everyone must take that kind of sannyāsa, for by accepting such sannyāsa one renders the best service to both his paternal and maternal families. But one should not accept the sannyāsa order of the Māyāvāda school, which has practically no meaning. We find many Māyāvādī sannyāsīs simply loitering in the street thinking themselves Brahman or Nārāyana and spending all day and night begging so they can fill their hungry bellies. Māyāvādī sannyāsīs have become so degraded that there is a section of them who eat everything, just like hogs and dogs. It is such degraded sannyāsa that is prohibited in this age. Actually, Śrīla Śankarācārya’s principles for the acceptance of sannyāsa were very strict, but later the so-called Māyāvādī sannyāsīs became degraded because of their false philosophy, which propounds that by accepting sannyāsa one becomes Nārāyana. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu rejected that kind of sannyāsa. But the acceptance of sannyāsa is one of the items of the varnāśrama-dharma. How then can it be rejected?

[Chaitanya Charitamrta Adi Lila 15.14]


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