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True sannyasa verses sahajiya babajis

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SPsanyass.jpgShri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
France: April 28, 1998

The following is a discourse on the history and importance of sannyasa in Vaisnava culture, and especially in the history of the divine mission of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This beautiful discourse was spoken in France, on April 28, 1998.]

I offer my many hundreds of thousands of dandavat pranamas unto the lotus feet of my gurudeva, nitya-lila-pravista om visnupada Shri Shrimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. I also offer my dandavat pranamas unto the lotus feet of my siksa-guru, Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, who preached the mission of pure bhakti throughout the world in a very short time. By his mercy we are able to know Shri Shri Radha and Krishna, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His teachings.

Some babajis in Vrindavan are saying that Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja and other bona fide disciples of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura do not have a guru-parampara, a disciplic succession of bona fide gurus. These foolish, weak persons, knowing no sastra, are bewildered in this way.

A personality who can preach the mission of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu throughout the world in very short time, who can translate and write commentaries to authentic books like Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta, who can publish and explain Shrimad-Bhagavatam and the books of Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Jiva Gosvami – how can he be an ordinary person? He was certainly in the line of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Shrila Rupa Gosvami, Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

They Have No Guru-parampara, No Sastric Reference

These envious babajis don't know from where their guru-parampara has come, and actually they have no guru-parampara. This is why they blaspheme real Vaisnavas in the guru-parampara.

The word 'babaji' is not found in any scripture. [The word 'babaji' is a homonym, in that the current use of 'babaji,' as referred to here has a different meaning from true sense of the word babaji. Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja discusses elsewhere in this book that in classical Indian culture, the word babaji was a respectful way of addressing a saintly person. Examples of this are Shrila Gaura kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja and Shrila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja. In Jaiva-dharma we read of the Gaudiya Vaisnava gurus Prema dasa Babaji and Raghunatha dasa Babaji. Shrila Sanatana Gosvami was referred to by the villagers of Vrindavan as 'bara-baba,' or 'elder sadhu,' and they referred to Shrila Rupa Gosvami as 'chota-baba,' or 'young sadhu.' 'Baba' is also a term of address for "Father," as in the case of Shri Krishna's own father, Nanda Baba.

When Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja says, "The word 'babaji' is not found in any scripture," he is referring to that kind of babaji who imagines that he is a perfected devotee and can give that same 'perfection' to his unqualified disciple through a concocted process of a mantra and 'babaji' initiation, and to the other varieties of sahajiya babajis as well.

Nowadays, there are also mayavadi gurus who call themselves Baba and proclaim that they are God or that we are all God. The reader will be able to understand which type of babaji [Shrila Maharaja is indicating by its context. –ed] Neither Bhagavada-gita, the Puranas, Upanisads, Vedanta, Baladeva Vidyabhusana's Govinda-bhasya, nor the books of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti ?hakura and Shrila Narottama ?hakura mention the word. On the other hand, we see the word 'renounced order' and 'sannyasa.' The Vedas and Shrimad-Bhagavatam discuss the history of the tridandi sannyasi. In the Upanisads, the method by which a person can take renounced order, sannyasa, by saffron cloth, danda, and dor-kaupina has been clearly given; in fact, one of the Upanisads is called Sannyasa Upanisad.

There is no mention in any of these Vedic Scriptures about babajis. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was not babaji, nor were Madhvacarya or Ramanuja. Isvara Puripada and Madhavendra Puri were not babajis; they were sannyasis, and after them, Sanatana Gosvami, Svarupa Damodara, and Raya Ramananda were also not babajis.

Has Shrila Rupa Gosvami taken a babaji initiation from anyone? Has he taken dor-kaupina (initiation)? He wore an ordinary white cloth. [Dor and karpina are two cloths that signify one's renunciation from material sense gratification. Rupa Gosvami adopted this dress himself. –ed] It is not written anywhere that he did so. [*See Endnote 1]

Jiva Gosvami was Jiva Gosvami, not Jiva babaji. Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami kept his name from his grhastha asrama, and Syamananda Prabhu, Narottama Thakura, and Shrinivasa Acarya were also not babajis. They were not in that line of cheapening the idea of bhakti: "You are such and such goopi." Similarly, until the end of his life, Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti ?hakura was Visvanatha Cakravarti ?hakura, keeping the title of grhastha Vaisnava brahmanas (and when he left home to become renounced he was also known as Shri Hari-ballabha dasa). In addition, his disciple Baladeva Vidyabhusana was also not babaji.

Actually, the word babaji was used for old persons in villages. For example someone would say to Sanatana Gosvami, "Oh, bara (elder) babaji."

Mahaprabhu's Guru-parampara

When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was in Varanasi, Kasi, Shrila Sanatana Gosvami came to meet Him for the first time – with a big beard, wearing very dirty clothing, and looking like a Mohammedan beggar. Still, when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw him, He at once ran towards him and embraced him. After that He ordered Sanatana Gosvami to become clean and pure, to take bath in the Ganges and to shave. Mahaprabhu's associate Tapana Misra soon arrived there, desiring to give Sanatana Gosvami new cloths, but Sanatana Gosvami refused, saying, "If you want to give me clothing, then please give me your old dhoti." From this old dhoti cloth, Santana Gosvami made his outer cloth and the dor-kaupina of the sannyasis. There was no fire sacrifice or Vedic ritual for this, nor did Chaitanya Mahaprabhu give him any mantra for this.

Seeing Chaitanya Mahaprabhu dressed in the saffron cloth of a sannyasi, Sanatana Gosvami considered, "I should be very humble. I should not wear the same color cloth as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu." He had great honor for that sannyasi cloth and danda, and therefore, being a humble person, he wore only a very small piece of white cloth – to minimize his bodily necessities. He did not want to wear a long dhoti and kurta as a fashion. He wore only the minimum required.

After Shriman Mahaprabhu, His lila-parikaras (eternal pastime associates) such as the six Gosvamis, Shri Lokanatha and Shri Bhugarbha, and later Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja, Shri Narottama Thakura, and Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura were naturally niskincana paramahamsa Vaisnavas. There was no need for them to wear sannyasa-vesa, saffron cloth. Secondly, Shriman Mahaprabhu had performed the lila of wearing sannyasa-vesa and saffron cloth. Thus considering themselves to be worthless, lowly and unqualified, these mahatmas did not wear sannyasa-vesa and saffron cloth, in order to show honor and respect to the vesa of Shriman Mahaprabhu and also to maintain their own identities as servants under the shelter of His lotus feet.

On the other hand, in order to express veneration for the niskincana paramahamsa-vesa of the associates of Shriman Mahaprabhu and, under their guidance to preach His message throughout the entire world, many akincana Vaisnavas on the path of raganuga-bhajana, holding the paramahamsa-vesa upon their heads, have accepted a position below their worshipable superiors by wearing the saffron cloth of the sannyasa asrama, which is included within the system of varnasrama dharma.

These two customs, each having their own place, are both exquisitely beautiful and also completely in accordance with siddhanta. Today suddha-hari-bhakti has been, is being, and will continue to be, preached and spread throughout the world by these mahapurusas, great perfected saints, who wear this second type of niskincana sannyasi-vesa. (from Five Essential Essays)]

Qualifications of Gurus and Disciples

It is not written anywhere that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave 'goopi-bhava,' telling anyone and everyone, "Now you are a goopi, and I am now giving you the eleven kinds of moods. Your name is Lalita, your birthplace is Varsana, you are married to such and such gopa, your dress is such and such, and you are palya-dasi from today onwards." He never did this.

Can one who is simply engaged in the animalistic propensities of eating, sleeping, mating and defending, and in the three W's of wine, woman and wealth – can he give gopi-bhava? This sahajiyaism is the root of all evil.

Gaudiya Vaisnavism begins from the origin: from Brahma to Narada, Vyasa, Sukadeva Gosvami, Madhvacarya and his parampara, and then to Madhavendra Puri, Isvara Puri, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Rupa-Sanatana, Jiva, Raghunatha, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Narottama Thakura and Syamananda, and after that to Visvanatha Cakravarti ?hakura. This is the line of our Gaudiya guru-parampara.

Some persons challenge Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, demanding, "Who was his guru?!" Actually, he accepted Vipina Bihari Gosvami as his diksa-guru in the line of pancaritrika guru-parampara, and he has written in his Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta commentary that his siksa bhagavata-parampra guru was Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja. Siksa-guru is not less than diksa-guru, and sometimes he may be more than diksa-guru. For example, we accept Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Radha-Krishna, and Rupa Gosvami as our siksa-gurus, as Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami accepted the Six Gosvamis as his siksa-gurus.

Shri-rupa, sanatana, bhatta-raghunatha
Shri-jiva, gopala-bhatta, dasa-raghunatha
Chaitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.36

My instructing spiritual masters are Shri Rupa Gosvami, Shri Sanatana Gosvami, Shri Bhatta Raghunatha, Shri Jiva Gosvami, Shri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.]

ei chaya guru—siksa-guru ye amara
taì'-sabara pada-padme koti namaskara
Chaitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.37

These six are my instructing spiritual masters, and therefore I offer millions of respectful obeisances unto their lotus feet.]

There should be no doubt in this connection, that sometimes the siksa-guru may be superior to the diksa-guru. For example, I have so much faith in my gurudeva, but I know that Rupa Gosvami is guru of my gurudeva. Similarly, although Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami is our jagad-guru, he personally considered Rupa Gosvami and Shrimati Radhika to be his siksa-gurus.

Bilvamangala Thakura has prayed in his book, Krishna-karanamrta:

cintamanir jayati somagirir gurur me
siksa-gurus ca bhagavan sikhi-pincha-mauliù
yat-pada-kalpataru-pallava-sekharesu
lila-svayamvara-rasam labhate jayaShriù

"All glories to Cintamani, and my initiating spiritual master, Somagiri. All glories to my instructing spiritual master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who wears peacock feathers in His crown. Under the shade of His lotus feet, which are like desire trees, JayaShri (Radharani) enjoys the transcendental mellow of an eternal consort."]

Bilvamangala Thakura states here that his siksa-guru is Krishna, Nanda-nanda Himself, with peacock feathers in His turban and a flute to His lips. Bilvamangala Thakura's diksa-guru was Somagiri, but he gave more preference to his siksa-guru, Shri Krishna. He had faith in his diksa -guru, but at the same time he respected his siksa-guru as superior. We should not forget these truths.

Can you say who was the guru of Shrila Haridasa Thakura? When Brahma and Prahlada Maharaja combine together in the form of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's associate (Shrila Haridasa Thakura), he doesn't need any formal initiation. Can you say who was the guru of Svarupa Damodara or Shrivasa Pandita? Shrivasa Pandita is Narada Rsi, and Murari Gupta is Hanuman. Perhaps they were initiated by someone else, but Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted them all as His own. Similarly, although we may not know who their guru is, we also accept them as bona fide.

Similarly, we need have no doubt about Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, thinking that he has no guru-parampara. His diksa-guru was Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's diksa-guru was Shrila Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji Maharaja, and his siksa-guru was Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He accepted Shrila Gaurakisora dasa babaji Maharaja, who was not only a pure Vaisnava but a maha-bhagavata, as his diksa -guru, and he received so much intruction from him regarding bhajana. But he received most of his conceptions for bhajana from Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, as well as all his conceptions for establishing and spreading the principles of pure bhakti in this world.

Pancaratrika Guru-parampara and Bhagavata Parampara

Without bhagavata parampara, guru-parampara is nothing.

Regarding Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, even if he were to have had no diksa-guru, as was the case with Shrila Haridasa Thakura and others like Shrila Haridasa Thakura, still he is a pure Vaisnava. But he did have a diksa-guru.

We have no doubt about this. A doubtful person loses whatever bhakti he has and goes to hell; the jealous babajis are like that. Although they cannot say where their own parampara began, they very easily say, "Gaudiya Vaisnavas have no parampara." Moreover, it is bogus persons who, shaking like a pendulum (engaged in bhoga-tyaga, or going back and forth between renunciation and material enjoyment), rejected by Gaudiya Vaisnavas, debauchees with an abundance of lust – it is they who have become these babajis.

Be very strong in the proper understanding. Shrila Bhaktivinoda ?hakura, Shrila Prabhupada, Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, and also us – we don't want to criticize these so-called babajis' avoidance of rules and regulations or their keeping babaji-vesa. What we criticize is their mood. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has not criticized their vesa, their dor-kaupina, or even that they falsely claim, "We are following the gopis." We criticize – Shrila Bhaktivinoda ?hakura, Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Shrila Rupa Gosvami, and all other bona fide acaryas have criticized – that a newcomer who barely knows sastra or siddhanta, who is quarreling with his wife, or his wife has divorced him and he has no means to support his life, still comes to these babajis and thinks, "If I take babaji vesa, everything will be solved. I may also have two, three, four, or five, widows, no harm. I will then be equipped with all things necessary for worldly life."

They show no symptom of renunciation, and they are ignorant to the extreme regarding established truth. They don't know what is bhakti, what is bhakti-rasa, or even who is Krishna, and have no idea who the gopis are. Full of envy, they are always engaged in association of sense gratifiers. Still, if they see someone receptive at Radha-kunda and Vrindavan, they take twenty five paisa from them and think they themselves are making a guru-parampara. Such an unbona fide guru does this at once, without delay, thinking that otherwise, ignorant people will go to another babaji to become his disciple. Therefore he at once makes them shave off their hair, at once gives them dor and kaupina, and at once a so-called gopi mood: "You are Lalita," or "You are Rupa-manjari," or "You are such and such manjari."

As mentioned earlier, the correct method is that the candidate first tries to obey all the rules and regulations of grhastha, or householder, asrama, then become detached from worldly affairs and, receiving the association of Vaisnava sadhus, coming to sraddha, again sadhu-sanga, and then understanding the need of sad-guru. He will inquire and search for a qualified guru. He will take initiation from him, as well as teachings and instructions. He will serve gurudeva in a beautiful way, like a friend. He will engage in visrambhena guroh seva, serving him with intimacy and affection.

He will offer himself totally to gurudeva, and after many days or many years he will become qualified in all kinds of basic and elevated bhakti-siddhanta, conclusive truths. He will learn Bhakti-sandarbha and the entire Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and then he will be qualified to come to the stage of nistha. After completing the course of nistha, ruci will come naturally and automatically. Ruci manifests toward bhajana – chanting, and remembering – and is of two kinds. Asakti comes then, and it is also of two kinds. First it will manifest as asakti in chanting and remembering, and then it will turn into asakti towards Radha-Krishna and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally. At that time the candidate will be qualified to take dor-kaupina and the ekadasa bhavas (eleven moods), and at that stage Shri guru will help him in manifesting his ecstatic spiritual form – at that very stage, not before. In that stage the bona-fide guru tells his qualified disciple, "You are so and so and your siddha name is such and such." He is not doing anything externally, meaning that he is not changing the disciple's vesa or asrama.

Svarupa Damodara and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told all bhakti-tattvas and siddhantas to Raghunatha dasa when he came to them, and in this way he became both learned and renounced. He was so renounced that he used to eat the old, rotting food remnants of Jagannatha-deva that were rejected even by the cows. Let us become qualified like this, and then we will be qualified for the eleven kinds of moods. And then, by our siddha-deha, we will be able to serve Shri Shri Radha and Krishna twenty-four hours a day. This is the real method; this is siddha-pranali.

On the other hand, bogus sahajiya gurus indiscriminately tell their disciples, "You are the daughter of Vrsabanu Maharaja and you are married in Javata. Your place is at Radha-kunda, you are more beautiful than Mohini, and you are of golden complexion." That 'disciple' will now relinquish his big beard and don a nose ring, braid, ladies' ornaments, and ankle bells on his feet. And, in this disguise, he bears children with many widows. If externally one has male features and the mood of a male within his heart, but hides this and dresses as a female and associates with ladies, what will happen? Falling further and further into the depths of depravity, he must go to hell – and he is already going.

Actually, theirs is not siddha-pranali – siddha meaning 'perfect' and pranali meaning 'process' or 'system' – but asiddha-pranali, the process of imperfection.

At our present stage we will have to remember all our anarthas (our impure thoughts and habits) and aparadhas (offences). We all have a constitutional spiritual form, but it is hidden by maya within our gross and subtle body. It is there, but who is qualified to realize it? Have the babajis written any book regarding the method for becoming qualified to realize our spiritual forms? Never. They don't know any philosophy.

Once, our guruji was in Vrindavan doing Vraja-mandala parikrama with about four hundred pilgrims. He invited many babajis and hundreds gathered there. Guru Maharaja questioned all the sahajiya babajis, "What is the aim and object of your sadhana and Krishna-bhajana?" They replied, "We want to be liberated; we want to merge into Krishna; we want to become Krishna." They were ignorant of the fact that this is mayavada philosophy, which is quite against bhakti. Hearing their replies, Guru Maharaja became sad and angry, and he began to defeat all their arguments.

We should know that our guru-parampara is bona fide. Don't associate with these babajis, unless you are strong like us. I used to go to Radha-kunda during parikrama time and challenge them, "If you are learned, if you know any siddhanta and sastra, then come and discuss these topics with me. If I am defeated I will become a babaji and I will be your disciple; otherwise, you must become my disciple." None of them came to meet my challenge.

Have you read Jaiva-dharma? Try to read it carefully. There, we read about two persons, Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha. At first, in Mayapura, these devotees accepted Premadasa Babaji as their guru from whom they learned the sixty-four kinds of bhakti. Then, when they became expert, their guru sent them to Jagannatha Puri to meet with Gopala Guru Gosvami. From Gopala Guru Gosvami they learned the difference between bhakti and bhakti-rasa, and how bhakti can turn into bhakti-rasa. [*See Endnote 2] They learned deeply and perfectly about the identity of Krishna, Shrimati Radhika and the gopis. It was not until after this that Gopala Guru Gosvami gave them the ekadasa (eleven) moods and dor-kaupina – siddha-pranali.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura teaches that a guru should consider to whom he is going to give babaji-vesa, dor and kaupina; whether or not such recipients have given up attraction to money. He has to consider whether they have renounced their attachment to the tongue, in the form of taking bidis, cigarettes, wine, ganja (marijuana), ganja-bhong (a drink made from marijuana), and other drugs – as these untouchable substances certainly lead them to degraded lower realms. Some persons, like some Indian yogis, consider that their spiritual life and yoga practice will be helped by taking ganja-bong. They think, "Now we are absorbed in Krishna-prema."

They are so foolish; they cannot imagine that they are going to become mad like dogs and hogs.

These detestable things have been condemned in the books of Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Jiva Gosvami, in Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta, and in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Shrimad-Bhagavatam states:

abhyarthitas tada tasmai
sthanani kalaye dadau
dyutam panam striyah suna
yatradharmas catur-vidhah

Suta Gosvami said: "Maharaja Pariksit, thus being petitioned by the personality of Kali, gave him permission to reside in places where gambling, drinking, prostitution, and animal slaughter were performed."]

Avoidence of these basic prohibited activities is not bhakti in and of itself, but it will take us to the door of bhakti. Dyutam means 'gambling,' panam means 'intoxication in the form of cigarettes, bidis, tobacco, the masala of tobacco, and marijuana, all of which surely bring lust in a day, or two, or three. The intelligence of such persons who take these intoxications disappears, and they leave the path of bhakti; that is sure. Here in the first canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Shri Sukadeva Gosvami has prohibited the taking of all these intoxicants for all kinds of devotees.

In India, some so-called Vaisnavas of Ramanandi take opium, ganja, pan, and very big water pipes, imagining that the high flame of their water pipe indicates their exalted Vaisnava status. Moreover, in their dangerous tamasic condition (the mode of ignorance), they become naked and quarrel with each other. Try to avoid this maha-maha poison.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains in Jaiva-dhama that if one has any desire for making money or for sense gratification, he should not take the dress of a renuncient (vesa):

Similarly, Shrila Rupa Gosvami tells us in Upadesamrta:

vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat
(Shri Upadesamrta Verse 1)

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

If one who is not in this stage is given siddha-pranali, then it is not siddha-pranali; it is the pranali, or process, to go to hell.

We must endeavor to be very strong in following our guru-parampara. Our guru-parampara is right, and their so-called guru-parampara is artificial. Their so-called siddha-pranali is only about one hundred years old, whereas our real siddha-pranali has come from the ancient Vedas and Upanisads. We see that Saìkara (Lord Siva) gave siddha-pranali to the four Kumara's, and Narada gave it to other qualified devotees. We certainly accept the concept of siddha-pranali, but in the right process and at the right time.

There are some groups in Vrindavan whose followers say that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has no siddha-pranali and no guru-parampara. They also say that Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has no guru- parampara. We must think about this very deeply and carefully. Who was the guru of Pariksit Maharaja? We know that he had a family guru, a priest, someone like Sandilya Rsi; but he heard Shrimad-Bhagavatam from Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami, who is a bona fide Vaisnava – renounced, detached from worldly desires, quite free, and who had been given all realizations from his father and guru, Shrila Vyasadeva. Pariksit Maharaja heard Shrimad-Bhagavatam from him, and as a result of such hearing – not even practicing – he went directly to Goloka Vrindavan. Moreover, Shrila Sanatana Gosvami has explained in Brhad-bhagavatamrta that Pariksit Maharaja became a gopi in the service of Radha-Krishna Conjugal. This is the real process.

True Guru is Eternal

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura are bona fide disciples of Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja and Shrila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja respectively. Someone may say, "Where is Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's siddha-pranali?" Our reply is that he heard all appropriate topics from his siksa-guru and father, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, as Pariksit Maharaja heard everything from Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami.

Actually, there are two processes. [A sadhaka may receive sannyasa-vesa from some suitable guru; and alternatively, when genuine vairagya (renunciation at the stage of bhava-bhakti) arises, he may accept vesa from himself. Haridasa Thakura, the Six Gosvamis, Lokanatha Gosvami, and others are examples of the practice of accepting vesa from oneself. This is also the way Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura accepted sannyasa-vesa after the disappearance of Shrila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji, from whom he had received the diksa-mantra.

We see from these examples that acceptance of vesa (sannyasa) in this way is fully in agreement with sastra. Shri Ramanujacarya also accepted tridandi-sannyasa from himself after the disappearance of his guru Shrila Yamunacarya. (from Five Essential Essays)]

In one process, if a devotee is qualified in all bhakti principles, as were Vijaya Kumara in Jaiva-dharma or Pariksit Maharaja in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, he can minimize his dress and take dor and kaupina himself; there is nothing wrong in this.

For example, Ramanuja took initiation from a guru of low caste who was a disciple of Yamunacarya, and later Ramanuja wanted to take the renounced order from Yamunacarya himself. When he reached Shri Raìgam, he saw that Yamunacarya had just left this world, and his divine body was coming in procession for being given samadhi. He saw that three fingers of Yamunacarya's hand were closed. He asked some other disciples of Yamunacarya why this was so, but they could not answer. He then promised, "I will take sannyasa here, from him. Just now I am taking sannyasa." And at that moment one of his gurudeva's fingers relaxed and opened. Then he promised, "I will write a commentary on Vedanta." The second finger became relaxed. Then he promised, "I will preach pure bhakti and I will write many bhakti books," and at once the third finger relaxed and opened. He thus accepted Yamunacarya as his sannyasa-guru, knowing, "My gurudeva did not die; he is eternal."

A bona fide, qualified guru never dies. You can know that your Prabhupada, Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, has not died, and Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has also not died.

Thus, Ramanuja took sannyasa, his dor-kaupina and danda, from Yamunacarya after Yamunacarya's departure from this world. Similarly, why can't Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura take the renounced order from Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, from his photo, after his departure? Shrila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja had disappeared from the world's vision by that time, but he is eternal. And Shrila Prabhupada took the ekadasa moods (these eleven moods), siddha-deha, siddha-pranali, from Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. This is not wrong; it is in the line of guru-parampara.

No one can deny this. If we cannot deny Sukadeva Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, Rupa Gosvami, Vyasadeva, Ramanuja, and Madhvacarya, then we cannot deny Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktsiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Shrila Prabhupada was so bold. He was jagad-guru. Following in the line of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, he brought about revolutionary transformation in the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya and restored its lost dignity.

He is certainly in guru-parampara. [When Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura saw that many babajis were now bogus, that they were with widow matajis and producing sons, he became furious and said that we will again accept the same saffron cloth of others like Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Mahaprabhu, and Isvara Puripada. He then preached everywhere in the world. At that time, those family persons who were of loose character and had no status in society honored these bogus babajis. That is why he re-introduced the reddish cloth and sannyasa. (Gurudeva's lecture of June 10, 2001, in Holland)]

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura took all his moods from Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, and that is why he was able to write down the correct understanding of siddha-pranali, which descends in the heart of pure devotees in the stage of bhava.

I know so many persons who left Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svamiji and went to those babajis. They returned to their lusty activities, taking so many matajis here and there, and leaving every aspect of bhakti. Now they are drinking, making merry, taking drugs, and engaging in other abominable activities. I am aware that one of them has even committed suicide. I have been in this line for fifty-four years [This discourse was spoken in 1998, so up to 2010, the time of Shrila Narayana Gosvami's divine disappearance from the vision of the mortal world, it would have been sixty-six years. Moreover sincere devotees worldwide accept him as an eternal associate of the Lord, and therefore accept such statements as his humility. – ed], serving all the main disciples of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. I associated with all of them. I therefore know so many things that most devotees don't know. Those who are bewildered in this regard will taste the bitter fruits of their bewilderment.

[*Endnote 1: There is another, more rare and quite bona fide, meaning of 'babaji initiation.' In our Gaudiya Matha line, babaji initiation is the same as sannyasa initiation, except that the color of the cloth is white (instead of the saffron cloth of sannyasa), and the devotee is primarily focused upon chanting harinama and rendering service to Thakuraji (Deity worship). There is no emphasis upon outward preaching service. In that regard, Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja gave babaji initiation to three or four disciples, and his Guru Maharaja Shrila Bhakti-Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja gave such initiation to about ten disciples. –ed]

Endnote 2: Bhakti is defined in the verse beginning with anyavilasita sunyam. The entire process of bhakti, from the beginning to the most advanced stage, is defined by the verse:

anyabhilasita sunyam jnana-karmady anavrtam
anukulyena Krishnanusilanam bhaktir uttama
(Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Purva-vibhaga 1.1.11)

The cultivation Shri Krishna, is called uttama-bhakti, pure devotional service.

Bhakti-rasa is defined as the mellow of ones particular relationship with Krishna. It occurs only when the devotee's permanent mood, or sthayi-bhava, mixes in correct proportions with the appropriate ingrediants – vibhava, anubhava, sattvika-bhava, and sancari-bhava – to give the devotee the taste, or mellow, of his direct service to Krishna–ed]

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