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17. NITYANANDA AVADHUTA
Devotee: It has been stated by some persons who claim to follow the pure line of devotion presented by Srila Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura, that Sri Nityananda Prabhu was a sannydsl who later gave up His sannydsa and married the two daughters of Surya-vipra. Is this a fact?Narasingha Maharaja: No, this is not a fact. This is an idea that is commonly put forth by the sahajiyas and some bdbdji communities. But it is not a fact. This concocted idea has not been accepted by Srila Sarasvati Thakura or his followers. One who says that Sri Nityananda Prabhu gave up sannydsa is an offender to the Supreme Lord. At least it must be concluded that such a person is a victim of a poor fund of knowledge.An attempt has been made to substantiate that Sri Nityananda Prabhu was formerly a sannydsl by quoting from Srila Vmdavana Dasa Thakura's Sri Caitanya'bhdgavata, wherein the following verses are found.
kothaya thdkila danda kotha karnandalu
kotha va vasana gela nahi adi-mula
"Where was His danda, where was His water-pot, and where were His clothes? Nothing remained with Him." (Caitanya-bhagavata, Madhya5.62)
katho ratre nityananda hunkdra kariya
nija-a\inda-kamandalu phelila bhangiya
"In the dead of night, Nityananda roared loudly and broke His danda and water-pot." (Caitanya-bhagavata, Madhya5.67)The references here to danda and kamandalu are enough to convince the sahajiyds that Sri Nityananda Prabhu was previously an initiated sannydsi. Some sahajiyds are even of the opinion that Sri Nityananda Prabhu was a sannydsi disciple of Sri Laksmipati Tirtha, but there is no evidence for this whatsoever. In this regard, Srila Sarasvati Thakura has stated in his purports to the above verses that the danda and kamandalu axe not only symbols of the sannydsa-dsroma, they are also used by brahmacdris. The brahmacari danda is made from either khadira, palasa or bamboo and when an upakurvana-brahmacdri decides to enter householder life, he discards the danda. This is exactly what Lord Nityananda did.me persons are of the opinion that Sri Nityananda Prabhu held the sannydsa title Ananda, but according to the Sattvata-samhitd, Ananda is not one of the 108 names of a sannydsi. Ananda is sometimes used by the Advaitin section as a name (such as Prakasananda, Svariipananda, Brahmananda etc), but their actual sannydsa title is one of the daia-ndmi; Tirtha, Asrama, Vana, Aranya, Parvata, Giri, Sagara, Sarasvati, BharatI and Purl.Further evidence to suggest that Sri Nityananda Prabhu was a brahmacari and not a sannydsi is given in Srila Sarasvati Thakura's commentary to verse 9 of the fifth chapter in the Madhya-khanda of Caitanya-bhagavata as follows:"]agad-guru Sri Nityananda Prabhu was a brahmacari disciple of Parivrajakacarya Sri Laksmipati Tirtha, who enacted the pastimes of subordination to the Sri Madhva sampraddya. We find His brahmacari name was Sri Nityananda Svarupa. From ancient times brahmacari disciples of Tirtha and Asrama sannydsis have been addressed as Svarupa."Again, Srila Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura writes:"The brahmacari name of Nityananda Prabhu was Svarupa. Since Svarupa is the brahmacdri name of a Tirtha sannydsi's disciple, some people consider Him to be a follower of Laksmipati irtha rather than a follower of Madhavendra Purl." (Purport to Cb. Madhya5.67)The revered Guardian of Devotion Om Visnupada Srimad Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Deva GosvamI Maharaja comments on this topic:"Nityananda was not a sannydsi, he was a brahmacari. He performed Vyasa-pu/d in Srivasarigana.
There some say that He was a sannydsi, but there He had no special garment either for sannydsi or brahmacari. He was very independent spirit." (Conversation 81.09.23)"That Nityananda was a sannydsi, it is not a proved fact. The Nityananda, this is Ananda, this indicates the affix added to brahmacdri. Ananda, Svarupa, Prakasa, all these types of brahmacdri. Ananda, a name also in the sannydsi we find, but no other tide. Ananda is a part of the name but title, no tide of Nityananda. And also no mention who was the sannydsa'guru of Nityananda. But diksd'guru of Nityananda is Madhavendra Purl, it is known. Avadhuta does not mean who is sannydsi. Avadhuta means who is not very particular of his external practices and sometimes commits something wrong which should not be committed, should not be practiced. When lower practices are seen in connection with the high-leveled person then they are considered as avadhuta. He is above that but his practices are of lower nature. Ava means lower; dhuta - that also he can either remove or he can purify." (Conversation 82.02.06)Furthermore, Srila Vmdavana Dasa Thakura himself is of the opinion that Nityananda was not a sannydsi and has written:
kiba yati nityananda kiba bhakta janani
ya'ra yena mata iccha na bolaye keni
"Some may consider Nityananda to be a sannydsi. Others may consider Him to be a devotee or a jndni. They may say whatever they like." (Cb. Adi 9.223)
Another so-called evidence used to try to establish that Sri Nityananda Prabhu took sannydsa is found in Caitanya-bhagavata, Madhya 13.15.19:
ajna tire kari' nityananda-haridasa
tataksane calilena pathe asi hasa
dohana sannydsi'veia-yana yara ghare
dthevyathe asi' bhiksa-nimatrana kare
"Taking the order of Sri Caitanya upon their heads, Nityananda and Haridasa immediately went out, laughing together in a happy mood. Wherever they went to beg, the householders would extend invitations to them as they were both dressed in the robes of sannyasis."If we are to take it that the above verse proves that Nitai was a sannydsi, then following such logic we must also believe that Thakura Haridasa was a sannydsil Actually, neither were sannyasis.Due to the social etiquette of that time, it would have been unthinkable for a Muslim such as Haridasa to take the vows of sannydsa, since only those born in brdhmana families could formally take to the renounced order of life. Simply because they were dressed as mendicants does not necessarily mean that they had actually accepted sannydsa. This type of unorthodox behavior was common with Sri Nityananda Avadhuta and on that day he had dragged Haridasa Thakura into His plot.
If indeed Sri Nityananda Prabhu had formally taken sannydsa, why is there no mention of such an important event in any Gaudiya literature? Why is there no mention of his sannydsa' guru?.
Apart from the fact that the idea for the sannydsa of Sri Nityananda Prabhu is not supported by any bona-fide dcdrya in the Gaudiya sampraddya, it is also not in line with the divine
character of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that He would have permitted Sri Nityananda Prabhu to give up his sannydsa or associated with Him if He had done so.It is well known that Sri Caitanyadeva strictly adhered to the principles of sannydsa-dharma. His strictness as a sannydsi was exhibited in the pastime of His chastisement of Chota Haridasa, who committed suicide because of a small breach of sannydsa-dharma. So why then would Mahaprabhu turn around and associate with Sri Nityananda Prabhu if he was a fallen sannydsi! Mahaprabhu Himself has stated the following:
prabhu kahe 'vairagi kare prakrti sambhasana
dekhite na paron ami tahara vadana'
"The Lord said, I cannot tolerate seeing the face of a person who has accepted the renounced order of life but who still talks intimately with a woman.'" (Cc. Antya 2.117)ksudra'jiva saba markata'Vairdgya kariyd indriya cardnd bule 'prakrti' sambhdsiyd "There are many persons with little in their possession who accept the renounced order of life like monkeys. They go here and there engaging in sense gratification and speaking intimately with women." (Cc. Antya, 2.120)
prabhu kahe 'mora va$a nahe mora mana
prakrti'Sambhdsi vairagi na kare darSana'
"The Lord said, 'My mind is not under My control. It does not like to see anyone in the renounced order who talks intimately with women.'" (Cc. Antya 2.124)Claiming to be a follower of Sri Caitanyadeva or a follower of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and in the same breath, claim that Sri Nityananda Prabhu was a fallen sannydsi is totally absurd.Srila Sarasvati Thakura came to re-establish the system of daivi-varnds'rama, in particular to re-introduce tridandi-sannydsa in the Gaudlya line for the purpose of preaching love of God. But those persons who oppose Sarasvati Thakura have tried to minimize his contribution by creating false stories to show that even Sri Nityananda Prabhu gave up His sannydsa. One important point that the sahajiyds conveniently overlook is that in order to preach love of God, Sri Caitanyadeva Himself accepted sannydsa.In order to attain the mercy of Sri Caitanyadeva, one must first beg for the mercy of Sri Nityananda Prabhu. If one concocts imaginary proofs that simply degrade the position of Sri Nityananda Prabhu, then such a person is truly most unfortunate.