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The Meaning of the Sannyasa Ashram
By Swami B.G. Narasingha
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His Holiness Tridandipada
Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha Maharaja
The following is a lecture given on Radhastami day, August 28, 1990 at the sannyasa initiation ceremony of His Holiness Bhakti Gaurava Vaishnava Maharaja conducted by His Holiness Swami Shripada Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha Maharaja at Shri Rupanuga Bhajan Ashram, International Vaishnava Society, Shri Vrindavana Dham.
We shall begin this function on the Sannyasa initiation of Shriman Dhurdarshana Prabhu on this auspicious day of the appearance of Shrimati Radharani with a reading from the Golden Volcano complied by the Grand Guardian of Devotion and Topmost Paramahamsa among the members of the renounced order of life, His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Shri Shrimad Shrila Bhakti Rakshaka Shridhar Deva Goswami Maharaja.
The Tragedy of Separation
According to the solar calculation, it was on the day of Makarasankranti, an auspicious say when the sun enters Capricorn, the Nimia Pandit went to Katwa to take sannyasa, the renounced order of life.
The day known as Makara-sankranti generally falls in the month of January. It is the day when the sun crosses over the meridian and returns to the Northern Hemisphere. It is considered a very auspicious time.
The day of Makara-sankranti also corresponds to the auspicious day when Visvarupa, the older brother Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who had left the home to wander throughout India as a sannyasi, entered samadhi and departed from this world at the holy place known as Pandrapura. Makara-sankranti is also the day on which Grandfather Bishma returned Back to Godhead and the day on which the famous Kumbha Mela festival begins. It is among the best of auspicious days and so Nimai Pandit went to Katwa to take sannyasa on that day.
After this, He would become known as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He swam across the Ganges and in wet cloth ran towards Katwa. Just before this, He told only a few of His friends, including Nityananda Prabhu, Gadadhara Pandit, Mukunda, and others, "The time when I will accept the robe of renunciation is very near."
Inconceivable by Anyone
Householder men in India often speak like that, "Oh, Swamiji, they say, "I'm going to renounce, I'm going to take sannyasa soon." So when someone says like that, "Ah, yes!" but no one takes him seriously. Just like, we have one Godbrother in Hawaii and he is always saying, "Maharaja, I'm going to take sannyasa, I'm going to take sannyasa!" but we don't take it very seriously.
Similarly Nimai Pandit was saying, "Yes the time is near." Some may have taken Him seriously but who could have thought it possible? Nimai Pandit was only twenty-four years old, His mother Sacidevi was there, His beautiful young wife, Vishnupriya, was there. How would it be possible that Nimai Pandit could leave His house and Navadwip with all His friends forever to wander in the robes of renunciation? It was fully unthought-of, inconceivable by anyone.
Just a few days before this, an opposition party had been raised against Nimai Pandit. Those who believed that material nature is the highest principle, and that consciousness is a product of matter, began to abuse Nimia Pandit. He thought, "I came to deliver the lowest of men, but if they commit offenses against Me, there will be no hope for their upliftment." Suddenly, He said, "I came with the medicine, which gives the greatest relief, but now I find that their disease is rapidly growing worse and seems beyond treatment. It will take its own course towards doom. The patients are making arrangements to insult Me. They take it that I am a family man - their nephew. They take Me as one of them. I came with the best medicine for the present degraded age, but now I find that they are plotting against Me. Now they are doomed. At least I have to show them that I am not one of them." He thought, "I shall leave family life and take sannyasa and wander form village to village, town, to town, preaching the holy name of Krishna," That was His decision, and within a few day he went to take sannyasa at Katwa from Kesava Bharati Maharaja.
Tridandi Sannyasis sometimes go to Katwa to get inspiration for preaching Krishna Consciousness and following in the footsteps of Mahaprabhu. But for the residents of Navadwip it is not a happy place. It is the place where they lost their Nimia Pandit forever.
When the yearly anniversary of Mahaprabhu's taking sannyasa is observed by the residents of Navadwip, this is not a happy time, they lament the coming of this day. Many of the devotees of Mahaprabhu at Navadwip, such as those in the ashram of Shrila Shridhar Maharaja, abstain from taking any kind of nice food foe several days before Makara-sankranti. They take only a very simple boiled rice and dahl prasadam during that time. A great tragedy of separation will occur on that day, so how can they bear the thought in any happy way? A great tragedy is about to take place!
The Last Night
Just the day before He left to take sannyasa, from the afternoon until the evening, there was a spontaneous gathering of devotees in the home of Nimai Pandit. Every year in Bengal, that day was celebrated as Laksmi-puja, worship of the goddess of fortune, when special cakes are prepared and distributed. Nimai, knowing that early morning the next morning He would leave Navadwip to take sannyasa, attracted His followers in such a way that almost every leading devotee came to see Him that evening.
They came with flower garlands and many other offerings to be presented to the Lord. Nimai accepted their garlands and them placed them on the necks of the devotees who gave them. Only four of His most intimate devotees knew He was leaving; the ordinary devotees did not know that this would be His last night in Navadwip. With His own hands He garlanded the neck of His devotees and appealed to them; "Always chant the names of Krishna. Under no condition should you give up this Krishna-nama. And don't do anything else. While working, eating, sleeping, or waking, day or night, in whatever you do, continuously take the name of Krishna. Always talk about Krishna and nothing else. If you have any real attraction or affection for Me then don't do anything with chanting the name Krishna.
Cultivate Krishna consciousness. Krishna is the origin of us all. He is our father we have come from Him. The son who shows no gratitude towards the father is sure to be punished birth after birth. Always chant these names of the Lord: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. No other religious principle is required. Chant Hare Krishna! This is not any ordinary mantra, but this is the maha-mantra, the greatest of all the mantras known to the world. Only take to this, always. No other prescription is to be followed.
Remember your Lord, your home. This is a foreign land; you have nothing to aspire after here. Try always to go back to Godhead." In this way, the Lord spoke, and all His devotees intuitively came because it was Nimai Pandit's last night in Navadwip.
That night, one devotee named Shridhar Kholaveca arrived. He used to make trade on the plantain tree and its fruit. He would sell the fruit ripe or green, and the big leaves, which are used as plates. Sometimes Nimai would pay him less for his fruits than what they were worth, and sometimes He would snatch the best fruits from him. Shridhar came to see Him late at night to offer Him a choice pumpkin. And Nimai though, I have spent almost My whole life snatching so many things from him and now, on this last night he has brought this wonderful pumpkin. I can't resist." He asked Sacidevi, "Mother, Shridhar has given Me this pumpkin. Please this of how it can be prepared." At bedtime, someone came with some milk. Nimai said, "Mother, with this milk and this pumpkin, please prepare some sweet-rice." So Sacidevi prepared some pumpkin sweet-rice: Pumpkin boiled with milk, rice, and sugar.
It is said that when Nimai Pandit was a youth He sometimes stole the fruits and vegetables the Shridhar Kholaveca grew in his garden and sold in the market place. Sometime Nimai Pandit and his friends would snatch the fruits from Shridhar while he was in the market and run away with them with out paying. Shridhar was very poor but still Nimai used to steel his fruits.
At night Nimai and his friends would enter the garden of Shridhar under the cover of a blanket. From outside the garden it appeared as though some large creature, a buffalo or a bear, was in the garden. Seeing this Shridhar and others were afraid to enter the garden to chase of the beast. But it was only Nimai and His friends. Under the blanket they were eating the fruits and vegetables.
Nimai Pandit constantly did all these things to Shridhar and then on His last night in Navadwip, Shridhar came and presented the Lord with a beautiful pumpkin.
Late at night, at about three o' clock in the morning, Nimai went away. He left Vishnupriya-devi asleep in bed. His mother Sacidevi, sensing what was to come, was staying awake all night guarding the door. Nimai left. She could not say anything, but was struck dumb.
A little after three o' clock in the morning, Nimai swam across the Ganges and in His wet cloth went straight to Katwa, a distance of twenty-five miles. He reached there by nine or ten o' clock. There, He approached Kesava Bharati to take sannyasa.
In the early morning, the devotees came to see Nimai and found Sacidevi like a statue, sitting at the door. The door was open. Everything was empty. "What's the matter Sacidevi?" they asked. She told them, "Oh, I was waiting for you devotees. You take possession of the house. I shall go somewhere else. I can't enter this house any more. You are His devotee; you are the true heirs. Take possession." They began to throng around her and console her, "You will go? What about the young wife he left? The girl is only fourteen years old. Who will protect her? You can't shun the responsibility given to you. It is on your shoulders." In this way they came and consoled her and tried to give her some hope.
Suddenly, the devotees heard that Nimai Pandit, Shri Gauranga, had left Navadwip. They learned that He had gone to Katwa, to Kesava Bharati's ashram to take sannyasa, bidding goodbye to the people of Navadwip forever.
A dark shadow came down. Many began to weep and cry for Him. Many of them ran towards Katwa. Nimai Pandit was an unprecedented scholar with beautiful features-tall, fair and benevolent. He had already made the people mad with the holy name of Krishna. He had released the two great sinners Jagia and Madhai from their nasty life. He had checked the Mohammedan ruler, the Kazi, who had broken the mridanga drum. As a famous pandit, He had defeated many scholars who came to conquer Navadwip, which was very much renowned for its high culture of learning, especially of logic.
At that time in Navadwip, logic (nyaya) worship of material energy (tantra) and official Hinduism (smrti), were in high culture. Navadwip was highly renowned for scholarship. If Pandits could not defeat the scholars of Navadwip, they could not become famous. From far away in Kashmir, Kesava Kashmir had to come to Navadwip to get a certificate that he was a pandit. And he was defeated by Nimai Pandit. Kesava Kashmir was such a big pandit that it was rumored he was the favorite child of Saraswati, the goddess of learning. No one could face him. Still, he was defeated by Nimai Pandit.
But Nimai Pandit left Navadwip forever and took sannyasa because the people of Navadwip could not appreciate Him.
Here it is said that the residents of Navadwip did not appreciate the Lord. This is not in reference to the Lord's devotees but to the nondevotee class of men. The devotees at Navadwip very much appreciated the Lord yet many people were avoiding His sankirtan movement.
He reached Katwa, where, just on the banks of the Ganges, there was a sannyasi: Kesava Bharati. Nimai went to him and asked him for sannyasa. Kesava Bharati suddenly found that his ashram was full of luster. At first, it seemed as if the sun was rising before him; then he saw that it was a bright person approaching. He rose from his seat, and with strained eyes approached in wonder. "What is this?" he thought.
Then he realized that the great devotee-scholar, Nimai Pandit, had come. He appeared before him saying, "I want to take sannyasa from you." But Kesava Bharati could not accept Nimai's offer. "I am charmed by Your beauty and personality", he said. But You are so young, only twenty-four years old. What about your mother, Your wife, and Your guardians? Without consulting with them, I cannot venture to give You the rope of renunciation."
In the meantime, as it was Makara-sankranti, a famous holiday, many people had come to take bath in the holy waters of the Ganges. They had gathered there and the rumor spread like fire: "Nimai Pandit of Navadwip has come to take sannyasa." Many men flocked there, until a huge crowd gathered.
They all opposed Mahaprabhu's sannyasa. Some of them raised their voices to protest: "You Kesava Bharati! We won't allow you to give sannyasa to this young man. He has His family, His mother and wife. We won't allow it. If you give sannyasa to this charming, young, beautiful boy, we will break down your ashram immediately. It can't be!"
It Can Not Happen!
It is a peculiar thing but in India even though everyone is respecting a sannyasi, if by chance a member of the family or the village wants to take sannyasa, everyone will oppose it. If any sannyasi comes to the village or the house they will say, "Oh Maharaja, please come, please come, take Prasadam, pranams, pranams!" But if anyone from the family comes out and says, "Yes, I will take sannyasa," then, "NO! NO! We will not allow you to do such a horrible thing!"
Many residents f Navadwip came to protest the sannyasa of Nimai Pandit. Their protests were rightfully so. Nimai was very young and generally sannyasa is meant for the older members of society not the mere children. Nimai had a widow mother and a young wife to take care of also. How could He leave them for renunciation? Nor could His devotees bear the thought of His separation. How could they bear the sight of their beautiful Nimai with a shaven head, devoid of His ornaments and dressed in the red robes of a renunciate? Such things they could not bear. For this reason everyone was protesting.
But Nimai Pandit kept pressing for sannyasa. At last Kesava Bharati asked Him, "So, You are that Nimai Pandit about whom we have heard so much? Many big scholars came to conquer Navadwip, the famous seat of learning, and You have defeated them all. Are you that Nimai Pandit?" "Yes," said Nimai. Kesava Bharati told Him, "I can give You sannyasa, but you must take the permission of Your mother - otherwise I won't, I can't do it." Nimai suddenly began running towards Navadwip to ask permission, but Kesava Bharati thought, "He has such a commanding personality, He can do anything."
Nimai was called back. Kesava Bharati told Him, "With Your most extraordinary personality You can do anything. You will go there, charm Your guardians, get permission, and return. Nothing is impossible for You."
The ordinary public was very much enraged, saying to Kesava Bharati, "We can't allow you, Swamiji, to give sannyasa to this young boy. It is impossible! If you do, then we shall smash your ashram." Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began performing Kirtan, chanting Hare Krishna and dancing madly. And the angry mob grew, sometimes creating a disturbance. In this way, the whole day passed with no decision. The night passed in sankirtan. And the next day, Nimai's will prevailed, although there was still some opposition.
Nityananda Prabhu, Nimai's maternal uncle Candrasekhara, Mukunda Datta, and Jagadananda Pandit gradually arrived there. And that afternoon, the sannyasa function began. Candrasekhara Acharya was asked to perform the ceremony on behalf of Nimai Pandit, who began to chant and dance and charm the audience.
prema-dhama-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
"While showers of tears fell from the eyes of millions He delighted in having His beautiful hair shaved away. Millions of voices sang the glories of Krishna, Shri Krishna Chaitanya accepted the staff of renunciation. Form that time on, wherever He went, whoever saw Him in the aress of a sannyasi cried in grief. I sing the glories of that beautiful Golden God, the giver of divine love."
The scene was at Katwa. Four hundred and seventy-four years ago, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa. He was young and beautiful, with a tall figure. He was only twenty-four and had beautiful curly hair. A barber was asked to shave Him, and approached Him, but then withdrew. The barber could not venture to touch Nimai's body. He began to cry. "How can I remove such beautiful hair from such a beautiful head?"
And so many others were also crying aloud, "What a horrible thing is being done here! Who is the creator of this sannyasa? Who is so hard-hearted that he created the sannyasa-ashram, where one must give up all that is near and dear and go from door to door, begging, leaving his own friends and relatives crying helplessly? What is this creation of the Supreme? Is it logical? Is it a happy thing? It is most cruel!"
Nimai Pandit was smiling. After the barber was ordered repeatedly, somehow he was forced to shave Nimai's head. At first, he could not venture to touch His hair, saying, "I can't touch Him." But at last, he had to do the service of shaving the beautiful, curly hair of the beautiful face of the twenty-four year old genius boy. He began with his shears. Some people could not stand the scene. Some even became mad. In the midst of the weeping, wailing, and crying of the threatening mob it was done.
Nimai Pandit was senseless. After being only half shaved, he stood up and began chanting in kirtan and dancing in ecstatic joy. After he was shaved, the barber promised, "I will never again shave anyone with this hand! I would rather live by begging. This is my last service as a barber." After this, that barber took the occupation of a sweetmaker.
Ultimately Nimai's appeals pacified the mob, and a little before noon the inevitable gradually came: the sannyasa function was preformed. Candrasekhara Acharya, the maternal uncle of Nimai Pandit, was deputed to take charge of the rituals in the ceremony of sannyasa. When the mantra was to be conferred, Nimai Pandit asked Kesava Bharati, "Is this the mantra you will give me? I heard it in a dream." He whispered the mantra in the ear of his guru who accepted, saying, "Yes, this is the mantra I shall give you." Then the mantra was given.
Mahaprabhu's Sannyasa Mantra
What happened is this, Kesava Bharati was a sannyasi in the line of Shripad Shankaracharya. Bharati is one of the ten principle names, which are given to sannyasis of Shankaracharya. Their sannyasa mantra is also given, "tattvamasi." That is the mantra accepted by all sannyasis in the line of Shankaracharya.
Mahaprabhu knew that Kesava Bharati would give Him that mantra but Mahaprabhu did not like that. The meaning of tattvamasi is, "I am that." The sannyasi of Shankaracharya is thinking that they are one with the supreme brahman. They like to think that they are also Krishna.
This thought was unacceptable to Mahaprabhu. To think oneself equal to Krishna is the highest type of blasphemy. How could He accept that? Mahaprabhu when approached Murari Gupta and said, "My mind is disturbed. I had a dream and in my dream Kesava Bharati has given me the mantra, `tattvamasi'. I know the meaning of the mantra and I can not live with that. My mind is thus very disturbed!"
Murari Gupta then informed Mahaprabhu that there is another conception of the mantra which we can draw down. Murari Gupta said, "We can conceive the word `tattvam' according to `sasthitat purusa samasa' which means "You are His.'" Mahaprabhu said, "That is very good. That I like, "I am His.'"
Mahaprabhu Shri Chaitanya, Radha Krishna nahe anya, means that Mahaprabhu is non-different than Radha Krishna. He is Krishna coming in the mood of Radharani. Shrimati Radharani is always feeling, "I am His, I am Krishna's and Krishna is mine," So, Mahaprabhu was very satisfied with that sort of conception.
Then Mahaprabhu called Kesava Bharati and informed him about His dream. "I had a dream and in My dream you gave Me one mantra. Can you tell Me is this the mantra?" Kesava Bharati said, "Oh, what is that mantra," and he gave his ear to Mahaprabhu who uttered the mantra.
It is said that when Mahaprabhu uttered the mantra in the ear of Keshava Bharati with the Vaishnava conception Keshava Bharati became initiated my Mahaprabhu and immediately became a Vaishnava.
The Krishna conception and the mantra delivered by Mahaprabhu was so powerful that Keshava Bharati immediately became a Vaishnava. "Ah, yes", he said, "this is the mantra I will give you," and that mantra was then given to Mahaprabhu.
It is also said that Keshava Bharati was the same Akrura as in Krishna lila. The same Akrura who came to Vrindavan to take Krishna to Mathura and was opposed by the gopis came as Keshava Bharati to give sannyasa to Nimai Pandit and to take Him away from Navadwip. It is a parallel lila, Krishna lila and Gour lila. There was protest, but what could be done? The will of Nimai was the supreme.
And the name of this sannyasi was not given in an ordinary was either. A most peculiar name came through Keshava Bharati: "Krishna Chaitanya." None of the names generally given to sannyasis was given to Nimai Pandit, but the name that was given to Him was Krishna Chaitanya. As soon as they heard that name, the mob began to cry, "Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ki jaya!" "All glories to Shri Krishna Chaitanya!"
The father of Shrinivas Acharya was a class-friend of Nimai Pandit. On his way to his father-in-law's house, he heard that Nimai Pandit had come to take sannyasa. He ran there, and seeing everything, he became dumb - he was devastated and went half-mad. After that, nothing came from his mouth but "Chaitanya". After he heard the name "Krishna Chaitanya, "whatever anyone said to him, he would only say,
"Chaitanya!" He became mad. After that, his name became Chaitanya Das. He could not stand the scene of Nimai Pandit's sannyasa.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, newly dressed in red robes, embraced His guru, and both of them began to dance, chanting the names of Krishna. After some time, the meaning of the name was given. Keshava Bharati Maharaja said, "Shri Krishna Chaitanya means that you arouse Krishna consciousness throughout the entire world. You have descended to make all people Krishna Conscious. So the most suitable name for You can not be but Shri Krishna Chaitanya."
Mahaprabhu was very cheerful, thinking, "I am going to relieve so many souls form their eternal misery and affliction. I have promised to deliver the whole world from this ocean of material misery and take them to the nectarine world, and now I am going to accept that task." He was cheerful, but everyone around Him was diving in the ocean of despair and sorrow.
Some scholars stress that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa from Keshava Bharati, who was a mayavadi, an impersonalist. But although Keshava Bharati may have externally showed himself in that way, it is seen that by coming in connection with Mahaprabhu, he became a devotee. Otherwise, we may also think that he was a devotee who came in the garb of an impersonalist to help the preaching of Mahaprabhu by assisting Him with the social formality of taking sannyasa. At that time, all over India, mayavadi sannyasa had greater recognition than Vaishnava sannyasa, and Keshava Bharati was already situated in that post. Mahaprabhu took the garb of a sannyasa from him for His own purpose, to help His preaching activity. All these things may be explained in different ways. In any case, after Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, Keshava Bharati began to sing and dance with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He joined in sankirtan and was immediately converted.
In this way, the sannyasa of Nimai Pandit took place. What is the meaning of His sannyasa? It is redundant, auxiliary, or a necessary part of spiritual advancement? Is it desirable? What is the meaning of sannyasa?"
Now we shall read from Madhya-lila, ch.3, text 6, the famous sannyasa verse uttered by Mahaprabhu with purport by the World Acharya, His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Shri Shrimad Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
etam sa asthaya paratma-nistham
adhyasitam putvatamair mahadbhih
aham tarisyami duranta-param
"I shall cross over the insurmountable ocean of nescience by being firmly fixed in the service of the lotus feet of Krishna. This was approved by the previous acharyas, who were fixed in firm devotion to the Lord, Paramatma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
In connection with this verse, which is a quotation from Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.23.58), Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that of the sixty-four items required for rendering devotional service, acceptance of the symbolic marks of sannyasa is a regulative principle. If one accepts the sannyasa order, his main business is to devote his life completely to the service of Mukunda, Krishna. If one does not completely devote his mind and body to the service of the Lord, he does not actually become a sannyasi. It is not simply a matter of changing dress. In Bhagavata-Gita (6.1) it is also stated, anashritah karma-phalam karyam karma karoti yah sa sannyasi ca yogi ca: one who works devotedly for the satisfaction of Krishna is a sannyasi. The dress is not sannyasa, but the attitude of service to Krishna is.
The word paratma-nistha means being a devotee of Lord Krishna. Paratma, the Supreme Person, is Krishna. Isvarh paramah krishnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah. Those who are completely dedicated to the lotus feet of Krishna in service are actually sannyasi. As a matter of formality, the devotee accepts the sannyasa dress as previous acharyas did. He also accepts the three dandas. Later Vishnuswami considered that accepting the dress of a tri-dandi was paratma-nistha. Therefore sincere devotees add another danda, the jiva-danda, to the three existing dandas. The Vaishnava sannyasi is known as a tridundi sannyasi. The Mayavadi sannyasi accepts only one danda, not understanding the purpose of the tri-danda."
I am holding in my hands a tri-danda, which is to be given to a Vaishnava at the time of sannyasa initiation. Tri in sanskrit means three and dunda means stick or staff. Thus we have a tri-dunda when three sticks are combined. In the purport of this verse it is said that Vishnu Swami added another danda to the already existing three dandas making a total of four dundas in the tri-danda staff.
The first three dundas represent kayo, mana, vakya or body, mind, and words. A sannyasi must wholesale dedicate these three things to the service of the Lord. Whatever activity a sannyasi performs with his body must be for the service of Krishna. Similarly, whatever he thinks and whatever he speaks must be dedicated in the service of the Lord.
Vishnu Swami thought, "paratma-sitha," that one danda should be added to represent the surrender of the soul at the lotus feet of the Lord. Thus four dandas now make up the staff of Tri-dandi Sannyasi.
Later, many persons in the community of the Shiva Svami sampradaya gave up the atma-nistha (devotional service) of the Lord and followed the path of Shankaracharya. Instead of accepting 108 names, those in the Shiva Svami sampradaya followed the path of Shankaracharya and accepted the ten names of sannyasa. Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the then existing order of sannyasa (namely eka-danda), He still recited a verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam about the Tridanda-sannyasa accepted by the brahman of Avantipure. Indirectly He declared that within that eka-danda, one danda, four dandas existed as one. Accepting eka-danda sannyasa without paratma-nistha (devotional service to Lord Krishna) is not acceptable to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
In addition, according to the exact regulative principles, on should add the jiva-danda to the tri-danda. These four dandas, bound together as one, are symbolic of unalloyed devotional service to the Lord. Because the eka-dandi-sannyasis of the Mayavadi school are not devoted to the service of Krishna, they try to merge into the Brahman effulgence, which is a marginal position between material and spiritual existence. They accept this impersonal position as liberation. Mayavadi sannyasis, not knowing that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as an eka-dandi-sannyasi. This is due to their vivarta, bewilderment. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam there is no such thing as an eka-dandi-sannyasi; indeed, the tri-dandi-sannyasi is accepted as the symbolic representation of the sannyasa order. By citing this verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the sannyasa order recommended in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. The Mayavadi sannyasi, who are enamored by the external energy of the Lord, cannot understand the mind of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Three in One
It is mentioned in Chaitanya-Charitamrita that Mahaprabhu received the eka-danda from Keshava Bharati at the time of his sannyasa initiation. After traveling in the forest and along the river for sometime, Mahaprabhu fell into an ecstatic trance of divine love. While in that ecstatic state, Lord Nityananda Prabhu decided to break the eka-danda of Mahaprabhu into three pieces and threw them in the river. Nityananda Prabhu broke the eka-dunda of Mahaprabhu to show that there are three dundas in the eka-dunda and that Mahaprabhu is a Vaishnava and not an impersonalist mayavadi.
Nityananda Prabhu did not like the idea that Mahaprabhu should have to carry a danda like an ordinary sannyasi. After all Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and He is not bound to follow any regulative principles, although He may do so for the benefit of all fallen conditioned souls.
When Mahaprabhu awoke from His ecstatic trance, He inquired about the whereabouts of His danda. Nityananda Prabhu told Him that the danda had been broken when the Lord fell down in ecstatic trance and thus He had thrown it into the river. On hearing this news Mahaprabhu externally showed some anger with Nityananda Prabhu, but internally He was very pleased.
To date, all the devotees of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, following in His footsteps, accept the sannyasa order and keep the sacred thread and tuft of unshaved hari. The eka-dandi-sannyasis of the Mayavadi school give up the sacred thread and do not keep any tuft of hari. Therefore they are unable to understand the purport of tridanda-sannyasa, and as such they are not inclined to dedicate their lives to the service of Mukunda. They simply think of merging into the existence of Brahman because of their disgust with material existence. They Acharyas who advocate the daiva-varnasrama (the social order of catur-vamyam mentioned in Bhagavad-Gita) do not accept the proposition of asura-varnasrama, which maintains that the social order of varna is indicated by birth.
The most intimate devotee of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, namely Gadadhara Pandit, accepted tridandi-sannyasa and also accepted Madhava Upadhyaya as his tridandi-sannyasi disciple. It is said that from this Madhavacarya the sampradaya known in western India as the Vallabhacarya-sampradaya has began. Shrila Gopala Bhatta Bose, who is known as a smrti-acarya in the Gaudiya-Vaishnava-sampradaya, later accepted the tridanda-sannyasa order from Tridandipada Prabodhananda Saraswati. Although acceptance of tridanda-sannyasa is not distinctly mentioned in the Gaudiya Vaishnava literature, the first verse of Shrila Rupa Goswami's Upadesamrta advocates that one should accept the tridanda-sannyasa order by controlling the six forces:
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat
"One who can control the forces of speech, mind, anger, belly, tongue, and genitals is known as a goswami and is competent to accept disciple all over the world." The followers of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu never accepted the Mayavadi order of sannyasa, and for this they cannot be blamed. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted Shridhar Svami, who was a tridandi-sannyasi, but the Mayavadi sannyasis, not understanding Shridhar Svami, sometimes thing that Shridhar Svami belonged to the Mayavada eka-dunda-sannyasa community. Actually this was not the case.
The verse, etam sa asthaya paratma-nistham, is chanted daily by the Vaishnava sannyasis of Mahaprabhu. That verse has been accepted by the followers of Mahaprabhu as carrying the spirit of tridandi sannysas.
Purpose of Sannyasa
What is this sannysas? What is the meaning? What is the purpose? Here we have heard that the purpose of the sannyasa of Mahaprabhu is distinct from the Mayavada purpose. The Mayavada purpose is to push oneself towards merging or moksha, becoming one with the Supreme Brahma; to finish, to annihilate the individual jiva. Mahaprabhu's sannyasa is distinct from that; it is to dedicate oneself at the lotus feet of Mukunda. It is not for moksha, but it is for Mukunda, the great Lord Shri Krishna. It can be said that dedication and devotion is the purpose of the sannyasa order of life.
Line of Shri Rupa
Now we will read The Line of Shri Rupa from Shri Guru and His Grace by Shridhar Maharaja.
The impersonalist transcendentalists say that once we are independent of the flesh connection, the consciousness of the human soul is the highest thing and that no finer, higher thing can exist. But the scripture say that the Supersoul, or Paramatma, is superior in existence to the individual soul, and that the Bhagavan conception, the personal conception of God, is even higher. This begins with the Vasudeva conception: Krishna alone.
The Narayana conception is again higher. The Krishna conception again the highest, and even in the Krishna conception there are divisions. Dvarka, Mathura, and Vrndavana. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the Shrimad-Bhagavatam assert that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead: krishnas tu bhagavan svayam.
The Vrndavana conception of Krishna as the Supreme Entity is the highest because beauty is above all. Beauty is above all grandeur and power. Neither physical, mental, or intellectual power, nor and other power, but beauty and love is the ultimate controlling power. Absolute good is absolute beauty, and that is the absolute controller. Mercy is above justice.
Generally, we cannot conceive that any thing could be greater than justice; we think that justice must be the highest principle. But we are told that mercy is above justice. And who can show mercy? Not any ordinary person, but only a king. One who can compensate for the loss in justice can give mercy. And the highest court is able to compensate everything. Such a realm exists. And there, the Lord is engaged in pastimes with His paraphernalia of equal quality. There is such a law, a provision beyond the sense of justice in our puppy brain.
Uddava is recognized as the principle devotee of the Lord, and his statement about mercy is found in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (3.2.23)
aho baki yam stana-kala-kutanm
ighamsayapayatad apy asadhvi
lebhe gatim dhatry-uctam tato `nyam
kam va dayalum saranam vrajema
He says, "We else should I surrender? How can I surrender to anyone more merciful than Krishna, when I find that the demoness Putana in the garb of maternal affection went to kill Krishna, but instead received such a wonderful benediction that she was given a higher post as one of Krishna's mothers? My Lord is so kind, so benevolent. Where else should I surrender? Her poisoned breast was put into the mouth of the infant child Krishna, and she was blessed with such a high and affectionate post! So, how can we measure His grace, His infinite mercy? His ways and mercy are beyond all expectations." Rather than treating her with justice we find just the opposite, He showed magnanimous behavior towards His greatest enemy. So, beyond justice there is mercy and such a high degree of mercy, such a quality and intensity of mercy that it cannot be measured. Uddhava prays, "Where should I find such a standard of grace as this? I must fall flat at the divine feet of Lord Krishna. Why should any man of intelligence not run to fall flat at the feet of such a magnanimous personality as Krishna? His nature is that of the highest love."
We, the finite, should approach the infinite with this spirit: "If justice is applied, I have no hope. I omit that department. I have come only to seek my fortune in the department of mercy, where there is no calculation of right or wrong, or merit or demerit. I have come to that department, my Lord, because I do not know what is within me. When I analyze and study my own heart, I find that I am unknown to my own self. I am also helpless and wretched that I don't want any decision based on justice."
Only by Mercy
Not by qualification. Only by mercy, We want only mercy. That is our highest necessity. We may try to qualify ourselves in so many ways but ultimately everything depends on Krishna's mercy. We may have to face that fact that even a high standard of rules and regulations is not the all in all. The rules of sadhana are there to give us some foundation, but rules and regulations alone cannot conquer Krishna. We require Krishna's mercy and that mercy comes to us via the devotee. Therefore we must surrender to Krishna's devotee. If we can surrender to Krishna's devotee then we are guaranteed Krishna's mercy. But how to surrender and what is the meaning of surrender?
"I surrender. You may do whatever you like with me. I am the worst of sinners. What to do with me now is in your hands. You, Savior, I have come to you. If there is any possibility-save me. This is my open appeal, my one-sided appeal." This sort of self-abnegation will automatically cleanse our hearts. But this attitude of sharanagati, or surrender, we invite the greatest attention from above. Sharanagati, surrender, is the only way to be reinstated in our lost prospect." (Rupa Goswami)
At present, we are disconnected form the prospect of divine love which we cherish in the innermost quarter of our hearts. If we want to have that privilege very easily and very quickly, we must approach the Lord with plain speaking, and with a naked body and mind, with everything exposed. Shrila Rupa Goswami in Bhakti-rasamrtasindhu (1.2.154) has written:
mat-tulyo masti papatma
naparadhi ca kascana
parihare `pi lajja me
kim bruve purusottama
"My Lord, I feel ashamed. How shall I offer you so many pure things like flowers? Generally, pure things are offered to you, but what about me? I have come with my most filthy thing to offer you. I feel ashamed. I have come to you, with only my shame, to beg for mercy. There is no parallel to my sinful, criminal life. Everything that can be conceived of as bad is found in me. It is very difficult even to speak about the characteristics of my heinous sins and crimes. Still, your nature, existence, fame, and benevolence cannot but attract me. You can save me. You can purify me. Hoping against hope, I have come to you. And I have only one solace, that I am the real object of your mercy. Your tendency is to purify the meanest. Those who are the most needy and the meanest of the mean. This is my only qualification, my only hope to attract your attention and appeal to you magnanimity."
"Rupa Goswami says in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.153) that still there is some sort of subconscious element within him:
yuvatinam yatha yuni
yunanca yunatau tatha
mano `bhiramate tadvan
mano `bhiramatam tvayi
"Just as a young boy feels attraction for a young girl, I wan that sort of attraction towards you. I want to be engrossed in you, forgetting all material paraphernalia. And be sincere surrender, at once, our progress begins. And the development of that kind if attraction takes up to the topmost rank.
I want that intimate connection with you, my Lord. I am the neediest of the needy, but at the same time I have this ambition: I am so disgusted with the world outside that I want the most intense and comprehensive relationship with you. With this attitude, the surrendering process begins and rises step by step. I want that standard of divine love, of intimacy with you. I want to dive deep within you."
Go to Shrimati Radharani
Rupa Goswami has asked, "I want that connection with you, give me that divine live for You, that thing I am begging." But Krishna is saying, "Do you want an intimate relationship with Me?"
prathaye tvam aham sada
tvadiyam iti janatu
govindo mam tvaya saha
This prayer is found in the Arcana Panddhati, which comes from Gopal Bhatta Goswami's edition of the Hari-bhakti-vilasa. From there it had sprung in the shastra, which is an eternal flow of a particular current of knowledge.
Everything is eternal in Vaikuntha and Goloka. Just as the sun comes up and goes down, appears and disappears, the thought is eternal and sometime appears and disappears.
In this verse, govinda-vallabhe radhe, there is a sudden turn. Krishna says to His devotee, "Oh, do you want an intimate relationship with me? It is not to be found within my department. You will have to go to another department. Go to the department of Radhika." Then, at once, the devotee's thought is transferred towards that side. All his energy is monopolized there. It is Her monopoly. "Your inner quest is not to be found within my department," Krishna says. "You'll have to go elsewhere and file a petition there."
And with this inspiration, at once the devotee puts his petition to Radharani: govinda-vallabhe radhe: "O, Shri Radhe, your master and sustainer is Govinda. He is the Lord of your heart." Govinda means, "He who can give fulfillment to all our senses." With our senses we can fell perception as well as knowledge. Govinda is the master who gives fulfillment to all our channels of perception. Govinda is you Lord. But just the opposite is also true. You are mistress of the heart of Govinda, the Supreme Master. Is it not? You are queen of the heart of Govinda. I have been directed to come to you with my petition. Please enlist my name in your department and admit me as a servitor in your group.
dasyam mahyam pradiyatam
"O Radhe, O Queen of Vrndavana, You are like a flowing river filled with the nectar of mercy. Please be kind upon me, and bestow upon me some small service at Your lotus feet. You are the queen of the whole management of ecstasy."
Radharani Reveals Krishna
Krishna says, "It is not with Me. What you want cannot be gotten with Me. You will have to go elsewhere and there you will have to file your petition." One may surrender to Krishna and approach Krishna, then when we are most fortunate Krishna directs us to the camp of Shrimati Radharani. It is a great blessing to receive this kind of internal guidance from Krishna.
Some devotees want a relationship with Krishna directly. They do not realize the importance of Shrimati Radharani. Actually the fulfillment of their hearts desire will be found in the camp of Shrimati Radharani. The real petition should be for Her grace, and not to have a direct relationship with Krishna. It is considered to be a great benediction when Krishna transfers one's focus in that way, to the lotus feet of Shrimati Radharani.
Halo of Radharani
In the beginning of Krishna consciousness we must have some shraddha, faith. That faith is the essence of the hladhini shakti. Faith is the halo of Shrimati Radharani. Faith alone can reveal the position of Krishna. Faith is greater than knowledge, greater than material calculation.
Faith leads us to surrender to Krishna. Surrender or sharanagati is the effulgence of Krishna. When we approach Krishna through faith and surrender He reveals our service relationship with Him. When our faith and surrender are most intense, Krishna reveals to us the camp of His most confidential servants, the camp of Shrimati Radharani.
Our real interest lies there in the department of Shrimati Radharani. Now we come to the department of Radharani. But is there a prospect beyond that? Is there any place from which we might get even a drop more attention in the way of mercy. Is there anything more beneficial for us? Yes, there is. And that position one may achieve by the grace of Shrila Rupa Goswami.
Who is Shrila Rupa Goswami?
Who is Rupa? Rupa Manjari. Generally the hierarchy in the spiritual world is eternal. New recruit can occupy a particular rank of manjari, assistant, in madhurya rasa. And the leader of the manjaris is Shri Rupa Manjari. What is the special feature in the manjari camp which is not found among the shaktis, girlfriends of Krishna? First there is Radharani, then the cam p of her right-hand personal attendant, Lalita. Then, under Lalita, there is Shri Rupa Manjari. What is the unique position of the followers of Shri Rupa? The new recruits can attain to that status. Now, the privilege of this manjari class we are to conceive most respectfully and attentively.
When Radha and Govinda are in secrecy, in a private place, the shaktis, who are well-versed in the art of that kind of play, because they are a little grown-up, do not like to approach there to disturb their confidential mixing. If the more grown-up shaktis, enter there, both Radha and Govinda will feel shy. So, their presence may create some disturbance. But the younger can enter there, and then Radha and Govinda have no hesitation in fee mixing. So, in that highest stage of the mixing of Radha-Govinda, the free play of Radha-Govinda, these manjaris, the younger girls, can have admission. But the grown-up shaktis cannot have admission there. New recruits may come up to the manjari class. And the manjaris have that sort of special advantage under the leadership of Shri Rupa Manjari. So they get the best advantage there; the most sacred type of pure service, which is not open even to the shaktis, is open to the manjaris. That is found in Radharani's camp. So, the position of the rupanugas, the followers of Shri Rupa, is the most profitable position. That has been given out by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. That had been shown by Him, and that is fixed as the highest limit of our fortune in Krishna's concern. This is unexpectable, undesignable and beyond hope, but our prospect lies there in that subtle camp of Shri Rupa Manjari, Rupa Goswami.
So, the camp, the sampradaya of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is known as the rupanuga sampradaya. There our fate and our fortune is located. Now we have to conduct ourselves in such a way that naturally we can connect with that highest, purest spiritual conception, from here. We must not allow ourselves to be satisfied with anything less that this highest ideal. That should be the highest goal of our life. And we must adjust our approach from our present position."
With this conception we can approach the highest meaning of the sannyasa ashram. It is not external but most internal - to come up to the divine service of Shrimati Radharani in the camp of the manjaris. That position has also been shown by Raghunatha Dasa Gowsami and it has been accepted by the followers of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as the highest aspiration in the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya.
In this connection Shrila Shridhar Maharaja used to tell the following story; (from The Loving Search for the Lost Servant)
No Interest in Krishna
Once, the Diwan of Bharatpur had come on a pilgrimage with his family to the holiest of places, Shri Radha-kunda, the holy lake of Shrimati Radharani. He and his family were circumambulating Radha-kunda. They would fall flat on the ground, offering obeisance's lying down with their arms outstretched. Every time they bowed down in this way they would mark the spot where their fingertips touched the earth. Then they would slowly rise, step forward to where that spot had been marked, and again fall flat, offering their obeicsances with great respect and adoration. In this was they were circumambulating the entire Radha-kunda. Upon seeing such intense worship, Paramananda Prabhu, an intimate disciple of our guru maharaja Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, intimated to Prabhupada that the Diwan and his family must have great respect for Radharani to circumambulate the Radha-kunda in such a fashion.
At that time Prabhupada said, "Their angle of vision towards Radha-kunda and Radharani is different form ours. They recognize and revere Krishna. And because Radharani is Krishna's favorite, they also have some reverence for Radha-kunda. But our vision is just the opposite. Our concern is with Radharani. And only because He wants Krishna do we have any connection with Him."
And so, the Gaudiya Vaishnavas know only Radharani. They are concerned only with Her, and Her duties, Her necessities. They are ready to serve her in all respects, and cannot contemplate any service without Her. That is the special feature of Mahaprabhu's party, and that was announced by Raghunatha Dasa Goswami in his Vilapa-kusumanjali (102):
kalo mayatigamitah kila sampratam hi
tvam cet krpam mayi vidhasyasi naiva kim me
pranair vraje na ca varoru bakarinapi
This verse is a direct prayer to Radharani. It expresses a particular type of hope that is so sweet and reassuring that it is compared with an unlimited ocean of nectar. He says, "There is a hope which is sustaining me and nurturing my existence. With that hope I am somehow passing my days, dragging my life through these tedious times. That nectarine ocean of hope is attracting me and keeping me alive. But my patience has reached its end. I can't endure it any longer. I can't wait any more.
At this moment if You do not show Your grace to me, I am finished. I shall lose my prospect forever. I shall have no desire to continue my life. It will all be useless. Without Your grace, I can't stand to live another moment. And Vrndavana, which is even dearer to me than my life itself - I am disgusted with it. It is painful; it is always pinching me. And what to speak of anything else, I am even disgusted with Krishna. It is shameful to utter such words, but I can have no love even for Krishna unless and until You take me within Your confidential camp of service." This is the prayer of Raghunatha Dasa.
When Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada would begin to explain this verse, his figure would become transformed. He would become full of emotion; his face would become like that of a phantom.
In this verse, Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, taking an extreme risk says, "O, Radha, if I do not get Your favor, I don't want anything. I want You and You alone. To have an independent relationship with anyone else, eliminating You is impossible in my life. You must be first, and then others. Within You, we can never ever think of a separate relationship with Krishna."
In the beginning of this initiation program we heard how Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa. He became mad after Krishna. However, we also heard that the devotees became mad after Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. One devotee, the father of Shrinivasa Acharya, began to chant, "Chaitanya! Chaitanya! Chaitanya!" and nothing else. He became mad after Mahaprabhu.
In the Chaitanya Bhagavat it is said, shri krishna chaitanya radha krishna nahe anya.. That is, Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Radha and Krishna combined. Mahaprabhu is Krishna Himself, Rasaraja, and He is Radha, Mahabhava. Rasaraja-Mahabhava is Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He is Krishna coming in the mood of Radharani.
Mahaprabhu took His sannyasa mantra from Keshava Bharati after giving the proper Gaudiya Vaishnava conception, "I am His, I am Krishna's, and Krishna is mine." A most suitable mantra for Mahaprabhu. Why? Because He is in the mood of a devotee, in the mood of Shrimati Radharani. But later, when the Gaudiya sampradaya developed through the line of the six goswamis of Vrndaban, many esoteric aspects of consideration manifested.
Self Made Sannyasi
From the time of the Six Goswamis until now the sannyasa mantra given to the tridandi sannyasis has been different than the mantra received by Mahaprabhu. The mantra given at present was first given be Sanatana Goswami. However, until the time Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura the tridandi sannyasa of the Gaudiya Vaishnava line was not visible. In 1918 Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura took sannyasa from a photo of Shrila Gour Kishore Das Babaji Maharaja. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta is known as a self-made sannyasi, a self-manifest sannyasi.
It was Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta who organized the present standard of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sannyasi, The dress, the danda, etc. Everything was done by him. The mantra which he gave was the same as the one given by the Babaji class such as Gour Kishore Das Babaji Maharaja and Jaganatha Das Babaji Maharaja. This same mantra is presently being given to all the sannyasis in the Gaudiya Vaishnava line.
I Am Her Servant
So that everyone present here today may have a correct idea of the mantra, I shall explain the following: The mantra to be given here is not the same mantra that was given to Mahaprabhu i.e., tattvamasi, with the conception or purport the "I am His." Rather it is a different mantra which has been prepared, and it's meaning is "I am Her servant" i.e. Radha dasyam. Not, "I am His." "I am His," means I surrender myself to Krishna, He is my Lord and master. But in the sannyasa mantra the meaning comes "I am Her servant", Radha dasyam. "I aspire for the service of the lotus feet of Shrimati Radharani."
The mantra of Mahaprabhu is of a different conception because He is Krishna in the mood of Radharani searching for Himself. In this connection it is said that Gour Kishore das Babaji Maharaja has taken from the stem of the lotus flower of Mahaprabhu's lotus feet, the sweet taste of Radharani's bhava for Krishna. He worships that. And he adores that.
The topmost devotees of Mahaprabhu see the mood of Radharani in Him, not the mood of Krishna. Not Rasaraja, but Mahabhava or Radharani, who is experiencing the greatest ecstasy of service to Krishna. So the sannyasa followers of Mahaprabhu have focused on that. For them to chant a mantra that means "I am His," is unacceptable. Just like Mahaprabhu could not live with the conception "I am that." Absolutely not. No. "I am His." Similarly, the followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, from the Six Goswamis until now, all accept the service of Shrimati Radharani as the highest goal of life. Exclusive dedication to the lotus feet of Shrimati Radharani is their heart and soul.
The Gaudiya sampradaya focuses exclusively of the lotus feet of Shrimati Radharani. This concept we find living in our guardians, in our spiritual masters, in our great preceptors. And we try to serve that.
A question may arise here. What will be our service to Radharani in this mundane world?
Sankirtan Lila Means Rasa Lila
In the conditioned state of material existence it is not possible to directly serve Shrimati Radharani. Again our focus comes, that we will serve Shrimati Radharani by serving Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu under the guidance of Shri Rupa Goswami. Our service to Shrimati Radharani is to serve the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu. And what is that service to Mahaprabhu? That is the Sankirtan Movement of Mahaprabhu, the congregational chanting of the Holy Names of Krishna and the preaching of Krishna consciousness all over the world. Service to Shrimati Radharani means preaching Krishna consciousness all over the world.
In the days of Shrila Prabhupada, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, he used to say at the time of giving sannyasa to his disciples, "Now you must preach Krishna consciousness all over the world." And in the days of Shrila Shridhar Deva Goswami Maharaja he would sometimes tell at the time of giving sannyasa, "Now service to Krishna is finished and service to Shrimati Radharani begins." Preaching Krishna Consciousness and service to Shrimati Radharani are synonymous at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The sankirtan of Mahaprabhu means the rasa-lila if Radha-Govinda. It is their most intimate rasa! Thus we will find our highest fulfillment, our highest aspiration in serving the Sankirtan Movement of Mahaprabhu, coupled with this meditation that we are the servants of the servants of the servants of Shrimati Radharani, who is dear most servant of Lord Govinda.
Sweetness of Her Service
Krishna finds so much sweetness in the service of Shrimati Radharani that when Shrimati Radharani excused Herself from the rasa dance, which included millions of gopis, Krishna could not find any nadhu - any madhurya or sweetness in the rasa-lila. The service offered by millions of other gopis could not equal even a drop of the sweet service and love that comes from Shrimati Radharani. Our vision is that She alone is the topmost servant of Krishna. Any service to Krishna, which is going to be pleasing to the Lord, must come through Her agency.
Representative of Shrimati Radharani
This raises an interesting point regarding the spiritual master. The spiritual master may be perceived differently according to the adhikari or the position of the devotee in terms of his spiritual advancement. This is similar to how one may perceive the position of the sun according to ones position on earth. Someone is sitting here in India and he sees the sun rising. If we go towards the east and find someone sitting in Hong Kong he will say that the sun is at twelve o' clock. And yet further to the east in Hawaii, at the same moment, one will see that the sun may be perceived at different places in the sky. Similarly, according to the adhikari of the devotee, the spiritual master is perceived differently.
The neophyte, the kanista adhikari, perceives the spiritual master as non-different from God. Therefore he may think that if the spiritual master miss-spells a word, the dictionary should be changed. The madhyama adhikari sees the spiritual master as being an empowered representative of Lord Nityananda or Baladeva, the original spiritual master. In the uttama stage of devotion on sees the spiritual master as directly representing the camp of Shrimati Radharani. That is the uttama vision. That is considered the first class, the highest conception of the spiritual master - that he represents a particular refined group of servitors within the divine lila of Krishna. And in the case of the Gaudiya Sampradaya, cent percent the acharyas are seen as being representatives of the camp of Shrimati Radharani. That is our line.
Like that, the meditation in our sampradaya comes to the lotus feet of Shrimati Radharani, and in the prayer of Raghunatha das it is so exclusive, that he says, "I don't even care for Krishna." That without Shrimati Radharani I have no hope. My only interest in Krishna is because She is interested. And Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, he told that also.
Not For The General Public
This is not a topic of discussion meant for the general public. When we go out preaching the Sankirtan movement, we are not preaching Radha dasyam directly but we are preaching Krishna dasyam, service to Krishna. First surrender to Krishna. The high prospect of Radha dasyam that we are discussing is not conceivable by the beginners. It is revealed by Krishna to those who are most surrendered and most fortunate. That is the special grace of Krishna to His devotees. It is not for the general public. It is for the internal group of the Lords most intimate devotees.
It is said that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura was such a great devotee of Shrimati Radharani and yet he never spoke of Her publicly. One day, however, at a public program a man stood and minimized the position of Shrimati Radharani. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura could not tolerate this. Then again, he did not want to speak publicly about Shrimati Radharani. What to do? Shrimati Radharani's name had been minimized in some way, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura then began to speak of the super excellent position of Shrimati Radharani in order to establish Her true glory.
While speaking about Shrimati Radharani, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura became so emotional, so absorbed in remembrance, and so immersed in his exclusive dedication to Shrimati Radharani, that he lost connection with the external world and fell unconscious. Such was the profound dedication of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura for Shrimati Radharani.
We have heard many wonderful things on this auspicious day of the appearance of Shrimati Radharani and it is now time to proceed with the sannyasa initiation ceremony by giving the tri-danda, the sannyasa title and name (Bhakti Gaurava Vaishnava Maharaja), and the sannyasa mantra.
Jayate! Shri Shri Gaura Gouranga Kijaya!
Goura Premanandi Hari Hari Bol!