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Shrila Gopal Bhatta Goswami has written the Sat Kriya Sara Dipika as a manual for performing performing the samskaras of the grhastha vaishnava. Samskara Dipika he is presenting as a manual for the vaishnava who is about to renounce his home and enter the bhiksu asrama. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur states that since the time of Lord Chaitanya the devotees on the path of renunciation have been following this manual.
All men have a right to enter the grhastha asrama, but the three upper varnas (vaisya, ksatriya and brahmana) have a right to the other three asramas( brahmacari, vanaprastha and sannyasa). According the rules of varnasrama, for women, sudras and dvija bandhus are these asramas are forbidden. The sudra is a person with without samskara or purification, and his charactersitic is lamentation (sucana). Lamentation is due to ignorance, whi ch is part of his nature. How is it possible that such a person can become a brahmacari, or take to any of the activities requiring higher spiritual interest. This is the scriptural statement.
However, though the puranas place restrictions in this way, the knower of truth can understand that this stricture applies to non-vaishnavas. The restrictions apply to a person born in a sudra family who is not a vaishnava, and does not apply to a pers on who, though born in a sudra family, happens by the grace of the Lord to take to the path of pure devotion. If a person, through assocation, takes on the qualities of a brahmana, he can no longer be considered a sudra. Thus it is stated in scriptu re : na sudra bhagavad bhakta (the devotee of the Lord cannot be considered a sudra). This is illustrated by the story of Satyakama Jabala in the Upanisads. The samskaras given in the Sat Kriya Sara Dipika are meant to raise a person to the level of sannyasi, a pure devotee of the Lord. When any person, whether he be brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra or less by family birth, attains actual qualification for sannyasa through the practice of devotional service, he may take the sannyasa asrama. But until that qualification appears, he should remain a grhastha vaishnava.
Vaishnavas are of two kinds, ordinary and sampradayika (belonging to a bona fide sampradaya). The ordinary (or tantrika) vaishnavas are those who have not taken initiation from a guru in a bona fide parampara system. Sampradayika (or vaidic) vaishnava s are those thoe have taken shelter of a bona fide guru parampara. The sampradayika vaishnavas are divided into two types. householders and renunciates. Those who take panca samskara (five samskaras) are qualified as vaishnavas householders, whereas t hose who take ten samskaras are qualified as sannyasis. Sannyasis are of two types also: brahma sannyasis and visnu sannyasis. The brahma sannyasis take up the mayavada philosophy and take one among ten different names. The visnu sannyasis are thos e who follow the path of devotional service to visnu or Krishna.
A brahmana is respected as the very body of the Lord because he practices sad dharma. However when he can give up the material identification of position as a brahmana and practices sad dharma, he is called a vaishnava. Whereas the brahmana is the bo dy of the Lord, the vaishnava is considered to be the very atma or soul of the Lord. One who gives up the markings of varna becomes a sannyasi, and when that sannyasi gives up the markings of asrama, he is an avadhuta paramahamsa. He is most glorifi ed of all, because of his unsurpassed unalloyed devotion to Krishna.
yatha kancanatam yati kamasyam rasa vidhanatah
tatha diksa vidhanena dvijatvam jayate nrnam
As bell metal may be turned into gold by the process of alchemy, a man (of whatever vrna or asrama) may achieve the status of dvija or twice born by the process of pancaratrika diksa.
antyaja api tad rastre sankha cakradi dharinah
samprapya vaisnavim diksam diksita iva sambabhuh
Thus, if even an outcaste, by the process of bhakti, becomes qualified to the point of taking initiation , he attains a position equal to the brahmana.
A person is qualified as a brahmana by taking into consideration three factors: tapasya (austerity), sruti (knowledge of the vedas), and yoni (birth in a brahmana family). A person with these three qualifications may be considered as the guru for th e four varnas. A person, upon taking vaishnava diksa, attains second birth, and when he attains a taste for renouncing household life he becomes qualified for sannyasa. And even if one is not born in a brahmana family, but has the nature of a brahman a, he must be considered a brahmana in the highest sense, for in Kali Yuga the qualification of yoni or birth in a brahmana family does not apply. The main considerations for status as a brahmana are therefore tapas and sruti. This is confirmed by Mahabharata, Bhagavatam, Manu, Jabala Upanisad and Vraja Sucika Upanisad. one born in a sudra family, if he attains pure devotion , is the dearest to the Lord, whereas anyone among the varnas and asramas, if he does not attain devotion to the Lord, i s considered a sudra.
api cet suduracaro bhajate mam ananya bhak sadhur eva sa mantavyah samyak vyavasito hi sah (A person of the lowest conduct, who takes to my worship must be considered saintly. He is rightly situated.)
mam hi partha vyapashritya ye'pi syuh papa yonayah striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te'pi yanti param gatim.
(Even sinful persons, women, vaisyas and sudras, if they take shelter of me, go to the supreme abode.)
The example of this is Vidura, who , though considered a sudra by his birth, entered the avadhuta asrama.
aho bata svapaco'to gariyan yaj jihvagre vartate nama tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya brahmanucur nama grnanti ye te
(The outcaste who chants your name is most exhalted. He has performed all austerities, all sacrifices, and studied all the vedas.)
smartavyah satatam visnur vismartavyo na jatucit
sarve vidhi nisedhah syur etayor eva kinkarah
(The sum and substance of all rules and regulations is to always remember and never forget visnu.)
Here one should understand the intention of scripture. One may take the external meaning (varnasrama) or the internal meaning (krishna bhakti). Those who are incapable of anything else must follow the external rules of varnasrama including charity, vr ata, homa, etc, and gradually they attain the qualification for taking the internal meaning and following the path of bhakti. At that time the necessity of following all the external rules decreases. The essential purport of the scriptures is that e veryone should always remember Vishnu and never forget him. One who realizes and follows this precept is the knower of all scripture. He is truly qualified as brahmana, sannyasi or paramahamsa avadhuta.
Thus the principle of taking sannyasa may be stated as follows: taking diksa according to the pancaratrika injunctions from a bona fide guru, a person attains the status of dvija or twice- born, and as a result of practice as a householder one attai ns detachment and qualification for visnu sannyas and acyuta gotra. When one can give up the marks of the sannyaa asrama one attains the status of paramahmasa. In the same way that a qualified woman vaishnava is allowed to worship the salagrama sila, so a qualified woman vaishnava may also take up two pieces of cloth as a brahmacari or renunciate.
Examples of sannyasa in Lord Chaitanya's sampradaya are Svarupa Damodara, who gave up his thread and sikha and donned kaupin, thus attaining his natural position (svarupa) as sannyasi: Madhavi Devi, a woman who took to the renounced order; and Ragunath a das (kayastha class), who was given kaupina by Nityananda Prabhu himself.
Shri Chaitanya himself stated the principle of sannyasa when he quoted a
verse from Shrimad Bhagavatam after taking sannyasas. etam samastyaya
paratma nistham upasitam purvatair maharsanbhih aham tarisyami duranta
param tamo kumundanghri nisevayaiva
jnana nistho virakto va mad bhakto va'napeksakah salinganasramams
tyaktva cared avidhi gocarah
(I take shelter of ideal method for concentrating on the Supreme Lord, the sannyasa asrama, which has been respected as such by all the ancient sages, and by which I can perfect service to the lotus feet of Shri Krishna. In this way I shall cross over the ocean of material existence.
Whether one is fixed in knowledge or devotion, one should come to the stage of giving up all signs of asrama one should perform activities transcendental to all rules.)
The word etam in the sloka refers to the markings of external sannyasa, ie, kaupina, cloth, etc.which ar characteristic of both the brahman and visnu sannyasi. Udayana Acarya has criticized Sankaracaraya for giving up the sikha and thread but taking on the markings of a sannyasi as a further designation. When the vaishnava takes on the external signs of sannyasa one should understand that this is for teaching the general populace the necessity of renunciation in accordance to the scripture. The sum and substance however is the worship of the Supreme L ord apart from all material handerings by any and all means-either by adopting the markings of asrama and/or giving up all material designation of varnasrama.
The system of taking sannyasa is consistent with tradition and scriptural injunctions. In the Ramanuja Sampradaya, first the place is prepared and the candidate is shaved and dressed. Vishnu homa is performed, the previous acaryas are worshipped and the five vaishnava samskaras are enacted on the candidate. Then the vaidic samskaras are performed upto and including upanayana (giving the gayatri). Having given the particular mantras of the sampradaya, the person then performs worship of the guru parampara and salagrama. Then the one who is qualified for sannyasa is given the dress, bag, covering and mantra of the sannyasa asrama.
In the Gaudiya sampradaya the system is similar. After purifying the place (house or temple), visnu homa and worship of the acarya sampradaya should be performed using five articles of worship. Then the qualified candidate may be given vaishnava diksa. Or, alternatively one may simply establish asanas and worship the acaryas and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his associates and then give diksa. Or one may simply worship the panca tttva with five upacras and then give diksa.
Method of worship (of parampara and others):
Starting with ones spiritual master one should worship him with five or more upacaras, mentioning the upacara, then om, followed by the acarya in the dative case, followed by namah.
eg esa gandhah om shri gurave namah
om shri madhvacaryaya namah
In this way one should proceed to the worship of Krishna.
Five upacaras are:
Then the qualified candidate should be initiated with the five samskaras: the person should be shaved and bathed, dressed, and decorated with vertical tilaka (urdhva pundra); gopi candana stamps of conch, cakra etc.should decorate his body (mudra); he should then be given a name of Vishnu or Krishna (nama karana); and and then the particular krishna mantra that the guru choses should be given (mantra dana). By this process of pancaratrika diksa the person attains second birth (dvija). Then after h aving received all the vaidic samskaras ending with upanayanam, the person should undergo the sannyasa samskara.
(The idea here is that when a person is internally qualified he is given pancaratrika diksa consisting of five samskaras, by which he is formally recognized as a vaishnava. He is considered qualified as a dvija, or twice born, regardless of his backgro und, and may therefore also accept the external signs of that by taking of upanayanam, the vaidika samskara signifying spiritual initiation as a dvija. If a person has both internal and external qualification as a brahmana, and exhibits the qualitie s necessary for the sannyasa asrama, he may then adopt that asrama in accordance with the scriptural rules.)
Suitable Time for taking Sannyasa:
yad ahareva virajet
tad ahar eva pravrajet
When one becomes detached from material desires one should give up household life and become a sannyasi.
He should pray to a sannyasi guru:
bho guro sampradaya sadhya sadhananusthana prajna
asmin bharate samsaran mam trahi sannyasam dehi
Oh spiritual master, most knowledgeable in the process and goal of perfecting human life according to the bone fide sampradaya, please deliver me from the material ocean by granting me the order of sannyasa. A grhastha cannot bestow a person sannyas, since a householder has no experience of the renounced life, its methods, goals and samskara rites. Both the qualification of the guru and disciple must be examined before granting sannyas.
The Vaishnava Samskaras:
The ten samskaras are as follows:
2. tirtha snana-bathing in a holy river
3. tilaka dharana-putting on tilaka *
4. mudra dharana-placing the symbols of the Lord on the body *
5. kaupina suddhi-purification of the kaupina
6. kaupina pranapratistha-calling deities into the kaupina
7. nama grahana-taking a name of the Lord Vishnu *
8. mantra grahana-to recieve a vaishnava mantra *
9.. acyuta gotra grahana-taking acyuta gotra
10. salagrama arcana-worship of salagrama sila *
If a person has already been initiated as a vaishnava with panca samskara (those starred) then the guru will perform the remaining five:
1. mundana (shaving)
2. tirtha snana
3. kaupina suddhi
4. kaupina prana pratistha
5. acyuta gotra grahana
In addition Vishnu homa and arcana (yaga) may also be performed in this case. The last five samskaras are now described.
The candidate should approach a barber and pray to him:
mastakam mundaya mundin sikham samsthapya yatnatah
sraddha me krishna chaitanya padabje vikrayah sthirah
matra pitra samah sarve bandhava me hitaisinah
asih kuruta tatpade bhaktih syad bhava krntani
shri chaitanya dayasindho bhaktanugraha karaka
daso bhavami grhnatu patitam mam samuddhara
(Oh barber please shave my head leaving a sikha. I have faith that I will attain steadiness at the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya. May my well wishers and friends who are like my mother and mother to me, bless me. May I gain pure bhakti to the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya, which will destroy all my material attachments. Oh Lord Chaitanya, ocean of mercy, most merciful to the devotees, I am your servant, please accept me.
Please deliver this most fallen soul.) Tirtha Snana:
The guru should instruct the candidate how to perform acamana, kara nyasa , anga nyasa, pranayama and snana, after the candidate has shaved.
om kesavaya namah sipwater and discard remainder
om narayanaya namah sipwater and discard remainder
om madhavaya namah sipwater and discard remainder
om govindaya namah wash hands
om visnave namah wash hands
om madhusudanaya namah om trivikramaya namah clean the mouth
om vamanaya namah om shridharaya namah wipe upper and lower lips
om hrsikesaya namah wash both hands
om padmanabhaya namah sprinkle water on feet
om damodaraya namah sprinkle water on head
om vasudevaya namah touch mouth with tips of fingers
om sankarsanaya namah touch righ nostril with fore finger and thumb
om pradumnaya namah touch left nostril with fore figer and thumb
om aniruddhaya namah touch right eye with ring finger and thumb
om purusottamaya namah touch left eye with ring finger and thumb
om adhoksajaya namah touch right ear with little finger and thumb
om nrsimhaya namah touch left ear with little finger and thumb
om acyutaya namah touch navel with palm of hand
om janardanaya namah touch heart with tips of fingers
om upendraya namah touch top of head with tips of fingers
om haraye namah touch right arm
om krishnaya namah touch left arm
klim krishnaya angusthabhyam namah touch thumbs with forefingers of both hands
govindaya tarjanibhyam svaha touch forefingers with thumbs
gopijana madhyambhyam vasat touch middle fingers with thumbs
vallabhaya anamikabhyam hum touch ring fingers with thumbs
svaha kanisthabhyam phat touch little fingers with thumbs
klim hrdayaya namah
krishnaya sirase svaha
govindaya sikhayai vasat
gopijana kavacaya hum
vallabhaya netraya vausat
svaha astraya phat
om kama bijasya prajapati rsih
devi gayatri chandhah
shri krishna chaitanya devata
ka karo bijam
la kara kilakam
i karah saktih
om kama bijaya namah
prajapatyrsaye namah touch head
devi gayatri chandase namah touch sikha
shri krishna chaitanya devatayai namah touch face
ka karabijatmane namah touch heart
la kara kilakaya namah touch right nipple
i kara saktaye nmah touch left nipple
pranayama viniyogaya namah touch heart
Chanting the kama bija sixteen times one should inhale; chanting the kama bija sixty four times one should hold the breath; chanting the kama bija thirty two times one should exhale. Counting in this manner one should begin by inhaling through the left nostril, blocking the right nostril, holding the breath, and then exhaling through the right nostril, blocking the left nostril. Then one should inhale through the right nostril, h old the breath, and exhale through the left nostril, using the same count. According to some this should be repeat three times.
After bathing one should dress and put on tilaka.
om kesavaya namah on forehead
om narayanaya namah on belly
om madhavaya namah on heart
om govindaya namah on throat
om visnave namah on right side
om madhusudanaya namah on right arm
om trivikramaya namah on right shoulder
om vamanaya namah on left side
om shridharaya namah on left arm
om hrsikesaya namah on left shoulder
om padmanabhaya namah on back
om damodaraya namah at the waist
om vasudevaya namah washing hands touch head
om am dhatr sahitaya kesavaya namah on forehead
om am aryama sahitaya narayanaya namah belly
om im mitra sahitaya madhavaya namah on chest
om im varuna sahitaya govindaya namah on throat
om um amsu sahitaya visnave namah on right side
om um bhaga sahitaya madhusudanaya namah on right arm
om rm vivasvat sahitaya trivikramaya namah on right shoulder
om rm indra sahitaya vamanaya namah left side
om lm pusa sahitaya shridharaya namah left arm
om lm parjanya sahitaya hrsikesaya namah left shouldr
om em tvastr sahitaya padmanabhaya namah on back
om aim visnu sahitaya damodaraya namah on waist
om kirita keyura hara makara kundala cakra sankha gada padma hasta
pitambaradharam shrivatsankita vaksah sthala
shri bhumi sahita svatma jyotir
diptikaraya sahastraditya tejase namo namah
sprinkle water on the head.
One should apply stamps with the holy name by mens of gopi candana on the body. Some vaishnavas apply hot stamps to the body on the sayana dvadasi tithi, but the worshippers of Krishna usually apply cold stamps using gopi candana. Shri Chaitanya has deci ded that this is more suitable for the people of Kali Yuga.
Kaupina should be two pieces of cloth. The width should be equal to the distance between the two nipples and the length should be equal to the girth of the waist plus two fists. Or the length may be fourteen fists and the width one pradesa.
The presiding deity of the kaupina, which restrains ones desire and helps one cross over the ocean of material enjoyment is the consort of the Lord embodying shyness. It is also considered prthivi, earth. The presiding deity of the belt, which supp orts the kaupina, is ananta. Knot will be placed on the right side. According to some authorities, Brahma, Vishnu Siva, Vasuki, Pavana, Agni, Candra, Sukra and Brhaspati are situated in the kaupina, while others say that only Brahma Vishnu and Siva re side there. Vishnu is present in the knot and brahma and Siva are at the sides. Ones outer cloth, which should cover the kaupina, is considered the consort or energy of Vishnu.
One should smear sandalwood over the kaupina and belt and then purify them again by sprinkling sandalwood paste and reciting the mantra:
gangadi sarva tirthani yani loka gatani tu
kaupinam parisudhyantu sarva siddhi karani bhoh
Along with the kaupina there should be two pieces of cloth for covering the body, a blanket (kantha) for protection from the cold, sack, head cloth etc and shoes. There should also be a tridanda of palasa, bamboo and vilva poles, or three poles of on e of the three types of trees. One should also have a water pot made of tumbi gourd, earth or wood. (Some manuals also include a water strainer made of cloth and an asana.) They should all be purified a One should chant the following mantra ten times over the kaupina etc.
om kaupina suddhi mantrasya
kaupina suddhi vidhanartham jape viniyogah
om kaupinadhisthatr lajjanantarupaya namah
One should worship the kaupina etc with sandalwood and flowers:
ete gandha puspe om kaupinadhisthatr lajjananta rupaya namah
om kaupinadhisthatr devate ihagaccha ihagaccha
iha sannidhehi iha sannidhehi
iha parami kuru iha paramikuru
iha kaupine'dhisthanam kuru svaha
om asya kaupina prana pratistha mantrasya
kaupina pratistha jape viniyogah
One should chant the following eighteen times over the items
om am hrim kraum hrim sarve pranah sarvanindriyani ca
mahatmana sukham pratisthantu svaha
One should worship the kaupina (and other itmes) with sandalwood and flowers:
om am kraum hrim susiddhaya kaupinaya
(or the name of another item being worshipped)
etad gandha puspadikam namo'stu svaha
Qualification for the Kaupina:
One qualified to wear a kaupina should be free from the six forces of hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion,old age and death free from pride, violence,and lust, filled with friendliness and mercy, initiated with visnu mantra, sense controlled, skillful at practicing devotional service. One who is qualified may possess the qualities naturally (vidvat sannyasi) or may attain the qualities through initiation and the process of regulated devotional service (vivatsa sannyasi).
Those who are proud, duplicitous, agressive, and devoid of devotion, cannot be given the kaupina. If that is done, the guru's own spiritual position will be devastated.
As a person of bad qualities should be rejected for sannyasa, so a kaupina of bad quality should be rejected. Ugly, stained or dirty cloth, sewn cloth , or cloth not died reddish color, and fancy cloth for exterior covering are to be rejected.
Siva received the kaupina made by Brahma from Ananta. Narada Muni received it and became a great yogi.In this way rsis such as saunaka received it, and finally Kesava Bharati. Gaura sundara received it from Kesava Bharati, and he gave it to his devote es. Receving the kaupina in this way one can certainly also become a great yogi.
Thinking of the kaupina in this way the candidate should pray:
maya tarange samsare patitam ma samuddhara
kaupinam dehi suddhyartham bhava tapa nibaraanam
kaupina grahanenaham puto'smity acirad iha
Please deliver this fallen soul from the waves of the material world. Bestow upon me the kaupina to purify me and extinguish the suffering of material existence. Receiving this kaupina I shall very quickly become pure.
The candidate should beg the guru:
bho guro bhiksupayogam yoga pattadikam mam grahaya
Oh spiritual master please give me the cloth and other items which are characterisitc of a sannyasi.
The guru should say:
yady evam tarhi praisa iti bara trayam pathasva bhadra
Oh fortunate one, if you so desire this, then say praisa (may the function commence) three times.
The candidate should say praiso'smi with his hands folded in prayer. The guru should then show the candidate how to worship guru parampara up to Krishna (yaga), if he has already received vaishnava mantra. Then he should make the candidate offer the cloth etc. previously purified to the deity, and then make him pray to the deity to receive it. The cloth etc, should te touched by any sannyasis present, and then the candidate should be dressed in his new cloth.
If the candidate has not already had panca samskara, he should be given a name of the Lord with the word dasa after it to signify his servitude to the Lord.
nityananda pada dvandvam yesam hrt karnikalaye
tesam dasanudaso'ham prasidantu sadaiva hi
I am the servant of the servant of the devotees in whose hearts reside the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu. May they be pleased with me always.
Some scholars say that this is the designation given to qualified
brahmanas. The root word is dasr, which means to give in charity and
accept in charity. One who is qualified to do so is titled dasr. But
the devotees of Krishna take the designation b ecause it is directed
thus in the Sanat Kumara Tantra. Actually all jivas are
constitutionally the servants of Krishna, and by the process of
devotional service anyone can revive that status. That is also the goa
Vishnu Mantra Dharana:
If the candidate has not had panca samskara the qualified guru, knowledgeable of the rules of sannyasa, should then give the candidate Krishna mantra, in the left ear.
The candidate should then receive the suitable sannyasa mantra.
The candidate should then repeat three times:
shri krishna tosa matrartham gopi bhava samanvitam
tad dharmam samashrito' ham
(I take complete shelter of sannyasa dharma, which means compete surrender to the Lord in the manner of the gopis, for the sole purpose of pleasing Krishna.)
Acyuta Gotra Svikara:
Acceptance of acyuta gotra is characterized by the vaishnava marking such as tilaka, tulasi beads etc. Even though, according to the scriptural injunctions, at the perfection of sannyasa dharma a person should gives up all markings of varna and asrama and wander about transcendental to all rules as a paramahamsa. But the paramahamsa does not give up the markings of the vaishnava (tilaka, mala etc.) except in extraordinary circumstances, for according the the scriptures, the neck beads of tulasi wood , tilaka and mudra should always be worn, for they are the markings of the vaishnava, one who is the servant of the Lord. That designation is never given up.
One is also advised to wear during the daytime panca mala, composed of gunja , amalaki, lotus seeds, tulasi wood and rope from Jagannatha cart.
Acceptance of acyuta gotra means full surrender to the authority of the Lord, and is therefore particularly meant to signify the devotee of the Lord. Just as a girl gives up her previous gotra and accepts her husband's gotra on completion of the marri age ceremony, the sannyasi should understand that he is giving up all material designations of family etc. and simply identifying himself as the servant of Krishna, Acyuta, in Krishna's family (gotra).
The candidate should say:
om acyuta gotraya svaha
om acyuta gotro'ham asmi
This consists of Salagrama Sila Arcana, worship of the salagrama. This is common to all the asramas, and is performed according to pancaratric rules.
He should then go and beg from three, five or seven houses, saying:
bho matar bhagavati bhiksam dehi,
Whatever he has begged he should offer to the guru.
Antyesthi for the Sannyasi:
When the sannyasi passes from this world the following mantra should be written on his body:
om klim shrim hrim shrim lavana mrd yuji bhuvi svabhre svaha
Let me pay my respects to the pit, to the earth composed of salt and dirt.
The body may be placed in tirtha water or in a hole in the earth, which should be one step larger the the height of the person. If the body has been burnt, the ashes or bones should be taken to a holy tirtha and there placed in earth. This manual concerning sannyasa as approved by the acaryas has been compiled so that one may achieve the pure devotion to the Lord in the manner of the followers of Lord Chaitanya.