Sannyasa Initiation on Sri Gaura Purnima in Sri Mayapura Dhama

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By Lilasuka Dasa

His Grace Nitai Prasad Dasa received sannyasa initiation on 8 March 2012 from His Holiness Jayapataka Swami on the auspicious occasion of Gaura Purnima. His sannyasa name is Bhakti Nityananda Swami

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1 Unregistered

I read a transcription of a conversation with Srila Prabhupada where he said “no more sannyasis” would be initiated in ISKCON. In 1977 he made that same announcement two times that I know of. Some say that he did afterwards give sannyasa to a couple of disciples that he had previously already promised to give sannyasa. But, other than that Srila Prabhupada didn’t want anymore sannyasis to be made in ISKCON. It seemed to be his response to some high level fall downs of some popular sannyasi disciples. Why are not his disciples honoring his wish that no more sannyasis would be initiated in ISKCON? It seems that imitation is more popular than obeying his commands.

Comment posted by Ksamabuddhi on March 9th, 2012
2 Akruranatha

Ksamabuddhi raises a valid question. I am sure there is a reasonable, logical answer, but I have not seen any conclusive arguments one way or the other.

There is at least one well known statement where Srila Prabhupada said there should be no more sannyasis in (I think) 1977. Did he later overrule this statement or indicate that it was not something he wanted to be followed thereafter in ISKCON?

We have many wonderful sannyasis doing much important preaching service in ISKCON, no doubt, many of whom took sannyas after Srila Prabhupada’s departure. Still it would be nice to have some clarification on this question of whether Srila Prabhupada eventually decided that ISKCON should give up the process of performing new tridandi sannyas initiations.

I expect this is an issue that has been carefully considered by the GBC and sannyasi ministry, but I have not seen any explanations or written decisions.

Is this something worthy of having an official GBC paper about? Are there other papers on the subject that have been produced by senior ISKCON leaders?

Comment posted by Akruranatha on March 11th, 2012
3 Kulapavana

It would appear that in 1977 (January) Srila Prabhupada decided that there should be no more new sannyasis in ISKCON:
“If you talk in the modern society they will laugh: “What nonsense this man is… ‘By sex life one becomes conditioned.’ “ They cannot understand. Hare Krsna…This should be strictly outlawed, no more sannyasis. And those sannyasis who have fallen, you get them married, live like a… No more this showbottle, cheating. It is very ludicrous. Even there is a promise that “We shall not fall down again,” that is also not believable. What is the use?”(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, 1/7/77)
“And this kind of hypocrisy–they have taken sannyasa and mixing with woman. This is not to be allowed. If you want woman you get yourself married, live respectfully. We have no objection. But this hypocrisy should be stopped. There have been so many fallen down. First of all there will be no sannyasi anymore. I have got very bad experience. And at least, we are not going to create new sannyasis. And those who have fallen down, let them marry, live like respectable gentlemen. I have no objection.(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, 1/7/77)

However, few months later Srila Prabhupada personally authorized three sannyasa initiations which took place on May 29, 1977 at the Krsna-Balarama temple in Vrindavana, India. The following persons received sannyasa at that time: Bhakti Caru Swami, Bhakti Prema Swami, and Bhakti Caitanya Swami. This formed a precedent for continuing sannyasa initiations in ISKCON despite the earlier (January 1977) statements of Srila Prabhupada.

Comment posted by Kulapavana on March 12th, 2012
4 Unregistered

I went to the Vedabase and found one of the references in a conversation where Srila Prabhupada ordered that there would be no more new sannyasis created in ISKCON.
It was a conversation that took place in Bombay (Mumbai) on January 7, 1977. Here is an excerpt of that conversation in which Trivikrama Maharaja, Hari-sauri prabhu, Palika Devi Dasi, Dr. Patel and some others are present as evinced in the conversation.

“And this kind of hypocrisy—they have taken sannyasa and mixing with woman. This is not to be allowed. If you want woman you get yourself married, live respectfully. We have no objection. But this hypocrisy should be stopped. There have been so many fallen down. First of all there will be no sannyasi anymore. I have got very bad experience. And at least, we are not going to create new sannyasi. And those who have fallen down, let them marry, live like respectable gentlemen. I have no objection. After all, young man, fallen down—that’s all right. It is by nature’s way. But marry that girl. That I am insisting from the very beginning, that no friendly liaison. If you want, get one nice… They are, all of them qualified. Get one wife and live like a gentleman. Similarly woman. Live with one husband fastidiously, with children. What is the wrong there? We have so many grhastha devotees. You have got children. Pradyumna has got child. Gopala has… Live with husband, wife. There is no restriction for husband and wife. But what is this nonsense that you take sannyasa and make relation with…? This should be completely stopped.”

It is quite obvious that Srila Prabhupada did have a “bad expereince” in giving sannyasa to western men and wanted the practice to stop in ISKCON. Some justify the giving of sannyasa in ISKCON by citing that Srila Prabhupada went on to give a couple more men sannyasa after that but I don’t know who that would have been after January of 1977. Nonetheless, ISKCON should be more concerned with obeying the wishes of Srila Prabhupada rather than imitating his behavior. The disciple should follow the orders of the acharya, not imitate his activities. Srila Prabhupada’s vision of ISKCON seems to have been quite different than the ISKCON of today with it’s many sannyasis. After the falldown of some top sannyasis Srila Prabhupada changed his policy towards making sannyasis in ISKCON.

Comment posted by Ksamabuddhi on March 12th, 2012
5 Akruranatha

To be fair, ISKCON of today has far more householders than sannyasis. Also, though sannyasis sometimes still fall down, the rate has been much slower since the sannyasi ministry instituted more training and careful vetting of candidates and.

Srila Prabhupada was strongly condemning the hypocrisy of men taking sannyas and yet keeping connection with women. I think no one would deny that such hypocrisy must be stopped.

But he was also saying (on January 7, 1977) he had bad experience with young disciples taking sannyas and then falling down, and that therefore he would stop giving sannyas initiation. Clearly, he did have bad experience and it caused him grief that his sannyasi disciples fell down.

But then he did initiate some new sannyasis in May of 1977.

Earlier he had said that without sannyasis the society would have no life. (Can anyone supply the quote?)

It is not clear that what he was saying in January was that no one should ever initiate sannyasis again. At least, he did not announce any official rule or change in the sampradaya. It was his Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, who had revealed the importance of establishing a strict tridandi sannyasa order in Lord Caitanya’s Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya, in order to prevent the hypocrisy of sadhus taking the dress of paramahamsas and externally imitating the six goswamis’ position above the varnasrama system, while being unable to control the urges that real “goswamis” must control. It seems unlikely that Srila Prabhupada would negate this important contribution of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada.

It may well be that on January 7, 1977, Srila Prabhupada was strongly expressing his displeasure and transcendental anger and disappointment at the situation of initiated sannyasis falling down, but did not really mean that there should never be new sannyasis initiated in ISKCON.

Sometimes people say things like that: “That’s it. I am never going over to our neighbor’s house again!” It does not really mean I won’t go again, but just that I am so angry at what just happened that at the moment I feel I never want to see them.

I think the lesson to take from the January 7, 1977 statement is not that no one should ever be initiated a sannyasi from now on, but that we must be very careful that the sannyasi candidates are truly qualified and determined so that they never fall down. Their role is very important. They can’t make a mockery of it.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on March 13th, 2012
6 Madhavananda Das (Orissa)

The following statement was given by Dhristadyumna Prabhu, when he was relating his remembrances of Srila Prabhupada. The circumstances at the time Srila Prabhupada made this statement were in 1976, when Madhudvisa had disappeared and given up sannyasa. Srila Prabhupada said:

“Actually I have not given any of you sannyasa. But I am in a war with Maya, the material energy, and I need leaders.” He said, “It is called in wartime ‘battlefield commission.’ There are no qualified leaders, but someone has to lead the charge. So you take every fifth man, ‘You are now lieutenant of the squad.’ He is really a private, but we make him lieutenant for the day and he leads the charge.” Then Prabhupada said, “It is to be understood that you are not sufficiently equipped for this fight and most of you will go down.”

http://www.iskconcinema.com/fo.....ember-1977

Comment posted by Madhavananda Das (Orissa) on March 23rd, 2012
7 Unregistered

Hare Krsna!

Just a brief comment:

“It is quite obvious that Srila Prabhupada did have a “bad experience” in giving sannyasa to western men and wanted the practice to stop in ISKCON.”

As far as I know, it has not only been Western devotees who’ve fallen down over the years - sure, there are many more on that side of things, but to be fair, Indians too have difficulties in Kali-yuga… :)))

Comment posted by jayadayini on March 24th, 2012
8 pustakrishna

I may be the only “fallen” sannyasi to comment on this important topic. Sannyas was not given by Srila Prabhupad so that one might receive adoration. Rather, as has been pointed out, Srila Prabhupad often commented that to undertake Krishna consciousness, one must essentially declare war on the illusory energy. It is true that one can declare war on illusion as a brahmachary, a grihastha, or a sannyasi, but the sannyasi has no external shackles to keep them bound. The only thing that must be considered are the internal temptations. The sannyasis were given their position for preaching Krishna consciousness. This is analogous to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taking sannyas for preaching Bhagavat Dharma.

Someone brought up the example of Sriman Madhudvisa, or you can also use my useless self as an example. We can tell you that we are not qualified, but we were “deputized” to present Krishna consciousness in the far reaches of the world. The fruit of that preaching is obvious. We may have been casualties on the battle field, but you do not find many householders nowadays (there were some, we know) who travel to the far reaches of the earth to share Krishna consciousness. I recently read about the preaching in Mongolia! How magnificent, and look at the faces of those who are now associated with Krishna consciousness through that preaching.

Srila Prabhupad gave many instructions. Those related to philosophy and siddhanta are absolute and cannot be changed. Those that are relative were sometimes changed by His Divine Grace. I and others saw it. Those who have no such experience may try to find a conversation or a quote somewhere, but the fact is that Srila Prabhupad was able to change his mind on many things. Besides, he authorized the GBC to be the final arbiter of management in his mission. If there will be new initiations, or there will be no new initiations, within ISKCON, it will come from the GBC. I am not one who necessarily things the GBC is faultless. But, I believe in Srila Prabhupad’s faith in his decision for the future management of the society.

Pusta Krishna das

Comment posted by pustakrishna on April 1st, 2012

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