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Monday, August 13, 2012

Sannyāsa adhikāra and Shiva

Bhakta -
I would like to know if sannyāsa is just a tradition thing or a social construct, to help men to focus on their work for their sampradāyas? Or from the standpoint of reaching the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava goal, are gṛhastas not on an equal footing with the sanyāssis to reach the goal? I mean are sanyassis in a more conducive position to reach the goal? Are there verses in the Bhagavatam and Gita supporting the idea that it is a more conducive position to reach prema?

Advaitadas -
According to śāstra, Sannyāsa is the fourth āśrama which is only allowed for born brāhmaṇas. In his refutation of Śankarācārya's commentary on Bhagavad Gita 18.66, wherein Kṛṣṇa calls on Arjun to surrender to Him alone, Viśvanātha Cakravartipada says Arjuna could not have been called upon to take sannyāsa because he was a kṣatriya and sannyāsa is only for born Brahmins. parityajya sannyasyeti na vyākhyeyam arjunasya kṣatriyatvena sannyāsādhikārāt na cā –parityajya cannot be explained as  sannyāsa  because, being a kṣatriya, Arjuna had no right for that.” Śrīmad Bhāgavata (11.17.38) clearly says that sannyāsa is only for brāhmaṇas - pravrajed vā dvijottamah. In the Bhāgavat and its tikas this is meant to be a born brāhmaṇa. Arjuna was a kṣatriya 5000 years ago, what to speak of a western man in 2012? It is therefore against the advice of the Bhāgavat to give sannyāsa to low born persons. Throughout the history of western Gaudiya Vaiṣṇavism we have seen an almost unanimous failure of western sannyāsīs. Apart from this point, of course a sannyāsī will have more time to do bhajan than a gṛhastha, who has to work hard to maintain his family and also spend his spare time with his family. On the other hand, Kṛṣṇa only looks at the bhakti and not so much at the number of rounds chanted. If a gṛhastha dedicates his material life to guru and Kṛṣṇa that would be better than to live a life of pretense as a  sannyāsī. In the context of a preaching organization I think it makes little difference whether one is  sannyāsī or gṛhastha. Sādhu Bābā said that both preaching and  sannyāsa are generally platforms for lābh pūjā and pratiṣṭha - profit, adoration and distinction.

Bhakta: "A westerner would be more successful if he takes sannyāsa at age 65, compared to earlier candidates who were given sanyass in their 20s?"

Advaitadas: True, 65 is a safer bet than 21, but we must still follow śāstra. In śāstra no sannyāsa is allowed for any non-brāhmaṇa, whether 21 or 65. The problem with many intellectuals is that they follow their own logic, and after that śāstra [if at all].

I myself was wondering about one interpretation of the 2nd offence to the chanting of the holy name, so I approached Panditji Satya-nārāyan Dāsji on the topic
Panditji, Radhe Radhe
shubha janmastami.
I have a question about the 2nd nāmāparādha -
It is sometimes suggested that the word  śivasya can be an adjective to śrī Viṣṇoḥ, so that it becomes "To see difference between the form and qualities of  Lord Viṣṇu, who is the form of auspiciousness (Shiva)."
Is that grammatically possible? [śivasya śrī viṣṇoḥ ya iha guṇa nāmādi sakalaṁ dhiyā bhinnam paśyed - seems not to be in dual case]

Satyanarayan Ji replied -
Radhe Radhe
The verse does not say anything about form. It speaks of guna (quality) and nāma (name) - guna-namadi. So from where the meaning "To see difference between  the form and  the qualities" comes?

I then asked:
So what should be the proper translation of the text? I always thought it was 'to see difference [ bhinnam paśyed] between the guna, nama etc. of Śiva and Śrī Viṣṇu'. Is that correct?

Satyanarayan Ji replied -
Yes, that is the correct translation. The translation you quoted makes no sense because nobody makes such a distinction i.e. that form is transcendental, but the name is material or vice versa."


  1. Sadhu Baba explained the 2nd offence like this -
    ২) ইহলোকে যে ব্যক্তি শিব ও বিষ্ণুর নামগুণাদি অন্তঃকরণে ভিন্নভাবে দর্শন করে সে ব্যক্তি হরিনামের নিকট অপরাধী হয়
    In this world, any person who sees within his inner conscience, difference between the names and qualities etc. of Shiva and Vishnu, that person is an offender to Hari-nama.

  2. Prabhuji pranam, sanyas diksha is given to a brahmana child during his upanayana ceremony.
    "Sadhu Baba said that both preaching and sannyas are generally platforms for labh puja and pratistha - profit, adoration and distinction". My gurudeva also says the same thing, initially i was a bit confused but gradually i have realised it.
    The second offence stated in the namaparadha is "Vishnu-Shivyoh prithag iswara buddhih" which means it is an offence to view difference between Vishnu and Shiva. But I was wrongly taught that it is an offence to view Vishnu and Shiva as equal.Prabhuji what is your view. Radhe Radhe

  3. Partha, there is a consensus about the meaning of the 2nd offence. The meaning you are giving is exactly the opposite of what the Sanskrit text says - it is not an offense to consider Shiva and Vishnu equal, but it is an offense NOT to consider them equal.

  4. Prabhuji pranam, prabhuji i think i am also saying the same thing what you are saying - it is an offence to view difference between Vishnu and Shiva.