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The Essence of Sannyāsa is Service


While Guru Mahārāja was still a brahmacārī, Śrīla Prabhupāda instructed him to accept sannyāsa. He asked Śrīla Prabhupāda, “What must I do after accepting sannyāsa?”


Śrīla Prabhupāda replied, “You should continue performing whatever sevā you are performing now.” “In that case,” Guru Mahārāja said, “this brahmacārī dress (veśa) seems more favorable for the services I am rendering now. When I preach, I usually request younger brahmacārī boys to accept seats higher than my own, and then tell all the devotee donors present there, ‘Do not think these boys are ordinary persons. They are worthy of even my service, and are worshipful even for me. You are very fortunate to receive the opportunity to serve them, so take full advantage of it.’ In this way, I am able to collect sizeable donations for the service of Śrī Hari, guru and Vaiṣṇavas. But if I were to accept sannyāsa, these younger brahmacārīs, who are hesitant even now to accept a seat higher than mine, will definitely refuse to do so in the future. This will be an obstacle to my sevā. You have always given service the highest priority, and I wish to follow your ideal conduct from the core of my heart. I therefore request you not to award me sannyāsa at the present moment.”


After hearing Guru Mahārāja’s words, Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “You are prakṛta-tridaṇḍi-sannyāsī, a sannyāsī in the truest sense. A person does not become a sannyāsī by simply accepting the dress of a sannyāsī. The inclination to perform sevā is the only measure of seniority. It is very much possible that the actual position of a person formally situated as a brahmacārī may be that of a gṛhastha, vānaprastha or sannyāsī, depending on his heart’s propensity (citta-vṛtti). Similarly, according to his citta-vṛtti, a person who has been formally awarded sannyāsa may actually be a brahmacārī, gṛhastha or a vanaprastha.”


ĵei bhaje sei baḓa, abhakta—hīna, chāra

kṛṣṇa-bhajane nāhi jāti-kulādi-vicāra


Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Antya-līlā 4.67)


Those who perform bhajana are exalted, whereas non-devotees are destitute and contemptible. In the worship of Kṛṣṇa, there is no consideration of caste or familial lineage.


After Śrīla Prabhupāda disappeared from this world and entered aprakaṭa-līlā (the unmanifest pastimes of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda), many problems flooded the Gauḍīya Maṭha. At that time, in accordance with Śrīla Prabhupāda’s conduct and teachings (ācāra-vicāra) and philosophical stance (vicāra-dhārā), Guru Mahārāja rendered many exalted services to the maṭha-mandiras and deities established by Śrīla Prabhupāda, as well as to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s dearest treasure: his disciples. The profundity of the affection with which Guru Mahārāja performed such services cannot be explained through words.


Śrī Kuñja-bihārī Vidyābhūṣaṇa, Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Sarvasva Giri Gosvāmī Mahārāja and many of Guru Mahārāja’s other godbrothers repeatedly emphasized to Guru Mahārāja, “Śrīla Prabhupāda has left us such a big mission with many services to fulfill. If a qualified person like you declines to accept sannyāsa and refuses to assume the most important responsibility of serving as a guru, then how will those services ever be accomplished?”


Respectfully honoring the instructions of his godbrothers, Guru Mahārāja accepted sannyāsa according to the vaiṣṇava regulations from his senior godbrother Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Gaurava Vaikhānasa Gosvāmī Mahārāja in Śrī Jagannātha Purī-dhāma at Śrī Ṭoṭā Gopīnātha Mandira on Gaurapūrṇimā, Thursday 9 March, 1944, and became known as Śrī Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Mahārāja.

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