The Colossal Vow of Tridaṇḍi-sannyāsa
In 1969, Śrīla Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja awarded sannyāsa to Śrīla Mahārāja. Śrīla Mahārāja related about his sannyāsa in the following manner:
In 1969, while visiting Śrīdhāma Māyāpura, my godbrother Śrī Nārāyaṇa Dāsa Brahmacārī [later Śrī Bhakti Prasāda Purī Mahārāja] said to me, “Guru Mahārāja is desirous of awarding me sannyāsa, however I am born in a dynasty of kṣatriyas (the administrative class), so how can I accept sannyāsa?” I counseled him, “Isn’t Guru Mahārāja more knowledgeable compared to you or I? Also, in the line of Mahāprabhu, there is no consideration whatsoever of caste, lineage and so on. Therefore please fulfill the desire of Guru Mahārāja without any worry”. At that time, he informed me that there was a discussion about my sannyāsa as well. Up to that point, I was very enthusiastically counseling him, yet the moment I was confronted about my own sannyāsa, I lost all composure. I covered myself with a chaddar and quietly took a nap. That day, it occurred to me for the first time, that while it is easy to advise others, it is an altogether different story when it comes to following it yourself. After some time, Guru Mahārāja called me in his presence and said, “Vaiṣṇavas desire that you be awarded sannyāsa and it is my desire as well. Therefore, please prepare yourself [for the ceremony] tomorrow morning. Also, thoroughly study the Avadhūta Upākhyāna (the legend of an avadhūta) from the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam today and if you are not following any of the conceptions mentioned therein at present, then from tomorrow onwards up until the end of your life, try to follow all the teachings mentioned to the best of your ability.” Although I heard what Guru Mahārāja said, I became so frantic with worry, that I instantly contracted a fever. I began to contemplate that after the stage of brahmacarya, as per the scripture, there is a provision to enter gṛhastha āśrama. However, [upon accepting sannyāsa] if I am unable to follow the vows of sannyāsa and consequently fall-down, then my parents, who always desire my auspiciousness and take pleasure in my pleasure, will also have to go to hell.
Additionally, it will bring stigma to the holy character of my Guru Mahārāja. The day for me to take the colossal vow [of sannyāsa] has now presented itself. According to the words of guru and Vaiṣṇavas, only a fortunate person is awarded the renounced order (sannyāsa) to impart gopī-bhāva-yoga. To follow the order of my Guru Mahārāja jī, I will submit myself by body, mind and words to be chastised by him, in other words, submit myself in complete self-surrender at his lotus feet. After accepting this vow, I will always abide by it and never retract. Contemplating thus, I carefully studied the glories of tridaṇḍī bhikṣu [avadhūta] and noted down the chief teachings enumerated therein in my diary. The next morning, Guru Mahārāja took me and my godbrother Śrī Nārāyaṇa dāsa Brahmacārī along to bathe in Gaṅgā. Thereafter, as per Saṁskāra-dīpikā composed by Śrīla Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, he awarded me sannyāsa mantra and instructed me to beg alms [as is customary]. That evening Guru Mahārāja made me speak on the objective of accepting sannyāsa, the ideal and etiquette to be abided by a sannyāsī and so on.
If my memory serves me correctly, from the day of my sannyāsa until now, I have always followed all the teachings Guru Mahārāja ordered me to study at that time.”
The ‘Remembrance in Separation’ series, dedicated to Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, was first published in Sri Sri Bhagavata Patrika in Hindi in the year 2018. The series unfolded over three volumes (Year 14, Volume 9-10, 10-11, 11-12).
Now, we are presenting the English translation of this in the form of a series of articles released in www.vcvani.com.
Since it covers a brief sketch of Śrīla Mahārāja’s life and precepts from childhood to his final pastimes, this series will be unfolded from now until his tirobhava tithi.