The Authorized Sri Caitanya Saraswata Parampara BookPart One – Refuting The Anti-Party Chapter 3 – The Benign Authority
The Authorized Sri Caitanya Saraswata Parampara BookPart One – Refuting The Anti-Party Chapter 5 – Monarchs of Mantra Diksa

The Authorized Sri Caitanya Saraswata Parampara

Part One – Refuting The Anti-Party Chapter 4 – The Process of Initiation

“Sarasvatī Ṭhākura did not invent methods of devotional service or create his own paramparā according to his whim. The real truth is that Sarasvatī Ṭhākura simply uncovered bona-fide Vaiṣṇava practices that had either been neglected or covered by selfish persons desiring to make a trade of, or a family affair of the process of pure devotional service.”

Challenging the entire initiation process followed by iskcon and the Gauḍīya Maṭha, the Vṛndāvana anti-party states as follows:

  1. Hari-nāma initiation is a concoction. The idea of giving the holy name through dīkṣā has no genuine origin.
  2. Acceptance of brahma-gāyatrī (upanāyana saṁskāra) is only a part of the varṇāśrama system in the Vedic tradition, and has no place in the Gauḍīya line.
  3. Sannyāsa is not to be given in the Gauḍīya line, it is only an external necessity of the ritualistic varṇāśrama society.

This article addresses the complaints of the anti-party with regard to the above statements and demonstrates how the practices of giving hari-nāma initiation, brahma-gāyatrī, and sannyāsa are all bona-fide processes for the attainment of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa and that these processes are recommended by previous ācāryas and the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

To establish their criticism against hari-nāma initiation the anti-party references a verse from the Caitanya-caritāmṛta wherein it is stated that the holy name is independent of dīkṣā. This verse is as follows:

dīkṣā-puraścaryā-vidhi apekṣā nā kare
jihvā-sparśe ā-caṇḍāla sabāre uddhāre

“One does not have to undergo initiation or execute the activities required before initiation. One simply has to vibrate the holy name with his lips. Thus even a man in the lowest class (caṇḍāla) can be delivered.” (C.c. Madhya-līlā 15.108)

Unfortunately, the anti-party has taken the meaning of this verse out of context. The holy name is certainly independent of everything because the holy name is non-different than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kṛṣṇa and His name are absolute and therefore both are supremely independent. Kṛṣṇa does not require anything from His devotee; food, flowers or anything else—nonetheless when these things are offered to Kṛṣṇa with love, He accepts them. Similarly, the holy name is independent of initiation but this does not mean that the holy name will not be offered by the guru to a sincere disciple in an official ceremony.

The anti-party has not actually understood the meaning of the above statement from Caitanyacaritāmṛta. We shall present here, the proper understanding of this verse, stating the independence of the holy name and its practical application in the process of sādhana-bhakti (the stage of practice).

Independence of the holy name from “dīkṣā,” can be understood in two ways. The holy name is independent from the process of initiation as mentioned above, as well as being independent from the initiation into gāyatrī and mūla-mantras; mantra-dīkṣā.

Mantra-dīkṣā is of two types; upanāyana and pañcarātrika. In upanāyana mantra-dīkṣā, the brahma-gāyatrī is offered to the disciple and in the pañcarātrika mantra-dīkṣā, the gopāla mantra and kāma-gāyatrī are given.

The correct understanding of the verse we are discussing is that the holy name (mahā-mantra) may be given to those who have not yet received mantra-dīkṣā either upanāyana or pañcarātrika. By the use of the words puraścaryā and vidhi this verse states that the holy name can be chanted even before one has undergone any previous saṁskāra (ritual for purification) or begun to follow the regulative principles. From this verse we understand that everyone is eligible to immediately begin the culture of chanting the holy name.

The process of chanting the holy name that is followed in the paramparā of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is strictly according to the above quoted verse from Caitanya-caritāmṛta. In neither of these institutions do we find that the students are prohibited from chanting the holy name before receiving a particular initiation. So in effect the anti-party criticism on this point is without basis. The new students in both Gauḍīya Maṭha and iskcon are immediately encouraged to chant the holy name even before moving into the temple. In fact, it is almost always required that one has been chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra at home for some time before moving to the temple or maṭha. In particular, it is an established rule in iskcon temples that the student must begin chanting at least 16 rounds of japa and attend all kīrtanas from the very first day. Gauḍīya Maṭha follows a similar process of requesting their members to chant 64 rounds a day but in either case both institutions encourage their students to immediately begin chanting the holy name. Once living in the temple or maṭha the students continue to chant the holy name and then begin following puraścaryā-vidhi.

Puraścaryā-vidhi means the preliminary rules and regulations to be practiced before receiving mantra-dīkṣā (gāyatrī initiation). The holy name can be chanted even before having performed any of these preliminary purifications. From the lowest position of material conditioning one can begin the chanting of the holy name. In fact, according to Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 17.11,12 it is said that one has to chant the holy name before receiving mantra-dīkṣā.

pūjā traikālikī nityaṁ, japas tarpaṇam eva ca
homo brāhmaṇa-bhuktiś ca, puraścaraṇam ucyate
guror labdhasya mantrasya, prasādena yathā-vidhi
pañcāṅgopāsanā-siddhyai, puraś caitad vidhīyate

“In the morning, afternoon and evening, one should worship the Deity, chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, offer oblations, perform a fire sacrifice, and feed the brāhmaṇas. These five activities constitute puraścaryā. To attain full success when taking initiation from the spiritual master, one should first perform these puraścaryā-vidhi processes.”

After strictly following the puraścaryā-vidhi the serious students in Gauḍīya Maṭha and iskcon are offered the shelter of the lotus feet of the spiritual master (first initiation—hari-nāma) and this is followed up after an additional six months to one year, with mantra-dīkṣā (second initiation). This is the system recommended in Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 17.11-12 above.

As already stated, the holy name is to be considered independent of the process of dīkṣā. Yet the necessity to chant the holy name under the guidance of a pure devotee (spiritual master) is a necessity. The process of receiving the shelter of the guru and instructions on how to chant the holy name successfully has come to be known as hari-nāma-dīkṣā (hari-nāma initiation).

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī in his Śrīmad Bhāgavatam commentary on verses 7.5.24 & 25, has confirmed the importance of hari-nāma initiation. There Śrī Jīva says that, “Indeed, one can chant the holy name without initiation but in Kali-yuga it is necessary to chant the name under the guidance of a bona-fide spiritual master. One should receive the holy name from the spiritual master who is a bona-fide representative of Śrī Hari.” That is the opinion of Śrī Jīva the tattva-ācārya of all Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. This is sufficient evidence as to why hari-nāma initiation is offered in both Gauḍīya Maṭha and iskcon. No further discussion is necessary, but to strengthen this conclusion some other references from scriptures and ācāryas can be cited as follows.

Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has also made a similar statement in his commentary on the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam sixth canto, with regard to the necessity of chanting the holy name under the guidance of the guru. There Śrī Viśvanātha comments that those who learn about the importance of guru, but keep on chanting the name without searching out sad-guru can never chant the holy name purely. Viśvanātha says that their chanting is simply nāma-aparādha or offensive chanting. He says that those who want to chant the holy name purely must do it under the guidance of sad-guru.

There are three stages of nāma-bhajana or chanting the holy name. These are nāma-aparādha, nāma-ābhāsa, and śuddha-nāma. Those who chant the holy name without the shelter of guru will be in either the stage of nāma-aparādha or possibly with some luck in the stage of nāmaābhāsa. Nāma-aparādha means the stage of committing offenses while chanting the holy name and nāma-ābhāsa means the clearing stage of chanting wherein freedom from sinful activities is achieved. At the stage of nāma-ābhāsa one can be delivered from material existence. It is practical experience also that in India there are many pious people who utter the holy name without the shelter of a bona-fide guru but these persons usually remain in the lower stage of nāma-bhajana (nāma-aparādha). However, on rare occasion, some of them do achieve the stage of emancipation (nāma-ābhāsa). But śuddha-nāma is only achieved when one has obtained the shelter of Śrī Gurudeva.

Those who have a sufficient fund of knowledge never oppose the formal giving of hari-nāma as a form of dīkṣā. The example of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu may be taken in this regard also. The chanting of the holy name was indeed available here and there in Mahāprabhu’s time but He did not formally begin His saṅkīrtana movement until after He had received hari-nāma with instruction from His spiritual master. Śrī Iśvara Purī, the spiritual master, while giving hari-nāma to Mahāprabhu instructed Him as follows:

‘kṛṣṇa-mantra’ japa sadā,—ei mantra sāra

“You must always chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. This is the essence of all mantras or Vedic hymns.” (C.c. Ādi-līlā 7.72)

It is the opinion of the anti-party that this verse does not indicate the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, harināma, because the words ‘Kṛṣṇa-mantra’ generally refer to kāma-gāyatrī or gopāla-mantra. However, in the verses immediately following this one in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, wherein Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is explaining His initiation by Īśvara Purī to the māyāvādīs at Benaras, we find that verses 73-97 qualify the meaning of kṛṣṇa-mantra in verse 72, as indicating the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, as in the mahā-mantra.

All these verses 73-97 describe the supreme position of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, the potency of the holy name, the characteristics of the holy name, the effects of chanting the holy name, the necessity of chanting the holy name, and dancing in ecstasy while chanting the holy name. It is certainly very clear in verse 83 that the kṛṣṇa-mantra which Īśvara Purī instructed Mahāprabhu to always chant, japa sadā, was indeed the mahā-mantra.

kṛṣṇa-nāma-mahā-mantre ra ei ta’svabhāva
yei jape, tāra kṛṣṇe upajaye bhāva

“It is the nature of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra (kṛṣṇa-nāma-mahā-mantra) that anyone who chants it immediately develops his loving ecstasy for Kṛṣṇa.” (C.c. Ādi-līlā 7.83)

By orthodox standards in the Gauḍīya line the nāma-dīkṣā is given to a disciple without an accompanying yajña (fire sacrifice). When our spiritual master Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda came to the western world to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness he offered hari-nāma very liberally. In fact, it has been said that he distributed the holy name like water—such was his capacity to distribute grace. To impress the neophyte disciples who were taking hari-nāma, with the importance of the step that they were taking in spiritual life, he also performed the ritual of a fire sacrifice at that time. Admittedly this was something of his own doing but it had just the effect that he desired it would. No disciple of His Divine Grace, hence forward, ever thought that the holy name could be successfully chanted without the shelter of the bona-fide guru.

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has also recommended the taking of the holy name under the guidance of a bona-fide guru in his article “Pañca Saṁskāra.” There the Ṭhākura lists five important items in the process of performing devotional service, of which hari-nāma is the central pivot:

tāpaḥ puṇḍraṁ tathā nāma mantro yāgaś ca pañcamaḥ
amī hi pañca-saṁskārāḥ paramaikānti-hetavaḥ

Tāpa, puṇḍra, nāma, mantra, and yāga – these five items comprise pañca-saṁskāra. They are the cause of intense devotion to Lord Hari.”

Tāpaḥ means performing austerities and professing one’s self to be a servant of Hari (Viṣṇu/Kṛṣṇa). Puṇḍra means applying tilaka marks (vertical lines drawn on the body), symbolizing the body as the temple of Hari. Nāma means receiving the holy name from the spiritual master and chanting that name according to his direction:

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare

Of the five elements of pañca-saṁskāra, it is nāma which is given the most importance. In all the Vedic literature the holy name of Hari is glorified;

yan-nāmadheya-śravaṇānukīrtanād
yat-prahvaṇād yat-smaraṇād api kvacit
śvādo ‘pi sadyaḥ savanāya kalpate
kutaḥ punas te bhagavān nu darśanāt

“To say nothing of the spiritual advancement of persons who see the Supreme Person face to face, even a person born in a family of dog-eaters immediately becomes eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices if he once utters the holy name of Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead or chants about Him, hears about His pastimes, offers Him obeisances or even remembers Him.” (Bhāg. 3.33.6)

Those who offenselessly chant nāma are automatically imbued with all good qualities. One who chants the holy name of Hari (Viṣṇu/Kṛṣṇa) thus becomes qualified on the strength of the holy name to receive Vedic mantras, the fourth of the pañca-saṁskāra. Mantra here means mantradīkṣā or receiving the brahma-gāyatrī (upanāyana) and the pañcarātrika-mantras. After receiving mantra-dīkṣā, the sādhaka is engaged in the worship of Śrī-mūrti under śāstric (scriptural) regulations and this is called yāga. These are the five processes for purification called pañca-saṁskāra and these should be performed under the guidance of sad-guru.

In accordance with the above information it must be concluded that the offering of hari-nāma-dīkṣā is indeed a bona-fide process and not a concocted one as the anti-party has suggested.

The next statement of the anti-party that we shall discuss is as follows:

Acceptance of brahma-gāyatrī (upanāyana saṁskāra) is only a part of varṇāśrama in the Vedic tradition, and has no place in the Gauḍīya line.

Here again the anti-party has taken their liberties, but without proper knowledge. The brahmagāyatrī although chanted by the brāhmaṇas in the system of varṇāśrama and offered to young brāhmaṇa boys in the upanāyana ceremony, should not be considered as simply a part of varṇāśrama. Varṇāśrama in Kali-yuga has become only a mundane system of social management based on one’s tendencies to perform work. The brahma-gāyatrī however is a transcendental sound vibration (sprung from the flute of Śrī Kṛṣṇa) known as śabda-brahman or divya-jñānam. According to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, brahma-gāyatrī is the Mother of the Vedas; Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, the purport of Vedānta, is an explanation of brahma-gāyatrī and therefore it must always be held in transcendental regard. It is not simply a part of varṇāśrama as the anti-party has suggested.

praṇavera yei artha, gāyatrīte sei haya
sei artha catuḥ-ślokīte vivariyā kaya

“The meaning of the sound vibration oṁkāra is present in the gāyatrī-mantra. The same is elaborately explained in the four ślokas of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam known as catuḥ-ślokī.” (C.c. Madhya-līlā 25.94 and Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.8.7)

A similar description is found in the Garuḍa Purāṇa wherein it is said that the purport of brahma-gāyatrī is to be found in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.

artho ‘yaṁ brahma-sūtrāṇāṁ bhāratārtha-vinirṇayaḥ
gāyatrī-bhāṣya-rūpo’ sau vedārtha-paribṛṁhitaḥ

“The meaning of the Vedānta-sūtra is present in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. The full purport of the Mahābhārata is also there. The commentary of the brahma-gāyatrī is also there and fully expanded with all Vedic knowledge.” (Garuḍa Purāṇa and C.c. Madhya-līlā 25.144)

The meaning of the gāyatrī mantra must be in the line of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. If we analyze how this is possible, we shall uncover the steps leading the gāyatrī-mantra to the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Here the rūpānuga-ācārya Śrīla Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī Mahārāja has explained gāyatrī in the following way:

What is the meaning of gāyatrī? The word gāyatrī is a combination of two Sanskrit words: gānat (what is sung) and trāyate (gives deliverance). This means, “A kind of song by which we can get our salvation, relief, emancipation. Gāyatrī is known as veda-mātā, the mother of the Veda. If we examine the Vedic conclusion from its most condensed aphorism to its most extensive expression, we shall find that it begins with oṁkāra, the Vedic symbol oṁ. That truth is expressed as the gāyatrī mantra, then it appears in the form of the Vedas and thereafter as the Vedānta-sūtra. Finally, the Vedic conclusion is given its fullest expression in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Since the meaning, the purpose of Vedic knowledge progresses in this line, the gāyatrī-mantra must contain within it the meaning of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam—that is, that the Kṛṣṇa conception of Godhead is the highest.

Both Śrīla Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī Mahārāja and Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī have explained the purport of brahma-gāyatrī to indicate rādhā-dāsyam or the Divine Service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. The basis of their commentary is Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. That is summed up as follows:

gāyatrī-muralīṣṭa-kīrtana-dhanaṁ-rādhā-padaṁ dhīmahi

“Gāyatrī, which has emanated from the flute sound of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, only sings the glories of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.”

When the very goal of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism is to attain shelter in the serving group of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, it is hardy imaginable that one could then say that the mantra for worshipping Her (brahma-gāyatrī) is simply meant for varṇāśrama. Indeed, it is foolish to even think such a thought.

It is also a fact that this practice of giving brahma-gāyatrī to the sādhakas or devotees is not exclusive to only Gauḍīya Maṭha and iskcon. This practice was in effect even before the time of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. It so happens that the followers of Śyāmānanda Prabhu (the spiritual master of Rasikānānda Prabhu) are an excellent example of this. From the time of Śyāmānanda Prabhu until the present day the brahma-gāyatrī is given to the new initiates in the Śyāmānanda sampradāya at the time of dīkṣā. Brahma-gāyatrī is offered to the initiates along with other rāga-mārga mantras and a fire yajña. Does the Vṛndāvana anti-party wish then to suggest that the Śyāmānanda parivāra is also not a bona-fide Gauḍīya sampradāya?

The fact of the matter is that Sarasvatī Ṭhākura did not invent methods of devotional service or create his own paramparā according to his whim. The real truth is that Sarasvatī Ṭhākura simply uncovered bona-fide Vaiṣṇava practices that had either been neglected or covered by selfish persons desiring to make a trade of, or a family affair of the process of pure devotional service. This revival of authorized Vaiṣṇava practices—incorporating them into the saṅkīrtana movement, is indeed Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s welcome contribution to the cause of Mahāprabhu.

Possibly the most valuable contribution of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura among the followers of Mahāprabhu was the revival of the order of tridaṇḍī-sannyāsa. This now brings us to the third anti-party objection:

Sannyāsa is not to be given in the Gauḍīya line, it is only an external necessity of the ritualistic varnāśrama society.

Mahāprabhu Himself was a sannyāsī. Therefore, even if one were to admit that sannyāsa was merely part of the varnāśrama system, it would still be fair to say that sannyāsa was indeed a part of Gauḍīya Vaishnavism, based on the example of Mahāprabhu, who was after all a “Gauḍīya”.

One may argue that the sannyāsa of Mahāprabhu was māyāvāda sannyāsa, since He took it from Keśava Bhāratī and therefore it is not acceptable as an example of Gauḍīya sannyāsa. This however is only argued by those who do not have proper knowledge of the sannyāsa pastime of Mahāprabhu.

Before taking mantra and veśa (dress) from Keśava Bhāratī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu initiated Keśava Bhāratī with the sannyāsa mantra, “tat tvam asi.” Mahāprabhu knew that Keśava Bhāratī would give Him the mantra, tat tvam asi, but Mahāprabhu did not like that. The māyāvāda conception of that mantra is, “I am that. (I am God.)” This thought was not acceptable to Mahāprabhu. Although Mahāprabhu was taking sannyāsa for decorum’s sake, for preaching His saṅkīrtana movement, He nonetheless could not accept a mantra with māyāvādasiddhānta.

Mahāprabhu approached Murari Gupta and explained the perplexity of the situation. After careful deliberation Murari Gupta informed Mahāprabhu that there was a Vaiṣṇava conception to the mantra, tat tvam asi, that is, “You are His.”
Hearing this Mahāprabhu was very happy and He approached Keśava Bhāratī and informed him, “I had a dream and in the dream you gave me a mantra. I was wondering if this is actually the mantra that you will give me.”

Hearing this, Keśava Bhāratī said, “Oh, what mantra did I give you in Your dream?”
As Keśava Bhāratī leaned forward, Mahāprabhu pronounced the mantra tat tvam asi in his ear. At that very moment Keśava Bhāratī was completely converted into a pure Vaiṣṇava by the potency of Mahāprabhu. Then the mantra was given. And the sannyāsa name also came from Keśava Bhāratī, but not any of the ten names generally given to a sannyāsī in the māyāvāda school. The name was given, “Kṛṣṇa Caitanya.”

This example also demonstrates the potency of a mantra when uttered with higher conception. It is not the mantra alone which is the cause of liberation but it is the conception which accompanies the mantra which has the real potency.

After taking sannyāsa and wandering for some days in Bengal, Caitanya Mahāprabhu started for Jagannātha Purī. On the way Mahāprabhu fell unconscious in a state of ecstasy by the side of a river. At that time Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu picked up the ekadaṇḍa (single staff) of Mahāprabhu and broke it into three pieces. Nityānanda Prabhu did this to demonstrate to all the devotees present that indeed Mahāprabhu had taken tridaṇḍī (Vaiṣṇava) sannyāsa.

Those who are rasika-bhaktas, who know the inner meaning of Mahāprabhu’s pastimes, have concluded that Mahāprabhu was indeed a Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī.

After taking sannyāsa Mahāprabhu also uttered the mantra from Śrīmad Bhāgavatam again and again:

etāṁ sa āsthāya parātma niṣṭhām
adhyāsitāṁ pūrvatamair maharṣibhiḥ
ahaṁ tariṣyāmi duranta-pāraṁ
tamo mukundāṅghri-niṣevayaiva

“I shall cross over the insurmountable ocean of nescience by being firmly fixed in the service of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. This was approved by the previous ācāryas, who were fixed in firm devotion to the Lord, Paramātmā, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Bhāg. 11.23.57 and C.c. Madhya-līlā 3.6)

Again it must be pointed out here that those who are actually learned in the science of pure devotion and the pastimes of Mahāprabhu, acknowledge that the uttering of this verse again and again by Mahāprabhu is the authorization to accept the order of sannyāsa as a bona-fide method to attain the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.

While describing the pastime of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepting sannyāsa in Caitanyacaritāmṛta, the author Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī has written a verse explaining the purpose of sannyāsa.

parātma-niṣṭhā-mātra veṣa-dhāraṇa
mukunda-sevāya haya saṁsāra-tāraṇa

“The real purpose of accepting sannyāsa is to dedicate oneself to the service of Mukuṇḍa. By serving Mukuṇḍa, one can actually be liberated from the bondage of material existence.” (C.c. Madhya-līlā 3.8)

By uttering the verse beginning with etāṁ sa āsthāya parātma-niṣṭhām, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has authorized the taking of sannyāsa and Kavirāja Gosvāmī has confirmed this by explaining the meaning of sannyāsa in the verse beginning with parātma-niṣṭha-mātra. If there were no such thing as sannyāsa in the Gauḍīya line, as the anti-party suggests, then Kavirāja Gosvāmī would not have taken the trouble to explain its meaning. This argument is based on simple logic and supported by śāstra.

The sannyāsa of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu should be sufficient evidence to support the authenticity of sannyāsa in the Gauḍīya line—indeed it is, but it is not the only evidence.

After Mahāprabhu accepted sannyāsa many of his followers did the same. Some of them like Svarūpa Dāmodara and others took sannyāsa veśa (dress) from the mayavādīs at Banaras while others like Rūpa and Sanātana self-adopted the short white cloth.

Sometimes it is said that the Six Gosvāmīs were bābājīs and not sannyāsīs but this is only a partial truth. The anti-party says that there is no direct mention of the word “tridaṇḍī” anywhere in the writings regarding the pastimes of Mahāprabhu and therefore there cannot be any such thing as “tridaṇḍī-sannyāsa.” However, it also happens that there is no mention of “bābājī” anywhere to be found either. In this way, the anti-party (who favour bābājī over sannyāsa) are defeated by their own argument.

However, the real fact of the matter is that both the bābājīs and tridaṇḍī-sannyāsīs are bona-fide renunciates. The bābājī is actually a bhajanānandī or one who devotes his life to secluded chanting of the holy name and the other, the tridaṇḍī-sannyāsī, is actually a goṣṭhyānandī or one who devotes his life to the service of the holy name by spreading the holy name in every town in village. In either case these are actually birds (paramahaṁsas) of the same feather because the goal of their respective duties in renunciation is to develop kṛṣṇa-prema.

Whatever has been stated in this article concerning the authenticity of hari-nāma initiation, brahma-gāyatrī, and tridaṇḍī-sannyāsa in the paramparā of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has been represented with logical argument and scriptural evidence—therefore it should be accepted as conclusive.

By Published On: March 10, 2022
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Śrīla Bhakti Gaurava Narasiṅgha Mahārāja (Jagat Guru Swami) appeared on Annadā Ekādaśī at Corpus Christi, USA in 1946. After studies in haṭha-yoga, he took initiation from his guru, Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda in 1970 and preached in the African continent for 3 years before accepting sannyāsa in 1976. After Prabhupāda’s disappearance, Śrīla Narasiṅgha Mahārāja took śīkṣā (spiritual instruction) from Śrīla B.R. Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī and Śrīla B.P Purī Gosvāmī. Although he spent most of his spiritual life preaching in India, Narasiṅgha Mahārāja also travelled to Europe, Mexico and the United States to spread the message of his spiritual masters. He penned over 200 essays and 13 books delineating Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava siddhānta. He left this world in his āśrama in South India in 2020.