Offences to the Sannyāsa Paramparā (06/21/14)
Dear ______ Swami,
Thank you for your appreciations.
Actually the sannyāsa-mantra [rāga-mantra] is to be chanted after the kāma-gāyatrī, because it is sequential/progressive. Rādhā-dāsyam is attained after progressing beyond the general conception of Kṛṣṇa [after surrender to Kṛṣṇa], when the devotee understands and transitions between devotion to Kṛṣṇa and superior devotion to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
I remember hearing years ago that at some meeting in Māyāpura it was discussed about when to chant the sannyāsa-mantra and a senior GBC sannyāsī said it should be chanted first because the mantra begins with Oṁ. But this is not actually correct.
When a devotee receives sannyāsa, he is usually given the sannyāsa-mantra written on a piece of paper and there the mantra is sometimes preceded by Oṁ. However, the mantra begins from klīṁ and not from Oṁ. The Oṁ is not chanted as part of the sannyāsa-mantra. Just like sometimes here in India we see the mahā-mantra written and preceded by Oṁ, but when chanting the mahā-mantra the Oṁ is not included.
Another thing that came up in those days was the question, “Does the sannyāsa-mantra end in namaḥ or svāhā. I have a photocopy on the paper that Keśava Mahārāja gave Prabhupāda in 1959 when Prabhupāda took sannyāsa and the mantra is written there, ending in svāhā, not namaḥ.
It is as you say, “In the ‘old times’ we didn’t know all these details very well.” It could also be rephrased as, “In the days when we were all extremely neophyte, Śrīla Prabhupāda stuck to teaching us the basics and did not go into much detail, especially details concerning the higher topics of rāgānuga and rūpānuga-bhajana.” But it should not remain like that forever. Details are also important.
The mantra is important and how it is chanted is also important. Similarly the sannyāsa-mantra paramparā is also important. In our case that means that Sarasvatī Ṭhākura brought down the mantra [self-made sannyāsī] and passed it on to Śrīdhara Mahārāja, then it passed to Keśava Mahārāja, then it passed to our Prabhupāda, then it passed to his sannyāsa disciples and then to their sannyāsa disciples. This paramparā is to be honoured and if offended, then there is every possibility that the sannyāsa connection is weak or becomes broken — a consideration usually not taken into account when an Iskcon sannyāsī falls down. In some cases, because the giver of sannyāsa is an offender of the sannyāsa-paramparā, the mantra is given, but without any internal potency — thus the chanter never awakens to the realm of rāga. The offense becomes institutionalized, Kṛṣṇa consciousness becomes institutionalized and sannyāsa remains external.
You have heard it said over and over again, “Sannyāsa is external.” Sadly however this is not the fact. Sannyāsa is completely internal surrender of the ātmā to Kṛṣṇa in the highest degree, rādhā-dāsyam. An external aspect of sannyāsa is preaching. But when the whole of sannyāsa is taken as external [just for preaching] then a great opportunity is lost.”
Hope you are well.
Your servant’s servant,
PS: If you haven’t read it…there is a good publication called Śrī Gāyatrī Mantrārtha Dīpikā. Nice articles about gāyatrī mantras.