Sannyāsa: This category covers quotes and excerpts by Swami B.G. Narasingha Maharaja that focus on the renounced order of life and its role in preaching. These are quotes and excerpts that have been extracted from articles, lectures and letters by Swami B.G. Narasingha.


I don’t see any point in giving S____ sannyāsa. He’s doing so much service already in the garden, the kitchen and other management. If I gave him sannyāsa, he’d end up doing less service. Ultimately, it’s all about service. Also, he’s not much of a preacher. I’m sure he knows the basic philosophy nicely and can explain that to the local people in Kannada, but he’s not really a preacher and he’s not a writer – and that’s fine. We don’t expect everyone to be like that. But giving him sannyāsa would be a downgrade. His service would diminish. Just because someone’s steady in their service doesn’t mean that they need to take sannyāsa. So it’s better he stays where he is.


When I was in the Denver temple as a brahmacārī, everyone had a locker and I’d go to my locker about once a month and I would take everything out and put it on the floor on a cloth – first my japa beads, then my Bhagavad-gītā, then tilaka, then two dhotīs, two shirts, and maybe one pen and some paper. Any extra thing that I had collected I would just leave it. So I was practicing brahmacārī life—not accumulating many things. But then I became a sannyāsī, and after that, I needed one truck to carry all my things! In the beginning, Kṛṣṇa wants to see, ‘Can you renounce everything?’ and if He is satisfied you can give up everything, then He supplies you more for your service.

Like Śrīla Prabhupāda – when he was a householder he had a house in Kolkata and he was father to a few children. When he gave that up, he became father to the whole world and he got 5000 children. He had children in every country all around the world. If you can renounce something for Kṛṣṇa, He can supply you a thousand times more your necessity.


If you still wish to accept sannyāsa from me, then it is required that you travel with me for at least a year, and then after sannyāsa, you travel with me for another year. We have both seen so many men take sannyāsa, put on the veśa and later they could not maintain their vows. If they had been trained properly then many situations may have been avoided. So this is the standard in our humble mission – anyone who takes sannyāsa must be trained up properly by a senior sannyāsī or the guru of the mission. It is not just a question of changing your name and the color of your cloth.

Even if in the long run you decide to be independent, I have no problem with that. You are a godbrother and I am simply helping you on behalf of Śrīla Prabhupāda. However, I still suggest that you travel with me to see how I interact with disciples and the members of our mission and deal with different situations. It will be very useful in the long run. In my opinion, all sannyāsīs and gurus should be trained by senior sannyāsīs and gurus in this way – just “winging it” will lead to problems down the road…



f you are interested in joining the fight against māyā and engaging yourself wholeheartedly in the service of your Gurudeva without duplicity or weakness of heart. then you should be interested in taking sannyāsa or assisting a sannyāsī in his preaching work. As an anonymous monk once said, ‘Take sannyāsa or assist the preaching, but whatever you do, don’t give up the fight!’


Tridaṇḍi-sannyāsīs are the preachers, bābājīs do bhajana in seclusion. The tridaṇḍis take some pratiṣṭhā, or prestige because they represent the mission – he has to go out in public, preach, accept disciples, accept service. The bābājī-sannyāsī lives a quiet life and concentrates on his chanting, study of śāstra. He’s not a preacher. One is called a goṣṭḥyānandī and the other is called a bhajanānandī. Ānandī means happiness – one finds happiness in preaching, the other is happy living alone and doing japa, kīrtana, reading etc.


S annyāsīs aren’t just supposed to have big smiles on their face and bless babies and just say, “haribol!” with their arms in the air. This is nonsense! Sannyāsīs are meant for fighting against ignorance, and misconception, and wrongdoing. They are to speak out – not just be quiet.”


E very Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī receives a tridaṇḍa (staff) at the time of initiation and at the top of that tridaṇḍa is a ‘K’ shaped symbol called the paraśu-mūdra meaning the axe. This is not just any axe, but it is a battle-axe to cut the head of illusion and ignorance. Śrīdhara Mahārāja once said, It is the emblem of cutting the anarthas of those we preach to, as well as those of the disciple.


Now you are becoming old and life is short as you say! So now is the time for you to abandon everything and take sannyāsa as has been ordered by Śrīla Prabhupada — pañcasordhvam vanaṁ vrajet. But even if you have the gonads to take sannyāsa, it is highly unlikely that you could do so within the next ten years, or even before your death, because you will have to go thru the rigors of a bureaucratic society that ignores Śrīla Prabhupāda’s order for you to take sannyāsa after age fifty.


It is also the direct order of Śrīla Prabhupāda that after fifty years of age a householder man should get out of household life, but who is doing that? Śrīla Prabhupāda said that they will stay in household life until cruel death comes. Unfortunate! How old are you Prabhu?


Sannyāsa itself is the life of pure devotion, a life of service to guru and Kṛṣṇa, twenty-four hours a day, aṣṭa-kāliya-līlā. Yet we see in these unfortunate times that a man gives up his vows of sannyāsa, then enjoys the shackles of marital life for some years, criticizes pure devotees and their followers, and then reappears on the scene after a decade or two – but this time as a rāgānuga-bhakta. Shame, shame, shame! We are not impressed.