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Bhagavad Gita Today September 18, 2019

Date: 
Wed, 2019-09-18


Why things are the way they are, and what we can do about it.

Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 16.1-3

PURPORT (excerpt):

There are so many rules and regulations to be followed in the renounced order of life. Most important of all, a sannyasi is strictly forbidden to have any intimate relationship with a woman. He is even forbidden to talk with a woman in a secluded place.

Lord Caitanya was an ideal sannyasi, and when He was at Puri His feminine devotees could not even come near to offer their respects. They were advised to bow down from a distant place. This is not a sign of hatred for women as a class, but it is a stricture imposed on the sannyasi not to have close connections with women. One has to follow the rules and regulations of a particular status of life in order to purify his existence. For a sannyasi, intimate relations with women and possession of wealth for sense gratification are strictly forbidden.

The ideal sannyasi was Lord Caitanya Himself, and we can learn from His life that He was very strict in regards to women. Although He is considered to be the most liberal incarnation of Godhead, accepting the most fallen conditioned souls, He strictly followed the rules and regulations of the sannyasa order of life in connection with association with woman.

One of His personal associates, namely Chota Haridasa, was associated with Lord Caitanya along with His other confidential personal associates, but somehow or other this Chota Haridasa looked lustily on a young woman, and Lord Caitanya was so strict that He at once rejected him from the society of His personal associates. Lord Caitanya said, "For a sannyasi or anyone who is aspiring to get out of the clutches of material nature and trying to elevate himself to the spiritual nature and go back home, back to Godhead, for him, looking toward material possessions and women for sense gratification--not even enjoying them, but just looking toward them with such a propensity--is so condemned that he had better commit suicide before experiencing such illicit desires." So these are the processes for purification.

The next item is jnana-yoga-vyavasthiti: being engaged in the cultivation of knowledge. sannyasi life is meant for distributing knowledge to the householders and others who have forgotten their real life of spiritual advancement. A sannyasi is supposed to beg from door to door for his livelihood, but this does not mean that he is a beggar. Humility is also one of the qualifications of a transcendentally situated person, and out of sheer humility the sannyasi goes from door to door, not exactly for the purpose of begging, but to see the householders and awaken them to Krishna consciousness. This is the duty of a sannyasi.

If he is actually advanced and so ordered by his spiritual master, he should preach Krishna consciousness with logic and understanding, and if one is not so advanced he should not accept the renounced order of life. But even if one has accepted the renounced order of life without sufficient knowledge, he should engage himself fully in hearing from a bona fide spiritual master to cultivate knowledge. A sannyasi, or one in the renounced order of life, must be situated in fearlessness, sattva-samsuddhi (purity) and jnana-yoga (knowledge).