Remembering Mahaprabhu's Sannyas
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Today, Mahaprabhu left Katwa after taking sannyas. He left Nabadwip on the day of Sankranti. On the eve of Sankranti, each of our temples offers lau-payesh (lau cooked in milk with sugar). Do you know why? Vakreshwar Pandit, Nityananda Prabhu, Srivas Pandit, Sachi Mata, Visnupriya and all the other devotees from Nabadwip gathered in the evening, and one devotee brought lau (gourd), and another devotee brought milk. Mahaprabhu asked His mother, "Mother, please cook this lau," but Sachi Mata said, "Lau? Now? It is cold, how will everyone take it?" Then, Mahaprabhu said, "All right, then make some lau-payesh." Mahaprabhu knew that He would leave the next day, swimming across the Ganges, so He wanted to take full prasadam in the evening before leaving. In this way, lau-payesh was cooked that evening, and in remembrance of that, each of our temples makes and offers lau-payesh the day before Sankranti. Many do it wrong and offer lau-payesh on the Sankranti day, but Mahaprabhu left and was walking towards Katwa on the Sankranti day–He took lau-payesh the day before that. Mahaprabhu took sannyas on the first day of Magh month. After that, He did not eat anything for three days as He started walking to Vrindavan—He was not aware of hunger or anything else. However, pulled by the love of Gaura-Gadadhar's devotees, He came to the house of Advaita Prabhu in Shantipur again.
When Mahaprabhu suddenly saw Advaita Prabhu, He was surprised, "How did you know I was here? How did you know I would come to Vrindavan today?" Advaita Acharya replied, "Prabhu, wherever You are, that place is Vrindavan! Even the Ganges is Vrindavan when You are here." At that time, Mahaprabhu was standing in the Ganges, reciting prayers to the Yamuna, so when Advaita Prabhu said He was in the Ganges, He exclaimed, "What?! I have come to the Ganges?! Have I come to Gaura Mandal again?" Mahaprabhu understood that Nityananda Prabhu had tricked Him.
Mahaprabhu came to Keshav Bharati on the day of Sankranti, and they spent the whole night talking. One time, I asked Gurudev what they were talking about. The mean reason for that conversation was that sannyas is prohibited in Kali-yuga. Moreover, according to the scriptures, one has to be rather old to take sannyas, but Mahaprabhu was a twenty-four-year-old youth. So, Mahaprabhu said to Keshav Bharati, "All right, suppose I am fifty now."
"If the fault of following the five tastes does not go away, then You cannot take sannyas even if You are fifty," answered Keshav Bharati.
There is rupa, rasa, gandha, sabda, sparsa (seeking pleasures of eyes, taste, smell, ear and touch). We are drawn to beautiful things. You can see that when you put on the lights during the Kartik month, so many bugs and flies come—they think they will get nice things, but you can see later that they all die when they come to the lights. We are drawn to pleasures of taste. When you buy gur (molasses), you can sometimes see so many ants inside—they think, "I will eat more, I will eat more," but in the end they eat so much that they die right in the gur. In this way, there are five pleasures we are always drawn to.
After that, Mahaprabhu said, "What if I am sixty?"
"Then," answered Keshav Bharati, "if You cannot conquer the six enemies, You still cannot take sannyas."
The six enemies are kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, matsarya (desires, anger, greed, illusion, madness, envy).
Then, Mahaprabhu said, "All right, I am ninety now."
"If You do not practise the nine types of devotion, then You cannot take sannyas even when You are ninety!"
I have told you earlier today. There are nine stages of devotion:
আদৌশ্রদ্ধা ততঃ সাধুসঙ্গোঽথ ভজনক্রিয়া ।
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango 'tha bhajana-kriya
"In the beginning there is faith, then good association, then practising life. After that, the offences gradually go away, faith becomes stronger, taste comes, then attachment, then there arises affection and love. This is how love to God comes to those who practise Krsna consciousness."
(Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhuh, 1.4.15-16)
If you cannot practise there stages, then it is not possible to take sannyas even if you are ninety.
Then, Mahaprabhu said, "I am one hundred now!"
Keshav Bharati replied, "If You cannot subdue the ten senses, then You cannot take sannyas even when You are one hundred!"
This is the kind of conversation Mahaprabhu had with Keshav Bharati. So many things were said that night... The next day, when the decision was taken to give Mahaprabhu sannyas, nobody wanted to shave Mahaprabhu's head. He had beautiful shoulder-length hair. Nobody agreed to shave it. Finally, one barber stepped forward—he cried so much as He shaved Mahaprabhu's head that no water was required for shaving.
This is how Mahaprabhu took sannyas. For these three days, we offer bhog to the Deities at temples, but after that, everything is mixed together and taken like that, remembering that Mahaprabhu did not eat during those three days. Only when Mahaprabhu came to Shantipur, Sita Devi, the spouse of Advaita Acharya, cooked nicely, and Mahaprabhu ate for the first time in three days...
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