Published On: Tue, Jul 2nd, 2019

Can a Sannyasi construct a Monastery and establish the worship of a Deity?

Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur – Jaiva Dharma Ch 7

Yadava dasa: Now I see that it is no light matter to accept the renounced order; it is a serious undertaking. Unqualified gurus are turning this practice into a common affair. It has only just begun, and there is no telling where it will end.

Ananta dasa: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu severely punished Chota Haridasa for a completely insignificant fault, just to protect the sanctity of the renounced order. The followers of our Lord should always remember the punishment of Chota Haridasa.

Yadava dasa: Is it proper to construct a monastery and establish the worship of a Deity after one has entered the renounced order?

Ananta dasa: No. A qualified disciple who has entered the renounced order should maintain his existence by begging every day. He should not involve himself in constructing a monastery or in other grand enterprises. He can live anywhere, either in a secluded hut or in the temple of a householder. He should remain aloof from all affairs that require money, and he should constantly chant sri-hari-nama without offense.

Yadava dasa: What do you call renunciants who set up a monastery and then live like householders?

Ananta dasa: They may be called vantasi (those who eat their own vomit).

Yadava dasa: Then are they no longer to be considered Vaisnavas?

Ananta dasa: What benefit is there in their association when their behavior is contrary to sastra and vaisnava-dharma? They have given up pure bhakti, and have adopted a hypocritical lifestyle. What relationship could a Vaisnava have with such people?

Yadava dasa: How can one say that they have given up Vaisnavism, as long as they don’t give up the chanting of hari-nama?

Ananta dasa: Hari-nama and nama-aparadha are two different things. Pure hari-nama is quite distinct from offensive chanting that only has the external appearance of hari-nama. It is an offense to commit sins on the strength of chanting sri-nama. If one chants sri-nama and at the same time commits sinful activities, thinking that the power of sri-nama will exempt him from sinful reactions, he is committing nama-aparadha. This is not suddha-hari-nama, and one should flee far away from such offensive chanting.

Yadava dasa: Then is the domestic life of such people not to be considered Krsna-centered?

“Never,” Ananta dasa firmly said. “There is no room for hypocrisy in a Krsna-centered domestic life. There can only be complete honesty and simplicity, with no trace of offense.”

Yadava dasa: Is such a person inferior to a grhastha-bhakta?

Ananta dasa: He is not even a devotee, so there is no question of comparing him with any bhakta.

Yadava dasa: How may he be rectified?

Ananta dasa: He will be counted amongst the bhaktas again when he gives up all these offenses, constantly chants sri-nama, and sheds tears of repentance.