Srila Prabhupada talks about his sannyasa initiation

By editor - 123.9 2022

Srila Prabhupada accepted the order of sannyasa from Sri Srimad Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Maharaja on September 17, 1959 at the Kesavaji Matha in Mathura.

“So this my Godbrother, his name is Keśava, Bhaktiprajñāna Keśava. Kṛpāmbudhi. So he did this favor upon me because he was ocean of mercy. So we offer our obeisances to Vaiṣṇava, kṛpāmbudhi. Vāñchā-kalpa-tarubhyaś ca kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca. The Vaiṣṇavas, the representatives of the Lord, they are so kind. They bring the ocean of mercy for distributing to the suffering humanity. Kṛpāmbudhir yas tam ahaṁ prapadye (CC Madhya 6.254). So I am offering my respectful obeisances unto this His Holiness, because he forcefully made me adopt this sannyāsa order.”

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Seattle, October 21, 1968)

“If you want to know Kṛṣṇa, if you want to know God, then you have to take this process. That is a… Bhaktyaikayeśam, ābhajet tam bhaktyaikayeśaṁ guru-devatātmā: ‘He is the Supreme Lord, He is the Supersoul, and He is the supreme spiritual master.’ In this way. He’s the supreme spiritual master within you. As soon as you will take to devotional service, He’ll give you dictation, ‘You do this.’ What dictation? To go to hell? No. Buddhi-yogaṁ dadāmi tam. In the Bhagavad-gītā: ‘I give him intelligence.’ Why? What for? Yena mām upayānti te: ‘By which he can come back to Me.’ That buddhi-yogam. He’ll help you. If you think something… If He takes seriously about your case, if you are fully surrendered, then He’ll direct you in such a way that you cannot go elsewhere except to Him, even sometimes you may find that ‘He is doing something against my will.’ I have got my personal experience. I never tried, never accepted that I shall become a sannyāsī. And I tried my best to keep myself in this material world. And He has, several times He has frustrated me and has brought me by force to this life. And now I am happy. I can understand that how much favor has Kṛṣṇa showed me. Yes. I did not understand in the beginning.

So sometimes, if Kṛṣṇa takes special care for you, He’ll do in such a way that you will have no other way than to go back. He’ll take charge, take charge. If we sincerely want Kṛṣṇa, if He sees that ‘Here is a person. He wants Me. But he’s a foolish. He wants Me; at the same time he wants to enjoy this material world. So crush this, crush this, his material propensities, and let him become simply devoted.’ Yes. Sometimes we see like that.”

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, November 23, 1966)

“In the beginning, when my Guru Mahārāja ordered me, I thought it that ‘I shall first of all become very rich man; then I shall preach.’  (laughs) So I was doing very nice in business. In the business circle, I got very good name, and with whom I was dealing business, they were very satisfied. But Kṛṣṇa made so trick that He broke everything, and He obliged me to take sannyāsa. So that is Hari. So that I had to come to your country with only seven dollars. So they are criticizing, ‘The swami came here with no money. Now he’s so opulent. So they are taking the back side, black side, you see? But the thing is… Of course, I have become profited, profitable, or I have acquired profit. I left my home, my children and everything. I came here as a pauper, with seven dollars. That is no money. But I have got now big properties, hundreds of children. (laughter) And I haven’t got to think for their provision. They are thinking of me. So that is Kṛṣṇa’s favor. In the beginning, it appears to be very bitter. When I took sannyāsa, when I was living alone, I was feeling very bitter. I, sometimes I was thinking, ‘Whether I have done wrong by accepting?’

So when I was publishing this Back to Godhead from Delhi, one day one bull thrashed me, and I fell down on the footpath and I got severe injury. I was alone. So I was thinking, ‘What is this?’ So I had very, days of very tribulations, but it was all meant for good. So don’t be afraid of tribulations. You see? Go forward. Kṛṣṇa will give you protection. That is Kṛṣṇa’s promise in the Bhagavad-gītā. Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: (BG 9.31) ‘Kaunteya, My dear son of Kunti, Arjuna, you can declare throughout the whole world that My devotees will never be vanquished. You can declare that.’ And why He’s asking Arjuna to declare? Why He does not declare Himself? There is meaning. Because if He promises, there are instances that He sometimes broke His promise. But if a devotee promises, it will be never broken. Kṛṣṇa will give protection; therefore He says His devotee that ‘You declare.’ There is no chance of being broken. Kṛṣṇa is so kind that sometimes He breaks His promise, but if His devotee promises, He takes very careful attention that His devotee’s promise may not be broken. That is Kṛṣṇa’s favor.”

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, April 17, 1969)

“So anyway, so I was officially initiated in 1933, just before three years of his passing away from this mortal world. So at the last moment also, just a fortnight before his passing away, he wrote me the same thing. I wrote him one letter and just he replied the same thing that ‘You should try to preach this gospel amongst the persons who are conversant in English language. That will be very nice for you.’ So I was dreaming sometimes that my Guru Mahārāja is calling me and I am leaving my home and going behind him. I was dreaming like that, and I was thinking, ‘Oh, I have to give up my home? My Guru Mahārāja wants me to give up my home life and take sannyāsa?‘ So I was thinking, ‘It is horrible. How can I leave my home?’ This is called māyā. Of course, it’s a long story, but incidentally I am speaking to you because you are my dear children. So I was thinking that ‘How can I take sannyāsa and leave my home, my children?’ So that was a horrible thought for me, I tell you. I was thinking seriously, ‘Oh, I will have to take this course. Guru Mahārāja wants me.’ But actually I did not like to give up my home life. But Guru Mahārāja made me obliged to give up my home life. So now, by his order, or by his plan, I gave up my home life, I gave up a few children, but Guru Mahārāja is so kind that has given me so many nice children. So by serving Kṛṣṇa, nobody becomes loser.”

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Montreal, July 26, 1968)

“When my Guru Mahārāja ordered me… When I was manager in Bose’s laboratory, so he ordered me. So I thought, ‘Oh, I cannot do this. I cannot accept this sannyāsa.’ But he was so kind, and he is so kind still. Then he forced me, that ‘You must do it,’ taking…, pulling my ear, he brought me to this life. In the beginning I was not willing. So it is his causeless mercy upon me. That I can understand now. I can understand now how much I have been relieved by accepting this life.”

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, July 13, 1971)

“You are all my children and I love my American boys and girls who are sent to me by my spiritual master and I have accepted them as my disciples. Before coming to your country I took sannyasa in 1959. I was publishing BTG since 1944. After taking sannyasa I was more engaged in writing my books without any attempt to construct temples or to make disciples like my other Godbrothers in India. I was not very much interested in these matters because my Guru Maharaja liked very much publication of books than constructing big, big temples and creating some neophyte disciples. As soon as he saw that His neophyte disciples were increasing in number, He immediately decided to leave this world. To accept disciples means to take up the responsibility of absorbing the sinful reaction of life of the disciple.”

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, July 27, 1970)

“So far the title Swami is concerned, although this word is used generally for Sannyasins, this Swami is my particular name as Sannyasi. Therefore, it must be suffixed at the end of my real name, A.C. Bhaktivedanta. So far the prefix ‘Swami’ is concerned, every sannyasi has got to do that, but two ways Swami (Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami) is not good looking. The end ‘Swami’ is necessary because it is my Sannyasa name. The first Swami may be transformed into Goswami, which is on the same order of Swami. Therefore, I use the prefix Tridandi Goswami and suffix Swami, as I have printed on my card enclosed herewith. That will be nice. In small lettering, it can be written above my name ‘Tridandi Goswami.’ Vaisnava sannyasins are known as Tridandi gosvamis, and Mayavadi sannyasins are know as only Swami.”

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, date unknown)

“The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not that we are asking everyone to become a sannyāsī like me, and give up everything. No. That is not our program. You act as a brāhmaṇa, as a kṣatriya or a vaiśya or a śūdra. It doesn’t matter. But you try to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. That is the program.”

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Bombay, December 30, 1972)