Autumn 2007

In the last issue of Back To Prabhupada, we quoted ISKCON GBC voted-in guru His Grace Ravindra Svarupa Das, in his role as GBC Chairman, stating in the ISKCON Communications Journal with reference to the sannyasa ashram (renounced, monastic order) in ISKCON:

“The renounced order of life has come to be called the denounced order of life - we hear that all the time.”

Sannyasa ashram outlawed in ISKCON after 1977

“If you talk in the modern society they will laugh: “What nonsense this man is... ‘By sex life one becomes conditioned.’ “ They cannot understand. Hare Krsna...This should be strictly outlawed, no more sannyasis. And those sannyasis who have fallen, you get them married, live like a... No more this showbottle, cheating. It is very ludicrous. Even there is a promise that “We shall not fall down again,” that is also not believable. What is the use?”
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, 7/1/77)

“And this kind of hypocrisy--they have taken sannyasa and mixing with woman. This is not to be allowed. If you want woman you get yourself married, live respectfully. We have no objection. But this hypocrisy should be stopped. There have been so many fallen down. First of all there will be no sannyasi anymore. I have got very bad experience. And at least, we are not going to create new sannyasis. And those who have fallen down, let them marry, live like respectable gentlemen. I have no objection. [...]
Get one wife and live like a gentleman. Similarly woman. Live with one husband fastidiously, with children. What is the wrong there? We have so many grhastha devotees. [...]
But what is this nonsense that you take sannyasa and make relation with...? This should be completely stopped.”

(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, 7/1/77)

“And we discussed the sannyasa recommendations. [...]
And for next year no recommendations were made.”

(Room Conversation GBC Members, 2nd and 3rd March, 1977)

Sannyasis forbidden from business activities

“Business must be done by the grhasthas, not by the sannyasis or brahmacaris.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 22/1/76)

“The brahmacaris and sannyasis must stick to the temple activities.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 4/9/75)

Useless activities for sannyasis

“This is Vedic civilization, not to waste a single moment of life for useless attempt. That is Vedic civilization. Every moment should be utilized. Especially for the human being, it’s so valuable. And they are finding out sporting, swimming and surfing—simply all programs of wasting time, especially in the Western countries. How much they have invented, I see only and laugh. The elderly men of your age, of course, maybe my age also, they are swimming and surfing”.
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, 11/11/75)

“We are not interested in these things like hatha-yoga and swimming. We do not encourage such useless activities.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 6/1/75)

Sannyasis living at the expense of householders not accepted by Lord Caitanya

“Then this is a hint by Lord Caitanya that a sannyasi who has renounced everything, if he lives very gorgeously, with good dress, and good house, and apartment...
No. This is not approved by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then what is that? Whatever is absolutely necessity, he should accept, not more. Yes. That is renounced order of life, not that in the name of renounced order of life he should live at the expense of the householders, very gorgeously. No. This is not sannyasa.
It is not accepted by Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sampradaya.”

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 21/11/66)

Below we read a report by disciples of ISKCON GBC voted-in guru, HH Bhakti Caru Swami (BCS), describing him directing business ventures, engaging in swimming, saunas, jacuzzis, and also enjoying the facilities of a householder. We will let the readers decide in light of the above quotes if these activities are compatible with the austere sannyasa ashrama:

“There, Guru Maharaja is able to ‘take it easy,’ so to speak, namely resting, catching up on correspondence, and guiding the various business ventures of (...) prabhu and his associates. Every morning at seven, Guru Maharaja goes down to the indoor pool to swim several laps and spend time in the sauna, one after another, repeatedly for four or five times. […]
On Gurudev’s request in the Jacuzzi this morning [...]
On a previous day Gurudev whilst sitting in the Jacuzzi [...]
This morning Gurudev continued to glorify (...) Prabhu’s mother, expressing how nice she was, and how beautiful her home in Beverly Hills was. Gurudev recalled “I swam in the pool in the backyard, it was a nice pool”.

(BCS Istagosthi, May 20th/ 27th, 2007)