rakta-vastra 'vaisnavera' parite na yuyaya
kona pravasire dimu, ki kaya uhaya?
rakta-vastra—saffron clothing; vaisnavera—for a Vaisnava; parite na yuyaya—is not fit to put on; kona pravasire—to some outsider; dimu—I shall give; ki—what; kaya—business; uhaya—with that.
"This saffron cloth is unfit for a Vaisnava to wear; therefore I have no use for it. I shall give it to a stranger."
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments on this incident as follows: Vaisnavas are all liberated persons, unattached to anything material. Therefore a Vaisnava need not accept the dress of a sannyasi to prove his exalted position. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the renounced order from a sannyasi of the Mayavada school. Present-day Vaisnava sannyasis, however, never think that by accepting the dress of the sannyasa order they have become equal to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In fact, a Vaisnava accepts the sannyasa order to remain an eternal servant of his spiritual master. He accepts the sannyasa order knowing that he is unequal to his spiritual master, who is a paramahamsa, and he thinks that he is unfit to dress like a paramahamsa. Therefore a Vaisnava accepts sannyasa out of humility, not out of pride.
Sanatana Gosvami had adopted the dress of a paramahamsa; therefore it was inappropriate for him to wear the saffron cloth on his head. However, a Vaisnava sannyasi does not think himself fit to imitate the dress of a paramahamsa Vaisnava. According to the principles set down by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu (trnad api sunicena), one should always think himself in the lowest stage, not on the level of a paramahamsa Vaisnava. Thus a Vaisnava will sometimes accept the sannyasa order just to keep himself below the level of a paramahamsa Vaisnava. This is the instruction of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
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