na yater asramah prayo
bibhryad uta va tyajet
na—not; yateh—of the sannyasi; asramah—the symbolic dress (with danda and kamandalu); prayah—almost always; dharma-hetuh—the cause of advancement in spiritual life; maha-atmanah—who is factually exalted and advanced; santasya—who is peaceful; sama-cittasya—who has attained the stage of being equipoised; bibhryat—one may accept (such symbolic signs); uta—indeed; va—or; tyajet—one may give up.
A peaceful, equipoised person who is factually advanced in spiritual consciousness does not need to accept the symbols of a sannyasi, such as the tridanda and kamandalu. According to necessity, he may sometimes accept those symbols and sometimes reject them.
There are four stages of the renounced order of life—kuticaka, bahudaka, parivrajakacarya and paramahamsa. Herein, Srimad-Bhagavatam considers the paramahamsas among the sannyasis. The Mayavadi impersonalist sannyasis cannot attain the paramahamsa stage. This is because of their impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate. The Absolute Truth is perceived in three stages, of which bhagavan, or realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is meant for the paramahamsas. Indeed, Srimad-Bhagavatam itself is meant for the paramahamsas (paramo nirmatsaranam satam). Unless one is in the paramahamsa stage, he is not eligible to understand the Srimad-Bhagavatam. For paramahamsas, or sannyasis in the Vaisnava order, preaching is the first duty. To preach, such sannyasis may accept the symbols of sannyasa, such as the danda and kamandalu, or sometimes they may not. Generally the Vaisnava sannyasis, being paramahamsas, are automatically called babajis, and they do not carry a kamandalu or danda. Such a sannyasi is free to accept or reject the marks of sannyasa. His only thought is “Where is there an opportunity to spread Krsna consciousness?” Sometimes the Krsna consciousness movement sends its representative sannyasis to foreign countries where the danda and kamandalu are not very much appreciated. We send our preachers in ordinary dress to introduce our books and philosophy. Our only concern is to attract people to Krsna consciousness. We may do this in the dress of sannyasis or in the regular dress of gentlemen. Our only concern is to spread interest in Krsna consciousness.
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