na yater āśramaḥ prāyo
bibhṛyād uta vā tyajet
na—not; yateḥ—of the sannyāsī; āśramaḥ—the symbolic dress (with daṇḍa and kamaṇḍalu); prāyaḥ—almost always; dharma-hetuḥ—the cause of advancement in spiritual life; mahā-ātmanaḥ—who is factually exalted and advanced; śāntasya—who is peaceful; sama-cittasya—who has attained the stage of being equipoised; bibhṛyāt—one may accept (such symbolic signs); uta—indeed; vā—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 sannyāsī, such as the tridaṇḍa and kamaṇḍalu. According to necessity, he may sometimes accept those symbols and sometimes reject them.
There are four stages of the renounced order of life—kuṭīcaka, bahūdaka, parivrājakācārya and paramahaṁsa. Herein, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam considers the paramahaṁsas among the sannyāsīs. The Māyāvādī impersonalist sannyāsīs cannot attain the paramahaṁsa stage. This is because of their impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate. The Absolute Truth is perceived in three stages, of which bhagavān, or realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is meant for the paramahaṁsas. Indeed, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam itself is meant for the paramahaṁsas (paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satām). Unless one is in the paramahaṁsa stage, he is not eligible to understand the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. For paramahaṁsas, or sannyāsīs in the Vaiṣṇava order, preaching is the first duty. To preach, such sannyāsīs may accept the symbols of sannyāsa, such as the daṇḍa and kamaṇḍalu, or sometimes they may not. Generally the Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs, being paramahaṁsas, are automatically called bābājīs, and they do not carry a kamaṇḍalu or daṇḍa. Such a sannyāsī is free to accept or reject the marks of sannyāsa. His only thought is “Where is there an opportunity to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness?” Sometimes the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement sends its representative sannyāsīs to foreign countries where the daṇḍa and kamaṇḍalu 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We may do this in the dress of sannyāsīs or in the regular dress of gentlemen. Our only concern is to spread interest in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
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