It is sometimes said that Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu disapproved of the acceptance of the sannyāsa order in this Kali-yuga because in the śāstra it is said:
- aśvamedhaṁ gavālambhaṁ sannyāsaṁ pala-paitṛkam
- devareṇa sutotpattiṁ kalau pañca vivarjayet
- (CC Adi 17.164)
“In this Age of Kali, five acts are forbidden: the offering of a horse in sacrifice, the offering of a cow in sacrifice, the acceptance of the order of sannyāsa, the offering of oblations of flesh to the forefathers, and a man’s begetting children in his brother’s wife.” (Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa, Kṛṣṇa-janma-khaṇḍa 185.180) Nevertheless, we see that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself accepted sannyāsa and approved of the sannyāsa of His elder brother, Viśvarūpa. It is clearly said here, bhāla haila,—viśvarūpa sannyāsa karila pitṛ-kula, mātṛ-kula,—dui uddhārila. Therefore, should it be thought that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu made statements that are contradictory? No, actually He did not. It is recommended that one accept sannyāsa to dedicate his life for the service of the Lord, and everyone must take that kind of sannyāsa, for by accepting such sannyāsa one renders the best service to both his paternal and maternal families. But one should not accept the sannyāsa order of the Māyāvāda school, which has practically no meaning. We find many Māyāvādī sannyāsīs simply loitering in the street thinking themselves Brahman or Nārāyaṇa and spending all day and night begging so they can fill their hungry bellies. Māyāvādī sannyāsīs have become so degraded that there is a section of them who eat everything, just like hogs and dogs. It is such degraded sannyāsa that is prohibited in this age. Actually, Śrīla Śaṅkarācārya’s principles for the acceptance of sannyāsa were very strict, but later the so-called Māyāvādī sannyāsīs became degraded because of their false philosophy, which propounds that by accepting sannyāsa one becomes Nārāyaṇa. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu rejected that kind of sannyāsa. But the acceptance of sannyāsa is one of the items of the varṇāśrama-dharma. How then can it be rejected?