Sannyas Lila: Breaking the Staff

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
1 January 2011


After Mahaprabhu took sannyas, He went to Puri, and on His way He and the devotees passed a bridge called Atharnala. 'Athar' means eighteen. King Indradyumna, who made the Jagannath temple, had eighteen sons. He thought at that time that if any of his sons were alive, they would become the heirs of the temple, but he considered the temple to be the property of the devotees and did not want his sons to later claim any right over it and use it for their own purpose, so he killed all eighteen sons.

It was at that bridge that Nityananda Prabhu broke Mahaprabhu's danda and threw it into the Bhargi River. Mahaprabhu asked later, "Nityananda, where is the danda I gave You? Please return it to Me." Nityananda Prabhu replied, "Prabhu, You were doing so much kirtan, and in ecstasy You fell over and broke it." Mahaprabhu understood everything and became angry, "I have left everything in Nabadwip, I did not bring a single thing from Gaura Mandal except for the danda, a stick. You know why I have taken sannyas and accepted that danda. What you have done is not right. I will not go with You. You go, and I will go behind, otherwise I will go first, but I will not go with You."

It is written in Chaitanya-charitamrita, "ইঁহো কেনে দণ্ড ভাঙ্গে, তেঁহো কেনে ভাঙ্গায়, iho kene danda bhange, tenho kene bhangaya: why did Nityananda Prabhu break the danda, and why did Mahaprabhu allow Him to break it?" (Madhya-lila, 5.157) I once asked Gurudev about the meaning of this phrase and he explained that there were two meanings.

First, Nityananda Prabhu thought, "Sannyasis take danda (the staff of a mendicant monk), but Mahaprabhu is the Lord Himself, so He is not an actual sannyasi—He only pretends, plays the role of a sannyasi. Actually, He took sannyas just to teach people."

The other meaning is that all paraphernalia, even the temple itself, is Nityananda Prabhu. For example, we do not climb the temple to pay dandavat—even the pujari does not pay dandavat in the Deities' room but does it outside. We do not enter the Deities' room unless it is for service. Gurudev explained that all paraphernalia—the temple, the danda, the mayur pakha (peacock fan), the chamara (yak-tail fan), and so on—is Nityananda Prabhu Himself, the Lord Himself. So, Nityananda Prabhu thought, "Why will Mahaprabhu carry Me? Actually, it is I who should be carrying this danda. I must break it!"

These are the two causes.



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