Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


“After His sannyās rod was broken by Nityānanda Prabhu, Caitanya Mahāprabhu apparently became very angry and left His company to travel alone to the Jagannātha temple. When Caitanya Mahāprabhu entered the Jagannātha temple and saw Lord Jagannātha, He immediately lost His senses and fell down on the ground. After Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw Lord Jagannātha in the temple and fell down unconscious, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya took Him to his home. The Lord remained unconscious until the afternoon, when He finally regained His consciousness.”[1]

So, this was a very special moment when Mahaprabhu as a young ascetic entered the famous temple of Jagannath. Entered the temple, saw the Lord’s form and immediately lost His consciousness. Fell in ecstasy and ecstasy is the topmost platform of yoga, so much so that His body was lifeless. In such moments the doctors use a very special method to check whether a person is still alive or not – they take a little thread of cotton and they put it in front of the nose. And if the breathing, or prana, is still moving in and out, then this little thread will move, tremble. So this elderly man, Sarvabhauma, who was like a professor, he took this method to check whether this young sannyasi is still alive or died on the spot meeting God. And finally he found out that He is still alive, so there is some hope. So he took Mahaprabhu home and there Mahaprabhu regained His consciousness. Sarvabhauma was a great scholar of the Vedanta philosophy. Later on he achieved the mercy of Mahaprabhu to give up his philosophical inclination in order to become a full-hearted devotee.

So it proves that miracles do exist. And we should wait for the miracles in our lives also, which is very much possible to happen.

Question: I wonder why Nityananda broke the rod?

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, a rod is useful until it is unbroken. When a rod is broken into two, it is difficult to use anymore, but maybe somehow you can use it. But if it is broken into three, it is practically impossible to use. But the reason why this rod was broken into three is a philosophical reason. Because the one rod is a symbol of one certain school of Vedanta philosophy. The one rod means everything is one, all are one. This is the monistic philosophy – everything is one, one principle. One principle – one rod, right? Mahaprabhu took sannyas from one person belonging to that sampradaya, because practically at those times this was the only institution where sannyas was available. But Nityananda Prabhu knew that Mahaprabhu does not belong to that monistic sampradaya, but He belongs to a dualistic or trialistic sampradaya. In what sense? Dualism is the philosophy of Madhva Acharya. Wherever you see a very strong person, sitting in full lotus and hands raised like this (showing two fingers, like Jesus), you should know that this is Madhva Acharya – atma and paramatma, always two. So victory depends on two principles – you and God. But Mahaprabhu was even more – He had this triple aspect. But what is this triple aspect? Three rods – three principles. What are the three principles, Yashodka?

Yashoda: God, soul and love.

Tirtha Maharaj: Nice, but not exactly correct.

Kripadham: Achintya bhedabheda tattva.

Somebody else: Father, Son and the holy spirit.

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, maybe that also, but actually our symbolism about sannyas is surrender, full surrender. That means that you have to dedicate your activities, your words and your thoughts to God. Three. Triple dedication. But if you examine closely a danda – danda means the rod – a vaishnava danda, you will see three rods plus one, small little one on the top. What is that? We have already dedicated everything – our activities, our words, our thoughts – what is left? This is the atma danda on the top, small, atma danda – when you dedicate your existence, you give your self also.

Therefore, in order to propagate this three times dedication, Nityananda broke this rod into three pieces. And since that time the vaishnava sannyasis, Gaudia sannyasis, they use three staffs. And they add this self dedication also.

Nityananda is guru-tattva, right? So he wants to protect Mahaprabhu from misunderstanding, I mean others misunderstand Him. Because guru always protects the dignity of the line. Always protects the philosophy not to be broken and misused and also protects the disciple not to be misled. Therefore this episode shows these different meanings.

[1] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 1.98-99

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