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Recently I have seen a video in which an elderly man says sanyāsaṃ is prohibited in Kali yuga. His statement is as follows:

Aśvamedha, Gomedha, sanyāsaṃ, offering meat to manes, Begetting children after consuming alcohol should be given up in Kaliyuga.

  • What is the sanskrit verse? Which smriti has this statement?
  • Why is it said sanyāsaṃ should be given up in Kaliyuga?
  • Are there any exceptions for the statement because we have many great acharyas who are sanyāsis' ?
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    This Page says Brahma Vaivarta Purana Krishna Janma Khanda 185.180 is the above verse. But Krishna Janma Khanda has only 133 Chapters. So, i think this is interpolation.
    – The Destroyer
    Jan 31, 2017 at 4:06
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    Sanyasam is not prohibited in any Yuga as it is prescribed by Upanishads. See Jabala Upanishad.
    – Tezz
    Jan 31, 2017 at 5:25
  • @UdayKrishna That's why I posted a question . Together?!! How? Could you please elaborate it in answer field? Feb 1, 2017 at 11:19

3 Answers 3

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Verse 4.115 - Verses 112b,113a, Kṛṣṇa-janma-khaṇḍa, Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa

asvamedham gavalambham sannyasam palapaitrkam devarena sutopattim kalau panca vivarjayet

Five things are forbidden in the age of Kali – horse-sacrifice, cow-sacrifice, acceptance of sannyasa, offering flesh to the forefathers and begetting a child in the womb of the wife of one’s elder brother.

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  • The numbering of the verse is not correct. You can remove that.
    – user16618
    Jan 17, 2019 at 2:57
  • Krishna janma khanda has only 133 chapters from sources i know. Do you have BvP with other chapters?
    – The Destroyer
    Jan 17, 2019 at 8:11
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    I have updated your answer with correct verses from the Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa, which you might have copied wrongly. Feel free to roll back the edit if you disagree. :) @Lakhi
    – Vivikta
    May 11, 2022 at 9:15
  • Do you know, which kind of saṁnyāsa is being talked about here?
    – Bingming
    Oct 21, 2023 at 4:18
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From the book "Essence of Dharma Sindhu" we get the following list of acts that are considered as "Nishiddhas" or prohibited in Kali Yuga.

Kali Yuga Nishiddhas:

The following are the avoidable and unnecessary acts of Kali Yuga viz. Samudra Yatra, carrying of Kamandulu to misdirect the Public , remarriages, begetting children from husband’s brothers; Go Vadha; Mamsa Bhakshana at Shraddhas; performing vivaha to a physically immature girl; Chira kaala Brahmacharitwa; Naramedha Ashwamedha Gomedha Yagna; Madya Paana, Abhakshya Bhakshana, Apeya paana, Agamyaagamana orcwandering aimlesly Rahasya Prayascittha, Devata Puja and Pashubali for evil ends; Kula Bhrashtata; Extreme Profiteering and narrow mindedness.

So,some things mentioned in the sloka in your question,like gomedha,aswamedha,offering meat to manes,etc are indeed prohibited in kali yuga but not Sannyasa.

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    +1 for this answer, May i know the main source of information in the given book is from ?
    – Ritesh.mlk
    Feb 17, 2017 at 8:37
  • @Rishi The book quotes from Smritis and Puranas..In this case the original source must be some Puranas(my guess)..
    – Rickross
    Feb 17, 2017 at 12:44
  • Are you familiar with where it occurs in the actual dharma nibandha Dharmasindhu?
    – Bingming
    Oct 21, 2023 at 7:21
  • No I am only quoting from the book "Essence of Dharma Sindhu" .. I have not read the original work @Bingming
    – Rickross
    Oct 21, 2023 at 9:45
  • I see. Thanks. I just found it. It's from the ending sections of Pūrvārdha of 3rd pariccheda. archive.org/details/DharmaSindhuRajvaidyaRaviduttaShastry/page/… Although, it's not explicitly said that saṁnyāsa is prohibited, but vānaprastha is prohibited. This implies that karma saṁnyāsa is prohibited too. As per Nāradaparivrājakopaniṣat (5th upadeśa), karmasaṁnyāsa is that saṁnyāsa, which one takes, after the completing the prev. 3 āśramas.
    – Bingming
    Oct 21, 2023 at 21:51
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Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa (4.115.112b-113a) mentions 5 kaliyuganiṣiddha karmas -

aśvamedham gavālabbhaṁ saṁnyāsaṁ palapaitr̥kam //
devareṇa sutotpati kalau pañca vivarjayet /

Saṁnyāsa is also mentioned under the Kaliyuga niṣiddhas, which is pretty strange. We clearly know that saṁnyāsa is present in Kaliyuga, and great śiṣṭa ācāryas such as Rāmānuja, Madhva, Śaṅkara Bhagavatapāda, etc. took saṁnyāsa. So, clearly this isn't a prohibition of saṁnyāsa, as a whole.
It's most likely a prohibition of a specific kind of saṁnyāsa. Some online articles by Gauḍīyas
(such as a ; b) in recent times, take the saṁnyāśa in above quoted śloka to mean karmasaṁnyāsa.

As per Kūrma Purāṇa (1.2.80), the bhikṣu who does relentless yogābhyāsa, remains steady on mokṣamārga, conquers over indriyas, and perseveres for attainment of jñāna, is 'pārameṣṭhika'.
Śloka (82) mentions three kinds of pārameṣṭhika, viz. jñānasaṁnyāsin, vedasaṁnyāsin, & karmasaṁnyāsin. But the succeeding ślokas don't explain three saṁnyāsins.

yogābhāsarato nityamārurukṣurjitendriyaḥ /
jñānāya vartate bhikṣuḥ procyate pārameṣṭhikaḥ // (80)
jñānasaṁnyāsinaḥ kecidvedasaṁnyāsino'pare /
karmasaṁnyāsinaḥ kecit trividhāḥ pārameṣṭhikāḥ // (82)

As per 'common' usage of karmasaṁnyāsa, we know that it refers to karmayoga, propounded by Kr̥ṣṇa, in Bhagavad Gītā. So, that karma saṁnyāsa isn't a niṣiddha kriyā for Kaliyuga. Nāradaparivrājakopaniṣat (5.6) gives a def. of karmasaṁnyāsin. Karmasaṁnyāsin is the person (even if he has abhāva of vairāgya), who takes saṁnyāsa, after living through first three āśramas (brahmacarya, gr̥hastha, & vānaprastha).

brahmacaryaṁ samāpya gr̥hī bhūtvā vānaprasthāśramametya vairāgyabhāve'pyāśramakramānusāreṇa yaḥ saṁnyasyati sa karmasaṁnyāsī //

So, perhaps this is the kind of saṁnyāsa, which Gauḍīyas are referring to. Unfortunately, they don't provide any śāstriya support afaik, for taking this stance. But there is an observation, we can work with, that is the lack of vānaprasthīs, since more than a 100 yrs. We don't see anyone taking vānaprastha āśrama. People usually go directly to saṁnyāsa āśrama after gr̥hastha or brahmacarya, but are rarely seen taking karmasaṁnyāsa (as defined in Nāradaparivrājakopaniṣat).
Is vānaprastha niṣiddha in Kaliyuga?

The famous dharmanibandha 'Dharmasindhu' by Kāśīnātha Upādhyāya (1 ; 2 ; 3), also mentions the niṣiddhakarmas (>5) for Kaliyuga, and these are as follows:

samudrayātrā (for dvijas), bearing kamaṇḍalu (to misdirect public), dvija having vivāha with those of other varṇas, niyoga with devara, paśubali at madhuparka, offering & bhakṣaṇa of māṁsa at śrāddha, entering vānaprastha āśrama, re-kanyā-dāna of one's kanyā (who's akṣatyoni) to someone else, being in brahmacarya for too long (dīrgha-kālaṁ), naramedha, aśvamedha, mahāprasthāna, gomedha, doing prāyaścitta of mahāpāpa that culminates in death, madyapāna (including that in yajñas such sautrāmaṇi, etc.), following the śāstras of vāmācāra on the issue of madyapāna, etc. (because madyapāna, etc. is prohibited by śiṣṭas in both Pūrva & Uttara Mīmāṁsā), having putras other than aurasa or dattaka/kanīna (there are 12 kinds of sons, as per śāśtras, and 10 of these are niṣiddha in Kaliyuga. But, as per Kaustubha grantha, apart from aurasa & kanīna, svayaṁdatta/sahoḍhaja is also yogya in Kaliyuga, and the rest of 9 kinds of sons are niṣiddha), and removing a person from deśa, grāma, kula or jāti upon their committing mahāpāpa (such as Brahmahatyā), etc.

Since, vānaprastha comes under kalivarjya, so karmasaṁnyāsa (as defined in Nāradaparivrājakopaniṣat) is automatically also a Kaliyuga niṣiddhakarma.

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