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Recently I have come across the life story of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Maharaj from the Gaudiya Vaishnav Sampradaya. It was stated that in 1918, he accepted sanyas diksha from the photograph of his Guru Gaurkisora Dasa Babaji posthumously.

Are there any other such examples?

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Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur Prabhupāda took sannyasa diksha from the portrait of his guru Śrīla Gaura-kiśora dāsa Bābājī.

Objection: This method of taking Sannyasa is not appropriate.

Answer: This method is a bonafied method followed in Vaishnava tradition. Vaishnavas have a age-old tradition where the Vaishnavas take direct Sannyasa diksha from the samadhi of Raghavendra Swami. This has been beautifully explained by Sri Ranga Priya Deshika Swami ji, Parakala Mutt, Śrī Sampardaya.

Swamiji then replied, “Yes, it is possible in rare cases.” Then Sevatula Prabhu told Anukulya Kesava Prabhu: “See, just listen to what he is saying.” Then Anukulya Kesava Prabhu asked Swamiji for clarification: “What is the meaning of rare’?” Swamiji replied: “‘Rare’ mean rare. If anyone has a dream in which Prabhupada asks him to take direct initiation from me,then it may be valid.” Then Anukulya Prabhu asked Swamiji “Can an entire group of 50/60 persons take direct initiation from Prabhupada?” and Swamiji replied, “No, I told you. "Rare’ means rare”. Then Swamiji further clarified: “‘Rare’ means once in a million. Once in a while, such direct initiation may occur."

By Sri Ranga Priya Deshika Swamiji, a disciple of the Parakala Math of the Ramanuja Sampradaya

Source: INDIA, Jan 13 (VNN) — The following is a report on a “Vidvat Gosthi” (conference of traditional vaishnava scholars) held at the Purnaprajna Vidyapith, Bangalore (traditional Samskrita educational institution of the Udipi Madhva Pejawar Math & others among the 8 Maths of Udipi) on Saturday, January 9, 1999

Note: Although in the above discussion, the subject is taking direct initiation from Śrīla Prabhupāda, but nevertheless it still applies to Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur Prabhupāda also since the topic remains same irrespective of the personalities.

Doubt: So should everyone follow this method?

Answer: No. It's rare. One should follow the conventional method of taking sannyasa physically from a living guru. Swamiji has clearly explained above. There is absolutely no ambiguity. It's rare. That's it.

One can see the following YouTube Video-Click_here- from timestamp 25:14 to get an idea how Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur Prabhupāda took sannyasa from his guru Śrīla Gaura-kiśora dāsa Bābājī. His gurudev came in a spiritual body and asked him to take sannyasa from his portrait.This method has been approved and followed by Vaishnavas from other sampardayas as mentioned above.

Scriptural quotations:

Vedānta Sūtra - 3.2.4 || sūcakaś ca hi śruter ācakṣate ca tad-vidaḥ || Because the dream objects indicate future results, because śruti describes the truth of dreams and because knowers of dreams predict results, dream objects are real.

Vedānta Sūtra - 3.2.5 || parābhidhyānāt tu tirohitaṁ tato hy asya bandha-viparyayau || Dreams disappear by the will of the Lord. This is not surprising since he is also the cause of bondage and liberation.

Source: https://www.quora.com/Who-gave-sanyasi-initation-to-Srila-Bhaktisiddhanta-Sarasvati-Prabhupada

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