Since time immemorial, the sannyāsa order has carried the tridaṇḍa. Later Śaṅkarācārya introduced the ekadaṇḍi-sannyāsa. A tridaṇḍi-sannyāsī is a Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī, and an ekadaṇḍi-sannyāsī is a Māyāvādī sannyāsī. There are many other types of sannyāsīs, who are not approved by Vedic rituals. A type of pseudo-sannyāsa was introduced by Indra when he tried to hide himself from the attack of Vijitāśva, the great son of King Pṛthu. Now there are many different types of sannyāsīs. Some of them go naked, and some of them carry a skull and trident, generally known as kāpālika. All of them were introduced under some meaningless circumstances, and those who have a poor fund of knowledge accept these false sannyāsīs and their pretenses, although they are not bona fide guides to spiritual advancement. At the present moment some missionary institutions, without referring to the Vedic rituals, have introduced some sannyāsīs who engage in sinful activities. The sinful activities forbidden by the śāstras are illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating and gambling. These so-called sannyāsīs indulge in all these activities. They eat meat and flesh, fish, eggs and just about everything. They sometimes drink with the excuse that without alcohol, fish and meat, it is impossible to remain in the cold countries near the Arctic zone. These sannyāsīs introduce all these sinful activities in the name of serving the poor, and consequently poor animals are cut to pieces and go into the bellies of these sannyāsīs. As described in the following verses, such sannyāsīs are pākhaṇḍīs. Vedic literature states that a person who puts Lord Nārāyaṇa on the level with Lord Śiva or Lord Brahmā immediately becomes a pākhaṇḍī. As stated in the Purāṇas:
- yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ
- samatvenaiva vīkṣeta
- sa pāṣaṇḍī bhaved dhruvam
- (CC Madhya 18.116)
In Kali-yuga the pākhaṇḍīs are very prominent. However, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has tried to kill all these pākhaṇḍīs by introducing His saṅkīrtana movement. Those who take advantage of this saṅkīrtana movement of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness will be able to save themselves from the influence of these pākhaṇḍīs.