In Sankara-sampradaya, strictly, unless one is born in brahmana family, he's not offered sannyasa. He's not given sannyasa. So far we are concerned, we also offer sannyasa to the brahmana, not to the sudras

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"in Sankara-sampradaya, strictly, unless one is born in brahmana family, he's not offered sannyasa. He's not given sannyasa. So far we are concerned, we also offer sannyasa to the brahmana, not to the sudras"

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

In Śaṅkara-sampradāya, strictly, unless one is born in brāhmaṇa family, he's not offered sannyāsa. He's not given sannyāsa. So far we are concerned, we also offer sannyāsa to the brāhmaṇa, not to the śūdras. But according to quality we create brāhmaṇa, not that we are offering sannyāsa to the śūdras, No. The principle is: sannyāsa can be offered only to the brāhmaṇas.
Lecture on SB 1.8.41 -- Mayapura, October 21, 1974:

So long the life is there, everyone is thinking, "I have got this responsibility. I have got this responsibility. I have got this responsibility," and they are working very, very hard and doing all nonsense. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma (SB 5.5.4). Now, somebody's stealing for the sake of family maintenance, doing so many sinful activities, but when they are scattered again by the laws of nature, nobody will be sympathetic to me if I suffer for my own sinful activities. But they do by the so-..., for the so-called family. They get money, and they... Due to affection... First of all, whatever he earns, by hook or by crook, first of all he wants to see that his wife, children, are fed up very nicely. And, at last, if there is some remnants, he can eat, out of affection. You see?

So therefore this affection is the very hard knot for being bound up in this material world, this affection. Therefore the Vedic civilization is that the affection is to be cut off compulsory at a certain age, not that the affection should continue. If the affection continues, then there is no chance of my becoming free from this material world. There is no chance. Therefore vānaprastha. Because the wife's..., affection with the wife, is very, very strong. So vānaprastha means the husband and wife, they give up the affection. Not give up, go away from home, and they travel in the holy places just to purify, and again, when the affection draws, they come to the family. Again remain for one or two months, then again go away. So the wife, there is no sex connection, but wife remains as assistant to the man to be accustomed how to remain aloof from the family. And then, when he is practiced to remain aloof from the..., then wife is also sent back to the family, to the care of elderly children, and the man takes sannyāsa, compulsory. It is called "civil suicide." My Guru Mahārāja used to say, "Commit civil suicide." Mean... If you commit suicide it is criminal. It is also suicide, no more connection with family. This is also suicide, but it is civil. There is no criminal action against... But it is also voluntarily committing suicide—no more connection with anyone.

Ata saba hari āra varṇāśrama-dharma, niṣkiñcana haya laya kṛṣṇaika śaraṇa.(?) This is the... Varṇāśrama-dharma, that is material. Varṇāśrama is planned for material life in a systematic way so that, in due course of time, one may give up the family relationship and take sannyāsa and completely devote for Kṛṣṇa's service. This is the plan of varṇāśrama-dharma. Varṇāśrama-dharma is not meant for planning something, and you remain in the family. No. The Varṇāśrama... Varṇa means brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13). Guṇa, not everyone is qualified in the same way. Therefore you... The ācārya will pick up that "They are meant for becoming brāhmaṇas. They are meant for kṣatriyas." Or for coming from kṣatriya family, or the brāhmaṇa family... So first of all, these varṇas, then āśrama. The brāhmaṇa, one who is qualified as a brāhmaṇa, he has to observe the four āśramas, a brāhmaṇa: the brahmacārī-āśrama, the gṛhastha-āśrama, the vānaprastha-āśrama and sannyāsa-āśrama. The kṣatriya, they'll have to observe three āśramas: brahmacārī, gṛhastha and vānaprastha. And the vaiśyas, two āśramas: brahmacārī and gṛhastha. And śūdra, only one āśrama, only gṛhastha. A śūdra is never offered sannyāsa. A... Only the brāhmaṇa is offered.

So in Śaṅkara-sampradāya, strictly, unless one is born in brāhmaṇa family, he's not offered sannyāsa. He's not given sannyāsa. So far we are concerned, we also offer sannyāsa to the brāhmaṇa, not to the śūdras. But according to quality we create brāhmaṇa, not that we are offering sannyāsa to the śūdras, No. The principle is: sannyāsa can be offered only to the brāhmaṇas. So one may not mistake that we are offering to the..., offering sannyāsa to the mlecchas, yavanas, as they complain. Some of my Godbrothers, they criticize like that, that I am offering sannyāsa to the mlecchas, yavanas. This is wrong idea. This is nārakī-buddhi. Actually, a Vaiṣṇava is above this varṇāśrama-dharma. But we don't claim that we have become perfect Vaiṣṇava. We are not so impudent. We want to remain under the Vaiṣṇava. Under the Vaiṣṇava. Otherwise Vaiṣṇava means... In Caitanya-caritāmṛta you'll find the Vaiṣṇava is paramahaṁsa. Vaiṣṇava has no saffron cloth. Vaiṣṇava is white cloth because Vaiṣṇava is paramahaṁsa, above. But we don't claim the position of Vaiṣṇava. We want to remain servant of Vaiṣṇava. Therefore sannyāsa order is below the position of Vaiṣṇava. Sannyāsa order means still in the material classification. But this Vaiṣṇava is paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satām. Dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo 'tra paramo nirmat... (SB 1.1.2). This Vaiṣṇavism is meant for paramo nirmatsarāṇām, paramahaṁsa. Sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate (BG 14.26).

So Vaiṣṇava position is not very easy thing, above all qualities. Therefore Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura introduced not to become an imitation of Rūpa Gosvāmī. Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana, the Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana, they are paramahaṁsas. And in Vṛndāvana you'll find so-called bābājīs, they have imitated the dress of Rūpa Gosvāmī—half loincloth—but a biḍi in the mouth. What is this nonsense? Rūpa Gosvāmī used to smoke biḍi? (laughter) Not only that. You'll find in Vṛndāvana so many Rūpa Gosvāmīs are making biḍi. Have you seen in the Gopīnātha Bazaar? They're making trade, biḍis, and shameless. Therefore my Guru Mahārāja introduced this. Of course, sannyāsa is there in the Vaiṣṇava... All the ācāryas, they were sannyāsa, but later on, it so degraded that these biḍi-smoker, gāñjā-smoker, they imitated Rūpa Gosvāmī. Therefore to purify, Guru Mahārāja introduced this sannyāsa system, below the paramahaṁsas, not that artificial means I become a paramahaṁsa, No. When one is...

The sannyāsa stage has got four stages: kuṭīcaka, bahūdaka, parivrājakācārya and paramahaṁsa. Kuṭīcaka. When one takes sannyāsa... These are the processes. He is not practiced to beg from door to door. Therefore in the beginning he makes a cottage outside the village, and the foodstuff comes from his home. But he has no connection because by vānaprastha he has already left home, and by sannyāsa, completely... But takes prasādam from home. That is called kuṭīcaka. Then when he's practiced, he goes from door to door, and that is called bahūdaka. And then, when he's still more practiced, he becomes a preacher, parivrājakācārya, goes from country to country, state to state, for preaching. And after preaching, when the preaching is advanced to some extent, then he sits down in a place as paramahaṁsa. That is called paramahaṁsa. Different stages. Not that all of a sudden one becomes paramahaṁsa and biḍi also, not like that. Paramahaṁsa stage is not to be imitation. So to stop this imitation, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura introduced this system, sannyāsa. He personally became sannyāsa, and to many of his disciples, he gave sannyāsa.