Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva, you are giving tridaṇḍi-sannyāsa [tri means ‘three’]. But our daṇḍa (staff, carried by sannyāsīs) contains four sticks, plus this small one.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: There are four sticks, but still it is called tridaṇḍa; no harm. Within the three, four are present.
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: But we have five, because of the small stick that is tied at the top.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: That small stick on the daṇḍa is the jīva. Nārāyaṇa is the entire daṇḍa, and the small stick is the jīva, who combines with the entire daṇḍa by service (performed by the three: body, mind, and words). Do you understand?
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: So the fourth daṇḍa is Nārāyaṇa?
Devotees: No. The whole daṇḍa is Nārāyaṇa.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: One whole daṇḍa is called Nārāyaṇa. The jīvas are serving Nārāyaṇa there.*
Although it is called ‘three (tri-daṇḍa),’ one more is there, and a similar example is in the word Veda-trayī (literally meaning ‘three Vedas’). Veda-trayī actually refers to all the four Vedas.
The Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam describes how this creation was engineered, and there it explains that there are twenty-eight elements. What are these elements?
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: There are five gross elements, five subtle elements, five working senses, and five knowledge-acquiring senses.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: That is twenty. Then there are mind, intelligence, ego, citta (consciousness), prakṛti (nature), puruṣa (the Enjoyer, the Lord who glances over the material nature), ātmā (the living being), and Paramātmā (the Supersoul). This makes twenty-eight.
Some persons say that there are twenty elements, some say there are sixteen, others say there are seven, and some say there are six. Arjuna asked Kṛṣṇa, “Why do different spiritual authorities seem to contradict each other?” Kṛṣṇa replied, “All that the ṛṣis (great sages) have said is true. When they say that there are six, all twenty-eight reside in these six, and when they say sixteen, twenty-eight are present in those sixteen.”
If someone says, “Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja is coming to Badger,” does that mean that I am coming alone? No. You are all accompanying me. I cannot go alone.
*An excerpt from Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s lecture in Hawaii, May 23, 2000:
“The vaiṣṇava-sannyāsa daṇḍa represents the control of three things: our body, our words, and our mind. In this tridaṇḍa, as Nārāyaṇa-svarūpa, there are actually four large sticks – the four together representing Nārāyaṇa – and one small stick on the top, which represents the jīva. We must give our heart, and our body, mind, and words, to Kṛṣṇa. By these three we serve Him.
“There is also another meaning: Kṛṣṇa, His power, Rādhikā, and service to Them. These are also three, and there is yet another set of three: Bhakti (devotion), bhakta (the devotee), and Bhagavān (the Lord).”
Walking with a Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations 2007
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