The particular focus of this work – the practice and challenges in practice of the renounced order (sannyasa, as designated within the traditional ashrama system of brahminical India) – calls critical attention to an important social dimension of the Caitanyaite tradition.Truth be told: the Gaudiya Vaisnava sannyasa order of renunciants is of particular interest today largely because of its unchecked history within the western missionary horizon. And it is this history which Yadunandana Swami aims to face squarely in these pages, with the intention to contribute significantly and positively to the change in direction of that history toward a brighter future of exemplary Vaisnava sannyasa praxis and culture.
The excerpt above is from the backcover of the book.
This book is divided into eight chapters and three appendixes. First five chapters constitute the core academic study conducted by Yadunandana Swami while researching this subject for his MA dissertation at the University of Wales Trinity, St. David, UK.
Chapter One introduces the subject and the research methodology that was used.
Chapter Two provides a historical analysis of the practice of sannyasa from classical times to modernity, with the aim of contextualizing the practice of sannyasa in order to help the reader to better understand the topic.
Chapter Three explains how the practice of sannyasa has been applied in ISKCON and how it has evolved.
Chapter Four identifies and explains, on the basis of the answers given by the interviewees in the study, ten challenges found by sannyasis in sustaining their monastic vows and lifestyle.
Chapter Five summarizes the findings of the initial study.
Chapter Six contains the transcriptions of many of the interviews that were conducted by Yadunandana Swami Originally these were not part of the MA dissertation, but are included here in this book, anticipating that these will be of interest and of good use to the ISKCON members.
Chapter Seven is called Learning from experience, which includes positive suggestions that could be cosidered and perhaps implemented by ISKCON leaders and community members in regards to the practice of sannyasa in the worldwide society of devotees.
Chapter Eight explains the meaning of sannyasa according to Srila Prabhupada.
Appendix One deals with methodology that was followed and other technical information concerned with this research.
Appendix Two elaborates on Sri Caitanya’s practice of renunciation based on sacred biographies written about him.
Appendix Three is a reproduction of an interesting online article referring to a letter written by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta on rules he expected Gaudiya Math sannyasis to follow.