The Avadhut

When Sripad Nityananda Prabhu first came to Nabadwip Dham, no one could understand who He was or where He had come from. No one could say whether He was a brahmachari, a grhastha, a vanaprastha, or a sannyasi. People saw all these forms in Him. At that time many people came to criticise Nityananda Prabhu’s divine character because He lived under no rules or regulations. Actually Nityananda Prabhu’s nature was to be an avadhut. The ordinary idea of an avadhut has been given in the Vaisnava-tantra,

antaḥ śāktaḥ bahiḥ śaivaḥ sabhāyāṁ vaiṣṇavo mataḥ
nānā veśa-dharā kolā vicharanti mahī-tale

«He appears to be internally like a sakta, a worshipper of material energy. Externally he appears like a follower of Lord Siva, but He still participates in the assemblies of Vaisnavas and seems to appreciate Vaisnava thought. He does not care for any particular dress or follow any rules or regulations as He wanders throughout the world.»

But Nityananda Prabhu was fully transcendental and should never be confused with anyone mundane. His nature as an avadhut can be understood in this way, «In His heart (antah) is playing Radha-Krishna (suddha-saktah), and His form externally (bahih) is like Lord Siva (saivah). When He joins an assembly, His mentality is fully that of a Vaisnava. When He is travelling, sometimes He wears cloth, sometimes He wears no cloth, sometimes He wears many gold ornaments, jewels, and rich garments, and sometimes He wears sannyasi dress.»

Really, avadhut means one who is self-controlled, who is not controlled by scriptural rules or regulations. Whatever He does, that is always right and perfect. He will do anything and everything and is never to be considered wrong. If He is seen to be wrong externally in the eyes of others, then that is also right. Nityananda Prabhu became known by everyone as Avadhut. Everyone called Him Avadhut. The people even forgot that His name was Nityananda. They would say, «Oh, Avadhut is coming.»