Mayapura, West Bengal
I was slotted to join the sannyasa candidate committee. What a treat! What a special service!
What this means is I'm a member of a team that approves new monks. It involves looking at candidates who may have been married and fulfilled their family vows but now wish to go for the final segment of their life as a celibate teacher who travels. When I say "may" it means there is another scenario which is something like this -- a bachelor devotee now wishes to make the balance of life a committed one to devotion.
Our group looks at the portfolio of each candidate with information including his photo, name, age, marital status, the sponsor, his particular service, where and for how long. We then have a personal interview with the individual. If there is at all some doubt about the candidates then people are brought in who know the candidate and then another interview is persued. A new candidate is put on a five waiting year. If no objections arise then in each passing year the candidate is jumped up until finally an initiation for this purpose takes place.
Since this program was inaugurated in '92 there has been a great rate of success. Out of the dozens of candidates that have gone through the system to evolve then as official "swamis" only one person was unable to maintain his "sannyasa" status. That's pretty good.
It is some of the first takers to the renounced order that encounter a higher rate not sustaining their vows. In the early days (60's and 70's) risks were taken. Men at a very early age in their life that entered the strict order were usually the ones to experience difficulty. In order to avoid life catastrophes such as this it was decided to implement a system to safeguard individuals.
Unfortunately, a daily strong walk is not a requirement for a candidate. After all if you become a monk you should be strong of body, mind and spirit; right?