Lord Caitanya on Renunciation, Part 8
BY: SUN STAFF
Feb 01, 2011 CANADA (SUN) An exploration of Sri Caitanya's instructions on renunciation.
Before we segue from markata and phalgu-vairagya, false renunciation, to the topic of yukta-vairagya, proper renunciation, we would like to present the following article by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, entitled "Six Qualities that Enhance Bhakti". Under the heading 'Sadhu-vritti', Srila Bhaktivinoda touches upon many aspects of Lord Caitanya's instructions on renunciation, both proper and improper.
The principles of renunciation are described as being the same for the grihasta or the sannyasi, who have different means of livelihood but should both live in a proper mood of renunciation in Krsna consciousness. Some of the practical rules of renunciation are given, along with the symptoms of false renunciation, and instructions on asat-sanga-tyagi, avoiding bad association.
Six Qualities that Enhance Bhakti
Sadhu-vritti - Following in the Footsteps of the Previous Acaryas
by HDG Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur
grihastha Vaishnava should model his character after that of Lord
Caitanya and His followers. A householder should follow the ways of life
and obtain his means of livelihood as exhibited by Lord Caitanya and
His followers. If one desires Krishna in all his activities, then those
activities are auspicious. By endeavoring to gratify one's senses and
attain irrelevant fruits, one becomes a materialist. For a devotee, to
remain a householder or to become a renunciate is the same thing. Srila
Ramananda Raya, Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Sri Srivasa Pandita, Sri
Sivananda Sena, Sri Satyaraja Khan, and Sri Advaita Prabhu were all
grihasthas and have shown us the way of faultless living. The difference
between a householder and a renunciate is due to their different means
the home is favorable for a devotee's devotional service, then he
should not leave. It is his duty to remain a grihastha with detachment.
But when the home becomes unfavorable for his service, he then becomes
eligible to leave home. At tht time the detachment he develops for his
house through his devotional service is accepted. For this reason,
Srivasa Pandita did not leave home. For this reason, Svarupa Damodara
took sannyasa. All genuine devotees have remained either at home or in
the forest due to this consideration. Whoever has left home due to this
consideration is called a genuine renunciate. He is always careful not
to commit offenses against the holy name. Now let us consider the
occupation of a renunciate. In the Caitanya-caritamrita (Antya
6.222-227, 236-237) Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu spoke to the renunciate
Raghunatha dasa Gosvami as follows:
bhala kaila, vairagira dharma acarila
"Raghunatha dasa has done well, he has acted suitably for a person in the renounced order.
vairagi karibe sada nama-sankirtana
magiya khana kare jivana rakshana
person in the renounced order should always chant the holy name of the
Lord. He should beg some alms to eat, and he should sustain his life in
vairagi hana yeba kare parapeksa
karya-siddhi nahe, krishna karena upeksha
vairagi [a person in the renounced order] should not depend on others.
If he does so, he will be unsuccessful, and he will be neglected by
vairagi hana kare jihvara lalasa
paramartha yaya, ara haya rasera vasa
a renunciate is eager for his tongue to taste different foods, his
spiritual life will be lost, and he will be subservient to the tastes of
vairagira kritya-sada nama-sankirtana
duty of a person in the renounced order is to chant the Hare Krishna
mantra always. He should satisfy his belly with whatever vegetables,
leaves, fruits, and roots are available.
jihvara lalase yei iti-uti dhaya
sisnodara-parayana krishna nahi paya"
who is subservient to the tongue and who thus goes here and there,
devoted to the genitals and the belly, cannot attain Krishna.
gramya-katha na sunibe, gramya-varta na kahibe
bhala na khaibe ara bhala na paribe
not talk like people in general or hear what they say. You should not
eat very palatable food, nor should you dress very nicely.
amani manada hana krishna-nama sada la'be
vraje radha-krishna-seva manase karibe
not expect honor, but offer all respect to others. Always chant the
holy name of Lord Krishna, and within your mind render service to Radha
and Krishna in Vrindavana.
A sannyasi or a renunciate should not live in his village with his
relatives. As stated in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 3.177):
sannyasira dharma nahe-sannyasa karina
nija janma-sthane rahe kutumba lana
"After accepting sannyasa, it is not the duty of a sannyasi to remain at his birthplace, encircled by relatives."
A renunciate should not meet a king or woman. In the Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 11.7) the Lord said:
virakta sannyasi amara raja-darasana
stri-darasana-sama vishera bhakshana
I am in the renounced order, it is as dangerous for Me to meet a king
as to meet a woman. To meet either would be just like drinking poison."
A renunciate should remain faultless. As stated in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 12.51, 53):
sukla-vastre masi-bindu yaiche na lukaya
sannyasira alpa chidra sarva-loke gaya
prabhu kahe,-purna yaiche dugdhera kalasa
sura-bindu-pate keha na kare parasa
soon as the general public finds a little fault in the behavior of a
sannyasi, they advertise it like wildfire. A black spot of ink cannot be
hidden on a white cloth. It is always very prominent. Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu then said:
There may be much milk in a big pot, but if it is contaminated by a drop of liquor, it is untouchable."
The behavior of a renunciate is explained in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 17.229):
preme garagara mana ratri-divase
snana-bhikshadi-nirvaha karena abhyase
"His mind was absorbed in great ecstatic love day and night. He ate and bathed simply out of habit."
The symptoms of a pseudo-renunciate are stated by the Lord in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Antya 2.117-118, 120, 124, 5.35-36):
prabhu kahe,-vairagi kare prakriti sambhashana
dekhite na paron ami tahara vadana
durvara indriya kare vishaya-grahana
daravi prakriti hare muner api mana
kshudra-jiva saba markata-vairagya kariya
indriya carana bule `prakriti' sambhashiya
prabhu kahe,-mora vasa nahe mora mana
prakriti-sambhashi vairagi na kare darsana
ami ta' sannyasi, apanare virakta kari' mani
darsana rahu dure, `prakritira' nama yadi suni
tabahin vikara paya mora tanu-mana
prakriti-darsane sthira haya kon jana?
Lord replied: I cannot tolerate seeing the face of a person who has
accepted the renounced order of life but who still talks intimately with
a woman. So strongly do the senses adhere to the objects of their
enjoyment that indeed a wooden statue of a woman attracts the mind of
even a great saintly person. There are many persons with little in their
possession who accept the renounced order of life like monkeys. They go
here and there engaging in sense gratification and speaking intimately
with women. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said: My mind is not under My
control. It does not like to see anyone in the renounced order who talks
intimately with women. I am a sannyasi, and I certainly consider Myself
not to speak of seeing a woman, if I even hear the name of a woman, I
feel changes in My mind and body. Therefore who could remain unmoved by
the sight of a woman? It is very difficult."
Again, detachment in the heart of a householder is greatly appreciated. In the Caitanya-caritamrita (Antya 5.80) the Lord says:
`grihastha' hana nahe raya shad-vargera vase
`vishayi' hana sannyasire upadese
Ramananda Raya was a householder, he was not under the control of the
six kinds of bodily change. Although apparently a pounds-and-shillings
man, he advised even persons in the renounced order."
renunciate should not eat foods or accept goods from materialistic
people, nor should he invite other renunciates to eat foods or accept
goods from such people. In the Caitanya-caritamrita (Antya 6.274-275)
Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami concludes as follows:
vishayira dravya lana kari nimantrana
prasanna na haya ihaya jani prabhura mana
mora citta dravya la-ite na haya nirmala
ei nimantrane dekhi,-`pratishtha'-matra phala
invite Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by accepting goods from materialistic
people. I know that the Lord's mind is not satisfied by this. My
consciousness is impure because I accept all these goods from people who
are interested only in pounds, shillings, and pence. Therefore by this
kind of invitation I only get some material reputation."
The Lord replied in Caitanya-caritamrita (Antya 6.278-279):
vishayira anna khaile malina haya mana
malina mana haile nahe krishnera smarana
vishayira anna haya `rajasa' nimantrana
data, bhokta-dunhara malina haya mana
one eats food offered by a materialistic man, one's mind becomes
contaminated, and when the mind is contaminated, one is unable to think
of Krishna properly. When one accepts an invitation from a person
contaminated by the material mode of passion, the person who offers the
food and the person who accepts it are both mentally contaminated."
It is not proper for a renunciate to expect unasked for charity. In the Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 6.284, 286) it says:
prabhu kahe,-bhala kaila, chadila simha-dvara
simha-dvare bhiksha-vritti-veshyara acara
chatre yai yatha-labha udara-bharana
anya katha nahi, sukhe krishna-sankirtana
Caitanya Mahaprabhu said: He has done very well by no longer standing
at the Simha-dvara gate. Such begging of alms resembles the behavior of a
prostitute. If one goes to the booth where free food is distributed and
fills his belly with whatever he obtains, there is no chance of further
unwanted talk and one can very peacefully chant the Hare Krishna
renunciate should not construct big temples or residences. By doing so,
he becomes entangled in household activities. He should meditate on the
service of worshiping govardhana-sila. In the Caitanya-caritamrta
(Antya 6.296-297) it is stated:
eka kunja jala ara tulasi-manjari
sattvika-seva ei-suddha-bhave kari
dui-dike dui-patra madhye komala manjari
ei-mata ashta-manjari dibe sraddha kari'
such worship, one needs a jug of water and a few flowers from a tulasi
tree. This is worship in complete goodness when performed in complete
purity. With faith and love, you should offer eight soft tulasi flowers,
each with two tulasi leaves, one on each side of each flower."
accept the sannyasa order of life only in special situations; it is not
always required. A Vaishnava born in a brahmana's family can take such
sannyasa when he leaves home, but he should not accept the limbs that
are averse to his devotional service. Regarding the characteristics of
Svarupa Damodara Prabhu, it is stated in the Caitanya-caritamrita
`niscinte krishna bhajiba' ei ta' karane
unmade karila tenha sannyasa grahane
sannyasa karila sikha-sutra-tyaga-rupa
yoga-patta na nila, nama haila `svarupa'
was very enthusiastic to worship Sri Krishna without disturbance;
therefore it was almost in madness that he accepted the sannyasa order.
Upon accepting sannyasa, Purushottama Acarya followed the regulative
principles by giving up his tuft of hair and sacred thread, but he did
not accept the saffron colored dress. Also, he did not accept a sannyasi
title but remained as a naishthika-brahmacari."
may accept sannyasa in the form of minimizing his needs. In the
Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 20.78, 81) there is the following statement
regarding the character of Sri Sanatana Gosvami:
tabe misra puratana eka dhuti dila
tenho dui bahirvasa-kaupina karila
sanatana kahe,-ami madhukari kariba
brahmanera ghare kene ekatra bhiksha laba?
Tapana Misra gave Sanatana Gosvami a used dhoti, Sanatana immediately
tore it in pieces to make two sets of outer cloth and underwear.
Sanatana replied: I shall practice the process of madhukari. Why should I
accept full meals in the house of a brahmana?" The Lord's response is
found in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 20.92):
tina mudrara bhota gaya, madhukari grasa
dharma-hani haya, loka kare upahasa
is contradictory to practice madhukari and at the same time wear a
valuable blanket. One loses his spiritual strength by doing this, and
one will also become an object for jokes."
the association of a Vaishnava sannyasi, the character of Sri
Madhavendra Puri is described in the Caitanya-bhagavata (Antya
4.419-421, 423-424, 426, 428):
vishnu-maya vase loka kuchui na jane
sakala jagat baddha maha tamo-gune
"People were conditioned by the mode of ignorance and had lost all knowledge due to the influence of vishnu-maya.
loka dekhi' duhkha bhave sri madhavapuri
hena nahi, tilarddha sambhasha ya're kari
"Srila Madhavendra Puri was deeply pained by the godlessness of the people, and he found no one to speak to.
sannyasira sane va karena sambhashana
seha apanare matra bale `narayana'
"Sometimes he would speak to the sannyasis, but to his dismay he found that they claimed to be Narayana.
jnani, yogi, tapasvi, sannyasi' khyati ya'ra
ka'ra mukhe nahi dasya mahima pracara
"Jnanis, yogis, tapasvis, and famous sannayis never spoke about the glories of serving the Supreme Lord.
yata adhyapaka saba tarka se vakhane
ta'ra saba krishnera vigraha nahi mane'
the teachers and professors were only interested in logic and argument.
They refused to accept the spiritual form of Lord Krishna.
loka madhye bhrami kene vaishnava dekhite
kothao `vaishnava' nama na suni jagate
Madhavendra Puri thought: Why am I roaming amongst people searching for
a Vaishnava? Wherever I go I don't even hear the word `Vaishnava'.
eteke se, vana bhala e saba haite
vane katha nahe avaishnavera sahite
"Therefore he considered it better to stay in the forest where he did not have to speak with nondevotees."
Vaishnava sannyasi should give up the use of Mayavadi markings.
Concerning the character of Sri Brahmananda Bharati, the
Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 10.154) says:
brahmananda pariyache mriga-carmambara
taha dekhi' prabhu duhkha paila antara
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees approached him, they saw that
he was covered with a deerskin. Seeing this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
became very unhappy."
the pure grihastha Vaishnavis, the lady devotees, the
Caitanya-caritamrita (Antya 12.42) describes the procedure for seeing a
purvavat prabhu kaila sabara milana
stri-saba dura ha-ite kaila prabhura darasana
"Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu received them all, just as He had in previous years. The women, however, saw the Lord from a distance."
A renunciate Vaishnava is prohibited from all kinds of enjoyment. As stated in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Antya 12.108):
prabhu kahe,-sannyasira nahi taile adhikara
tahate sugandhi taila-parama dhikkara!
"The Lord replied: A sannyasi has no use for oil, especially perfumed oil such as this. Take it out immediately."
renunciate Vaishnava is forbidden from hearing the singing of a woman.
As described in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Antya 13.78, 80, 83-85):
eka-dina prabhu yamesvara-tota yaite
sei-kale deva-dasi lagila gaite
dure gana suni' prabhura ha-ila avesa
stri, purusha, ke gaya-na jane visesha
stri gaya' bali' govinda prabhure kaila kole
stri-nama suni' prabhura bahya ha-ila
prabhu kahe,-govinda, aji rakhila jivana
stri-parasa haile amara ha-ita marana
day when the Lord was going to the temple of Yamesvara, a female singer
began to sing in the Jagannatha temple. Hearing the song from a
distance, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu immediately became ecstatic. He did
not know whether it was a man or a woman singing. Just then Govinda
caught the Lord in his arms and cried: It is a woman singing! As soon as
He heard the word `woman,' the Lord became externally conscious. My
dear Govinda, He said, you have saved My life. If I had touched the body
of a woman, I would certainly have died."
Concerning a renunciate's bedding, the Caitanya-caritamrita (Antya 13.5-7, 10, 12, 14-15, 17-19) states as follows:
kalara saralate, sayana, ati kshina kaya
sahite nare jagadananda, srijila upaya
sukshma vastra ani' gaurika diya rangaila
simulira tula diya taha puraila
tuli-balisa dekhi' prabhu krodhavishta ha-ila
govindere kahi' sei tuli dura kaila
prabhu kahena,-khata eka anaha padite
jagadananda cahe amaya vishaya bhunjaite
sannyasi manusha amara bhumite sayana
amare khata-tuli-balisa mastaka-mundana
svarupa-gosani tabe srijila prakara
kadalira sushka-patra anila apara
nakhe ciri' ciri' taha ati sukshma kaila
prabhura bahirvasa duite se saba bharila
ei-mata dui kaila odana-padane
angikara kaila prabhu aneka yatane
Lord was very thin, and He would lay down to rest on the dry bark of
plantain trees. Jagadananda could not tolerate this, so he devised a
remedy. He acquired some fine cloth and colored it with red oxide. Then
he filled it with cotton from a simula tree. When Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu saw the quilt and pillow, He was immediately very angry. The
Lord asked Govinda to put aside the quilt and pillow. Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu said: You should bring a bedstead here for Me to lie on.
Jagadananda wants Me to enjoy material happiness. I am in the renounced
order, and therefore I must lie on the floor. For Me to use a bedstead,
quilt, or pillow would be very shameful. Then Svarupa Damodara Gosvami
devised another method. First he secured a large quantity of dry banana
leaves. He then tore the leaves into very fine fibers with his nails and
filled two of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's outer garments with the fibers.
In this way, Svarupa Damodara made some bedding and a pillow, and after
much endeavor by the devotees, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted them."
Regarding a renunciate's food, the Lord has said in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Antya 8.84-85):
prabhu kahe,-sabe kene purire kara rosha?
`sahaja' dharma kahe tenho, tanra kiba dosha?
yati hana jihva-lampatya-atyanta anyaya
yatira dharma,-prana rakhite ahara-matra khaya
Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied: Why are all of you angry at Ramacandra
Puri? He is expounding the natural principles of sannyasa life. Why are
you accusing him? For a sannyasi to indulge in satisfying the tongue is a
great offense. The duty of a sannyasi is to eat only as much as needed
to keep body and soul together."
the above mentioned items are accepted as the proper occupations of
renunciate Vaishnavas. Now the proper occupations for all
Vaishnavas-householders and renunciates-will be explained. There is no
duty in the age Kali other than chanting the holy names and mantras of
Krishna. It is necessary for everyone to take initiation into the
chanting of the holy name of Krishna. As stated in the
Caitanya-caritamrita (Adi 7.73-74, 97 and 17.30, 75):
krishna-mantra haite habe samsara-mocana
krishna-nama haite pabe krishnera carana
by chanting the holy name of Krishna one can obtain freedom from
material existence. Indeed, simply by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra
one will be able to see the lotus feet of the Lord.
nama vinu kali-kale nahi ara dharma
sarva-mantra-sara nama, ei sastra-marma
this Age of Kali there is no religious principle other than the
chanting of the holy name, which is the essence of all Vedic hymns. This
is the purport of all scriptures.
krishna-name ye ananda-sindhu-asvadana
brahmananda tara age khatodaka-sama
to the ocean of transcendental bliss that is tasted by chanting the
Hare Krishna mantra, the pleasure derived from impersonal Brahman
realization [brahmananda] is like the shallow water in a canal.
sada nama la-iba, yatha-labhete santosha
eita acara kare bhakti-dharma-posha
should strictly follow the principle of always chanting the holy name,
and one should be satisfied with whatever he gets easily. Such
devotional behavior solidly maintains one's devotional service.
jnana-karma-yoga-dharme nahe krishna vasa
following the paths of speculative philosophical knowledge, fruitive
activity, or mystic yoga to control the senses, one cannot satisfy
Krishna, the Supreme Lord. Unalloyed devotional love for Krishna is the
only cause for the Lord's satisfaction." The proper procedure and
proper instruction for accepting a spiritual master is given in the
Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 8.128, 221, 229) as follows:
kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
yei krishna-tattva-vetta, sei `guru' haya
raganuga-marge tanre bhaje yei jana
sei-jana paya vraje vrajendra-nandana
siddha-dehe cinti' kare tahanni sevana
sakhi-bhave paya radha-krishnera carana
one is a brahmana, a sannyasi, or a sudra-regardless of what he is-he
can become a spiritual master if he knows the science of Krishna. If one
worships the Lord on the path of spontaneous love and goes to
Vrindavana, he receives the shelter of Vrajendra-nandana, the son of
Nanda Maharaja. After thinking of Radha and Krishna and Their pastimes
for a long time and after getting completely free from material
contamination, one is transferred to the spiritual world. There the
devotee attains an opportunity to serve Radha and Krishna as one of the
needs to always associate with devotees. One should associate with
affectionate devotees who are more advanced, yet of the same
temperament. As explained in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 8.251):
sreyo-madhye kona sreyah jivera haya sara?
krishna-bhakta-sanga vina sreyah nahi ara
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