Lord Caitanya on Renunciation, Part 9
BY: SUN STAFF
Feb 02, 2011 CANADA (SUN) An exploration of Sri Caitanya's instructions on renunciation.
When considering the broad category of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's instructions on renunciation, one of the underlying principles, yukta, being regulated, is addressed in Bhagavad-gita 6.17:
yuktahara-viharasya yukta-cestasya karmasu
yukta-svapnavabodhasya yogo bhavati duhkha-ha
"He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system."
Two of the most fundamental principles of Krsna Consciousness living according to the regulated principles, and performing all activities in service to Krsna are central to yukta-vairagya. Srila Prabhupada gives a more detailed explanation in this purport:
Bhagavad-gita As It Is 9.28 Purport:
One who acts in Krsna consciousness under superior direction is called yukta. The technical term is yukta-vairagya. This is further explained by Rupa Gosvami as follows:
yuktam vairagyam ucyate
Rupa Gosvami says that as long as we are in this material world we have to act; we cannot cease acting. Therefore if actions are performed and the fruits are given to Krsna, then that is called yukta-vairagya. Actually situated in renunciation, such activities clear the mirror of the mind, and as the actor gradually makes progress in spiritual realization he becomes completely surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore at the end he becomes liberated, and this liberation is also specified. By this liberation he does not become one with the brahmajyoti, but rather enters into the planet of the Supreme Lord. It is clearly mentioned here: mam upaisyasi, "he comes to Me," back home, back to Godhead. There are five different stages of liberation, and here it is specified that the devotee who has always lived his lifetime here under the direction of the Supreme Lord, as stated, has evolved to the point where he can, after quitting this body, go back to Godhead and engage directly in the association of the Supreme Lord.
Anyone who has no interest but to dedicate his life to the service of the Lord is actually a sannyasi. Such a person always thinks of himself as an eternal servant, dependent on the supreme will of the Lord. As such, whatever he does, he does it for the benefit of the Lord. Whatever action he performs, he performs it as service to the Lord. He does not give serious attention to the fruitive activities or prescribed duties mentioned in the Vedas. For ordinary persons it is obligatory to execute the prescribed duties mentioned in the Vedas, but although a pure devotee who is completely engaged in the service of the Lord may sometimes appear to go against the prescribed Vedic duties, actually it is not so.
It is said, therefore, by Vaisnava authorities that even the most intelligent person cannot understand the plans and activities of a pure devotee. The exact words are tanra vakya, kriya, mudra vijneha na bujhaya (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 23.39). A person who is thus always engaged in the service of the Lord or is always thinking and planning how to serve the Lord is to be considered completely liberated at present, and in the future his going back home, back to Godhead, is guaranteed. He is above all materialistic criticism, just as Krsna is above all criticism."
Srila Prabhupada often explained the basis for proper renunciation in the context of answering questions about how the devotees should manage the practical affairs of life, dovetailing everything in Krsna's service:
Srila Prabhupada's Room Conversation, October 27, 1968, Montreal:
in the Bhagavata, Sukadeva Gosvami recommends that "Oh, this open field is your bed, this is your pillow, this is your pot, and the water in river is sufficient water, the tree is full of fruits, and in the cave, there is sufficient apartment. So why should you go, anyone, to ask for your shelter, for your food?" Kasmad bhajanti kavayor dhana-durmadandhan: "Why should you approach the materialistic, puffed-up, monied men to give you some help?" So Sukadeva Gosvami was strictly following this, strictly following, completely independent. That is not possible at the present day. (chuckles) If we imitate, that will be not good. We have to depose(?). Our Gosvamis, they have prescribed yukta-vairagya: accept everything in relationship with Krsna. Then it is yukta-vairagya. It is also vairagya. Suska-vairagya and yukta-vairagya. Suska-vairagya means simply renunciation without assimilation. Mayavadi sect, Sankara sect, they have got stringent laws for renunciation. But Vaisnavas, they have no stringent law. They accept everything as Krsna-prasadam, actually offering Krsna, working for Krsna, living for Krsna. This is the best use. My Guru Maharaja used to say, "The best use of a bad bargain." Everything in Krsna relationship. That is yukta-vairagya. Nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yukta-vairagyam ucyate. Vairagya means detachment. So when we are attached to Krsna, automatically we are detached to maya. Not artificially we want to be detached from maya. Just like theoretically I know that I am not this body, but the bodily necessities are there because I am encaged in the body. Therefore the bodily necessities--eating, sleeping, mating, defending--should be done in relationship with Krsna. Then it is all right. Then my consciousness is always in Krsna, and I am detached to my bodily demands. And those who are not Krsna conscious, their bodily demands is on the materialistic platform. They are going on, increasing the degree of fever and coming to the 107 degree."
In his Sri Tattva-sutram: Aphorisms of the Truth by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, we find further elucidation on the meaning of the word 'yukta' (appropriate) in the phrase 'yukta-vairagya' (appropriate renunciation):
Chapter Four - Sambandha-prakarana
The Relationship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead
and the Individual Spirit Souls
One kind of renunciation beings liberation, and another kind of renunciation brings bondage.
Commentary by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
In this sutra the author explains the meaning of the word 'yukta' (appropriate in the phrase 'yukta-vairagya' (appropriate renunciation). Renunciation is of two kinds: 1. yukta-vairagya (appropriate renunciation) and 2. phalgu-vairagya (false renunciation). Proper renunciation is performed when, without being attached to the results of one's work, and acting purely and in a saintly manner, one offers the results of his work to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This kind of renunciation brings liberation from the bondage of repeated birth and death. In Bhagavad-gita (6.1) the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:
"One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic."*
Other instructions like this may be seen in many verses of Bhagavad-gita. False renunciation, on the other hand, is dry, makes the heart hard, makes one proud, is petty, is likened to the renunciation practiced by monkeys living in the forest, and brings the sufferings of repeated birth and death in the material world as its true result. In the Sruti-sastra it is said:
"Not by mere renunciation does one attain liberation."
In Bhagavad-gita (18.8) the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:
"Anyone who gives up prescribed duties as troublesome, or out of fear, is said to be in the mode of passion. Such action never leads to the elevation of renunciation."
In Bhagavad-gita (3.6) the Supreme Personality of Godhead again explains:
"One who restrains the senses and organs of action, but whose mind dwells on sense-objects, certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender."*
In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.256) Srila Rupa Gosvami explains:
"When one is not attached to anything, but at the same time accepts anything in relation to Krsna, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects everything without knowledge of its relationship to Krsna is not as complete in his renunciation."*
In Bhagavad-gita (18.7-8) the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:
"Prescribed duties should never be renounced. If, by illusion, one gives up his prescribed duties, such renunciation is said to be in the mode of ignorance.*
"Anyone who gives up prescribed duties as troublesome, or out of fear, is said to be in the mode of passion. Such action never leads to the elevation of renunciation."*
In Srimad Bhagavatam (11.12.1) the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:
"My dear Uddhava, by associating with My pure devotees one can destroy one's attachment for all objects of material sense gratification. Such purifying associating brings Me under the control of My devotee. One may perform the astanga-yoga system, engage in philosophical analysis of the elements of material nature, practice non violence and other principles of ordinary piety, chant the Vedas, perform penances, take to the renounced order of life, execute sacrificial performances and dig wells, plant trees and perform other public welfare activities, give in charity, carry out severe vows, worship the demigods, chant confidential mantras, visit holy places, or accept major and minor disciplinary injunctions, but even by performing such activities one does not bring Me under his control."*
In Bhagavad-gita (18.9 and 18.11) the Supreme Personality of Godhead again explains:
"But he who performs his prescribed duty only because it ought to be done, and renounces all attachment to the fruit, his renunciation is of the nature of goodness, O Arjuna."*
"It is indeed impossible for an embodied being to give up all activities. Therefore it is said that he who renounces the fruits of action is one who has truly renounced."*
In Bhagavad-gita (4.20-21) the Supreme Personality of Godhead again explains:
"Abandoning all attachment to the results of his activities, ever satisfied and independent, he performs no fruitive action, although engaged in all kinds of undertakings.*
"Such a man of understanding acts with mind and intelligence perfectly controlled, gives up all sense of proprietorship over his possessions, and acts only for the bare necessities of life. Thus working, he is not affected by sinful reactions."*
In Bhagavad-gita (6.17 and 18), the Supreme Personality of Godhead again explains:
"He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, working, and recreation can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.*
"When the yogi, by practice of yoga, disciplines his mental activities and becomes situated in transcendental, devoid of all material desires, he is said to have attained yoga."*
In Srimad Bhagavatam (1.2.8-10) Srila Suta Gosvami explains:
"The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labour if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead.*
"All occupational engagements are certainly meant for ultimate liberation. They should never be performed for material gain. Furthermore, according to sages, one who is engaged in the ultimate occupational service should never use material gain to cultivate sense gratification.*
"Life's desires should never be directed toward sense gratification. One should desire only a healthy life, or self-preservation, since a human being is meant for inquiry about the Absolute Truth. Nothing else should be the goal of one's works."*
In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.255) Srila Rupa Gosvami explains:
"When one is not attached to anything but at the same time accepts anything in relation to Krsna, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects everything without knowledge of its relationship to Krsna is not as complete in his renunciation."*
Here someone may ask: Is it not so that if a person falls down from this path of devotional service, then a horrible fate awaits him?
(Sri Tattva-sutram, Chapter Four, Part Six, Sutra 38)
Lord Caitanya's instructions on the principle of yukta-vairagya are also addressed in Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya lila 23, in which the distinction is drawn between proper renunciation and dry renunciation -- suska-vairagya. In his extensive purport to this sloka, Srila Prabhupada associates dry renunciation with a focus on external conditions, or 'outward paraphernalia', rather than on the essence of bhakti.
Suska-vairagya is also indicated when the principles of renunciation are applied without consideration of time, place and circumstance, or as Srila Prabhupada describes it here, "time, candidate and country". He also states that the regulative practices of the renunciate must be adapted accordingly -- not whimsically, but with the sanction of the bona fide spiritual master.
In Madhya 23.105 we again find the association between renunciation and the principle
nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe, quoted from Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:
nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam ucyate
"When one is not attached to anything but at the same time accepts everything in relation to Krsna, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects everything without knowledge of its relationship to Krsna is not as complete in his renunciation."
In the Prema-vivarta by Jagadananda Pandita, we read:
Acquire sambandha and act on the platform of yukta-vairagya
"Everyone should act on the platform of yukta-vairagya - using everything without attachment in Lord Krsna's service. This must be done with a true understanding of sambandha-jnana or knowledge of our real relationship with the Supreme Lord. When sambandha-jnana further unfolds, one realises that the Supreme Person is the object of all devotional sentiments alambana. And when such alambana perceptions become purified then love of Godhead or prema, first dawns on the horizon of our spiritual consciousness.
A devotee will be respected even by venerable souls if he renders devotional service and cultivates prema for Lord Krsna, but a living entity is no more than a pitiful mongrel puppy if he is devoid of devotional service. He is indeed a Vaisnava who is engaged in devotional service; not he who leaves home and lives by begging but does not worship Krsna. A devotee must never accept the remnants or flowers offered directly to a demigod, nor acknowledge invitations to ritualistic performances of karma-kanda.
Activities of householders and renounced devotees
Vaisnavas are broadly of two types; householders and renunciants. Both are qualified to perform pure devotional service, but their duties vary. Both are required to act on the platform of yukta-vairagya. Thus, they steadily progress on the path of unalloyed surrender with devotion and knowledge."
(Prema-vivarta, Chapter Seventeen - The Standards Of Vaisnava Etiquette Reflects The Class of a Devotee)
Here is the complete sloka with purport from Madhya lila:
yukta-vairagya-sthiti saba sikhaila
suska-vairagya-jnana saba nisedhila
yukta-vairagya -- of proper renunciation; sthiti -- the situation; saba -- all; sikhaila -- instructed; suska-vairagya -- dry renunciation; jnana -- speculative knowledge; saba -- all; nisedhila -- forbade.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then told Sanatana Gosvami about proper renunciation according to a particular situation, and the Lord forbade dry renunciation and speculative knowledge in all respects.
This is the technique for understanding suska-vairagya and yukta-vairagya. In the Bhagavad-gita (6.17) it is said:
yuktahara-viharasya yukta-cestasya karmasu
yukta-svapnavabodhasya yogo bhavati duhkha-ha
"He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system." To broadcast the cult of Krsna consciousness, one has to learn the possibility of renunciation in terms of country, time and candidate. A candidate for Krsna consciousness in the Western countries should be taught about the renunciation of material existence, but one would teach candidates from a country like India in a different way. The teacher (acarya) has to consider time, candidate and country. He must avoid the principle of niyamagraha -- that is, he should not try to perform the impossible. What is possible in one country may not be possible in another. The acarya's duty is to accept the essence of devotional service. There may be a little change here and there as far as yukta-vairagya (proper renunciation) is concerned. Dry renunciation is forbidden by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and we have also learned this from our spiritual master, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Gosvami Maharaja. The essence of devotional service must be taken into consideration, and not the outward paraphernalia.
Sanatana Gosvami wrote his Vaisnava smrti, Hari-bhakti-vilasa, which was specifically meant for India. In those days, India was more or less following the principle of smarta-vidhi. Srila Sanatana Gosvami had to keep pace with this, and his Hari-bhakti-vilasa was compiled with this in mind. According to smarta-brahmanas, a person not born in a brahmana family could not be elevated to the position of a brahmana. Sanatana Gosvami, however, says in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa (2.12) that anyone can be elevated to the position of a brahmana by the process of initiation.
yatha kancanatam yati kamsyam rasa-vidhanatah
tatha diksa-vidhanena dvijatvam jayate nrnam
"As bell metal is turned to gold when mixed with mercury in an alchemical process, so one who is properly trained and initiated by a bona fide spiritual master immediately becomes a brahmana."
There is a difference between the smarta process and the gosvami process. According to the smarta process, one cannot be accepted as a brahmana unless he is born in a brahmana family. According to the gosvami process, the Hari-bhakti-vilasa and the Narada-pancaratra, anyone can be a brahmana if he is properly initiated by a bona fide spiritual master. This is also the verdict of Sukadeva Gosvami in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.4.18):
abhira-sumbha yavanah khasadayah
ye 'nye ca papa yad-apasrayasrayah
sudhyanti tasmai prabhavisnave namah
"Kiratas, Hunas, Andhras, Pulindas, Pulkasas, Abhiras, Sumbhas, Yavanas and members of the Khasa races, and even others who are addicted to sinful acts, can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, due to His being the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him."
A Vaisnava is immediately purified, provided he follows the rules and regulations of his bona fide spiritual master. It is not necessary that the rules and regulations followed in India be exactly the same as those in Europe, America and other Western countries. Simply imitating without effect is called niyamagraha. Not following the regulative principles but instead living extravagantly is also called niyamagraha. The word niyama means "regulative principles," and agraha means "eagerness." The word agraha means "not to accept." We should not follow regulative principles without an effect, nor should we fail to accept the regulative principles. What is required is a special technique according to country, time and candidate. Without the sanction of the spiritual master, we should not try to imitate. This principle is recommended here: suska-vairagya-jnana saba nisedhila. This is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's liberal demonstration of the bhakti cult. We should not introduce anything whimsically, without the sanction of the bona fide spiritual master. In this connection, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments on these points by quoting two verses by Sri Rupa Gosvami (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.255-256).
anasaktasya visayan yatharham upayunjatah
nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam ucyate
prapancikataya buddhya hari-sambandhi-vastunah
mumuksubhih parityago vairagyam phalgu kathyate
"When one is not attached to anything but at the same time accepts everything in relation to Krsna, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects everything without knowledge of its relationship to Krsna is not as complete in his renunciation." To preach the bhakti cult, one should seriously consider these verses."
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.
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