Lord Caitanya on Renunciation, Part 10


Members of the Yadu Dynasty taking Bath at Samanta-pancaka
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

Feb 03, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — An exploration of Sri Caitanya's instructions on renunciation.

There are countless examples found in sastra which illustrate proper renunciation, yukta-vairagya, and the many ways in which it is demonstrated by the topmost Vaisnavas. These great devotees are often described as being the personification of yukta-vairagya. For example, in Srimad Bhagavatam we find the story of Maharaja Ambarisa:

    "From Nabhaga was born Ambarisa, the most powerful and celebrated devotee. Maharaja Ambarisa was the emperor of the entire world, but he considered his opulence temporary. Indeed, knowing that such material opulence is the cause of downfall into conditional life, he was unattached to this opulence. He engaged his senses and mind in the service of the Lord. This process is called yukta-vairagya feasible renunciation, which is quite suitable for worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because Maharaja Ambarisa, as the emperor, was immensely opulent, he performed devotional service with great opulence, and therefore, despite his wealth, he had no attachment to his wife, children or kingdom. He constantly engaged his senses and mind in the service of the Lord. Therefore, to say nothing of enjoying material opulence, he never desired even liberation."

    (Srimad Bhagavatam 9.4, Summary)

Of course, all Vaisnavas who are described in sastra as being the personification of one of the nine devotional processes likewise exemplifies the principle of yukta-vairagya, which is inherent to the perfection of any one of the devotional practices in Krsna Consciousness.

We also find descriptions of whole groups of personalities who exemplify yukta-vairagya, such as the members of the Yadu dynasty and the inhabitants of Vraja. In Krsna Book, Srila Prabhupada tells the story of a rare solar eclipse which takes place at the end of every kalpa, which occurred while Lord Krsna and Balarama were living in Dvaraka. A great assembly gathered at the Samanta-pancaka (Lord Parasurama's lakes) in Kurukshetra to take holy bath on this occasion. The residents of Vrindavan came to see their beloved Krsna and Balarama, and to greet their intimate friends of the Yadu dynasty:

    "The real elevation of human life rests on knowledge and renunciation. As stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, in the First Canto, devotional service rendered to Krsna automatically produces perfect knowledge and renunciation. The family members of the Yadu dynasty and the cowherd men of Vrndavana had their minds fixed on Krsna. That is the symptom of all knowledge, and because their minds were always engaged in Krsna, they were automatically freed from all material activities. This stage of life is called yukta-vairagya as enunciated by Srila Rupa Gosvami. Knowledge and renunciation, therefore, do not mean dry speculation and renunciation of activities. Rather, one must start speaking and acting only in relationship with Krsna."

    (Krsna Book, Chapter 82)

Conversely, there is another group of persons who are pointed out as being the personification of markata-vairagya, false renunciation. These are the Mayavadis, who mistakenly take the world to be false, maya, and therefore do not understand nirbandhe krsna-sambandhe, which is an essential component of yukta-vairagya.

    "So you haven't got to make such renunciation that you have to live underneath a tree or give up your dress, become naked. No. That is not... You have misunderstood. You should dress himself properly, you should eat properly, you should work properly, but not on your account, but Krsna's account. That is the thing. That's all. Nirbandhe krsna-sambandhe yukta-vairagya ucyate. That is the difference between Vaisnava philosophy and Mayavadi philosophy. The Mayavada philosophy says that brahma satyam jagan mithya, "This world is false and Brahman is truth. So let me become renounced of all this worldly relationship and try to be one with the Brahman." That is Mayavada philosophy. We don't say that. We say that because Brahman is satya, truth, and because the world is created by Brahman, so this is also truth. This is also truth. Purnam idam purnam adah purnat purnam udacyate. That is the version of Upanisad. The thing is, difference between Mayavadi and Vaisnava, they do not know the proprietorship. We know the proprietorship. We don't accept anything as "I am the proprietor." This is mistake. This is maya. Actually... If I take, "It is Krsna's," then I am liberated."

    (Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, July 14, 1968, Montreal)

The importance of nirbandhe krsna-sambandhe in the context of yukta-vairagya is so significant that Srila Prabhupada describes it as being "the difference between Vaisnava philosophy and Mayavadi philosophy". Srila Prabhupada further elaborated on this point in the following lecture, from March 26, 1971, Bombay:

    "So although it is temporary, we cannot say it is false. It is not false. That is the difference between Mayavada philosophy and Vaisnava philosophy. The Vaisnava philosopher takes the temporary thing, although temporary. They know how to make the best use of a bad bargain. That is Vaisnava philosophy. Nirbandhe krsna-sambandhe yukta-vairagyam ucyate.

    anasaktasya visayan
    yatharham upayunjatah
    nirbandhe krsna-sambandhe
    yukta-vairagyam ucyate

    That is the direction given by the Gosvamis. And the other side is:

    prapancikataya buddhya
    mumuksubhih parityago
    phalgu-vairagyam kathyate

    So phalgu-vairagya and yukta-vairagya. Phalgu-vairagya means inferior renunciation, or false renunciation. And yukta-vairagya means actual renunciation. What is that difference? Prapancikataya buddhya. The Mayavadi philosophers, they are giving up this world as false, maya. Prapancikataya buddhya hari-sambandhi-vastunah. Just like sometimes we are criticized because we are using the advantages offered by the material science. Just like I am using this microphone. So the people may criticize, "If this world is false, the material world is false, then why should I take advantage of this material product?" They expect that those who are spiritualists, they should go to Himalayas, giving up, giving up everything material and meditate in a solitary place, in snow-covered area. But Vaisnava philosophy does not think like that."

The sort of false renunciation practiced by the Mayavadis is also described in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.256):

    prapancikataya buddhya hari-sambandhi-vastunah
    mumuksubhih parityago vairagyam phalgu kathyate

    "When persons eager to achieve liberation renounce things related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, thinking them to be material, their renunciation is called incomplete."

Referring to this same verse from Sri Rupa Goswami's Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.255-256, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur made the following statement in an address he gave to the Gaudiya Matha in Bombay, later published in the Harmonist under the title, "Our Eternal Guide":

    "The purport of these slokas can only be realized by fully developing the rational portion of our life, not the animal portion. Sitting at the feet of the acaryadeva, let us try to understand from this transcendental source of knowledge what we are, what is this universe, what is God, and what is our relationship with Him. The message of Lord Caitanya is the message for the living entities and the message of the living world. Lord Caitanya did not bother himself for the upliftment of this dead world, which is suitably named Martyaloka, the world where everything is destined to die. He appeared before us four hundred and fifty years ago to tell us something of the transcendental universe, where everything is permanent and everything is for the service of the Absolute. But recently Lord Caitanya has keen misrepresented by some unscrupulous persons, and the highest philosophy of the Lord has been misinterpreted to be the cult of the lowest type of society. We are glad to announce tonight that our acaryadeva, with his usual kindness, saved us from this horrible type of degradation, and therefore we bow down at his lotus feet with all humility.

    Gentlemen, it has been mania of the cultured (or uncultured) society of the present day to accredit the Personality of Godhead with merely impersonal features and to stultify Him by claiming that He has not senses, no form, no activity, no head, no legs, and no enjoyment. This has also been the pleasure of the modern scholars due to their sheer lack of proper guidance and true introspection in the spiritual realm. All these empiricists think alike; all the enjoyable things should be monopolized by the human society, or by a particular class only, and the impersonal God would be a mere order-supplier for their whimsical feats. We are happy that we have been relieved of this horrible type of malady by the mercy of His Divine Grace. He is our eye-opener, our eternal father, our eternal preceptor and our eternal guide. Let us therefore bow down at his lotus feet on this auspicious day.

    Gentlemen, although we are like ignorant children in the knowledge of Transcendence, still; my gurudeva has kindled a small fire within us to dissipate the invincible darkness of empirical knowledge. We are now so much on the safe side that no amount of philosophical argument by the empiric schools of thought can deviate us an inch from the position of our eternal dependence on the lotus feet of His Divine Grace. Furthermore, we are prepared to challenge the most erudite scholars of the mayavada school and prove that the Personality of Godhead and His transcendental sports in Goloka alone constitute the sublime information of the Vedas."


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