Lord Caitanya on Renunciation, Part 14


Srila Prabhupada with his Sannyasa Guru,
Sri Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami

Feb 26, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — An exploration of Sri Caitanya's instructions on renunciation.

The last three-segment part of this series began with a presentation of verses from Bhagavad-gita on the Perfection of Renunciation (18.1-2) in which Sri Krsna is instructing Arjuna about the differences between acts of renunciation performed under the different modes of nature.

In order to illustrate renunciation in the mode of goodness, we next presented segments on Lord Caitanya taking sannyasa, then on Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati taking sannyasa. Tonight, we offer a selection of quotes on Srila Prabhupada's acceptance of sannyasa. Tomorrow we'll begin to offer commentary on these three perfect examples of renunciation in sattva-guna.

The following lecture is often read by the devotees on Sri Visvarupa Mahotsava, the anniversary of Srila Prabhupada's sannyasa initiation. The lecture was given by Srila Prabhupada on October 21, 1968 in Seattle, when he was informed that his sannyasa-guru had departed from this world. Following the lecture are a number of additional quotes that provide further insight into Srila Prabhupada's acceptance of sannyasa.

Srila Prabhupada Lecture - October 21, 1968, Seattle:

"One has to accept the renounced order from another person who is in renounced order. So I never thought that I shall accept this renounced order of life. In my family life, when I was in the midst of my wife and children, sometimes I was dreaming that my spiritual master was calling me, and I was following him. When my dream was over, I was thinking - I was little horrified: "Oh, Guru Maharaja wants me to become sannyasi. How can I accept sannyasa?" At that time, I was feeling not very much satisfaction that I will have to give up my family and become a mendicant. At that time, it was a horrible feeling. Sometimes I was thinking, "No, I cannot take sannyasa." But again I saw the same dream.

So in this way I was fortunate. My Guru Maharaja (Prabhupada begins to cry and his voice is choked) pulled me out from this material life. I have not lost anything. He was so kind upon me. I have gained. I left three children, I have got now three hundred children. So I am not a loser. This is material conception. We think that we shall be a loser by accepting Krsna. Nobody is a loser. I say this from my practical experience. I was thinking that "How can I accept this renounced order of life? I cannot accept so much trouble."

But I retired from my family life. I was sitting alone in Vrndavana, writing books. So this, my god-brother, insisted, "Bhaktivedanta prabhu..." This title was given in my family life. It was offered to me by the Vaisnava society. So he insisted me. Actually it is not he who insisted to me. Practically my spiritual master insisted to me through him, saying, "You accept." Without accepting the renounced order of life, nobody can become a preacher, and he wanted me to become a preacher. So he forced me through this god-brother, "You accept."

So unwillingly I accepted. And then I remembered that he wanted me to go to the Western countries. So I am feeling now very much obliged to my, this god-brother, that he carried out the wish of my spiritual master and forced me to accept this sannyasa order.

This god-brother, His Holiness Sri Srimad Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, is in this world no more. He has entered Krsna's abode. So I wish to pass a resolution of bereavement and send it to them. I have composed one verse also in this connection in Sanskrit. So you all present, you sign this. I shall send it tomorrow.

The verse I have composed is in Sanskrit: Vairagya-vidya-nija-bhakti-yogam. This Krsna consciousness is vairagya-vidya. Vairagya-vidya means to become detestful of this material world. That is called vairagya-vidya. And that is possible simply by bhakti-yoga. Vairagya-vidya-nija-bhakti-yogam apayayan mam. Just like medicine. The child is afraid of taking medicine. That also I have experienced. In my childhood, when I became ill, I was very stubborn and I would say, "I won't accept any medicine." So my mother used to force medicine into my mouth with a spoon. I was so obstinate. Similarly, I did not want to accept this sannyasa order, but this god-brother forced me, and said,. "You must." Apayayan mam, he forcefully made me to drink this medicine. Anabhipsu andham. Why I was unwilling? Anabhipsu means unwilling. Andham, means one who is blind, who cannot see his future. Spiritual life is the brightest future, but the materialists cannot see this. But the Vaisnavas and the spiritual master forcefully say, "You drink this medicine." Apayayan mam anabhipsu andham sri-kesava-bhakti-prajnana-nama.

So my god-brother - his name is Kesava, Bhaktiprajnana Kesava - did this favor for me because he was an ocean of mercy; krpambudhi. We offer our obeisances to Vaisnavas: Vancha-kalpa-tarubhyas ca krpa-sindhubhya eva ca. The Vaisnavas, the representatives of the Lord, are so kind. They bring the ocean of mercy for distributing to the suffering humanity. Krpambudhir yas tam aham prapadye. So I am offering my respectful obeisances unto this His Holiness, because he forcefully made me adopt this sannyasa order.

He is no more in this world. He has entered Krsna's abode. So I am offering my respectful obeisances along with my disciples. On the first day of my sannyasa, I remembered that I'll have to speak in English. I remembered this on that sannyasa day, when there was a reception, so first of all I spoke in English. This was all the arrangement of higher authority, of Krsna.

We are writing this: "Resolved that we the undersigned members and devotees of International Society for Krishna Consciousness Incorporated, in a condolence meeting under the presidency of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, today the 21st of October, 1968, at our Seattle branch, express our profound bereavement on hearing the passing of His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, the sannyasa guru, preceptor, of our spiritual master, on October 6th, 1968, at his headquarter residence in Nabadwip, West Bengal. We offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of Sri Srimad Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja with the following verse composed on this occasion by our spiritual master." This verse I have already explained to you. So I wish that you all sign this, and I'll send it tomorrow by air mail."

Initiation of Satyabhama dasi and Gayatri Initiation of Devotees Going to London -- Montreal, July 26, 1968:

"So I never thought that I will have to take up this matter by his order. Because it is... This incident took place in 1922, more than fifty years. So anyway, so I was officially initiated in 1933, just before three years of his passing away from this mortal world. So at the last moment also, just a fortnight before his passing away, he wrote me the same thing. I wrote him one letter and just he replied the same thing that "You should try to preach this gospel amongst the persons who are conversant in English language. That will be very nice for you." So I was dreaming sometimes that my Guru Maharaja is calling me and I am leaving my home and going behind him. I was dreaming like that, and I was thinking, "Oh, I have to give up my home? My Guru Maharaja wants me to give up my home life and take sannyasa?" So I was thinking, "It is horrible. How can I leave my home?" This is called maya. Of course, it's a long story, but incidentally I am speaking to you because you are my dear children. So I was thinking that "How can I take sannyasa and leave my home, my children?" So that was a horrible thought for me, I tell you. I was thinking seriously, "Oh, I will have to take this course. Guru Maharaja wants me." But actually I did not like to give up my home life. But Guru Maharaja made me obliged to give up my home life. So now, by his order, or by his plan, I gave up my home life, I gave up a few children, but Guru Maharaja is so kind that has given me so many nice children."

Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.26 -- Mayapura, October 6, 1974:

"Therefore the Vedic civilization is voluntary giving up, voluntary giving up. Big, big king, Maharaja Bharata, the emperor of the whole world, Bharatavarsa. Therefore it is called Bharatavarsa. At the age of twenty-four years, he gave up his kingdom, his young wife. There are many, many instances. So to become voluntarily akincana, "I have nothing. I don't possess anything." Here in this material world, everyone is trying to possess moreómore wealth, more education, more beauty, more family prestige, aristocracy. This is materialism. And spiritualism means just the opposite. Therefore people are not attracted to spiritualism. I have told you that I was thinking when I was dreaming that "Guru Maharaja is asking me to come out, and I was going..." Did I say this story? Yes. So I was afraid: "Oh, I have to give up my family. And I become... I have to become sannyasi? And I have to go behind my Guru Maharaja? No, no, it is horrible." I was thinking. But he forced me to it. He is so kind that he forced me, somehow or other. That is mercy. I can understand now that how much merciful was my Guru Maharaja that he forced me to take this life."

Lecture -- Hawaii, March 5, 1969:

Devotee: ...withdraw that independence, can we request Krsna to force us to surrender to Him, due to our conditioning?

Prabhupada: Yes, you can request Him. And He sometimes forces. He puts you in such circumstances that you have no other way than to surrender to Krsna. Yes. That is special favor. That is special favor. Yes. My spiritual master wanted me to preach, but I did not like it, but he forced me. Yes. That is my practical experience. I had no desire to accept the sannyasa order and preach, but my spiritual master wanted it. I am not very much inclined, but he forced me. That is also done. That is special favor. When he forced me, at that time, I thought that "What is this? What...? I am committing some mistake or what is that?" I was puzzled. But a little after, I could understand that it is the greatest favor shown to me. You see? So when Krsna forces somebody to surrender, that is a great favor. But generally, He does not do so. But He does so to a person who is very sincere to Krsna's service but at the same time he has got slight desire for material enjoyment. In that case He does, that "This foolish person does not know that material facility will never make him happy, and he is sincerely seeking My favor. So he is foolish. Therefore whatever resource, little resource he has got for material enjoyment, break it. Then he will have no other alternative than to surrender unto Me." That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, er, Srimad-Bhagavatam. yasyaham anugrhnami harisye tad-dhanam sanaih. Krsna says that "If I do somebody special favor, then I make him poverty-stricken. I take away all his means of sense enjoyment." You see? That is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Because here in this material world everyone is trying to be happy by earning more money, by business, by service, by this way or that way. But in special cases Krsna makes his business or service unsuccessful. Do you like that? (laughs) At that time he has no other alternative than to surrender to Krsna. You see? But sometimes, when we are unsuccessful in our business attempt or earning attempt, we become sorry that "Oh, Krsna is so cruel upon me that I could not trust in this." But that is His favor, special favor. You should understand like that."

Initiation Lecture -- Los Angeles, July 13, 1971:

"Actual aim of spiritual lifeóto come to the stage of loving God. That is real spiritual life. If one wants to take to spiritual life for some other gain, that is not. That is offense, that "I will chant Hare Krsna mantra. So my income is now one thousand dollar. It will be three thousand dollar." Not like that. It may be reduced (laughter) sometime. (laughs) Just like our Dayananda is... His income is now reduced by chanting Hare Krsna, but he is not giving up. That is wanted. You see? Sometimes it is found that in incidents you will find in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, yasyanugrhnami harisye tad... Therefore sometimes people do not come to worship because generally they say, "The Visnu worship, or Vaisnavas, they are generally poor. So I don't want to be poor." Yes. I was thinking like that. (laughter) When my Guru Maharaja ordered me... When I was manager in Bose's laboratory, so he ordered me. So I thought, "Oh, I cannot do this. I cannot accept this sannyasa." But he was so kind, and he is so kind still. Then he forced me, that "You must do it," taking, pulling my ear, he brought me to this line. In the beginning I was not willing. So it is his causeless mercy upon me. That I can understand now. I can understand now how much I have been relieved by accepting this life. So sometimes we find that our income is reduced."

Lecture -- New York, April 17, 1969:

"So... That is my personal experience. In the beginning, when my Guru Maharaja ordered me, I thought it that "I shall first of all become very rich man; then I shall preach." (laughs) So I was doing very nice in business. In the business circle, I got very good name, and with whom I was dealing business, they were very satisfied. But Krsna made so trick that He broke everything, and He obliged me to take sannyasa. So that is Hari. So that I had to come to your country with only seven dollars. So they are criticizing, "The swami came here with no money. Now he's so opulent." (chuckles) So they are taking the back side, black side, you see? But the thing is... Of course, I have become profited, profitable, or I have acquired profit. I left my home, my children and everything. I came here as a pauper, with seven dollars. That is no money. But I have got now big properties, hundreds of children. (laughter) And I haven't got to think for their provision. They are thinking of me. So that is Krsna's favor. In the beginning, it appears to be very bitter. When I took sannyasa, when I was living alone, I was feeling very bitter. I, sometimes I was thinking, "Whether I have done wrong by accepting?" So when I was publishing this Back to Godhead from Delhi, one day one bull thrashed me, and I fell down on the footpath and I got severe injury. I was alone. So I was thinking, "What is this?" So I had very, days of very tribulations, but it was all meant for good. So don't be afraid of tribulations. You see? Go forward. Krsna will give you protection. That is Krsna's promise in the Bhagavad-gita. Kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati: "Kaunteya, My dear son of Kunti, Arjuna, you can declare throughout the whole world that My devotees will never be vanquished. You can declare that." And why He's asking Arjuna to declare? Why He does not declare Himself? There is meaning. Because if He promises, there are instances that He sometimes broke His promise. But if a devotee promises, it will be never broken. Krsna will give protection; therefore He says His devotee that "You declare." There is no chance of being broken. Krsna is so kind that sometimes He breaks His promise, but if His devotee promises, He takes very careful attention that His devotee's promise may not be broken. That is Krsna's favor."

Letter to Mahatma -- Bombay 1 May, 1974:

"Regarding your wanting to give up household life for vanaprastha you may do it and spend your time positively by going on traveling sankirtana, provided it is recommended by the temple president and there is facility for taking such a party. Taking of sannyasa order is in one sense only a formality. I was preaching and writing for eight or nine years as Vanaprastha and then in 1959 I took sannyasa. So if after a few years as Vanaprastha your behavior is ideal sannyasa can be considered."

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust


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