Lord Caitanya on Renunciation, Part 18


Slaughter of the Bhattatharis and Rescue of Kala Krsnadasa
Diorama, Imli Tala, Vrindavan

Mar 18, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — An exploration of Sri Caitanya's instructions on renunciation.

Yesterday we began our latest approach to the discussion of renunciation by introducing the pastime of Lord Caitanya's servant, Kala Krsnadasa, and again mentioning verses from Bhagavad-gita As It Is Chapter 18, 'Perfection of Renunciation'. Srila Prabhupada clarifies the identity of this Krsnadasa in his purport to Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 7.39:

    "This Krsnadasa, known as Kala Krsnadasa, is not the Kala Krsnadasa mentioned in the Eleventh Chapter, verse 37, of the Adi-lila. The Kala Krsnadasa mentioned in the Eleventh Chapter is one of the twelve gopalas (cowherd boys) who appeared to substantiate the pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He is known as a great devotee of Lord Nityananda Prabhu. The brahmana named Kala Krsnadasa who went with Sri Caitanya to South India and later to Bengal is mentioned in the Madhya-lila, Tenth Chapter, verses 62-79. One should not take these two to be the same person."

The distinction between these two personalities Krsnadasa the gopa and Krsnadasa the brahmana is rather symbolic of the sort of distinctions we have been making in recent segments of this series between the different aspects of renunciation.

In referring to Chapter 18 of Bhagavad-gita, we are considering Lord Krsna's instructions to Arjuna on the perfection of renunciation as it was presented in the context of the Battle of Kurukshetra. The events at Kurukshetra unfolded in the material world, with the participation of countless fallen conditioned souls who were engaged in the great battle. The principles of renunciation are being discussed in relationship to the modes of nature, i.e., renunciation in goodness, passion and ignorance.

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's teachings on renunciation are primarily presented in the context of His lila pastimes with various parishad associates, most of whom are themselves pure devotees taking part in the Lord's lila. Consequently, many of the examples given on renunciation in Caitanya-caritamrta involve the activities of transcendental personalities, rather than jivas who are struggling under the modes of material nature.

There are relatively few examples to be found in Caitanya-caritamrta of renunciation in passion or ignorance. Lord Caitanya and Nityananda Prabhu's pastimes with Jagai and Madai fall into this category, and another example is the story of Kala Krsnadasa.

Certain aspects of Kala Krsnadasa's pastimes are described in Bhagavad-gita 18.7-8:

    "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."

Although Krsnadasa's prescribed duties were to serve Lord Caitanya as His servant on the South India preaching tour, he instead succumbed to the seduction of women sent to him by the Bhattatharis. We can see here aspects of both the mode of passion and the mode of ignorance, in the illusion that drew Krsnadasa away from his renounced duties as the Mahaprabhu's servant, and in his giving up the duties as servant, which became troublesome obstacles to sense gratification.

The reason that Krsnadasa was influenced by the modes of material nature is because he was not a nitya or sadhana-siddha; he was a conditioned soul, and therefore the example Lord Caitanya demonstrated by this pastime can be considered in the context of the slokas being discussed from Bhagavad-gita.

While most of the personalities who participated in Caitanya-lila were eternal nitya-siddha associates of the Lord who are not impacted by the modes of passion and ignorance, we conditioned souls find ourselves in the opposite situation. Most everything that we see in the material world that is classified as 'successful' is due to renunciation under the modes. Many of modern society's heroes, stars and personalities of distinction are examples of renunciation in the mode of passion, or the mode of ignorance, or in some cases a mixture of the two.

In order to be successful in anything, one needs the quality of renunciation. But in the material world, especially in Kali Yuga, it is difficult to find anybody who is achieving success in the mode of goodness.

So Lord Caitanya is preaching that we have to become free of passion and ignorance by strictly engaging in His process of chanting the Holy Names. One must be constantly hearing the topics of Krsna, and the sound of Krsna's Name, and everything to do with Krsna, in order to raise themselves up above the modes. That in itself is a form of renunciation, although even that can't truly be classified as renunciation in the mode of goodness, because it's transcendental, spiritual renunciation.

To make progress by simply trying to achieve the mode of goodness is next to impossible in this age. The only renunciation that has any viability or any real hope of success to free us from the material world and the modes of nature is to engage in Krsna Consciousness under the guidance of a bona fide Spiritual Master who is genuinely connected to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

We can give all sorts of examples of personalities and groups who claim to be part of Lord Caitanya's movement or connected to Him, and therefore preach that you can become free from the modes by following them. But one should be very careful to examine their motives and character, determining if they're exhibiting the telltale signs of being under the modes of passion and ignorance. If what they're manifesting is actually success due to renunciation under the modes, then their ability to do things or display a certain attractiveness is something one must be extremely careful of.

Take for instance people who study how to perform kirtan and bhajan strictly on a musical level. Their performances are very entertaining to the senses as a result of their effort, but listening to them perform is not going to please Krsna and bring you spiritual success because at best, they are exhibiting renunciation in the mode of passion.

In the story of Kala Krsnadasa, Srila Prabhupada explains how Lord Caitanya rescued his wayward servant from the Bhattatharis, exhibiting His mercy as Patita-pavana. Likewise, today Lord Caitanya is the savior of all fallen souls through the merciful agency of the Hare Krsna Mahamantra, distributed to the world by his pure devotee representative, Srila Prabhupada.

Although Kala Krsnadasa was a brahmana, living in accordance with the principles of renunciation, still he was drawn off by giving in to sex desire. Consequently, upon their return from South India to Jagannath Puri, the Lord rejected Krsnadasa, and would have no further association with him.

    Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 10.65:

    "Now that I have brought him here, I am asking him to leave. Now he can go wherever he likes, for I am no longer responsible for him."


    Kala Krsnadasa was influenced and allured by nomads or gypsies, who enticed him with women. Maya is so strong that Kala Krsnadasa left Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's company to join gypsy women. Even though a person may associate with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he can be allured by maya and leave the Lord's company due to his slight independence. Only one who is overwhelmed by maya can be so unfortunate as to leave Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's company, yet unless one is very conscientious, the influence of maya can drag one away, even though he be the personal assistant of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And what to speak of others? The Bhattatharis used to increase their numbers by using women to allure outsiders. This is factual evidence showing that it is possible at any time to fall down from the Lord's association. One need only misuse his little independence. Once fallen and separated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead's association, one becomes a candidate for suffering in the material world. Although rejected by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Kala Krsnadasa was given another chance, as the following verses relate."

The pastime of Kala Krsnadasa's fall from the renounced principles of brahminical life and the consequence of his error illustrates one of many essential instructions given by Lord Caitanya on the topic of renunciation.


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