Post Author: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-01-14 06:54:29
Title: To renounce or not externally User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2007-03-13 20:19:19
I have lost all interest in material activities. I want to renounce everything and want to come and serve you personally.
Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:
It is good you have lost interest in material activities but the renunciation of the activities itself is not required neither appropriate for you at this stage in life. What we have to renounce is material consciousness and connect all over activities with Lord Gauranga-Krishna then the activites no longer remain material but are spiritual devotional service to the Lord.
At this point of time, you are ideally situated to practice Nama Bhajana i.e. the chanting of the Holy Names and changing your situation is not required. I appreciate your attachment to the Lord. I would request you not to be hasty in crossing the ocean of the cycle of birth and death but remain situated (sthane sthitah as stated in Shrimad Bhagavatam) in your present situation and cultivate strong internal attachment to the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna! Then the Lord will show you the proper time and way to fulfil your desires to serve Him and chant His Holy Names. Please read the follwoing instructions given by Lord Gauranga Himself to our Prayojana acharya Shrila Raghunatha dasa Goswami:
Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya lila Chp16, Translation and Purports by His Divine Grace Shrila Prabhupada copyrighted by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust:
sata dina santipure prabhu-sange rahe ratri-divase ei manah-katha kahe
For seven days Raghunatha dasa associated with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Santipura. During those days and nights, he had the following thoughts.
raksakera hate muni kemane chutiba! kemane prabhura sange nilacale yaba?'
Raghunatha dasa thought, "How shall I be able to get free from the hands of the watchmen? How shall I be able to go with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to Nilacala?"
sarvajna gauranga-prabhu jani' tanra mana siksa-rupe kahe tanre asvasa-vacana
Since Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was omniscient, He could understand Raghunatha dasa's mind. The Lord therefore instructed him with the following reassuring words.
sthira hana ghare yao, naa hao vaatula krame krame paaya loka bhava-sindhu-kula
"Be patient and return home. Don't be a crazy fellow. By and by you will be able to cross the ocean of material existence.
As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.58):
samasrita ye pada-pallava-plavam mahat-padam punya-yaso murareh bhavambudhir vatsa-padam param padam padam padam yad vipadam na tesam
This material world is just like a big ocean. It begins with Brahmaloka and extends to Patalaloka, and there are many planets, or islands, in this ocean. Not knowing about devotional service, the living entity wanders about this ocean, just as a man tries to swim to reach the shore. Our struggle for existence is similar to this. Everyone is trying to get out of the ocean of material existence. One cannot immediately reach the coast, but if one endeavors, he can cross the ocean by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mercy. One may be very eager to cross this ocean, but he cannot attain success by acting like a madman. He must swim over the ocean very patiently and intelligently under the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu or His representative. Then, one day, he will reach the shore and return home, back to Godhead.
markata-vairagya na kara loka dekhana yatha-yogya visaya bhunja' anasakta hana
"You should not make yourself a showbottle devotee and become a false renunciant. For the time being, enjoy the material world in a befitting way and do not become attached to it."
The word markata-vairagya, indicating false renunciation, is very important in this verse. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, in commenting on this word, points out that monkeys make an external show of renunciation by not accepting clothing and by living naked in the forest. In this way they consider themselves renunciants, but actually they are very busy enjoying sense gratification with dozens of female monkeys. Such renunciation is called markata-vairagya -- the renunciation of a monkey. One cannot be really renounced until one actually becomes disgusted with material activity and sees it as a stumbling block to spiritual advancement. Renunciation should not be phalgu, temporary, but should exist throughout one's life. Temporary renunciation, or monkey renunciation, is like the renunciation one feels at a cremation ground. When a man takes a dead body to the crematorium, he sometimes thinks, "This is the final end of the body. Why am I working so hard day and night?" Such sentiments naturally arise in the mind of any man who goes to a crematorial ghata. However, as soon as he returns from the cremation grounds, he again engages in material activity for sense enjoyment. This is called smasana-vairagya, or markata-vairagya.
In order to render service to the Lord, one may accept necessary things. If one lives in this way, he may actually become renounced. In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.108), it is said:
"The bare necessities of life must be accepted, but one should not superfluously increase his necessities. Nor should they be unnecessarily decreased. One should simply accept what is necessary to help one advance spiritually."
In his Durgama-sangamani, Sri Jiva Gosvami comments that the word sva-nirvahah actually means sva-sva-bhakti-nirvahah. The experienced devotee will accept only those material things that will help him render service to the Lord. In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.256), markata-vairagya, or phalgu-vairagya, is explained as follows:
"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." Whatever is favorable for the rendering of service to the Lord should be accepted and should not be rejected as a material thing. Yukta-vairagya, or befitting renunciation, is thus explained:
"Things should be accepted for the Lord's service and not for one's personal sense gratification. If one accepts something without attachment and accepts it because it is related to Krsna, one's renunciation is called yukta-vairagya." Since Krsna is the Absolute Truth, whatever is accepted for His service is also the Absolute Truth.
The word markata-vairagya is used by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to indicate so-called Vaisnavas who dress themselves in loincloths trying to imitate Srila Rupa Gosvami. Such people carry a bead bag and chant, but at heart they are always thinking about getting women and money. Unknown to others,these markata-vairagis maintain women but externally present themselves as renunciants. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very much opposed to the se markata-vairagis, or pseudo Vaisnavas.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, "Within your heart you should keep yourself very faithful, but externally you may behave like an ordinary man. Thus Krsna will soon be very pleased and deliver you from the clutches of maya.
vrndavana dekhi' yabe asiba nilacale tabe tumi ama-pasa asiha kona chale "You may see me at Nilacala, Jagannatha Puri, when I return after visiting Vrndavana. By that time you can think of some trick to escape.
se chala se-kale krsna sphurabe tomare krsna-krpa yanre, tare ke rakhite pare"
"What kind of means you will have to use at that time will be revealed by Krsna. If one has Krsna's mercy, no one can check him."
Although Srila Raghunatha dasa was very anxious to join Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord advised him to wait for the mercy of Lord Krsna. He recommended that Raghunatha dasa keep his Krsna consciousness firmly fixed in his heart while externally behaving like an ordinary man. This is a trick for everyone advanced in Krsna consciousness. One can live in society like an ordinary human being, but at the same time one's own business should be to satisfy Krsna and spread His glories. A Krsna conscious person should not be absorbed in material things, for his only business is the devotional service of the Lord. If one is engaged in this way, Krsna will certainly bestow His mercy. As Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised Raghunatha dasa, yatha-yogya visaya bhunja' anasakta hana. The same is repeated, antare nistha kara, bahye loka-vyavahara. This means that one must have no desire within his heart other than to serve Krsna. On the basis of such a conviction, one can cultivate Krsna consciousness. This is confirmed in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.200):
laukiki vaidiki vapi ya kriya kriyate mune hari-sevanukulaiva sa karya bhaktim icchata
A devotee may act as an ordinary human being or as a strict follower of Vedic injunctions. In either case, everything he does is favorable for the advancement of devotional service because he is in Krsna consciousness.