>> “Srila Prabhupada Quotes” > Activities of sannyasa
1. Material possessions as creations of maya
2. The perfect stage of renunciation
3. Human life is meant for austerity
4. Attachment to opulence and women is suicidal
5. Renunciation i s for becoming attached t o krsna
6. Service to the lord burns up material desires
7. Should not renounce anything connected with the lord
8. Renunciation is by awakening knowledge
9. Practiced t o uphold prestige o f the sannyasa order
10. Does not live in palatial buildings
11. Should not have a house of his own
12. Does not accept anything for sense gratification
13. Should not use oil on his body
14. Does not accept beds, spices, massage etc
15. Does not lead a luxurious life at the cost of others
16. Usually does not accept a servant or maid
17. Sleeps on the floor
18. Walks barefoot
19. Wears a loincloth and carries a staff and waterpot
20. Severest renunciation is executing
21. The guru’s order held in high esteem due to practical renunciation
22. Artificial and false renunciation discussed
1. MATERIAL POSSESSIONS AS CREATIONS OF MAYA (top)
ONE SHOULD RETIRE TO THE FOREST CONSIDERING HIS MATERIAL POSSESSIONS AS CREATIONS OF THE ILLUSORY ENERGY
Thus Dhruva Maharaja, at the end, left his kingdom, which extended all over the earth and was bounded by the great oceans. He considered his body, his wives, his children, his friends, his army, his rich treasury, his very comfortable palaces and his many enjoyable pleasure-grounds to be creations of the illusory energy. Thus in due course of time he retired to the forest in the Himalayas known as Badarikasrama.
(Bhag. 4.12.16 )
2. THE PERFECT STAGE OF RENUNCIATION (top)
TO THINK ONESELF PART AND PARCEL OF THE LORD IS THE PERFECT STAGE OF RENUNCIATION
TRANSLATION : One can obtain the results of renunciation simply by self-control and by becoming unattached to material things and disregarding material enjoyments. That is the highest perfectional stage of renunciation.
PURPORT: Real renunciation means that one should always think himself part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. Therefore he has no right to enjoy the results of his work. Since he is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, the results of his work must be enjoyed by the Supreme Lord. This is actually Krsna consciousness. The person acting in Krsna consciousness is really a sannyasi, one in the renounced order of life. By such mentality, one is satisfied because he is actually acting for the Supreme. Thus he is not attached to anything material; he becomes accustomed to not taking pleasure in anything beyond the transcendental happiness derived from the service of the Lord. A sannyasi is supposed to be free from the reactions of his past activities, but a person who is in Krsna consciousness automatically attains this perfection without even accepting the so-called order of renunciation. This state of mind is called yogarudha, or the perfectional stage of yoga, as confirmed in the Third Chapter: yas tv atma-ratir eva syat. One who is satisfied in himself has no fear of any kind of reaction from his activity.
(B.g. 18.49 )
3. HUMAN LIFE IS MEANT FOR AUSTERITY (top)
IN OLD AGE, AUSTERITY SHOULD BE PRACTICED
Practice of austerity is the main business of human life. As Maharaja Dhruva practiced austerity in his early age, his father, Maharaja Uttanapada, in his old age also practiced austerity in the forest.
(Bhag. 4.9.67 )
A VOLUNTARY LIFE OF RENUNCIATION IS ADVISED
In the system of sanatana-dharma, of four divisions of social life and four orders of progressive realization, there are ample opportunities and sufficient directions for a happy termination of the progressive life, and the sincere followers are advised therein to accept a voluntary life of renunciation in order to achieve the desired goal of life. If one is not accustomed to abiding by the life of renunciation and self-abnegation from the beginning, one should try to get into the habit at a later stage of life as recommended by Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, and that will help one to achieve the desired success.
(Bhag. 2.2.4, purp.)
PENANCE IS THE BEAUTY OF THE RENOUNCED ORDER
TRANSLATION: While thus engaged in thinking, in the water, Brahmaji heard twice from nearby two syllables joined together. One of the syllables was taken from the sixteenth and the other from the twenty-first of the sparsa alphabets, and both joined to become the wealth of the renounced order of life.
PURPORT: In Sanskrit language, the consonant alphabets are divided into two divisions, namely the sparsa-varnas and the talavya-varnas. From ka to ma the letters are known as the sparsa-varnas, and the sixteenth of the group is called ta, whereas the twenty-first letter is called pa. So when they are joined together, the word tapa, or penance, is constructed. This penance is the beauty and wealth of the brahmanas and the renounced order of life.
(Bhag. 2.9.6 )
4. ATTACHMENT TO OPULENCE AND WOMEN IS SUICIDAL (top)
ATTACHMENT TO MATERIAL OPULENCE AND TO A BEAUTIFUL WIF E ARE CONDEMNED EVEN MORE THAN SUICIDE
TRANSLATION: By the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Maharaja Priyavrata reawakened to his senses. He divided all his earthly possessions among his obedient sons. He gave up everything, including his wife, with whom he had enjoyed so much sense gratification, and his great and opulent kingdom, and he completely renounced all attachment. His heart, having been cleansed, became a place of pastimes for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus he was able to return to the path of Krsna consciousness, spiritual life, and resume the position he had attained by the grace of the great saint Narada.
PURPORT: Maharaja Priyavrata was able to give up his opulent kingdom, and he also gave up the association of his beautiful wife as if she were a dead body. However beautiful one’s wife and however attractive her bodily features, one is no longer interested in her when her body is dead. We praise a beautiful woman for her body, but that same body, when bereft of a spirit soul, is no longer interesting to a any lusty man. Maharaja Priyavrata was so strong, by the grace of the Lord, that even though his beautiful wife was alive, he could give up her association exactly like one who is forced to give up the association of a dead wife. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said:
na dhanam na janam na sundarim
kavitam va jagadisa kamaye mama
janmani janmanisvare bhavatad
bhaktir ahaituki tvayi
“O almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I only want your causeless devotional service birth after birth.” For one who desires to advance in spiritual life, attachment to material opulence and attachment to a beautiful wife are two great impediments. Such attachments are condemned even more than suicide. Therefore anyone desiring to cross beyond material nescience must, by the grace of Krsna, be freed from attachment to women and money. When Maharaja Priyavrata became completely free from these attachments, he could again peacefully follow the principles instructed by the great sage Narada.
(Bhag. 5.1.38 )
5. RENUNCIATION IS FOR BECOMING ATTACHED TO KRSNA (top)
AFTER RENOUNCING FAMILY LIFE ONE SHOULD BE VERY CAUTIOUS NOT TO BECOME ATTACHED TO ANYTHING BUT KRSNA
Maharaja Bharata left his home, wife, children, kingdom and everything else to advance his spiritual life in the forest, but again he fell victim to material affection due to his attachment to an insignificant pet deer. What, then, was the use of his renouncing his family? One who is serious in advancing his spiritual life should be very cautious not to become attached to anything but Krsna. Sometimes, in order to preach, we have to accept many material activities, but we should remember that everything is for Krsna. If we remember this there is no chance of our being victimized by material activities.
(Bhag. 5.8.13 )
FOR THE SAKE OF THE LORD A SADHU, OR SANNYASI, RENOUNCES ALL CONNECTIONS
TRANSLATION: Such a sadhu engages in staunch devotional service to the Lord without deviation. For the sake of the Lord he renounces all other connections, such as family relationships and friendly acquaintances within the world. PURPORT: A person in the renounced order of life, a sannyasi, is also called a sadhu because he renounces everything–his home, his comfort, his friends, his relatives, and his duties to friends and to family. He renounces everything for the sake of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A sannyasi is generally in the renounced order of life, but his renunciation will be successful only when his energy is employed in the service of the Lord with great austerity. It is said here, therefore, bhaktim kurvanti ye drdham. A person who seriously engages in the service of the Lord and is in the renounced order of life is a sadhu. A sadhu is one who has given up all responsibility to society, family, and worldly humanitarianism, simply for the service of the Lord. As soon as he takes his birth in the world, a person has so many responsibilities and obligations–to the public, to the demigods, to the great sages, to the general living beings, to his parents, to the family forefathers and to many others. When he gives up all such obligations for the sake of the service of the Supreme Lord, he is not punished for such renunciation of obligation. But if for sense gratification a person renounces all such obligations, he is punished by the law of nature.
(Bhag. 3.25.22 )
RENUNCIATION MEANS NOT DOING ANYTHING BUT SERVING THE SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD, SRI KRSNA
Renunciation means not doing anything but serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. When one acts on this platform, trying to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one is both a sannyasi and a yogi. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad- gita (6.1):
sri bhagavan uvaca
karyam karma karoti yah
sa sannyasi ca yogi ca
na niragnir na cakriyah
“The Blessed Lord said: 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, not he who lights no fire and performs no work.”
(Cc. Mad 10.108 , purp.)
AFTER RENOUNCING HOME, WE SHOULD BE CAREFUL NOT TO MISUSE OUR POSITION AND THINK WE CAN DO WHATEVER WE LIKE
TRANSLATION: In the body of a deer, Bharata Maharaja began to lament: What misfortune! I have fallen from the path of the self-realized. I gave up my real sons, wife and home to advance in spiritual life, and I took shelter in a solitary holy place in the forest. I became self-controlled and self-realized, and I engaged constantly in devotional service, hearing, thinking, chanting, worshiping and remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva. I was successful in my attempt, so much so that my mind was always absorbed in devotional service. However, due to my personal foolishness, my mind again became attached—this time to a deer. Now I have obtained the body of a deer and have fallen far from my devotional practices.
PURPORT: Due to his stringent execution of devotional service, Maharaja Bharata could remember the activities of his past life and how he was raised to the spiritual platform. Due to his foolishness, he became attached to an insignificant deer and thus fell down and had to accept the body of a deer. This is significant for every devotee. If we misuse our position and think that we are fully engaged in devotional service and can do whatever we like, we have to suffer like Bharata Maharaja and be condemned to accept the type of body that impairs our devotional service. Only the human form is able to execute devotional service, but if we voluntarily give this up for sense gratification, we certainly have to be punished. This punishment is not exactly like that endured by an ordinary materialistic person. By the grace of the Supreme Lord, a devotee is punished in such a way that his eagerness to attain the lotus feet of Lord Vasudeva is increased. By his intense desire, he returns home in the next lifetime. Devotional service is very completely described here: tad-anusravana-manana- sankirtanaradhananusmaran bhiyogena. The constant hearing and chanting of the glories of the Lord is recommended in Bhagavad-gita: satatam kirtayanto mam yatantas ca drdha-vratah. Those who have taken to Krsna consciousness should be very careful that not a single moment is wasted and that not a single moment is spent without chanting and remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His activities. By His own actions and by the actions of His devotees, Krsna teaches us how to become cautious in devotional service. Through the medium of Bharata Maharaja, Krsna teaches us that we must be careful in the discharge of devotional service. If we want to keep our minds completely fixed without deviation, we must engage them in devotional service full time. As far as the members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness are concerned, they have sacrificed everything to push on this Krsna consciousness movement. Yet they must take a lesson from the Life of Bharata Maharaja to be very cautious and to see that not a single moment is wasted in frivolous talk, sleep or voracious eating. Eating is not prohibited, but if we eat voraciously we shall certainly sleep more than required. Sense gratification ensues, and we may be degraded to a lower life form. In that way our spiritual progress may be checked at least for the time being. The best course is to take the advice of Srila Rupa Gosvami: avyartha-kalatvam. We should see that every moment of our lives is utilized for the rendering of devotional service and nothing else. This is the secure position for one wanting to return home, back to Godhead.
(Bhag. 5.8.29 )
RENUNCIATION MEANS EXCLUSIVE SERVICE TO THE SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD
TRANSLATION: “Svarupa Damodara was a great renunciate as well as a great learned scholar. With heart and soul he took shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. “He was very enthusiastic to worship Sri Krsna without disturbance; therefore it was almost in madness that he accepted the sannyasa order. PURPORT: Renunciation means not doing anything but serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. When one acts on this platform, trying to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one is both a sannyasi and a yogi.
(Cc. Madhya 10.107-108 )
RENUNCIATION AS MEANS TO SATISFY LORD CAITANYA
TRANSLATION: Renunciation is the basic principle sustaining the lives of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s devotees. Seeing this renunciation, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is extremely satisfied.
(Cc. Antya 6.220 )
PENANCE IN DEVOTIONAL SERVICE IS KRSNA’S HEART AND SOUL
TRANSLATION: O sinless Brahma, you may know from Me that it was I who first ordered you to undergo penance when you were perplexed in your duty. Such penance is My heart and soul, and therefore penance and I are nondifferent. PURPORT: The penance by which one can see the Personality of Godhead face to face is to be understood as devotional service to the Lord and nothing else because only by discharging devotional service in transcendental love can one approach the Lord. Such penance is the internal potency of the Lord and is nondifferent from Him. Such acts of internal potency are exhibited by non-attachment for material enjoyment. …Penance in devotional service of the Lord, either by voluntary submission or by being forced by the Lord, is necessary for attaining perfection, and thus such penance is the internal potency of the Lord.
(Bhag. 2.9.23 )
PENANCE IN DEVOTIONAL SERVICE IS NECESSARY FOR PERFECTION AND IS THE INTERNAL POTENCY OF THE LORD
Penance in devotional service of the Lord, either by voluntary submission or by being forced by the Lord, is necessary for attaining perfection, and thus such penance is the internal potency of the Lord.
(Bhag. 2.9.23 )
A FIRST CLASS HUMAN BEING IS ONE WHO LEAVES HOME TO DEPEND FULLY ON THE PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD
TRANSLATION: He is certainly a first-class man who awakens and understands, either by himself or from others, the falsity and misery of this material world and thus leaves home and depends fully on the Personality of Godhead residing within his heart.
PURPORT: There are three classes of transcendentalists, namely, (1 ) the dhira, or the one who is not disturbed by being away from family association, (2 ) one in the renounced order of life, a sannyasi by frustrated sentiment, and (3 ) a sincere devotee of the Lord, who awakens God consciousness by hearing and chanting and leaves home depending completely on the Personality of Godhead, who resides in his heart. The idea is that the renounced order of life, after a frustrated life of sentiment in the material world, may be the stepping stone on the path of self- realization, but real perfection of the path of liberation is attained when one is practiced to depend fully on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who lives in everyone’s heart as Paramatma. One may live in the darkest jungle alone out of home, but a steadfast devotee knows very well that he is not alone. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is with him, and He can protect His sincere devotee in any awkward circumstance. One should therefore practice devotional service at home, hearing and chanting the holy name, quality, form, pastimes, entourage, etc., in association with pure devotees, and this practice will help one awaken God consciousness in proportion to one’s sincerity of purpose. One who desires material benefit by such devotional activities can never depend on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although He sits in everyone’s heart. Nor does the Lord give any direction to persons who worship Him for material gain. Such materialistic devotees may be blessed by the Lord with material benefits, but they cannot reach the stage of the first- class human being, as above mentioned. There are many examples of such sincere devotees in the history of the world, especially in India, and they are our guides on the path of self- realization. Mahatma Vidura is one such great devotee of the Lord, and we should all try to follow in his lotus footsteps for self-realization.
(Bhag. 1.13.27 )
6. SERVICE TO THE LORD BURNS UP MATERIAL DESIRES (top)
SANNYASIS CAN BURN UP THE STRONG DESIRES FOR FAMILY LIFE BY FULLY ENGAGING IN THE SERVICE OF THE LORD
TRANSLATION: Every year the plowman plows over his grain field, completely uprooting all weeds. Nonetheless, the seeds lie there and, not being completely burned, again come up with the plants sown in the field. Even after being plowed under, the weeds come up densely. Similarly, the grhastha-asrama [family life] is a field of fruitive activity. Unless the desire to enjoy family life is completely burned out, it grows up again and again. Even though camphor may be removed from a pot, the pot nonetheless retains the aroma of camphor. As long as the seeds of desire are not destroyed, fruitive activities are not destroyed.
PURPORT: Unless one’s desires are completely transferred to the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the desire for family life continues, even after one has taken sannyasa. Sometimes in our society, ISKCON, a person out of sentiment may take sannyasa, but because his desires are not burned completely, he again takes to family life, even at the risk of losing his prestige and disgracing his good name. These strong desires can be burned out completely when one fully engages in the service of the Lord in devotional service.
(Bhag. 5.14.4 )
ATTACHMENT TO THE SERVICE OF UTTAMASLOKA (KRSNA), IS THE MEANS OF GIVING UP EVERYTHING WITHIN THIS MATERIAL WORLD
yo dustyajan dara-sutan
suhrid rajyam hridi-sprisah
jahau yuvaiva malavad
TRANSLATION: While in the prime of life, the great Maharaja Bharata gave up everything because he was fond of serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Uttamasloka. He gave up his beautiful wife, nice children, great friends and an enormous empire. Although these things were very difficult to give up, Maharaja Bharata was so exalted that he gave them up just as one gives up stool after evacuating. Such was the greatness of His Majesty.
(Bhag. 5.14.43 )
BY ATTRACTION TO KRSNA EVERYTHING CAN BE RENOUNCED
TRANSLATION: Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, the activities of Bharata Maharaja are wonderful. He gave up everything difficult for others to give up. He gave up his kingdom, his wife and his family. His opulence was so great that even the demigods envied it, yet he gave it up. It was quite befitting a great personality like him to be a great devotee. He could renounce everything because he was so attracted to the beauty, opulence, reputation, knowledge, strength and renunciation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. Krsna is so attractive that one can give up all desirable things for His sake. Indeed, even liberation is considered insignificant for those whose minds are attracted to the loving service of the Lord.
(Bhag. 5.14.44 )
KING BHARATA EASILY GAVE UP ALL OTHER ATTACHMENTS THROUGH THE ATTACHMENT TO THE SERVICE OF THE LORD
“The great soul King Bharata was so much attached to the service of the lotus feet of Krsna that he very easily gave up his lordship over the earthly planet and his affection for his children, society, friends, royal opulence and beautiful wife. He was so very lucky that the goddess of fortune was pleased to offer him all kinds of material concessions, but he never accepted any of these material opulences.”
(NOD ch. 4, page 37 )
ATTACHMENT TO VASUDEVA (KRSNA) IS THE WAY TO GAIN RELEASE FROM MATERIAL BONDAGE
TRANSLATION: Brahma spoke to his sons after generating them. “My dear sons,” he said, “now generate progeny.” But due to their being attached to Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they aimed at liberation, and therefore they expressed their unwillingness.
PURPORT: The four sons of Brahma, the Kumaras, declined to become family men even on the request of their great father, Brahma. Those who are serious about gaining release from material bondage should not be entangled in the false relationship of family bondage. People may ask how the Kumaras could refuse the orders of Brahma, who was their father and above all the creator of the universe. The reply is that one who is vasudeva-parayana, or seriously engaged in the devotional service of the Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, need not care for any other obligation. It is enjoined in the Bhagavatam (11.5.41) :
na kinkaro nayam rni ca rajan
sarvatmana yah saranam saranyam
gato mukundam parihrtya kartam
“Anyone who has completely given up all worldly relationships and has taken absolute shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord, who gives us salvation and who alone is fit to be taken shelter of, is no longer a debtor or servant of anyone, including the demigods, forefathers, sages, other living entities, relatives and members of human society.” Thus there was nothing wrong in the acts of the Kumaras when they refused their great father’s request that they become family men.
(Bhag. 3.12.5 )
BY THE MERCY OF LORD KRSNA ONE CAN RENOUNCE THIS MATERIAL HELLHOLE
TRANSLATION: Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “The mercy of Lord Krsna is stronger than anything else. Therefore the Lord has delivered you from the ditch of materialistic life, which is like a hole into which people pass stool.”
PURPORT: According to the law of karma, everyone is destined to suffer or enjoy according to a certain material standard, but the mercy of Lord Krsna is so powerful that the Lord can change all the reactions of one’s past karma, or fruitive activities. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu specifically drew attention to the mercy of Lord Krsna. That mercy is more powerful than anything else, for it had saved Raghunatha dasa from the strong bondage of materialistic life, which the Lord compared to a hole where people pass stool. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave His verdict that those addicted to the materialistic way of life are like worms that are living in stool but cannot give it up. A grhavrata, one who has decided to live in a comfortable home although it is actually miserable, is in a condemned position. Only the mercy of Krsna can save one from such misery. Without Krsna’s mercy, one cannot get out of the filthy entanglement of materialistic life. The poor living entity cannot give up his materialistic position on his own; only when granted the special mercy of Krsna can he give it up. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu knew very well that Raghunatha dasa was already liberated. Nevertheless He emphasized that Raghunatha dasa’s life of material comfort as a very rich man’s son with a very beautiful wife and many servants to attend him was like a ditch of stool. The Lord thus specifically indicated that ordinary men who are very happy with material comforts and family life are in no better position than worms in stool.
(Cc. Antya 6.193 )
SUCCESSFUL RENUNCIATION IS BY THE BLESSINGS OF THE SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD
TRANSLATION: Thinking like that, King Anga could not sleep at night. He became completely indifferent to household life. Once, therefore, in the dead of night, he got up from bed and left Vena’s mother [his wife], who was sleeping deeply. He gave up all attraction for his greatly opulent kingdom, and, unseen by anyone, he very silently gave up his home and opulence and proceeded towards the forest.
PURPORT: It was not a very easy task for the king to give up his opulent kingdom and young, faithful wife, but it was certainly a great blessing of the Supreme Personality of Godhead that he could give up the attachment and go out to the forest without being seen by anyone. There are many instances of great souls’ leaving home in this way in the dead of night, giving up attachment for home, wife and money.
(Bhag. 4.13.47 )
7. SHOULD NOT RENOUNCE ANYTHING CONNECTED WITH THE LORD (top)
SANNYASIS SHOULD NOT GIVE UP ANYTHING CONNECTED WITH THE SUPREME LORD THINKING IT MATERIAL OR ENJOYABLE FOR THE MATERIAL SENSES
Srila Rupa Gosvami has stated:
vairagyam phalgu kathyate
Everything, even that which is material, is connected with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore everything should be engaged in the service of the Lord. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura translates this verse as follows:
hari-sevaya yaha haya anukula
visaya baliya tahara tyage haya bhula
“One should not give up anything connected with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, thinking it material or enjoyable for the material senses.” Even the senses, when purified, are spiritual.
In our preaching work also, we deal with so much property and money and so many books bought and sold, but because these dealings all pertain to the Krsna consciousness movement, they should never be considered material. That one is absorbed in thoughts of such management does not mean that he is outside of Krsna consciousness. If one rigidly observes the regulative principle of chanting sixteen rounds of the maha-mantra every day, his dealings with the material world for the sake of spreading the Krsna consciousness movement are not different from the spiritual cultivation of Krsna consciousness.
(Bhag. 5.16.3 , purp.)
MARKATA AND YUKTA VAIRAGYA DESCRIBED
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-vairagye–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:
yavata syat sva-nirvahah svikuryat tavad artha-vit
adhikye nyunatayam ca cyavate paramarthatah
“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-nir- vahah 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 Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.256) , markata-vairagya, or phalgu-vairagya, is explained as follows:
prapancikataya buddhya hari-sambandhi-vastunah
mumuksubhih parityago vairagyam phalgu kathyate
“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:
anasaktasya visayan yatharham upayunjatah
nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam ucyate
“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 these markata-vairagis, or pseudo-Vaisnavas.
(Cc. Madhya 16.238 , purp.)
8. RENUNCIATION IS BY AWAKENING KNOWLEDGE (top)
RENUNCIATION TAKES PLACE BY AWAKENING KNOWLEDGE
All the sons of Prajapati Daksa had first been raised to the platform of jnana and had then automatically renounced this world. In summary, unless one’s knowledge is awakened, renunciation cannot take place, for without elevated knowledge one cannot give up attachment for material enjoyment.
(Bhag. 6.5.40 )
9. PRACTICED TO UPHOLD PRESTIGE OF THE SANNYASA ORDER (top)
ONE MUST PRACTICE SENSE CONTROL TO PROTECT THE PRESTIGE OF THE SANNYASA ORDER
According to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, among sannyasis the cultivation of Vedanta philosophy helps in becoming detached from sense gratification. Thus a sannyasi can protect the prestige of wearing a loincloth (kaupina). One has to practice sense control as well as mind control and subdue the six forces of speech, mind, anger, tongue, belly and genitals. Then one can become expert in understanding the devotional service of the Lord and thus become a perfect sannyasi. For that purpose one must cultivate knowledge and renunciation regularly. When one is attached to material sense gratification, he cannot protect his sannyasa order. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya suggested that by the study of vairagya (renunciation), Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu might be saved from the clutches of full-fledged youthful desires.
(Cc. Madhya 6.75 , purp.)
10. DOES NOT LIVE IN PALATIAL BUILDINGS (top)
COMFORTS OF LIFE, SUCH AS PALATIAL BUILDINGS FURNISHED WITH GOOD FURNITURE AND SO-CALLED AMENITIES OF LIFE, ARE DETRIMENTAL FOR PROGRESSIVE CIVILIZATION
Great sages and saints in the days of yore were not living in palatial buildings furnished with good furniture and so-called amenities of life. They used to live in huts and groves and sit on the flat ground, and yet they have left immense treasures of high knowledge with all perfection. Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami were high-ranking ministers of state, but they were able to leave behind them immense writings on transcendental knowledge, while residing only for one night underneath one tree. They did not live even two nights under the same tree, and what to speak of well-furnished rooms with modern amenities. And still they were able to give us most important literatures of self-realization. So- called comforts of life are not actually helpful for progressive civilization; rather, they are detrimental to such progressive life.
(Bhag. 2.2.4, purp.)
11. SHOULD NOT HAVE A HOUSE OF HIS OWN (top)
A SANNYASI SHOULD NOT HAVE HIS OWN HOUSE
Aniketanah means “without lodging.” He should not have his own house, but should depend completely on the Supreme Lord for his food and lodging. He should travel.
(Bhag. 3.24.42 , purp.)
12. DOES NOT ACCEPT ANYTHING FOR SENSE GRATIFICATION (top)
IT IS ABOMINABLE FOR A SANNYASI TO BE ADDICTED TO SENSE GRATIFICATION AND IF HE ACTS IN THAT WAY HE IS CONSIDERED THE LOWEST RENEGADE AND SHOULD BE REJECTED
TRANSLATION: It is abominable for a person living in the grhastha-asrama to give up the regulative principles, for a brahmacari not to follow the brahmacari vows while living under the care of the guru, for a vanaprastha to live in the village and engage in so-called social activities, or for a sannyasi to be addicted to sense gratification. One who acts in this way is to be considered the lowest renegade. Such a pretender is bewildered by the external energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and one should either reject him from any position, or taking compassion upon him, teach him, if possible, to resume his original position. PURPORT: If a brahmacari does not live under the care of the guru,if a vanaprastha engages in ordinary activities, or if a sannyasi is greedy and eats meat, eggs and all kinds of nonsense for the satisfaction of his tongue, he is a cheater and should immediately be rejected as unimportant. Such persons should be shown compassion, and if one has sufficient strength one should teach them to stop them from following the wrong path in life. Otherwise one should reject them and pay them no attention.
(Bhag. 7.15.38-39 )
A VAISNAVA SANNYASI DOES NOT ACCEPT ANYTHING FOR PERSONAL SENSE ENJOYMENT
For a Vaisnava sannyasi, renunciation means not accepting anything for personal sense enjoyment. Devotional service means engaging everything for thesatisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
(Cc. Madhya 1.91)
13. SHOULD NOT USE OIL ON HIS BODY (top)
A SANNYASI SHOULD NOT USE OIL ON HIS BODY
TRANSLATION: Govinda therefore told Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, “Jagadananda Pandita has brought some scented sandalwood oil. “It is his desire that Your Lordship apply a little of this oil on Your head so that blood pressure due to bile and air will be considerably diminished. “He prepared a large jug of it in Bengal, and with great care he has brought it here.” The Lord replied, “A sannyasi has no use for oil, especially perfumed oil such as this. Take it out immediately.”
PURPORT: According to Raghunandana Bhattacarya, the spokesman for the smarta regulative principles: …”If one who has taken a vow smears oil on his body while bathing in the morning, while observing a ritualistic ceremony like the sraddha ceremony, or on dvadasi day, he may as well pour wine over his body. Therefore, oil should be rejected.” This word vrata (vow) is sometimes understood to refer to the sannyasa-vrata. Raghunandana Bhattacarya has also said in his book Tithi-tattva …that clarified butter (ghee), mustard oil, floral oil and boiled oil may be used only by grhasthas, householders.
(Cc. Antya 12.105-108 )
14. DOES NOT ACCEPT BEDS, SPICES, MASSAGE ETC. (top)
IT IS NOT FITTING FOR A SANNYASI TO ACCEPT A NICE BED, SANDALWOOD PULP, SPICES, MASSAGES ETC.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is here telling Advaita Acarya that it is not befitting for a sannyasi to accept nice beds to lie on or to chew cloves and cardamom and have his body smeared with sandalwood pulp. Nor is it befitting for him to accept fragrant garlands and have his legs massaged by a pure Vaisnava.
(Cc. Madhya 3.106 , purp.)
A SANNYASI SHOULD NOT ACCEPT MASSAGE
TRANSLATION: When ten days had passed, Govinda again told Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, “It is the desire of Jagadananda Pandita that Your Lordship accept the oil.” When the Lord heard this, He angrily said, “Why not keep a masseur to massage Me? “Have I taken sannyasa for such happiness? Accepting this oil would bring My ruination, and all of you would laugh. “If someone passing on the road smelled this oil on My head, he would think Me a dari sannyasi, a tantric sannyasi who keeps women.”
PURPORT: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu declared Himself a strict sannyasi. A sannyasi is not supposed to take help from anyone. Retaining a masseur to give Him massages would indicate His dependence on others. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to follow very strictly the principle of not accepting anyone’s help for His bodily comfort.
(Cc. Antya 12.111-114 )
15. DOES NOT LEAD A LUXURIOUS LIFE AT THE COST OF OTHERS (top)
ONE SHOULD NOT LEAD A LUXURIOUS LIFE AT THE COST OF OTHERS
We must always remember that a devotee’s life is one of vairagya-vidya, or renunciation and knowledge. Therefore all devotees are warned not to live unnecessarily luxurious lives at the cost of others. Grhasthas living within the jurisdiction of the temple must be careful not to imitate karmis by acquiring opulent clothing, food and conveyances. As far as possible these should be avoided. A member of the temple, whether grhastha, brahmacari or sannyasi, must practice a life of renunciation, following in the footsteps of Haridasa Thakura and the six Gosvamis. Otherwise, because maya is very strong, at any time one may become a victim of maya and fall down from spiritual life.
(Cc. Antya 3.101 , purp.)
A SANNYASI SHOULD NOT ACCUMULATE MANY THINGS AND AMASS MONEY FROM THE INNOCENT PUBLIC
TRANSLATION: Today I have something to ask from You, who are the Lord of all living entities. Since I have now been liberated by you from my debts to my father, and since all my desires are fulfilled, I wish to accept the order of an itinerant mendicant. Renouncing this family life, I wish to wander about, free from lamentation, thinking always of You in my heart. [Kardama Muni to Lord Kapiladeva]
PURPORT: Actually, sannyasa, or renunciation of material household life, necessitates complete absorption in Krsna consciousness and immersion in the self. One does not take sannyasa, freedom from family responsibility in the renounced order of life, to make another family or to create an embarrassing transcendental fraud in the name of sannyasa. The sannyasi’s business is not to become proprietor of so many things and amass money from the innocent public. A sannyasi is proud that he is always thinking of Krsna within himself.
(Bhag. 3.24.34 )
16. DOES NOT ACCEPT SERVANT OR MAID (top)
IT IS THE CUSTOM THAT A SANNYASI DOES NOT ACCEPT SERVICE FROM ANY SERVANT OR MAID
It is customary in the renounced order of life that one should not take any service from from a servant or maid, but Devahuti was being served by the celestial maidservants. This may appear to be against the spiritual concept of life, but just as fire is still beautiful even when surrounded by smoke she looked completely pure although it seemed that she was living in a luxurious way.
(Bhag. 3.33.28 )
HOWEVER, LORD CAITANYA GAVE THE SANNYASI, PARAMANANDA PURI A ROOM AND A SERVANT
TRANSLATION:There was a solitary room at Kasi Misra’s house, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave it to Sri Paramananda Puri. He also gave him one servant.
(Cc. Madhya 10.101 )
17. SLEEPS ON THE FLOOR (top)
A SANNYASI SHOULD SLEEP ON THE FLOOR
TRANSLATION: “I am in the renounced order, and therefore I must lie on the floor. For Me to use a bedstead, quilt or pillow would be very shameful.”
(Cc. Antya 13.15 )
18. WALKS BAREFOOT (top)
SANNYASIS SHOULD ALWAYS WALK BAREFOOT
TRANSLATION: As soon as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw the sannyasis He immediately offered obeisances, and then He went to wash His feet. After washing His feet, He sat down by the place where He had done so.
PURPORT: By offering His obeisances to the Mayavadi sannyasis Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu very clearly exhibited His humbleness to everyone. Vaisnavas must not be disrespectful to anyone, to say nothing of a sannyasi. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu teaches, amanina manadena: one should always be respectful to others but should not demand respect for himself. A sannyasi should always walk barefoot, and therefore when he enters a temple or a society of devotees he should first wash his feet and then sit down in a proper place. In India it is still the prevalent custom that one put his shoes in a specified place and then enter the temple barefoot after washing his feet. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is an ideal acarya, and those who follow in His footsteps should practice the methods of devotional life that He teaches us.
(Cc. Adi 7.59 )
19. WEARS A LOINCLOTH AND CARRIES A STAFF AND WATERPOT (top)
A SANNYASI SHOULD WEAR A LOINCLOTH AND CARRY NOTHING EXCEPT A DANDA (STAFF) AND A KAMANDALU (WATER-POT)
TRANSLATION: A person in the renounced order of life may try to avoid even a dress to cover himself. If he wears anything at all, it should be only a loincloth, and when there is no necessity, an sannyasi should not even accept a danda. A sannyasi should avoid carrying anything but a danda and kamandalu.
(Bhag. 7.13.2 )
20 . SEVEREST RENUNCIATION IS EXECUTING THE GURUS ORDER (top)
THE SEVEREST TYPE OF PENANCE IS TO EXECUTE THE ORDER OF THE LORD OR OF THE SPIRITUAL MASTER
In executing penance, one must be determined to return home, back to Godhead, and must decide to undergo all types of tribulations for that end. Even for material prosperity, name and fame, one has to undergo severe types of penance, otherwise no one can become an important figure in this material world. Why, then, are there severe types of penance for the perfection of devotional service? An easygoing life and attainment of perfection in transcendental realization cannot go together. The Lord is more clever than any living entity; therefore He wants to see how painstaking the devotee is in devotional service. The order is received from the Lord, either directly or through the bona fide spiritual master, and to execute that order, however painstaking, is the severe type of penance. One who follows the principle rigidly is sure to achieve success in attaining the Lord’s mercy.
(Bhag. 2.9.24 , purp.)
21 . HELD IN HIGH ESTEEM DUE TO PRACTICAL RENUNCIATION (top)
SANNYASIS ARE HELD IN HIGH ESTEEM ON THE STRENGTH OF THEIR PRACTICAL RENUNCIATION
Srila Vyasadeva was a householder, yet his residential place is called an asrama. An asrama is a place where spiritual culture is always foremost. It does not matter whether the place belongs to a householder or a mendicant. The whole varnasrama system is so designed that each and every status of life is called an asrama. This means that spiritual culture is the common factor for all. The brahmacaris, the grhasthas, the vanaprasthas and the sannyasis all belong to the same mission of life, namely, realization of the Supreme. Therefore none of them are less important as far as spiritual culture is concerned. The difference is a matter of formality on the strength of renunciation. The sannyasis are held in high estimation on the strength of practical renunciation.
(Bhag. 1.7.2, purp.)
22 . ARTIFICIAL AND FALSE RENUNCIATION DISCUSSED (top)
FALSE RENUNCIANTS CANNOT RELISH THE PLEASURE OF DEVOTIONAL SERVICE
Srila Rupa Gosvami mourns in this connection for persons who are in the fire of false renunciation, the dry speculative habit, and who neglect devotional service. Persons who are attached to the ritualistic ceremonies recommended in the Vedas and to the impersonal Brahman cannot relish the transcendental pleasure of devotional service.
(NOD ch. 34, page 281 )
ARTIFICIAL RENUNCIATION IS NOT FAVORABLE FOR DEVOTIONAL SERVICE
In the Eleventh Canto, Twentieth Chapter, verse 31, of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Krsna says, “My dear Uddhava, for persons who are seriously engaged in My service, the cultivation of philosophical speculation and artificial renunciation are not very favorable. When a person becomes My devotee he automatically attains the fruits of the renunciation of material enjoyment, and he gets sufficient knowledge to understand the Absolute Truth.” That is the test of advancement in devotional service. A devotee cannot be in darkness, because the Lord shows him special favor and enlightens him from within.
In the Eleventh Canto, Twentieth Chapter, verses 32 and 33, of Srimad- Bhagavatam the Lord further instructs Uddhava, “My dear friend, the profits derived from fruitive activities, austerities, the culture of philosophical knowledge, renunciation, the practice of mystic yoga, charity and all similar auspicious activities are automatically achieved by My devotees–those who are simply attached to Me by loving service. These devotees have everything at their disposal, but they desire nothing outside of My devotional service. If ever a devotee should desire some material profit, like promotion to the heavenly planets, or some spiritual profit–to go to the Vaikunthas–by My causeless mercy his desires are very easily fulfilled.”
(NOD ch. 14, pages 113-114 )