Sannyasa Garb Will Not Make Things Easier
by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada
Question 1: What is the specific necessity of surrender and determination?
Answer: It is essential to have full confidence in Bhagavan. It is equally essential to have similar firm determination to perform hari-bhajana, the process of devotional service. I must receive His grace. I must not go astray. I must always go on chanting His name. God will undoubtedly help me if I am bona fide. If someone is exclusively surrendered to the lotus feet of Sri Gurudeva, he will certainly attain the fulfilment of all his desires. May the mercy of Sri Gurudeva, who is non-different from Sri Rupa, indeed be our sole support. Only then can we attain our spiritual welfare.
Question 2: Can one perform krsna-bhajana without accepting the shelter and guidance of Sri Guru?
Answer: Never! �We will exclusively perform krsna-anusilana (perpetual, ardent endeavour meant exclusively for Sri Krsna).� This krsna-anusilana is possible only under the guidance, or direction, of Krsna�s devotees. Sri Varsabhanavi-devi (Sri Radha) is anukula � genuinely kind to Sri Krsna. Indeed, Anukula is another name for Sri Radha. All of our divine gurus are none other than the dear most associates of Sri Varsabhanavi-devi. We, the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, are worshippers of that Krsna who belongs to Anukula, Sri Radha. Gaudiya Vaisnavas are more inclined to Sri Radha than to Sri Krsna.
Sri Gurudeva is the non-different manifestation of Sri Radha. Only through the anugatya, or guidance, of Anukula can one perform perpetual and ardent endeavour meant exclusively for Sri Krsna (krsna-anusilana). Wherever the guidance of Anukula, that is, the guidance of Sri Guru, is absent, it will not be possible to ardently endeavour to cause Sri Krsna pleasure out of genuine kindness to Him (anukula krsna-anusilana). Instead, all that will exist will be the devastating desire for one�s own happiness.
Only by relinquishing this conceited propensity, which is opposed to bhakti, while performing service to Sri Krsna under the guidance of Sri Guru, can everything be achieved. Unfortunately however, instead of seeking to provide pleasure to Sri Krsna, we have become busy in the search for our own pleasure. Alas! Denying Krsna as the master of our home, we ourselves have assumed that position and thus have become grha-vrata (someone who has vowed to enjoy their senses by fulfilling their fantasies). But if we wish to attain our real welfare, we will have to become attentive to it within this very lifetime lest we are to be deprived of it and become the loser, despite receiving such a golden opportunity.
Question 3: Will dressing as a sannyasi make things easier for me?
Answer: Not at all! Things will not become easier if one merely acquires the garb of a sannyasi (renunciant). If one becomes gurudevatatma, that is, if he considers Sri Guru to be the devata (worshipful Lord) and as dear as his very atma (soul) and if he thus makes service to Sri Guru his life and soul, then he alone can become a true sannyasi. It is preferable that only a bhakta who has steadfast faith and devotion in the spiritual master (guru-nistha) and steadfast faith in chanting the holy name (nama-nistha) should become a sannyasi.
However, those who do not engage in service to Sri Krsna under the guidance of guru, and instead become involved in bad association, will become completely ruined. They will never be able to understand Bhagavan or attain loving service to Him.
By dressing oneself as a saint it is possible to fool others in this world, but the omniscient Bhagavan, who bestows results according to one�s karma, will never pardon such a person. Those who dress as sadhus but are engaged in asat-sanga (bad association) are harming their very own interests. By not depending on Bhagavan, by relying on someone else, one only invites grief.
Question 4: Is this world really a prison house for the conditioned souls?
Answer: Those who do not desire anything from this material world are called niskincana devotees. In their opinion, there is nothing, no object or entity in this world, that can give us perpetual happiness. This earth is a prison house for the conditioned soul. As a result of our aversion to Krsna we have become prisoners here and are thus suffering so much pain and agony. As prisoners we are under the control of the jailor of this prison house � our mind � and consequently we conceive of our sorrow to be happiness. By this we attain our due distress. Every fool who runs after sense enjoyment in this illusory material world will find himself entangled by nescience in the clutches of maya.
Those who are grha-vrata, who have taken a vow to enter into and enjoy worldly life, think, �We must get a servant and, now that we have become grha-vrata, we shall easily manage everything and easily understand everything with the help of our very own senses.� The desire to become a politician, a litterateur, a scholar, a wealthy person, an altruist, the leader of a nation, an intellectual or a materialist in general is nothing but the desire to become the master of maya.
However, Prahlada Maharaja says, �Do not let your senses wander towards the outside worlds. Do not hold external material objects in esteem.� We have become deha-atmavadis (those who consider the body to be the self) and grha-vrata (those who have taken a vow to enter into and enjoy worldly life), and thus we dress ourselves up as masters of this world. We view this world with eyes that seek selfish gratification and enjoyment, and we think that all should be our servants, ever prepared to wait upon us. All elements like earth, water, fire, air, ether; as well as the moon, the sun, the planets, the constellations; plants, animals, trees and creepers � all are ripe for my enjoyment. We think, �I am the enjoyer of this world; everyone in it is meant to serve me.� But do we ever consider whom this world is actually for? It is an instrument to be used in the service of Jagadisvara, the Lord of the Universe. If we are not engaged in hari-bhajana then we do not even have the right to take a piece of straw from this world.
Question 5: Who does Krsna attract?
Answer: The Being �Krsna� attracts all the three worlds. This substantive entity alone is attractive. Just as a magnet only attracts iron, not wood, Bhagavan, who is most worshipful, only attracts those souls who are inclined to serve Him (seva-unmukha) and those who are already His servants (sevaka). Greed to relish the sweetness of transcendental service to Him attracts both types of souls.
However, if a person who is inclined to serve Him (seva-unmukha) becomes attracted at some point to something else, he will be deprived of that original attraction. On one side is attraction to the material world, which leads to bondage, and on the other side is that most auspicious attraction to Krsna. In this world, attractive forms, tastes, smells, sounds and touches are extremely close by, and due to our feebleness we become attracted to them. But if someone in this condition can incessantly hear hari-katha from the lips of the sadhu-guru, then he can procure his release from the clutches of those nearby enemies.
If we cannot become attracted to the lotus feet of Sri Krsna then we are bound to become attracted to maya. When we become attracted to Sri Krsna�s name, beautiful form and so forth, we may be relieved of our present, self-inflicted inconvenience of assuming the position of the enjoyer, a position which in truth belongs to Sri Krsna alone. To the extent that we engage in hearing, chanting and remembering the narrations of Krsna, our false notions of being the enjoyer will be dispelled, and then we will surely feel attraction to Krsna.