The renunciation of Raghunatha goswami-as a young man

April 18, 2021 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

The Renunciation of Raghunatha das Goswami -as a young family man
Madhya 16.237–“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.
PURPORT-As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.58): samāśritā ye pada-pallava-plavaṁ mahat-padaṁ puṇya-yaśo-murāreḥ bhavāmbudhir vatsa-padaṁ paraṁ padaṁ padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām..This material world is just like a big ocean. It begins with Brahmaloka and extends to Pātālaloka, 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 Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’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 Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu or His representative. Then, one day, he will reach the shore and return home, back to Godhead.
Madhya 16.238-“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.”
PURPORT-The word markaṭa-vairāgya, indicating false renunciation, is very important in this verse. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, 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 markaṭa-vairāgye-the renunciation of a monkey. One cannot be really renounced until one actually becomes disgusted with material activityand 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 ghāṭa.However, as soon as he returns from the cremation grounds, he again engages in material activity for sense enjoyment. This is called śmaśāna-vairāgya, or markaṭa-vairāgya.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-rasāmṛta-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-saṅgamanī, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī comments that the word sva-nirvāhaḥ actually means sva-sva-bhakti-nirvāhaḥ.The experienced devotee will accept only those material things that will help him render service to the Lord. In the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.256), markaṭa-vairāgya, or phalgu-vairāgya, is explained as follows: “Whatever is favorable for the rendering of service to the Lord should be accepted and should not be rejected as a material thing.” Yukta-vairāgya, 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 Kṛṣṇa, one’s renunciation is called yukta-vairāgya.” Since Kṛṣṇa is the Absolute Truth, whatever is accepted for His service is also the Absolute Truth. The word markaṭa-vairāgya is used by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to indicate so-called Vaiṣṇavas who dress themselves in loincloths trying to imitate Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.Such people carry a beadbag and chant, but at heart they are always thinking about getting women and money.Unknown to others, these markaṭa-vairāgīs maintain women but externally present themselves as renunciants.Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was very much opposed to these markaṭa-vairāgīs, or pseudo-Vaiṣṇavas.
Madhya 16.239-Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu continued: “Within your heart, you should keep yourself very faithful, but externally you may behave like an ordinary man. Thus Kṛṣṇa will soon be very pleased and deliver you from the clutches of māyā.
Madhya 16 241-“What kind of means you will have to use at that time will be revealed by Kṛṣṇa. If one has Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, no one can check him.”

PURPORT-Although Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa was very anxious to join Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Lord advised him to wait for the mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa.He recommended that Raghunātha dāsa keep his Kṛṣṇa consciousness firmly fixed in his heart while externally behaving like an ordinary man. This is a trick for everyone advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.One can live in society like an ordinary human being, but at the same time one’s own business should be to satisfy Kṛṣṇa and spread His glories. A Kṛṣṇa 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, Kṛṣṇa will certainly bestow His mercy. As Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu advised Raghunātha dāsa: yathā-yogya viṣaya bhuñja’ anāsakta hañā. The same is repeated: antare niṣṭhā kara, bāhye loka-vyavahāra. This means that one must have no other desire within his heart than to serve Kṛṣṇa. On the basis of such a conviction, one can cultivate Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is confirmed in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.200): 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
(Prabhupada’s lecture – Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.16.24 – Hawaii, January 20, 1974)
So ultimate success is… That is described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje: [SB 1.2.6]“The highest perfection is that when you understand God and you are in love with God.” That is success.You are in love in God.It doesn’t matter howwe have learned to love God, either Christian religion or Hindu religion or Muhammadan, but if you have got that success, that you have learned how to love God, then your life is successful. Then there are different stages of loving platform, and when you love Kṛṣṇa as Rādhārāṇī did… That is not possible, but that is the aim, and that is the highest perfection. But the beginning is love, how you are in love with God. Śānta, dāsya, sākhya, vātsalya, mādhurya. So unless you come to that…If you love these material things, then you should know that you are not in love with God. If you are in love with God, then you’ll forget material love. That is the test.
SB 7.5.30-Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Kṛṣṇa are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both.”
March 18 1976 mayapur lecture
So therefore we have to purify our senses.Unless we purify our senses, we’ll be disturbed by the demands of the senses—one side, the tongue; one side, the ear; one side, the eyes; one side, the nose; one side, the hand; one side, the leg.The example is given very nicely, that sapatnya iva geha-patiṁ lunanti. Just like a man has got many wives. Here especially the kṣatriyas, they marry many wives. There is purpose also. The kṣatriyas are allowed in this way. Why? Because kṣatriyas are… Generally they are king. They have got money to maintain many wives. They can do it. And they eat also very first-class vitaminous food also, so they have energy.Even our Kṛṣṇa, He also married as a kṣatriya so many wives. So, not like Kṛṣṇa or any other, but everyone wants to keep more than one wife. Everyone wants.That is his heart’s desire. And if one is able actually, he keeps.But what is his position?That is described here, that bahvyaḥ sapatnya iva geha-patiṁ lunanti. Now suppose you have got one dozen wives.So when you come home the every wife is waiting: “My husband will come from work. I shall snatch him in my room by force. Last night he did not come. Now, this night, I shall forcefully bring in my room.” So this man enters, and every wife is prepared to take the opportunity, so all of them come. So one catches one leg, another catches another leg, another, hand, another, mouth, another, hair, (laughter) and they’re all snatching: “Come here, come here.” So he’s flat.So what is his position, just imagine. This example is given. Similarly, if all the senses, supposed to be my subordinate wife, they snatch the man, that “Just enjoy this. Just enjoy this. Enjoy this. Enjoy this,” then what is the position? Most disturbed condition.So in such disturbed condition one should… What? One should take vow that “No more wife, that’s all. I have suffered so much. Now no more wife. That’s nice.”Then the mind will be in peaceful condition. No more disturbance.
The whole Vedic civilization is an attempt to create peaceful condition of the mind so that “I can fix up my mind on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.” This is Vedic civilization.
july 25 1976 lecture
Gṛha-vratānām. Gṛha, there are different meanings of gṛha. Especially gṛha, we mean the home, house. Gṛha-vrata and gṛhastha, they are two different.Gṛhastha means although he is in gṛha, household life, his purpose is to go back to home, back to Godhead. They are called gṛhastha. And whose only purpose is to live at home-decorate the home, decorate the wife, decorate the children and make money to live very comfortably—they are called gṛha-vrata or gṛhamedhi.They are not gṛhastha. Gṛhastha means although he’s living with wife, children, family, but his purpose is how to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, how to go back home, back.They are called gṛhastha. So gṛhasthāśrama is as good as other āśramas.
POY 7….
In everyone’s life there are two duties: one is to serve the illusion, and the other is to serve the reality.When one serves the reality, he is a real sannyāsī. And when one serves the illusion, he is deluded by māyā.One has to understand, however, that he is in all circumstances forced to serve. Either he serves the illusion or the reality. The constitutional position of the living entity is to be a servant, not a master.One may think that he is the master, but he is actually a servant. When one has a family he may think that he is the master of his wife, or his children, or his home, business and so on, but that is all false. One is actually the servant of his wife, of his children and of his business.The president may be considered the master of the country, but actually he is the servant of the country.Our position is always as servant—either as servant of the illusion or as servant of God. If, however, we remain the servant of the illusion, then our life is wasted. Of course everyone is thinking that he is not a servant, that he is working only for himself.Although the fruits of his labor are transient and illusory, they force him to become a servant of illusion, or a servant of his own senses.Butwhen one awakens to his transcendental senses and actually becomes situated in knowledge, he then becomes a servant of the reality.When one comes to the platform of knowledge, he understands that in all circumstances he is a servant. Since it is not possible for him to be master, he is much better situated serving the reality instead of the illusion. When one becomes aware of this, he attains the platform of real knowledge. By sannyāsa, the renounced order of life, we refer to one who has come to this platform.Sannyāsa is a question of realization, not social status.
Some Conclusions–The above words by Srila Prabhupada are meant for our benefit. I remember when I joined the KC movement, and myself like so many others, we were thinking we were “renounced” because we slept on the floors, only slept 6 hours or less a night, went out all day on sankirtan, and wore a “Prabhupada hat” like our guru did. We were imitating so much at that time but not actually following the protocol of an actually renounced person.

For example while out on sankirtan, in Seattle, there was a devotee run business downtown called Radha Kund store which sold all sorts of hippy type articles. We went there everyday for lunch where they served us large amounts of dates with sour cream. It tasted  really good, but what we didnt know was that this combination of sweet foods only increased the mode of passion and made us all more agitated than ever.   And after sankirtan, we were very eager to see how we rated in the sankirtan book distribution scores which were reported to Srila Prabhupada. There was so much competition in those days to always “do more”. So this doing more was OK, but not for the name and fame which we craved.

Prabhupada mentions elsewhere that one  test of advancement is when the fire for material “betterment”  or the desire for “become something” subsides. Or as he says above when our “love” for material things is replaced by Love for God, or Krsna. One may have some tears in his or her eyes when he chants, which is ok, but a better sign is when we know we are losing our attachment for all material things, starting with our bodies and extending to its expansions. Or as Jesus also  once said you cant love mammon (riches) and God at the same time.
Hare Krsna
damaghosa das