Jayadvaita Maharaj:

In Srimad Bhagavatam,brahmacäré guru-kule, vasan dänto guror hitam.’ Actually everyone should become brahmacari. There are different kinds of brahmacaris—someone becomes brahmacari for his whole life, someone for so many years, someone for one year, someone for so many months, someone for at least one day. But the brahmacari ashram is for training in service and in self control, ‘vasan dänto guror hitam.’ Even a king’s son would be sent to the brahmacari ashram to learn proper character, to be formed in proper character. Proper character means first of all that one has to be able to control the senses. If we’re controlled by the senses then where is the good character? We may have some high ideals, high concepts but when the senses call, “Come on, let’s go.” “Yes sir, yes sir.” When the senses are calling then we have to obey because we are servants of the senses and the master is ordering so now we have to follow the dictation of the senses and in this way.

Niranjan maharaj ki Jai. Shyamsundar Prabhu we have all this space here. And your back is not good Niranjan Maharaj. You need a proper place to sit. — if Shyamsunder Prabhu is alone back there. Senior devotees means who can do what you like [Laughter]. That doesn’t matter.

 

‘Adänta-gobhir viçatäà tamisraà, punaù punaç carvita-carvaëänäm,’ when the senses are uncontrolled and demanding, ‘Now do this. Now do that,’ then gradually we glide down to degraded condition which we were always chewing the chewed again and again to try to satisfy the unsatisfiable demands of the senses. So control of the senses means especially guror hitam, that one should be engaged in the service of guru and Krishna. Simply controlling the senses by force is very difficult. ‘yat-päda-paìkaja-paläça-viläsa-bhaktyä,’ the Kumaras said that, “To control the senses simply by force, to control the waves of the material desire is very difficult like this tsunami. You know, you stand in front of it and say, “Stop.” [Laughter] That’s not going to work very well. So trying to control the senses is something like that. Arjuna gave the example. Senses means the mind is the chief of the senses. So trying to stop the fickle mind, Arjuna said is something like ‘väyor eva suduskara,’ it’s difficult as controlling a hurricane. But the Kumaras say that, “If one’s mind is fixed on the lotus petal feet of Govinda, Krishna, then one can very easily control the mind and the senses. ‘Bhaja väsudevam,’ therefore they say, “By all means one should engage in the service of Krishna. Service of Krishna means service of Krishna and the spiritual master, guror hitam. Therefore brahmacari life means to be engaged as a servant. One time Prabhupada was sitting with some devotees and someone asked what is the position of the disciple? And Prabhupada said, “You can answer.” So some disciple answered, “Servant, Srila Prabhupada.” Prabhupada said, “Menial servant.” Menial servant means whatever that needs to be done for the satisfaction of the spiritual master, the disciple should do. Srila Radhanath Maharaj ki Jai. So brahmacari ashram is a very suitable ashram for cultivating this training. One has no other business. Brahmacari doesn’t have to think about maintaining any establishment. For family affairs, he doesn’t have to think about his wife and family members. He only has to think about serving Krishna and the spiritual master. He has no other business. Then if he remains brahmacari, that’s very nice. He has no other concern but to engage in the devotional service. Otherwise if he is married then also he is trained how to be a self restrained householder and how to dedicate everything—mind, body, words, family, everything for the service of Krishna and the spiritual master. Without brahmacari training, the householder life is very difficult and with proper training in the brahmacari ashram, the householder life is properly executed or skipped. The brahmacari, once he is trained can either continue very nicely as a trained grihastha or remain as a career brahmacari in the service of Krishna. Sometimes we think that, “We have to take sannyasa now. I have to make a decision. I am 35 years old. Now I’m going to get married or I’m going to take sannyasa.” But actually one can remain brahmacari whole life. In Gaudiya Math, there were many pure brahmacaris or old man brahmacaris. So either way, the main thing is we finally we don’t care brahmacari, grihastha, vanaprastha, sannyasa, we just want to see that our whole life is engaged in the service of Krishna. So this brahmacari vesh is very nice for being fixed up in brahmacari life and all good wishes to those who are accepting this saffron cloth.

 

Damodar Maharaj:

om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah

When Gauranga Prabhu asked me to speak this morning to give a brahmacari class, I told him that I was not at a practice because I have been preaching in America and there are no brahmacaris left. So I 8.30 ___ you. It’s nice to be here with that tradition of full commitment in that ashram is being promoted. Actually nice to see here how the culture is being developed. To support that event, this ceremony is so nice. Somtimes, in the Vedic culture they have the term samskaras. I don’t know if this exactly within the traditional line of samskaras but the same principle is there is that there’s a support for commitment and by making a commitment in the assembly of people who have affection for you, then their expectations for you will be much deeper into the heart. So there is, I guess that it’s an encouragement I understand, to take to that life of full commitment and renunciation in that type of ashram and because His Holiness Radhanath Maharaj is a great example of detachment, person who is detached but not on the platform of just jyana, the platform of dedication, commitment, and love to the spiritual master. That’s the real detachment. It’s like that this verse this morning was about detachment in one way, na dhanaà na janaà na sundaréà, kavitäà vä jagad-éça kämaye,’ that one doesn’t want these things he remains detached. But he doesn’t want these things because he doesn’t serve his purpose his real objective which is love of Krishna. ‘Premä pum-artho mahän,’ that’s the real objective and whatever ashram we are in and whatever situation we are in, it has one standard—we are doing it because it’s favorable for us to achieve love of Godhead. And certainly in this situation, where you are free from encumbrances of economic activities, where you live a simple renounced life is so favorable to getting the mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu by that dedication and if one has the inclination to actually continue in that way and certainly I guess part of the six ceremony today is that there is a commitment that people are attracted and qualified for that ashram to continue with that ashram at least longer and as Jayadvaita Maharaj said, “How glorious if they live a life long situation of that type of full commitment and dedication.

I remember one time I visited His Holiness Radhanath Swami at New Vrndavana and one of my disciples was with me and we were riding back from New Vrndavana and from Maharaj’s association he had a nice realization of that detachment in Krishna Consciouness that stuck with me and he said, “Oh! I was just with His Holiness Radhanth Swami and I understood what detachment is,” and he said, “Its surrender to Krishna’s will,” and that’s what the real detachment is. If we fully surrender to Krishna’s will and to have that sense that all my needs, all my needs are met by taking shelter of Krishna and then one becomes detached. I was speaking this morning that I am just going to as I already spoke so much too much but in our line to remain brahmacari, it’s not just jyana, its bhakti because that’s our real need and our situation of brahmacari life by putting one in the ashram in that type of association and having full time commit oneself to the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It’s such a wonderful opportunity to get His mercy and when you get mercy then naturally the response is like you feel loved and if you feel that reciprocation from your service and your dedication to the will of Krishna as its coming through the guru parampara in the ashram of the spiritual master and you develop that affection for guru and Krishna by giving your self to them and experiencing them by seeing then your other needs will become very, very minimal because your main need will be met and therefore we have the example of the greatest renunciates—the six Goswamis. They weren’t vairagis in the sense they were meditating on the sense objects—no, no, no, no. But they were absorbed so much that they didn’t need to feel complete by sense gratification. We need to feel complete by sense gratification because we are not feeling that love of Krishna within our heart and therefore because we are seeking to feel that shelter and completeness we seek it otherwise. So if you make this wonderful commitment, saffron is not an ordinary color. Gauranga was also telling me that, “You know really it’s not appreciated changing colors.” If someone comes in your ashrama puts on saffron immediately and then decides to put on white but that is actually such a serious thing and I believe the history that traditionally brahmacaris wore white but I believe Srila Bhakti Siddhantha Saraswati Thakur when he saw the popularity of the Ramakrishna mission, they were giving out saffron cheaply, then he wanted his preachers to wear saffron. But it’s not a cheap thing because it traditionally represent sannyasa and therefore, one who is wearing that color, people expect that actually they were sannyasi that they actually made of full commitment to a renounced life. So it’s actually a great responsibility to represent Srila Prabhupada. In that way as one of his front line preachers surrendered to the spiritual masters. So I am very happy to come here and see that this very, very important ashram is actually increasing with this number. So nice! Thank you very much. Srila Prabhupada ki jai!!

Bhagavad gita says, Arjuna says that, “My dear Krishna, the mind is very obstinate, very strong, and controlling it seems more difficult than controlling the wind.” Brahmacari life means really grabbing hold of the whims of the minds, pulling it in dedicating one hundred percent in the service of spiritual master and the great thing about brahmacari life is there’s no distractions as far as household life or any other kind of commitments. I can say the best years of my life were as a brahmacari serving Prabhupada without any kind of thoughts other than devotional service and there is one class which Srila Prabhupada gave me in Los Angeles and the topic was becoming Krishna Conscious and he said you can become Krishna Conscious as householder and you can become Krishna Conscious as brahmacari. Prabhupada held up his hand and said, “But remain brahmacari” and in this way there is no hindrances in serving the spiritual master and dedicating one hundred percent to the service of Lord Sri Krishna. So there’s much more qualified devotees should speak on the subject matter. So I’ll allow them to speak. I just wanted to be here and take advantage of your brahmacari — it’s like putting up a stop sign for maya so we have to fight off maya with a very strong mind and a very strong desire for devotional service. Hare Krishna.

 

Radhanath Maharaj:

vancha-kalpatarubhyas ca krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
patitanam pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah

 

sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda
sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda

 hare krsna hare krsna, krsna krsna hare hare
hare rama hare rama, rama rama hare hare.

‘mahäjano yena gataù sa panthäù,’ Lord Caitanya taught that the path of perfection is to follow in the footsteps of the great souls. In His Divine pastimes, both by His own example and amongst His associates, He taught the ideals of both family life as well as renunciation. Sivanand Sena was a grihastha, several children. His service to the vaisnavas, his complete detachment from anything that was not favorable for devotional service, was so extraordinary that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu on many occasions said that, “The family of Sivananda Sena is My family.” Practically every day he would take their prasada and the affection he showed for the children to the extent of allowing little Puri to suck Lord Caitanya’s toe. So yes, Sivanand Sen was grihastha but he dedicated his life, his soul, his everything to serving vaisnavas and hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord.

 

And we have the six goswamis of Vrndavana. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu,

mahäprabhura bhakta-gaëera vairägya pradhäna

yähä dekhi’ préta hana gaura-bhagavän

 

That renunciation is the basic principle which sustains all the true devotees of Lord Caitanya. Seeing such renunciation Lord Caitanya becomes extremely satisfied. When He saw the renunciation of Srila Raghunath Das Goswami, Lord Caitanya shed tears of love and affection.

So if you want to be perfect in Krishna Consciousness as grihastha, we must follow in the footsteps of those grihasthas who practiced knowledge, detachment and devotion. And if we want to attain perfection in the renounced order, we must follow in the footsteps of the six Goswamis. What Damodar Swami Maharaj has said is very important that the saffron color represents renunciation and the principle of purity and renunciation. It is like a flag. You are representing your guru, Srila Prabhupada and your whole parampara. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained that, “When there is a single spot of ink on a white cloth, people will see it and criticize it.” So similarly when we misbehave while wearing the saffron color which represents purity and renunciation then people will criticize, people will lose their faith not only in you but what you represent—ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada and our Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya and this is especially very true in India. So it is a great responsibility. What you are representing and who you are representing and thus it should be taken very seriously.

It is also an impetus when we are in saffron color. We should always be aware of who we are representing and we should always be very, very, very careful and that pressure of awareness is very helpful for us to be on guard against maya. Renunciation is to avoid unnecessary association with opposite sex, to avoid unnecessary relationship with money, with wealth and with any possessions that cannot be used in Krishna’s service. Internally, renunciation is simplicity. Srila Bhakti Siddhantha Saraswati Thakur explained, “This is the first principle of a vaisnava.” Simplicity, that means no duplicity. When we have our own agenda that is material attachment, and then we must act or speak duplicitous for our own selfish purposes. Thus simplicity is to speak in a very respectful and straightforward way and to act accordingly.

Renunciation is humility. Essentially renunciation is about detachment from the false ego because that is the seat of all other attachments. We may be learned, we may be very exemplary in our austerities but if we are proud and if we are not properly respecting others then our detachment is simply superficial. Study the lives of the six Goswamis They only ate what was required, they slept very simple, they had very little possessions. Lord Caitanya told Raghunath Das Goswami when he asked, “What are the principles of one in the renounced order of life?”

grämya-kathä nä çunibe, grämya-värtä nä kahibe

bhäla nä khäibe ära bhäla nä paribe

Should not speak nonsense. That is renunciation. No gossip, no unnecessary criticism, no unnecessarily just talking about mundane events, no gramya katha and no inclination to hear those things. Not to speak gossip and not to hear it and to dress very simple and eat simple. To offer all respect to others, do not expect any in return. To constantly chant the names of Krishna and in one’s mind to worship Radha and Krishna. These are the principles of renunciation according to Lord Caitanya.

Humility is very important. ‘To offer all respect to others, to expect none in return,’ is very much the substance of real renunciation.

tåëäd api sunécena

taror api sahiñëunä

amäninä mänadena

kértanéyaù sadä hariù

Internally we should cultivate this principle and very much take shelter of hearing and chanting the names and glories of the Lord. Externally we should be servant of the servant and be very much aware that we are representing our parampara in proper association with opposite sex, in proper behavior. Accumulation of wealth of possessions beyond necessary is not proper and if we actually live with these ideals then it is the means of achieving or attracting the very, very, very special mercy of Sri guru and Gauranga.

In Srila Prabhupada’s mission which is Lord Caitanya’s mission, another very important aspect of renunciation is to preach through book distribution, through preaching or through assisting or facilitating the preaching in various ways, we are trying to please spiritual master and Krishna because ultimately whatever we do if it’s not pleasing to guru and Krishna, it’s not spiritual. So all of you who are accepting the saffron cloth today it is not a vow it is expressing your intent to commit yourself to a life of a very, very exemplary renunciate or brahmacari and it is a very serious sacrifice and I am extremely grateful to anyone who is willing to make this sacrifice for the service of Srila Prabhupada and the vaisnavas. My sincerest prayers are with you. I thank you very much. Hare Krishna.

 

Niranjan Maharaj:

oà ajïäna-timirändhasya jïänäïjana-çaläkayä

cakñur unmélitaà yena tasmai çré-gurave namaù

mükaà karoti väcälaà

paìguà laìghayate girim

yat-kåpä tam ahaà vande

paramänanda-mädhavam

I’ll say a few words. Much is already been said about the path of renunciation and detachment but certainly brahmacari life is meant to exemplify mood of simplicity and detachment. And the — that Srila Prabhupada has given us certainly according to a vaisnava tradition of ___ to remain detached just by engaging our senses and our mind in loving devotional service to the Lord. There is one commentary. In Caitanya Bhagavat, Srila Bhakti Siddhant quotes. I can’t remember the scripture, maybe someone can help me. He describes the anomalies of Kali-yuga and he says that one of the anomalies of Kali-yuga is that in Kali-yuga brahmacaris who remain brahmacari because household life is too troublesome and certainly in quoting this reference he is bringing to light many of parable symptoms of Kali-yuga. Certainly this is not the basis for being a brahmacari because household life is too troublesome. One who tries to imitate brahmacarya simply on that platform will certainly not be very successful in the long run in maintaining his vows. Although it’s good to hear about the troubles of household life, certainly many householders can reveal sometimes deep realizations, detachment that awaken in their hearts that’s the result of having undergone trials and tribulations of household life and that can certainly inspire and motivate us to really avoid household life on one hand but on the other hand if we really want to maintain the spirit of detachment we have to accept that which is possible. Our philosophy is based or supports upon rejecting that which is not good and accepting that which is good. To the principles of surrender accepting everything favorable for the devotional service and on the other hand to reject everything which is unfavorable both go hand in hand. Or just it is stated

smartavyaù satataà viñëur

vismartavyo na jätucit

sarve vidhi-niñedhäù syur

etayor eva kiìkaräù

Krishna must always be remembered, Krishna must never be forgotten. All the prescribed activities and all the prohibited activities which are given in the Vedas are meant to serve these two principles. So ultimately the goal is always remember Krishna but that is the positive and the prohibited activity—don’t forget Krishna. The positive is to always hear about Krishna, chant about Krishna, to associate with devotees who have similar attraction for hearing and chanting, develop a taste a genuine taste and attraction for sanga, association with those who actually are renounced. Anybody who has deep friendship in Krishna Consciousness, very deep specially you develop such a deep taste for Krishna Consciousness on the basis of that friendship then what need is there to pursue any other relationships in this world. Just as

viñayä vinivartante

nirähärasya dehinaù

rasa-varjaà raso ‘py asya

paraà dåñövä nivartate

It’s certainly the highest taste and as what Krishna states in Bhagavad Gita that — you may restrict them from sense enjoyment even though the taste remains but he can assists using engagements by experiencing the higher taste ___ become fixed in KC. So certainly to be aware of the troubles of household life is advantageous but it’s not a way and therefore I am very pleased and impressed when I see that as Damodar Maharaj said that here the culture for brahmacari life is so nicely in place because you have such a wonderful facility and network, protective network amongst yourselves to actually deepen your relationships with each other. loving relationships. This is as stated in Srimad Bhagavatam that one should actually have friendly relationships with these brahmacaris, to have friendly relationships with spiritual master.” Right? Spiritual master’s course is best friend. Of course he is not too familiar but it’s just a reality. Just is in Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says suhådaà sarva-bhütänäà, he knows Me the friends of all living beings so Krishna’s — everyone’s friend. Similarly spiritual master is everyone’s friend and certainly association with God brothers and they are also our friends. Friendly relationship means that we are thinking of each others best interest. Friendly relations means their loving exchanges

dadäti pratigåhëäti

guhyam äkhyäti påcchati

bhuìkte bhojayate caiva

ñaò-vidhaà préti-lakñaëam

Préti-lakñaëam—most important. Priti means affection, affectionate relationship. So therefore for devotees who want to avoid household life therefore you have such a wonderful facility to avoid it and to develop deep affectionate relationships with each other and of course Lord Caitanya’s movement does not restrict us from not having affectionate relationships with householders as well. In fact Srila Pabhupada, in his commentary to gauräìgera duöi pada, there he is quoting from Narottam Das Thakur that how whether you are, brahmacari, grihashtha, vanaprastha, sannyasi, it’s not important but if you are taking part in Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement I want your association. That is the criteria. So certainly we can have friendly relationships with householders too that is we see here such ideal exemplary householders who are very much integral parts of Lord Caitanya’s sankirtan movement who are making great sacrifices and also have taste to hearing and chanting about Krishna. But if we can avoid certainly that is a safer position. That is why all these difficulties, tribulations, anxieties and stress of household life if one can avoid it, then certainly that’s superior. So very pleased to see ,it’s very inspiring to come here, and to see this culture of giving all of you facility to not only avoid householder life but to keep in your attraction for Krishna Consciousness, nice programs for satras, studying of the sastras, everybody’s attending the programs, enthusiastic kirtans. It’s all here you don’t need anything else, so simple. I remember, when I was going out, my years of book distribution, and I always used to meditate on the simplicity, everyone, every brahmacari who went out for book distribution he couldn’t keep anything more than a Back to Godhead box in your possessions. That was it! Right? We didn’t know suitcases nothing. Everybody had one BTG box its that’s all we could fit in the van because the van was just filled with books. Right? — I remember also we used to load up our vans with books and go out to distribute, we used to load our vans in such a was if you want to sleep that night the first night we had to distribute enough books so that we can sleep in the van [Laughter]. It’s always the stated policy, “You wanted to sleep that night you have to distribute enough books that day so that there will be enough room in the van to sleep. That’s very, very little space. Everything was just right. That’s what you got one BTG box nothing more. So simple and I would always just of course those years, I often times think what happened my renunciation somehow slipped, slipped by me. I moved up to a suitcase now [Laughter]. I took sannyasa and moved up to a suitcase. It was so much simpler as a brahmacari. But certainly the simplicity of brahmacari life and being fully dependant, that was also the nectar part. We were never thinking right, we were never saying, we would never thought, we never considered to spend one paisa or one cent of course without getting permission. This is Krishna’s lakshmi, and that just to get the very, very basic necessities, that was approved, preapproved basic necessities. Right? But anything that is beyond basic necessities, “No way.” You were so completely dependent and it was so nice because there was no anxiety. The only time you got an anxiety is when you start thinking, ‘I want to enjoy,’ and then you should be in anxiety if you are thinking that way. But otherwise if you just want to be satisfied with the simplicity of brahmacari life, all facility was there because there’s everything was there whatever you needed. For a spiritual life it was there, you didn’t have to make extraneous effort. So just give yourself completely for preaching, for studying Srila Prabhupada’s books, for associating with devotees and that is such a perfect life. Perfection! So you are very fortunate although may be not all of you are going out and distributing books like we did in the 70s loading up the van, some of you are going but you still you have the perfect lifestyle. A perfect lifestyle. You got your little cupboards right where you put your things. You don’t have any 43.20 ___places where we go everybody stays together. Maharaj has created a perfect environment. You are so fortunate and so many devotees who have that experience and gave it up for something else they always come back and say, “You are so fortunate.” Right? “You are so fortunate.” So remain fortunate and just simply appreciate, the simple life of Krishna consciousness and Prabhupada has given his assurance, “Just one life dedicated, you will go back home back to Godhead.” So thank you very much for showing this nice example and giving me this opportunity to be with you and certainly my prayers and best wishes go to those devotees who are making such a serious step today and really making a firm commitment for brahmacari life. Hare Krishna.

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.