True purport of Sannyāsa
– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami
We would like to welcome all of you to another very beautiful and transcendental place in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām. As our 2015 Kārtik Parikramā slowly comes to an end and the cold weather and the fog is setting in, and you can hear devotees coughing anywhere and everywhere. We don’t mind all these things—the fog, the cold, the sickness—because we are experiencing transcendence in this holy Dhām of Śrī Vṛndāvan. We have learned the art to rise above the modes of material nature through the very simple technique introduced very mercifully by Lord Caitanya, by hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord, specifically Lord Kṛṣṇa—Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
Today we find ourselves at the very sacred Āśrama of one Muni, Saubhari Muni. His story is elaborated in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and Prabhupāda speaks about it in the Kṛṣṇa Book. We have spoken about Saubhari Muni several times over the past few years, so we won’t go into much detail today about his life. But very simply, he was a Sādhu living here and he had not yet achieved perfection; he had some material desires still in his heart. He wasn’t so strong, as he should be in his Sādhana, so he fell prey to sex desire and he gave up his celibacy and he married. Nothing wrong with that; Prabhupāda said that’s the safest Āśrama. Prabhupāda says in a purport in the Bhāgavatam that one should find that Āśrama where one feels most comfortable and continue on with his service, whether it be Brahmacārī, Gṛhastha, Vānaprastha or Sannyāsī. That’s not so important, what is important is our Sevā to Kṛṣṇa, that’s what purifies our hearts. Because of the strong influence in this age, 90-95% of those who are practicing devotional life will serve the Lord in the Gṛhastha Āśrama and we see that in the beginning and now middle of our society’s progress: it’s mainly the Gṛhasthas who have set up temples and preaching centers and programs. Therefore Prabhupāda very proudly said, “My Guru Mahārāja, he created an army of Sannyāsīs; I am creating an army of Gṛhasthas.”
This pastime is relevant that he situated himself and then after sometime, Saubhari Muni began making progress, making advancement; he left the Gṛhastha Āśrama and he again became a renunciate and achieved perfection. That’s the general path: Brahmacārī, Gṛhastha, Vānaprastha and Sannyāsa. The real definition of Sannyāsa is not necessarily change in the clothes but just ‘Yukta–Vairāgya’—seeing that everything belongs to the Lord and using everything in Kṛṣṇa’s service—this is the true purport of Sannyāsa. We are speaking like that because this is the pastime here and these are the lessons to be learned from the life of Saubhari Muni.
We see here two altars: here is Saubhari Muni—here he is alone. I don’t know if this is before or after his household life; and here he is with his two very beautiful wives, and over here, we have a beautiful Śiva–Liṅgam which the resident Tyāgis worship. The Sādhus who live here are part of the Rāmānandī Sampradāya, which is an off-shoot of the Rāmānuja Sampradāya. The Mahānta of this Āśrama is presently in Madhya Pradesh on some transcendental mission and the Sādhus who live here are on Vṛndāvan Parikramā, and they have opened their home to us. I mentioned the other day, if you went to Paris or London, Moscow or Kiev and just gave your keys to someone to just accommodate 300 people coming in your house—you know, no one would think like that. But this is the mood of the Vrajavāsīs. They like to share anything Kṛṣṇa conscious, so they have given us the keys, so to speak, the keys to the Āśrama and they are all gone. And here we are, so we have to thank them for being so generous and allowing us to come here year after year and hold our programs at this sacred place. Although they are not here, we can express our gratitude to the transcendental medium—this is how spiritual life works. Although they are very far away doing their Parikramā, we can show our gratitude to them by giving a big applause. [Applause].
Again, this place gives us an idea of what Vṛndāvan was even 30 or 40 years ago. When we came, much of Vṛndāvan was like this. We were walking on that dusty path on the way here. At one time the Vṛndāvan Parikramā— the 2.5 hour, 3 hour walk around Vṛndāvan— the whole path was just dusty like that.
There is a famous picture of Mother Śītalā and Bhogini and several devotees walking on that path—there are big smiles on their faces, japa beads, and you can see the dust is up to their ankles. That was just down somewhere near my house. So today you got a little bit of the Vṛndāvan experience just walking through the nature on the way to this Āśrama. That’s the Vraja–Reṇu that we talk about—the Vraja–Reṇu, the dust—one of the five personalities who grants us entrance and residence in Vṛndāvan. That’s the Vraja–Reṇu. Some devotees take little vials of that dirt home, put it in a little jar on their altar and worship it. We are very blessed to be here again, the Vṛndāvan experience, the Āśrama of Saubhari Muni. This is a secret place. As you see the pilgrims are going around Vṛndāvan, but no one took a left turn and came here, and even many ISKCON devotees are not aware of this place. So let’s keep it secret; part of our family for our Kārtik Parikramās 2016. We will keep it secret, okay? The Sādhus who live here are actually renounced, engaged in Bhajans. Sometimes I come here alone and I sit here and chant, so if ever I disappear and you want to find me, just come here, I will be with the Bābājis in a loin-cloth. Seriously, I may not leave today.
So yes, we are going to enter into the mood of Vṛndāvan once again through the beautiful Bhajan of Mādhava Prabhu. That’s the best way to enter into the mood, with the transcendental sound vibration of Kṛṣṇa’s Holy Name, which is one of the revealers of the Dhām. Then we are going to have a class on the Yamunā River, or rather the personality of Yamunā Devī. We have covered the other four personalities of the five important personalities, so as we come to a conclusion of our Parikramā, we will conclude with the glories of Yamunā Devī.
We are going to have breakfast after that, and then another Kīrtana with Baḍa Haridāsa Prabhu. It’s Ekadāsī today, another potent thing to consider and then there will be lunch Prasādam and then tomorrow we are going to Yavat. Yavat is where Rādhārāṇī lived when She was married. Her parents arranged for Her to get married to Abhimanyu who is actually an expansion of Kṛṣṇa; he is Kṛṣṇa’s shadow. Anyway, he created all kinds of obstacles for the meeting of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārāṇī’s always trying to get out of that house to meet Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s always trying to get into that house to meet Rādhārāṇī; so many obstacles, the main obstacle is Jaṭilā.
[In a joyful voice:] Caturātmā is pulling on my chadar, “Please, don’t tell all the stories,” because tomorrow he’s the speaker. He has been studying for one year—my notes from last year’s lecture and Śivarāma Swami’s books and Rādhānātha Swami and everybody’s lectures. So get ready for the lecture of the month. But that will be superseded a few hours later with the lecture of Ṭhākurāṇī—Śītalā Devī on the pastimes of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī at Tera Kadamba.
We will be leaving at what time, Rasikā? — 6:30 tomorrow, the buses will leave for Yavat and we will walk through the fields and the Vraja–Reṇu.
Śrīla Prabhupāda ki—Jaya!
Śrī Vraja-Bhūmi Vṛndāvan Dhām ki—Jaya!
Saubhari Muni Dhām ki—Jaya!
Jaya-Jaya Śrī-Śrī Rādhe————– Śyāma!
Mādhava Prabhu ki—Jaya!