Student: In Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s Bhagavat Gita, he says in one purport that practicing renunciation has no benefit unless someone has a taste for Krsna consciousness. Can you explain this?
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: The sound must have Divine characteristic, Krsna, Hari, these sounds are nirguna and Divine. Sabdha brahma nama-krsna
asesagha haram viduh
The name must be of finite characteristic that can take away all that is undesirable in us. The name must have a spiritual conception not mere physical imitation, that can be produced only by the help of the lip and tongue. Krsna-nama, Hari-nama, Visnu, Narayana, all these are Vaikuntha-nama, it is necessary that They have spiritual existence, that is all in all. They must have spiritual depth, not imitation. Physical imitation is not the name proper. Not sabdha-brahma. Only the imitation sound may come out, but not depth. So name means nama-brahma, nama-krsna, name means it must have some spiritual background or spiritual truth to be distributed through the physical sound. Just like a pill in homeopatic medicine, the pill is not the medicine. It may be nux-vomica, belladona or anything else, but the globule is not the medicine. So sound is not Krsna, but Krsna is within. The name must be surcharged with the spirit , and that spirit is not of mundane character. That is not found even in the Sankara school, or the Mayavadi school, because their faith is that the name is not confined within the jurisdiction of the physical, but it is only mental, sattva-guna. That is also product of this maya, misconception. That is their misunderstanding. So, those that think, that Hari-nama, Krsna-nama, Siva-nama all are one and the same, like the Rama-Krsna Mission or the Sankara school teach like that. But that idea originates in the plane of misunderstanding. So suddha-nama must have it’s original form in nirguna-bhumika, far beyond the area of the misconception of maya. The influence of maya is applicable up to Viraja, then Brahmaloka, then Paravyoma. The real name must have it’s origin from Paravyoma, and Krsna-nama is originating from Goloka, the most original plane of the whole existence. To be really Krsna-nama it must have it’s origin in the highest plane of Vrndavana.
Nama-akara, the mere physical sound is not the name proper. The real name is necessary for us not only to get out of this world of maya or misunderstanding, but for the attainment of the service of Krsna in Vrndavana. That can lift us - the name which has it’s origin in the Vrndavana plane - only that can take us there. Otherwise, if the spirit in the name, the sound, is of any other type it may take us to that mundane place only. It is quite scientific, not unreasonable.
So a mere word is not the name. The meaning and the gist of meaning, the deep conception of the meaning, that is everything - all in all. It is all important to serve our purpose.
Student: Is tyaga, or renunciation recomended for the neophyte?
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, renunciation must always be yukta-vairagya. What will help me in my present condition to invest my highest energy for the cause, that sort of requirement we should take from this world. We must not get excitement by intoxication, but accept only as much as needed materially to keep up my normal health in this world. If we think that with the help of exploitation or any other medicine we shall create some more energy, thinking that is the easy way, it is not only useless, but harmful. No material thing can help us to make progress in the spiritual world. They can help to keep our body fit. Material things cannot have any contribution for the improvement of our spiritual position. Only we should make "the best of the bad bargain." We are already committed to the material causes and from that only the negative aspects will be attained. Without food we cannot live, that much we shall have to accept, and we should not think that this will help me spiritually. This will keep our health normal and from that plane I shall serve. I shall search for Sri Krsna, take the Name and do some service all from the normal plane. This is yukta-vairagya, proper detachment. Not more, not less. Neither less nor more we shall take. Both will be detrimental to our cause. All sorts of excitement, temporary excitement and risk should be avoided.
On the normal plane, we have earned our previous karma, and from there we should begin. We should not be attached to those things that are detremental to our normal life, though, presently they seem to be helping, but they are not giving a real contribution. We should understand this not only about intoxication, but even about money.
dhana-sisyadibhir dvaair ya bhaktir uppadyate
viduratvad uttamata hanya tasyas ca nangata
(B.r.s Purva 257)
We may think that devotion may earned by spending money, by using one’s son or wife for the cause of devotion. "I am helping my wife to go on with devotional activities, so I shall get benefit," or "I am utilising my son for devotional purpose then by this I shall acquire devotion," or "My sisya, my disciple is becoming good devotee, so as a guru, I must get something through him." These things are not real devotion. Dhan, sisya, are only bodily thought. By giving money to the devotees, by helping the devotees, I shall get some benefit, but this is not suddha-bhakti. It may be sukrti, but not pure devotion. This is because money or these other things do not belong to you. Due to mis-identification, you falsly think that you are master of this or that. So your whole self should be devoted.
What did Ambarish Maharaja do? He was a king, but he did not try to earn devotion by money. Bharata Maharaja was very young and he went to earn devotion. Not that they tried to earn devotion through money. It is difficult to accept this. Money cannot buy devotion, but it helps those of lower class. They can get some money some energy from this plane and utilize it for the service of the devotees and the Lord. Then they can get some sukrti, but not suddha-bhakti. Suddha-bhakti demands that you are His slave and as he may want you, to serve Him, you must do that. Then you can rise up to the standard of suddha-bhakti.
You are His slave, and your nature should be to wait for His order and to carry it out. Under the guidance of the guru who is in connection with Him, we just throw ourselves in His service and carry out His order. From Him the order is coming through guru and sadhu. I must place myself at the disposal of that suddha guru, a sadhu, who is already in direct connection with Him, His agent. We place ourselves at his disposal: whatever He will ask, I will do it - that will be real service.
Therefore, it is said in the sastra, that the service of the Vaisnava is better than the direct service of the Lord. The cause is that, if I approach Him directly, then I have to imagine or suppose that this may be His direction. It may or may not be perfect, it may be contaminated, adulterated by my conception, thinking that this must be His order. But when it is coming through the real sadhu, His agent, then if I can do that, it has direct connection with Him, a real connection. So it brings more improvement in me than my direct approach.
The Name must be vaikuntha nama grahanam, of infinite characteristic - that is Vaikuntha, and not a member of this mundane or measured plane. Maya is measured by local or provincial interest, and not absolute interest. It must not be rooted there, but it must have it’s connection with the Absolute plane, then it will come and transform me and prepare me, make me fit for the service of that Absolute plane. Krsna is there, it is not a thing of concoction or imagination. It is Reality, and what we think to be real at present is all unreal.
At present we are in the midst of a particular experience of the world that is unreal, that will soon evaporate, but what we are searching for through the sastras and the sadhus, the plane where Krsna lives and our personalities there in connection of that plane within us, that is all truth.
ya nisa sarva-bhutanam tesam jagarti samyami
yasyam jagrati bhutani sa nisa pasyato muneh
(Bhagavad-gita 2. 69)
What is night to one is day to another and what is day to one is night to another. We are now wakeful only in the calculation of the local and provincial interest of the world. The human conception thrown on the infinite has different stages. Different type of thinkers throw on the environment their own color and live accordingly: that is all sanctioned, and that is all misconception. The Absolute has His own conception that comes out of His own perception, and we must be converted in to that. Only our soul can have experience and get membership there, not this bodily life. The eye, the mind, they cannot grasp that thing, only through our ear it must come to our soul, soul will be awakened and all the rulings of the mind and senses will evaporate. Then we will get our real body of our soul. It will emerge from our present conscious body and mind. Everything must be of spiritual order, not imitation. The sahajiya school try to find what they have heard about Krsna in this mundane plane. In this plane they want to find it, but it is not possible. We have to go there through sadhana under the direction of the real sadhu.