Smart, Savvy, and Sannyasi
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Question: It is said somewhere that there are three things that we may take from the devotees (for example, taking their prasadam), but I cannot remember what they are...
Yes, it is Vaishnava-charana-jal (water that washed the feet of a devotee), Vaishnava-prasad (remnants of food, cloth, etc. of a devotee), and Vaishnava-charana-renu (feet dust of a devotee).
Actually we do not think that we are Vaishnavs, so we do not let others even touch our feet. Somebody may be disappointed, "Oh, Maharaj does not allow to touch his feet..." but we do not think we are Vaishnavs.
Mahaprabhu also did not allow anyone to touch His feet—He would get angry if someone touched His feet. You have heard that in Puri, when somebody threw some water and the water would come down on the floor of the temple, some devotees would pick it up—for example, there was a devotee from Bengal who did that, and Mahaprabhu became angry and said to somebody, "Do you see?! Do you see what your Gaudiya is doing?! Tell him to go away!"
But—কৃষ্ণ যে ভজে সেই বড় চতুর, Krsna ye bhaje sei bada chatur—those who serve the Lord are very clever. Somebody asks, "O Maharaj, please give me some prasadam," but this is not the way to do it. There is another way—if you clean the prasadam plate of a Vaishnav, then you can their remnants.
Question: Srila Guru Maharaj says that the environment is perfect, but at the same it is said that this world is miserable. How can these two truths be harmonised?
It is a good question. One way it can be explained is using the answer that Ramakrishna Paramahamsa once gave. He said that what I see with my eyes is not the same as what you see with your eyes. For example, somebody may see a dog and say, "Here is a dog," but somebody sees it is something else.
Sometimes Guru Maharaj says that this world is a farce, but Mahaprabhu's conception is that one day that whole world will come to Krishna consciousness and join Harinam sankirtan. We also believe in that, that is why we try so hard to bring people all over the world to Krishna consciousness.
Actually what are you asking in your question? How to harmonise? Through Harinam sankirtan. Everybody chants something—even when a terrorist is going to blow up a building, they also pray, chant something at that time. Why do we chant? We do not know anything, but we chant because Gurudev told us to chant and said that we all came from one place and must go back to God, back to home. Sometimes this world seems horrible, and it seems contradictory, but everything can be harmonised through Harinam sankirtan. Other than that, the question is not clear to me.
Question: (Repeats) Srila Guru Maharaj says that everything that is taking place in the environment is good, whether it seems good or bad to us, but at the same time the scriptures say that this world is a miserable and a horrible place to be in. It seems contradictory, and my question is how to harmonise these two instructions.
What you are saying it true, but it is our fortune that we have come in this Kali-yuga. What we must do is follow Kali-yuga's dharma, the instruction prescribed for Kali-yuga. In Chaitanya-charitamrita it is also said that in this world this human body is very rare—there are so many birds, beasts, trees in this world, their number is more than the number of humans. Among ten million humans, there is only one karmi, fruitive worker, among ten million karmis there is only one wise person; among ten million of such wise people there is only one liberated soul, and among ten million such liberated souls there is only one Krishna-bhakta who can be rescued from this world.
ধর্ম্মাচারী-মধ্যে হয় বহুত 'কর্ম্মনিষ্ঠ' ।
dharmachari-madhye haya bahuta 'karmanistha'
"Among those who follow the dharma there are many of those who practise karma. Among millions of such sincere karmis, there is only one truly wise person. Among millions of such wise people, there is only one liberated soul. Among millions of such liberated souls, there is hardly one devotee of Krishna."
Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.147-148
Question: Does one have to be a sannyasi to take disciples?
It depends upon the society, in different societies there are different rules. Although the scriptures say that there is no sannyas in Kali-yuga, Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur himself took sannyas, but it is a Vaishnav sannyas. Rupa Goswami and Sanatan Goswami did not wear saffron colour also...
I have told it before—even a grihastha person (a householder) can be a sannyasi. One can wear white clothes, have a wife, go to work, and do everything else, but they can be a sannyasi—somebody may have a wife but they have no attachment to their wife; somebody may go to work, but they work not for their family, but for their mission.
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