[A Morning Walk Conversation]
Hilo, Hawaii: February 7, 2005.
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] I want that we follow varnasrama-dharma
*[see endnote 1]. Varnasrama dharma is of two kinds:
daiva-varnasrama * and smarta-varnasrama.*.
We reject smarta, but we follow daiva-varnasrama especially
as established by Srila Sanatana Gosvami in his Hari-bhakti-vilasa.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada also established
it, as did our Gurudeva Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Maharaja and Srila
Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja.
Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura would become very
angry when he spoke about the smarta presentation of varnasrama. He
declared, We should follow daiva-varnasrama, but smarta varnasrama-dharma
should be ruined at once.*
Are you in daiva-varnasrama-dharma or are you out of it?
[Devotee] I dont know what the difference is between the first
one and the second one. I thought we are supposed to be trying to
get out of the varnasrama-dharma.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] All brahmacaris, grhasthas, vanaprasthas
and sannyasis are within varnasrama. The asramas are brahmacari, grhastha,
vanaprastha and sannyasa. We are all naturally part of varnasrama,
and we should therefore try to accept and very strongly follow its
principles. Those who are married should be ideal grhasthas, following
the instructions in Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa. It is not that one may
have two, three, four or five marriages. Be satisfied with one
wife or husband, and dont divorce. Remain together for your
entire life. Then afterwards, in old age, if you have life, give up
all entanglements and become absorbed in bhajana.
Brahmacaris and sannyasis should hear hari-katha; then they will automatically
become detached. Why should a sannyasi marry? He should
never marry. And why should a vanaprastha marry again? Varnaprasthas
should be very strict. They should try to gradually progress, not
to go down. If a brahmacari is going to marry, or if a vanaprastha
gives up his old wife and wants a new one, it simply means that lust
and so many anarthas are present in his heart and his activities.
So try to advance. If you are grhastha, remain in that position
and be ideal, like Srivasa Pandita, Sri Advaita Acarya, the Pandavas
and many others like them. Be ideal; follow Hari-bhakti-vilasa.
Varnasrama-dharma is favorable when it assists in worshipping Lord
Sri Krsna and Sri Guru, and when it assists in developing bhakti;
otherwise it is unfavorable.
[Devotee:] Varnasrama dharma is not the goal, because Mahaprabhu
rejected it. He said it is only like a platform.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] But the platform must come first.
If even a sannyasi is marrying, where is his platform for developing
bhakti? If a brahmacari is always independently going here and
there, and a grhastha is remarrying and again remarrying, and within
his marriage he does not follow the scriptural principles of household
life, this will not do. There should be a ground, a foundation, and
that foundation should be very strong.
[Rupa Manohara dasa:] Srila Gurudeva? Isnt it also that the
varnas (occupational duties) include ksatriya, vaisya, brahmana and
sudra as part of varnasrama dharma?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] This is not daiva-varnasrama. Any
sudra, any person who eats cow meat and other forbidden things, any
Mohammedan, Christian or Buddhist, can come and follow daiva-varnasrama-dharma.
At first, in the Sankara-sampradaya and even in the Ramanuja and Madhava
sampradayas, only a born-brahmana could be given sannyasa. But
Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura introduced the
understanding, and also the practice, that anyone can be given sannyasa
not ladies, but all males can whether they are sudras,
Mohammedan, outcasts, Christians or persons of any other religious
faith, position, cultural or family background.*
They can all take sannyasa.
Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami established this,
and his followers have also established it. Otherwise, besides him,
the members of our samaja (society) were not accepting his understanding
at all. He was very bold, and he boldly taught and acted according
to the principles of daiva-varnasrama. Thus, many smarta-brahmanas
[Gopa-vrindapala dasa:] Srila Gurudeva, after Mahaprabhu and before
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, was there no varnasrama
in the Gaudiya line?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] They used to wear paramahamsa-vesa,
the dress of the paramahamsa. Paramahamsa is more than sannyasa, but
these people also rejected daiva-varnasrama and its principles and
became so-called paramahamsas. *
We are sannyasis. Even if we give someone babaji-vesa (the dress and
station of a babaji, he is still in varnasrama. An ordinary
person cannot be a paramahamsa. Lord Nityananda Prabhu*
and Srila Sukadeva Gosvami*, who are real paramahamsas,
are allowed even to be naked. Such pure devotees are beyond all rules
and regulations, and they are even beyond the control of the Vedas.
[Padmanabha Maharaja] If babaji-vesa is still within varnasrama, why
are some persons given babaji-vesa instead of sannyasa?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Only because they cannot preach.
Babaji-vesa is allowed for those who cannot preach, and for those
who are not in knowledge of siddhanta (established philosophical conclusions).
Sannyasis should know all siddhanta and preach throughout the world.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Regarding avadhuta-vesa,* this is not
given at all. Rather, it comes automatically. The pure devotee
avadhuta may be naked or he may marry whatever he does or doesnt
do, there is no harm for him. Nityananda Prabhu was a paramahamsa
avadhuta. He married, and there was no harm for him in that.
Lord Sri Krsna married thousands upon thousands of wives, and at the
same time He is the topmost paramahamsa.
1. [Human civilization begins from the stage
of varnasrama-dharma, or specific duties in terms of the specific
modes of nature of the body obtained. Discharging ones specific
duty in any field of action in accordance with the orders of higher
authorities serves to elevate one to a higher status of life. (Bhagavad-gita
2. [Before coming to the standard of varnasrama-dharma
there is no question of human civilization. Therefore, the Krsna consciousness
movement is trying to establish this right system of human civilization,
which is known as Krsna consciousness, or daiva-varnasrama
divine culture.( Science of Self-Realization, Chapter 3)]
[The acaryas who advocate the daiva-varnasrama (the social order
of catur-varnyam mentioned in Bhagavad-gita) do not accept the proposition
of asura-varnasrama, which maintains that the social order of varna
is indicated by birth. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.23.57 purport)]
3 and 5. [Yes. Striyo vaisyas
tatha sudrah. This striya, generally they take it, Even she
is prostitute, striya. Te pi yanti param gatim: They
can also go back to home, back to Godhead. Mam hi partha...
If he takes Krsna very seriously, then everything is possible. No
impediment. Ahaituky apratihata. Krsna devotional service is so strong
that it cannot be checked by any material impediments. The smartas,
they are thinking like that, How these mlecchas and yavanas
can become a brahmana? But they do not know that by Krsna consciousness
one can jump over. Mayam etam taranti te. Daivi hy esa gunamayi mama
maya duratyaya [Bg. 7.14]. Maya is very strong. Therefore there are
gradual process. Varnasrama-dharma, karma-tyaga, this, that, so many
things, pious activities, rituals. But this is the process, step by
step, to cross over maya. But Krsna said, mam eva ye prapadyante mayam
etam taranti te. Anyone who surrenders to Krsna sincerely, immediately
he crosses over. As Krsna says in another place, aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami: [Bg. 18.66] Ill do immediately. So
maya means papa. Unless one is sinful, he cannot be in maya. So if
one surrenders, then he, means, immediately crosses over maya. So
these smarta brahmanas, they consider this thing. They are thinking,
How a person born in other families, they can become brahmana?
(Srila Prabhupada, Morning Walk, February 9, 1976)]
[One can acquire the respective qualifications by ones
own efforts, and thus the son of a Vaisnava can become a mleccha,
or the son of a candala can become more than a brahmana, all in terms
of their association and intimate relation with the Supreme Lord.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.20 purport)]
4. [Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura,
however, wanted to re-establish daiva-varnsarama. In daiva-varnasrama
there cannot be acknowledgement of social status according to birthright
because in Bhagavad-gita it is said that the determining considerations
are guna and karma, ones qualities and work. It is this daiva-varnasrama
that should be established all over the world to continue a perfect
society for Krsna consciousness. This may be astonishing to foolish
critics, but it is one of the functions of a Krsna conscious society.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.1.24 purport)]
6. [After Sriman Mahaprabhu, His lila-parikaras
(eternal pastime associates) such as the six Gosvamis, Sri Lokanatha
and Bhugarbha, and later Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja, Sri Narottama Thakura,
and Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura were naturally niskincana paramahamsa
Vaisnavas. There was no need for them to wear sannyasa-vesa, saffron
cloth. Secondly, Sriman Mahaprabhu had performed the lila of wearing
sannyasa-vesa and saffron cloth. Thus considering themselves to be
worthless, lowly and unqualified, these mahatmas did not wear sannyasa-vesa
and saffron cloth in order to show honor and respect to the vesa of
Sriman Mahaprabhu and also to maintain their own identities as servants
under the shelter of His lotus feet. On the other hand, in order to
express veneration for the niskincana paramahamsa-vesa of the associates
of Sriman Mahaprabhu, and, under their guidance to preach His message
throughout the entire world, many akincana Vaisnavas on the path of
raganuga-bhajana, holding the paramahamsa-vesa upon their heads, have
accepted a position below their worshipable superiors by wearing the
saffron cloth of the sannyasa asrama which is included within the
system of varnasrama dharma. These two customs, each having their
own place, are both exquisitely beautiful and also completely in accordance
with siddhanta. Today suddha-hari-bhakti has been, is being, and will
continue to be, preached and spread throughout the world by these
mahapurusas, great perfected saints, who wear this second type of
niskincana sannyasi-vesa. (from Five Essential Essays)]
[When Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura saw that many
babajis were now bogus, that they were with widow matajis and producing
sons, he became very furious and said that we will again accept the
same saffron cloth of others like Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Mahaprabhu,
and Isvara Puripada. He then preached everywhere in the world.
At that time, those family persons who were of loose character and
had no status in society honored these bogus babajis. That is
why Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura re-introduced
the reddish cloth and sannyasa. Presently, those who are bogus persons,
but were previously in the Gaudiya Matha, have become lusty and have
thus been kicked out from the Gaudiya Matha. Now they have become
babajis. (Lecture by Srila Nararyana Maharaja, June 10, 2001)]
7. [By calling Nityananda Prabhu a bhrasta
avadhuta (a rejected paramahamsa), Advaita Acarya Prabhu in a sense
accepted Nityananda Prabhu as a paramahamsa. In other words, Nityananda
Prabhu had nothing to do with the rules governing smarta-brahmanas.
Thus under pretense of condemning Him, Advaita Acarya was actually
praising Him. In the avadhuta stage, the paramahamsa stage, which
is the supermost stage, one may appear to be visayi, on the platform
of sense gratification, but in actuality he has nothing to do with
sense gratification. At that stage, a person sometimes accepts the
symptoms and dress of a sannyasi and sometimes does not. Sometimes
he dresses like a householder. (Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya-lila
8. [At that moment there appeared the powerful son
of Vyasadeva [Sri Sukadeva Gosvami], who traveled over the earth disinterested
and satisfied with himself. He did not manifest any symptoms of belonging
to any social order or status of life. He was surrounded with women
and children, and he dressed as if others had neglected him. (Srimad-Bhagavatam
Editorial Advisors: Sripad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanath dasa
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Transcriber: Radha-kanta dasa