Special On-line Edition for the Disappearance Day of
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year-4, Special On-line Edition
Posted: 14 December, 2011

Dedicated to
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Appearing in English for the first time

Renunciation Is a Matter of Heart

by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda


(Portrait of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda)


Śrī Śrī Guru Gaurāṅga jayataḥ!

Śrī Sanātana Gauḍīya Maṭha,
4, Jagajjīvanapura, Kaśī-dhāma
Kārttika 3, 1338
20th October, 1931

My dear #########,

Yesterday I came to know through a letter sent by Śrī #########, that Śrī ######### has decided to live in isolation in a straw hut with the objective of making progress in  bhajana. Yet by planning to construct that hut, he has vowed to impede the process of  hari-kīrtana in Madras. Engaging in such material practices may even prove to be appropriate in many forthcoming lifetimes, but as long as someone has bhagavad-seva pravṛtti – the tendency to render service to the Supreme Lord – it is not at all appropriate for him to deteriorate his inclination to serve Him till his very last breath of life.

I am not in favour of the prospect of renunciants, or sannyāsīs, staying in straw huts constructed in the middle of a city. A cave in the Himalayas would be far more suitable for such solitary activities, and in fact, it is even possible to perform bhajana in species like trees, just as in the case of the Yamalārjuna trees.

Make no mistake, the sole purpose of this human form of life, a life that offers the supreme goal, is to perform hari-kīrtana. To lead a perpetually idle life on the pretext of performing bhajana in solitude, to beckon meaningless poverty on the pretext of being niṣkiñcana, or to cause obstacles in the process of hari-kīrtana is never desirable.

It is our duty to postpone, life after life, any plan we may have of staying in an isolated hut, conspiring to engage secretly in sense-gratification, and immediately initiate all our endeavours for the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. One should privately follow the principles of renunciation delineated in Prārthana and Prema-bhakti-candrikā, and accept the following words within his heart:

saḍa-rasa bhojana dūre parihārī
kabe braje māgiyā khāiba mādhukarī

The Devotee’s Aspiration to Reside in Vṛndāvana, 
Song 19, Verse 3

When will I leave the desire to enjoy the six kinds of delicious food far behind and just go begging for alms in Vraja?


In this way, by endeavouring to illuminate and spread the glories of śrī guru and Śrī Gaurāṅga, one can perform hari-bhajana and attain the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In light of this, we can understand that even in the midst of outward signs of immoderation such as riding in the Madras Gauḍīya Maṭha vehicle, the honour of the holy robes of the genuine mendicant are still preserved.

There is no need of externally displaying luxury nor of displaying fake-renunciation just to imitate some renunciant of Kuliya #########. Renunciation is a matter of heart. The line of thought of those who misuse renunciation is quite different from those who genuinely follow the path shown by King Janaka and Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya. But, on the pretext of following King Janaka or Śrī Ramananda Rāya, or by outwardly imitating them, to adopt the same mentality as Rāvaṇa can never be called internal renunciation, or true renunciation (yukta-vairāgya). Duplicity can only be displayed externally, but if that duplicity enters the heart, then one can never attain any good results.

You yourself should read this letter and you should also make Śrī ######### and Śrī ######### read it very carefully.

One must not deride the Supreme Lord and disparage the activities of bhakti. Many people, unable to understand this idea, have fallen into trouble and have learned to be idle. Śrī #########, too, has now abandoned true renunciation.

With eternal blessings, 
Śrī Siddhānta Sarasvatī

Translated from Śrīla Prabhupādera Patrāvalī* 
by the Rays of The Harmonist team


Śrīla Prabhupadera Patrāvalī is a compilation of letters from Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda.

Rays of The Harmonist On-line, Year-4, Special On-line Edition “Renunciation Is a Matter of Heart” by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License to ensure that it is always freely available. You may redistribute this article if you include this license and attribute it to Rays of The Harmonist. Please ask for permission before using the Rays of The Harmonist banner-logo.