Lord Caitanya on Renunciation, Part 2

BY: SUN STAFF - 4.5 2021

Sri Caitanya's instructions on renunciation and austerities.

Today we continue our discussion of asat-sanga-tyaga -- Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's instruction on renouncing the association of non-devotees. The primary sloka cited in this regard is from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya lila 22.98. This principle of Krsna Consciousness is mentioned numerous places in Madhya and Adi lila, and Srila Prabhupada has cited this sloka many times in his purports and lectures.

Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 22.87:

asat-sanga-tyaga, -- ei vaisnava-acara
'stri-sangi' -- eka asadhu, 'krsnabhakta' ara

asat-sanga-tyaga -- rejection of the association of nondevotees; ei -- this; vaisnava-acara -- the behavior of a Vaisnava; stri-sangi -- who associates with women for sense gratification; eka -- one; asadhu -- unsaintly person; krsna-abhakta -- one who is not a devotee of Lord Krsna; ara -- another.

"A Vaisnava should always avoid the association of ordinary people. Common people are very much materially attached, especially to women. Vaisnavas should also avoid the company of those who are not devotees of Lord Krsna."

Srila Prabhupada emphasizes that Lord Caitanya has given this all-important instruction in a very clear and essential manner: asat-sanga-tyaga, -- ei vaisnava-acara 'stri-sangi' -- eka asadhu, 'krsnabhakta' ara:

"Asat-sanga-tyaga ei vaisnava-acara. One line. A Vaisnava's behavior is to give up the association of demons, nondevotee."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.21, Bombay, November 21, 1974)

And following this one-line instruction the next question is, how does one know who is a non-devotee?

"One grhastha Vaisnava, householder Vaisnava, he asked Caitanya Mahaprabhu that "What is the duty of a grhastha, householder Vaisnava?" So Caitanya Mahaprabhu said in two lines: asat-sanga-tyaga ei vaisnava-acara. "Don't associate with nonsense asadhus."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.21, Bombay, November 21, 1974)

"Sadhu-sanga means you have to give up the association of nondevotees. This question was asked to Sri Caitanya was asked to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by a devotee. He was householder. So he inquired, "My dear Sir, what is the real standard of behavior of a devotee?" He immediately answered that asat-sanga tyaga ei vaisnava-acara. "Vaisnava devotee, his first behavior is he should give up unwanted association." That is first. Now, the next question will be: "What is that unwanted association?" He answered, asat eka stri-sangi krsnabhakta' ara: "This unwanted association means people who are too much attached to sex life, they are unwanted. And the another: nondevotee of God. They are unwanted." So you be careful not to mix with these people and come to the devotional service, then your life is perfect."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.1, Melbourne, May 21, 1975)

Just as we read in Sri Isopanisad that one must have an equal understanding of both nescience and the Absolute, similarly we must be able to understand who is a rascal so their association can be avoided.

"So how much rascal they are we must know. So therefore we should give up their company. Asat-sanga-tyaga vaisnava-acara. Otherwise, asat... Asat eka stri-sangi krsna... There are stri-sanga, vaidha-avaidha. Vaidha means regular, according to sastra. According to sastra means restricted. Sastra restricts. Sastra means sas-dhatu. Sas-dhatu means sasana, ruling. From sas-dhatu, sastra has come, sastra, weapon, has come."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.13, Mayapura, June 26, 1973)

In the main sloka cited above, Madhya 22.87, the basic definition is given of non-devotees whose association should be avoided:

"A Vaisnava should always avoid the association of ordinary people. Common people are very much materially attached, especially to women. Vaisnavas should also avoid the company of those who are not devotees of Lord Krsna."

Elsewhere, Srila Prabhupada has given additional definitions:

Asat means materialistic, or one who is not a devotee of Krsna. Such persons are too much attached to material enjoyment: unnecessary addiction to women, illicit sex, gambling, and meat-eating; visayi, those who are very fond of eating, sleeping, mating and defending; also asadhu, or one who is not satisfied. Non-devotees are krsna-abhakta, and this includes the Mayavadi, karmi, jnani, and yogi.

"Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given one line of Vaisnava behavior: asat-sanga tyaga ei vaisnava acara. Simply to give up these rascals' association. The rascal means the Mayavadi, karmi, jnani, yogi, all they are rascals. It is our open declaration. So we have to give up the company of these rascals. If we actually serious about advancing in Krsna consciousness, we should not mix with them. We should not even invite them. Neither we shall take their foodstuff, accept their foodstuff. [ ]

And krsna-abhakta--and who is not a devotee of Krsna. So these Mayavadis, karmi, jnani, yogi, they are not krsna-bhaktas. They'll say, "Krsna is not God. I am God. I am also God. Krsna is not God. I am God. But Krsna is not God." This is their version. Therefore they're rascals.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.13, Mayapur, June 26, 1973)

"Asat eka stri-sangi krsna-abhakta ara." There... He has described who is asat. Stri-sangi. Stri-sangi means those who are unnecessary addicted to women. Unnecessary. One should be married. One must have children. That is not illicit association. But otherwise... Krsna also says: dharmaviruddhah kamo 'smi. Kama, lust, sex life, which is not against religious principles, that I am. That kind of lust I am. So dharma... So according to religious system, people should not be cats and dogs or hogs in the matter of sex life. They must have married wife, married husband. And only for nice children, they should unite. These are the descriptions given by the... Vimsati prakara dharma-sastra manu-samhita". Not otherwise. [ ]

So when Caitanya Mahaprabhu says: asat eka stri-sangi, that means one who is not satisfied. His, I mean to say, religious life with wife. That, that kind... He's asadhu. He's asadhu. Krsna... Stri-sangi and krsna-abhakta. He summarizes the description of asadhu in two words. One who is too much addicted to sense enjoyment and one who not a devotee of Krsna. He's asadhu.

So Krsna is also describe that

na mam duskrtino mudhah
prapadyante naradhamah
asuram bhavam asritah

So there are many descriptions in many sastras that one should avoid asadhu and try to associate with sadhu. Then his life will be successful."
(Bhagavad-gita 6.47, Ahmedabad, December 12, 1972)

The principle of asat-sanga-tyaga is further defined by Sri Caitanya using the term visayi, meaning those who are very fond of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. Visayi and stri-sangi -- all the propensities of the visasyi will likely entangle them in asat eka stri-sangi, associating with women for sense gratification.

"Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's opinion is that sandarsanam visayinam atha yositam ca ha hanta hanta visa-bhaksanato 'py asadhu. Visayinam sandarsanam, to mix very intimately with the visayis. Visayi means those who are very much fond of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. They are called visayi. They have no other business.

So practically, at the present moment, the whole world is visayi. But this line, Krsna consciousness line, is so transcendental that one has to give up this visayi idea. Visaya chariya se rase majiya mukhe bolo hari hari. We chant "Hari, Hari," but actually, "Hari, Hari," we can chant "Hari, Hari" only when we give up visaya. Visaya chariya se rase majiya. Otherwise "Hari, Hari" is not purely chanted. Therefore there are ten kinds of offenses we have to give up. Suddha-nama. When we chant pure Hare Krsna maha-mantra, then we are elevated to the platform of transcendental love. Otherwise we can attain up to liberation. Not on the platform of loving. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very strict about visayi and stri-sangi. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was asked how to, what is the business of a Vaisnava. He summarized in two lines: asat-sanga tyaga, ei vaisnava acara. Asat-sanga tyaga, to give up the association of asat. Asat means materialistic. So who is asat? Now, asat eka stri-sangi and krsna-abhakta. Those who are too much attached for material enjoyment, they are asat. And one who is not devotee of Krsna, he is also asat. So we have to give up the company of these kind of people, who are too much materially attached and is not devotee of Krsna. If we can avoid these two persons, then we can be fixed up in devotional service."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.7, Mayapura, June 22, 1973)