When, losing all hope in works without end,
cutting off all expectations and responsibilities in the world
and entering Vrindavan, with absolutely no attachments,
will I pass my days in talk of Vrindavan’s king and queen?
cchittvā samastāś ca jagaty apekṣāḥ |
praviśya vṛndāvanam atyasaṅgas
tad-īśa-vārtābhir ahāni neṣye ||1.97||
As Prabodhananda comes closer to concluding his first century, he bounces back from his sphūrtis of Radha and Krishna’s eternal erotic love games into the real-life situation of external consciousness. And so he makes this samutkaṇṭhā prayer of longing.
samutkaṇṭhā nijābhīṣṭa-lābhāya guru-lubdhatā ||
“Longing” means a deep greed to attain that which one desires. (BRS 1.3.36).
One of the 64 bhakti-angas described in BRS is called vijnapti, which basically means speaking or revealing one’s mind to Krishna. This vijnapti then takes three forms: praying for something (samprārthanātmikā), expressing humility(dainya-bodhikā), and expressing one’s spiritual desire (lālasāmayī). (BRS 1.2.152). Prayers of longing, which usually take the form of a question, “when will I ever?”, fall into this last category.
“When will I pass my days in hearing, talking and remembering those lilas?”
When will I follow Rupa Goswami’s “essence of instruction” verse quoted earlier (1.30 and 1.44), kālaṁ nayed akhilam: spend the rest of your life here in Braj and chant and remember Radha and Krishna in the company of rasika devotees?
So what is stopping you? Before entering Vrindavan, Prabodhananda says, I must meet three conditions of renunciation:
(1) kṛtyādy-akhilāt nirvidya — “losing all hope in works without end”
Nirveda means anything from indifference to total disgust. But in Vedanta it is the fundamental attitude that leads to the experience of the peace that passeth understanding. It is the sense that there is nothing that can be done about this world, life and death. One is trained in conditioned life to be responsible and to make the world a “better place.”
Indeed, that instinct is there in even the most advanced spiritual person, but that person thinks that others also need to stop pinning their hopes on finding another purpose to life other than that of preparing for a higher level of reality in true self-knowledge.
nirvedam āyāty akṛtaḥ kṛtena
tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet
samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham
After studying through many lifetimes the worlds of experience that accrue through the process of karma, the wise man becomes indifferent (nirveda) to them, feeling that it is impossible to be fulfilled through works. In order to fully realize this truth, one should take gifts in hand and approach a spiritual master who is learned in the texts teaching spiritual truth and is indeed fixed in that Truth. (Muṇḍaka Upanishad 1.2.11)
Then, having taken shelter of the spiritual master and taken up the path of spiritual sadhana one comes to the second level of renunciation:
(2) jagati samastā apekṣāḥ chittvā
“Cutting off all expectations and responsibilities (apekṣāḥ) in this world.”
The word apekṣāḥ is key here. It can have two meanings that are simultaneously applicable. It means both what you expect of others and what others expect of you.
This is really the end of life in this world. When you have come close to end of your years and you now know that no works will bring you liberation. You no longer expect fulfillment from any material accomplishment, nor do you succumb to pressure. It just does not matter any more.
You do not want anything and so you are not dependent on anyone and thus not subject to their influence. You are not swayed by any kind of persuasion to abandon your mission of total immersion in the world of Radha and Krishna.
Mahaprabhu said this as an instruction intended specifically for Raghunath Das, but intended for all who would renounce the world:
kārya siddhi nāi, kṛṣṇa karena upekṣā
Anyone who renounces the world and then becomes dependent on others (apekṣā) cannot achieve his ends and Krishna will ignore him (upekṣā).
Krishna will ignore him, because being dependent on others means not being dependent on him. Krishna will delegate the responsibility onto others.
The full instruction to Raghunath is as follows
māgiyā khāñā kare jīvana rakṣaṇa
vairāgī hañā yebā kare parāpekṣā
kārya siddhi nahe kṛṣṇa karena upekṣā
vairāgī hañā kare jihvāra lālasa
paramārtha yāya āra haya rasera vaśa
vairāgīra kṛtya sadā nāma saṅkīrtana
śāka patra phala mūle udara bharaṇa
jihvāra lālase jebā iti uti dhāya
śiśnodara-parāyaṇa kṛṣṇa nāhi pāya
“That’s very good,” said Mahaprabhu. “He is taking the life of a vairagi seriously. A vairagi should always be engaged in repeating the names of the Lord and should keep his body and soul together through begging. Anyone who takes the renounced order and then becomes dependent on others cannot achieve his ends and Krishna will ignore him. One who becomes a renunciate and then lusts for tasty foods will never attain his spiritual goal, and will simply become the slave of his taste-buds. A vairagi’s duty is to always chant the names of Lord Krishna and fill his belly with spinach leaves, fruits and roots. One who runs here and there looking for good things to eat becomes attached to his sex organs and his belly and will never attain Krishna.” (Caitanya-caritamrita 3.6.222-7)
This is the practice of renunciation. Its result is next.
(3) atyasaṅgaḥ “Completely alone or absolutely without attachments.”
Again this word can be taken to include both meanings, as is indicated by the prefix ati- which means “excessive, maxi.” Having given up all dependencies and expectations, one stands alone in relation to the phenomenal world. It is the kaivalya of bhakti, the kaivalya of surrender to the Dham. It is, in fact, the surrender to Vaishnava rasika saṅga.
Then you can enter Vrindavan and peacefully enjoy concentrating the attention in single-minded devotion to the Divine Couple, as in Rupa Goswami’s “essence of instruction.”