VMA 1.97 : Three levels of renunciation

nirvidya kṛtyādy-akhilāt kadāhaṁ
cchittvā samastāś ca jagaty apekṣāḥ |
praviśya vṛndāvanam atyasaṅgas
tad-īśa-vārtābhir ahāni neṣye ||1.97||
When, losing all hope in the efficacy of all works,
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?

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-aṅgas described in BRS is called vijñapti, which basically means speaking or revealing one's mind to Krishna. This vijñapti 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 the 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, we must meet three conditions of renunciation:

(1) kṛtyādy-akhilāt nirvidya -- "losing all hope in the efficacy of all works"

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. In the more civilized realms of conditioned life, one is trained in to be responsible and to work to make the world a "better place."

Indeed, that instinct is there in even the most advanced spiritual person, but that person thinks that the solution to making the world a better place is for all of us to stop pinning their hopes on finding any satisfaction in life other than by entering a higher level of reality in true self-knowledge.

parīkṣya lokān karma-citān brāhmaṇo
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 sādhanā 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 apekṣā 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 know that no works will bring you liberation, you no longer expect fulfillment from any material accomplishment, nor do you succumb to external pressures. 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:

vairāgī hañā yebā kare parāpekṣā
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). (CC 3.6.224)
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

vairāgī karibe sadā nāma saṅkīrtana
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 vairāgī seriously. A vairāgī 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 vairāgī’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 belly and sex organs and will never attain Krishna.” (Caitanya-caritamrita 3.6.222-7)
This is the practice of renunciation. Its result is next. Needless to say. the current socially active preaching sannyasi puts himself in the position of dressing well, eating well and associating with women and men attached to women. It is thus no great surprise when it is discovered that they are crossing the limits of renounced behavior, often habitually. I would like to say that they should be married, but married men are also not above temptation. It seems that in the world, testosterone is both necessary and a big problem, especially now that woman expect to be treated as equals, as they should. It is easy to say, "Control your sex desire." But it does not seem to be all that easy to do. In this imperfect world, blessed are those who have mastered desire.

My position has always been that an artificial glorification of sannyasa makes unqualified people take to it for less than pure purposes. But even one whose motivations are pure will have to come face to face with temptation, and may well succumb. Then it is necessary to choose proper remedial action so that hypocrisy does not vitiate one's entire spiritual life.

(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, maximal." 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. Such is the independence of a true sannyasi.

Fulfill these conditions and 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."

Since other cases of sannyasi-gurus engaged in inappropriate transgressions of their vow have recently come to light, I thought to look at some of my reflections on yukta-vairagya.


Anonymous said…

Whilst reading Somadeva Vasudeva's paper entitled "The Śaiva Yogas and Their Relation to Other Systems of Yoga" this morning; my person came accross an interesting comparative table on page 3 (Śaiva Yoga in Context) which also listed texts relating to the Vaiṣṇava tradition.



In relation to this, readers will find the following texts (in English translation) also interesting:

The Ṣaḍaṅgayoga by Anupamarakṣita with Raviśrījñāna's Guṇabharaṇīnāmaṣaḍaṅgayogaṭippaṇī (text and annotated translation):


Yoga-Yājñavalkya: a treatise on Yoga as taught by Yogī Yājñavalkya:

Anonymous said…

See aslo the 'Yogayājñavalkya' (Compiled by Somadeva Vasudeva).

Download Adobe Pdf:

Anonymous said…

This is worthy of further study:

"The Inquiry into the Mahāmudrā"

Anonymous said…


Translated to English by A. G. Mohan

Anonymous said…

Dear Jagadananda Das,

When reading A. G. Mohan’s English translation of the Yoga-Yājñavalkya, please note:

Page X in the introduction regarding chapter VI where “the concept and practice of kevala kumbhaka and sahita kumbhaka” are explained.

See Chapter VI, Verses 25-38 (Pages 59-61):




(‘Toggle fullscreen’ to read)


In further regard to Sahita-Kumbhaka (which leads to the state of Kevala-Kumbhaka), see:

The Gheranda Samhita translated into English by Rai Babadur and Srisa Chabdra Vasu (Chapter V, verses 47 to 59 [pages 44-46]), ISBN: 81-2150507-0

Kumbhaka Paddhati of Raghuvira. Edited by M. L. Gharote and Parimal Devnath. Verses 85 and 86 (page 27), ISBN: 81-901176-5-3

Hathapradipika of Svatmarama. Edited by M. L. Gharote and Parimal Devnath. Chapter IV, Verse 63 (page 95), ISBN: 81-901176-6-1

Hathatatvakaumudi. Edited by M. L. Gharote, Parimal Devnath and Vijay Kant Jha. Chapter XXXVI, Verses 381-51 (pages 350-355) and Chapter XXXVIII, Verses 44-57 (pages 386-391), ISBN: 81-901617-5-X
Anonymous said…

There is a glitch with The Internet Archive, it seems to not be displaying texts online?

You can still download an Adobe Pdf of A. G. Mohan’s English translation of the Yoga-Yājñavalkya from here:


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