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Maya has many ways to entrap us, and her strongest shackle is the female. Of course, in actuality we are neither male nor female, for these designations refer only to the outer dress, the body

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"Māyā has many ways to entrap us, and her strongest shackle is the female. Of course, in actuality we are neither male nor female, for these designations refer only to the outer dress, the body"

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

CC Preface and Introduction

Māyā has many ways to entrap us, and her strongest shackle is the female. Of course, in actuality we are neither male nor female, for these designations refer only to the outer dress, the body. We are all actually Kṛṣṇa’s servants. But in conditioned life we are shackled by iron chains in the form of beautiful women.

In the Bhagavad-gītā (BG 18.66) Lord Kṛṣṇa says, “Give up all your nonsense and surrender to Me. I will protect you.”

We say, “Oh, surrender? But I have so many responsibilities.”

And māyā, illusion, says to us, “Don’t do it, or you’ll be out of my clutches. Just stay in my clutches, and I’ll kick you.”

It is a fact that we are constantly being kicked by māyā, just as the male ass is kicked in the face by the she-ass when he comes for sex. Similarly, cats and dogs are always fighting and whining when they have sex. Even an elephant in the jungle is caught by the use of a trained she-elephant who leads him into a pit. We should learn by observing these tricks of nature.

Māyā has many ways to entrap us, and her strongest shackle is the female. Of course, in actuality we are neither male nor female, for these designations refer only to the outer dress, the body. We are all actually Kṛṣṇa’s servants. But in conditioned life we are shackled by iron chains in the form of beautiful women. Thus every male is bound by sex, and therefore one who wishes to gain liberation from the material clutches must first learn to control the sex urge. Unrestricted sex puts one fully in the clutches of illusion. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu officially renounced this illusion at the age of twenty-four, although His wife was sixteen and His mother seventy and He was the only male in the family. Although He was a brāhmaṇa and was not rich, He took sannyāsa, the renounced order of life, and thus extricated Himself from family entanglement.

If we wish to become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious, we have to give up the shackles of māyā. Or, if we remain with māyā, we should live in such a way that we will not be subject to illusion, as did the many householders among Lord Caitanya’s closest devotees. With His followers in the renounced order, however, Lord Caitanya was very strict. He even banished Junior Haridāsa, an important kīrtana leader, for glancing lustfully at a woman. The Lord told him, “You are living with Me in the renounced order, and yet you are looking at a woman with lust.” Other devotees of the Lord had appealed to Him to forgive Haridāsa, but He replied, “All of you can forgive him and live with him. I shall live alone.” On the other hand, when the Lord learned that the wife of one of His householder devotees was pregnant, He asked that the baby be given a certain auspicious name. So while the Lord approved of householders having regulated sex, He was like a thunderbolt with those in the renounced order who tried to cheat by the method known as “drinking water under water while bathing on a fast day.” In other words, He tolerated no hypocrisy among His followers.