Guest (1): ...Kṛṣṇa consciousness in gṛhastha āśrama?
Prabhupāda: They follow Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya. He was a gṛhastha. He was a responsible government officer. Still, he was the best disciple of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Rāmānanda Rāya, while talking with Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he was feeling little shamefulness because Caitanya Mahāprabhu was a great sannyāsī and coming from a very respectable brāhmaṇa family, and Rāmānanda Rāya, he belonged to the Kharan(?) caste of Orissa, and he was gṛhastha, at the same time in government service. So he was feeling little shamefulness, that "I am teaching Caitanya Mahāprabhu." So when he was feeling like that, Caitanya Mahāprabhu encouraged him,
- kibā vipra kibā śūdra nyāsī kene naya
- yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā sei guru haya
- (CC Madhya 8.128)
"You become a sannyāsī or you become a gṛhastha or you are a brāhmaṇa or a śūdra. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness has nothing to do with these material things. If you know actually what is Kṛṣṇa, then you can become guru." Another place also, Kṛṣṇa, er, Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said that
- yei bhaje sei baḍa abhakta hīna chāra
- kṛṣṇa-bhajane te nāhi jāti-kulādi-vicāra
- (CC Antya 4.67)
"Anyone who is a devotee, he is great, and who is not devotee, he may declare himself as great, but he is the most fallen." In the devotional service there is no such distinction as jāti and kula. So if you follow—the example is there in your country, Rāmānanda Rāya—then wherever you are, you are exalted. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, he has also said—he is ācārya-gṛhe vā vanete thāke hā gaurāṅga bale ḍāke narottama māge tāra saṅga: "It doesn't matter whether he is a gṛhastha or he's a sannyāsī." Vanete means vānaprastha, sannyāsī. "Wherever he may be, if he's actually a perfect devotee of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, I want his association. Never mind." Gṛhe vā vanete thāke hā gaurāṅga bale ḍāke narottama māge tāra saṅga.
So Kṛṣṇa bhajana is so magnanimous, so exalted, in any position you can become the greatest guru, provided you follow the footsteps of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. (break) ...says how one can become perfect. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (BG 18.65). Four things. Simply think of Kṛṣṇa, this chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare... So you remain gṛhastha. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has said, nāmāśraya kari thākaha āpana kāje. In whatever occupation you are, remain there. There is no need of changing. But nāmāśraya kari. If you remain a gṛhastha, what is your loss if you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra? And if there is gain, why don't you take it? Simple thing. And Kṛṣṇa also says, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru, mām evaiṣyasi asaṁśayaḥ (BG 18.65). These four things will get you back to home, back to Godhead. What is that? Simply think of Kṛṣṇa. But if from the very beginning you want to understand the meaning of Kṛṣṇa—"Kṛṣṇa is nirākāra. He has no hand, He has no leg"—then how you'll think of Kṛṣṇa? You have to give up all this nonsense idea. Then wherever you live, you will be perfect by Kṛṣṇa consciousness. (break) ...Kali-yuga the special advantage is that people cannot become very much advanced in spiritual life, but for Kali-yuga there is a special concession. Kalau nāsty nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā. Harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma iva kevalam (CC Adi 17.21). And Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also, it is confirmed, kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅga paraṁ vrajet (SB 12.3.51). So you remain gṛhastha. It is now difficult to give up gṛhastha life. But don't be merged into this black hole. Don't make black hole tragedy. Be alive, take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and you'll be happy. So there is no distinction in Kṛṣṇa-bhajana whether one is a gṛhastha or a sannyāsī. He must take the science. Then he will be all right.