‘Swamis Rule’ – Is Sannyasis Having Money a Problem?

Let us say you have a sannyasi. They have money. So, according to what Prabhupada just is saying here, is there a problem? No. There is not a problem, because it says, "In spite of performing apparently material activities, such spiritualized persons are freed from the bondage of work." They go out, they collect, they have lots of money. Why do they have lots of money?

Prabhu: They apply it in Krishna consciousness.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, because then they will use it in some preaching program, they'll collect a 100,000 dollars and use it on their preaching program. Okay? But now, if we are looking with this not spiritualized vision, how will we see this?

Prabhu: He has got the privilege.

HH BVPS Maharaja: 'He has got the privilege, he has got the money, he can fly around the world, do whatever he wants. We are grihasthas, we only get to go to India once every 2 years, you know, he goes 2-3 times a year! This is nonsense! We are the ones...' So what do they see going to India as?

Prabhu: As a vacation.

HH BVPS Maharaja: As a vacation, so that means enjoying. 'The swami is enjoying so much! We poor grihasthas who are meant to enjoy, it's our birthright to enjoy, we are not enjoying! And these nonsense sannyasis, they are getting all the enjoyment!' [Laughter] Right? Does that make sense?

So this is where we are meaning it. So then what will be the thing? They'll get together, have a meeting, 'Oh, the sannyasis shouldn't have money.' But if they don't have money, so the grihasthas are going to get the 100,000 dollars together and have the preaching program? No. Let's say the sannyasi got the 100,000, then? He will spend how much on his preaching? Basically, most of it, there will be a little tickets here and there, but when he goes here and there, what does he do?

Prabhu: Preaches.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Preaches, okay. And he may buy himself sweaters, or this that, or a bag, or something like that, you know, he has a fancy watch, okay, how much is that compared to 100,000? Not so much. Now, let's say, the 100,000 was gathered by the grihastha. How much would go into that preaching program?

Prabhu: 10% [Laughter]

HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, 10%, and this is on a good day. [Laughter] He is in a class, he is being Krishna conscious, 'Yeah, ten percent!' You know what I am saying? I'm just joking. Even 20%. But my point is is, it's just gonna go... it's going to disappear. So as far as service to Krishna that's direct, then the sannyasi having the money, it will be used nicely. But now, the grihastha has money, means, he will be able to indirectly engage so many things in Krishna's service, which is also important. So we are not saying it's not important, but the point is is that it's not as important as direct. But if one is absorbed in indirect one needs to have the facility to do that. But one shouldn't mistake that they are the same. You know what I am saying? Even though it looks very similar.

Prabhu: Another point I am considering in connection of the service to Krishna itself, that the individual, the sannyasi, is there any danger when he has to manage a lot of money?...

HH BVPS Maharaja: Can be, but there also can not be. Is there any danger in the grihastha having lots of money?

Prabhu: Yes.

HH BVPS Maharaja: So, the point is is, the danger is the same. But the point is is, the situation is probably going to be a lot less, in one sense lot less dangerous. Who's to inspire the sannyasi to misuse the money? Basically, no one. Are the brahmacharis going to tell him, 'Hey, Maharaja, we could buy a Ferrari for this.' [Laughter] 'Yeah, could you imagine us going around here...' [Laughter] 'Swamis rule, yeah. Saffrons...' You know what I am saying? Are they going to do that? Or is there a good chance, his wife is going to say, 'That much, yeah, we have been around with this car, why don't we get a better car? He has a better car, we've been in this zone longer than him, why does he got the car?' And then the kids, what do they want? They are just happy, 'Oh, I would love a Bhagavatam set for my birthday!' Is that what the kids are all asking for? They want their Xbox, they want this and that, they want a new computer, 'You know, he has got...' 'But you just got it 6 months ago.' 'That's the point, six months old, it's a dinosaur! I can't take this to school!' [Laughter] Does that make sense?

So that's the point. We make the mistake, is seeing it apparently material, because it looks similar, because, as we said, the reflection always looks the same, but you have to see the consciousness. So that's the point, consciousness, so if 'the mind and senses are controlled, he is dear to everyone, everyone is dear to him.' So then it works, one is not entangled, so there is a difference. But at the same time is, these areas of entanglement, one should be careful about. You may've heard before, the days of the Raj, one of the Gurus, I heard that he had something like 90 cashmere sweaters. Okay, now why does he have 90 cashmere sweaters? We analyze.

Prabhu: He is attached to buying them.

HH BVPS Maharaja: No, he didn't buy them.

Prabhu: Oh.

HH BVPS Maharaja: They were all given to him. So why would they be given?

Prabhu: Because people like him.

HH BVPS Maharaja: People like him, they want to do something, it's like, you've given spiritual life, what do you give in return? So they can give things, so being in Europe and all that, so then they gave those. Now, that they gave that many, is that actually a problem? No. Keeping that many, that could be a problem. Unless the guy really suffers from cold and has to wear ten at a time or something, and then you have to wash them and it takes so many days, like this. I remember, Cesar, he was very much affected by cold, he used to wear 6 togas at a time in winter in Rome, it doesn't get that cold, but he'd wear 6 togas. Just imagine what he was wearing in [Indistinct] [Laughter]. 3 bearskins. But the point is is how much is actually usable, that should be kept, the others should be given away. So if he had 90, and he kept 3 or 4, or whatever he needed, or because he travels around, so he has a few in each place, and then the rest he gives away to, how you say, deserving devotees, whatever, by service done, like this and that, then it's not a problem. Do you understand?

But some will say, 'No, these things shouldn't go on. Things shouldn't be given, because if you do, then you will be corrupted.' But the point is is, why would one look with that vision? Because it's apparently material. Do you understand?  So, these are very fine points. We just walk by them, and we walk into meetings, and we make decisions that are not supported by the Bhagavad-gita. And we take Bhagavad-gita as the basis of our spiritual understanding. And here, we are in 5th chapter, so it's 5th chapter, so we haven't even gotten to the end, but we are not even able to make these discriminations. So this is why this is important.


(From Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 5.2-5.7, Shastra Caksus course, 15th November 2010, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sri Mayapur)

Full Lecture audio here:

this excerpt starting at 67:45

Lecture Notes HERE


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