Mandala-pati Prabhu’s Receiving Brahmacari Cloth Ceremony
Maharaja jokes that it is like a press conference, because there are seven recording devices on the floor in front of him, yet his audience is supposed to be renounced brahmacaris.
The occasion is that one devotee is putting on saffron. He mentions that the senior brahmacaris are always happy to see new brahmacaris taking up the vows because they appreciate the value of the vow—the beauty and simplicity of brahmacari life. He mentions Srinathaji and Svarupa Damodara Prabhus, two very old senior brahmacaris. We have to experience real love for our guru and the other brahmacaris if we are going to give up the false love of the male and female relationships of this world. There are also householders who love the guru, and household life has helped get them to that point by showing them the illusory nature of male and female relationships.
Niranjana Swami tells how the early ISKCON brahmacaris had all their possessions in a BTG box in their sankirtana van. Until he was in charge of a nama-hatta program later on, he kept up that standard.
Keep your life simple. Do not keep too many possessions. Give up the consciousness that “this is mine.” The guru gives the brahmacari what he needs for his service. In household life it is difficult to understand the difference between what is needed and what is wanted. If you actually appreciate the great opportunity of the vow of brahmacarya affords for spiritual development, then you will rejoice when he receives his saffron clothes.
Damodara Caran Prabhu asked the senior brahmacaris to give the new man some advice.
My contribution was:
1. If you want to remain a brahmacari, you should be convinced of the truth of the verses describing the great misery, illusion, and bondage of male-female relationships (SB 3.31.35 and SB 11.14.30).
2. Service to guru is the sole occupation of the brahmacari.
3. A brahmacari’s day is composed of nothing but sadhana and service.
4. Inquire from sannyasis about how to remain steady in your vows.
5. Learn to love the sankirtana of the holy names.
Sri Nathaji Prabhu: Brahmacari vows are of two kinds: (1) naistika (never involved with women) and (2) who have been through male-female relationships, not being aware of the degradation. One can be a naistika brahmacari only if he has a taste for spiritual things. I came to KC at 39. When I heard that family life and sex life were not necessary it was a great joy. We had protection from temptation by performing sankirtana.
Visvasena Prabhu (In Saint Petersberg asrama, he was one of two out of forty who remained brahmacari.): Bhakti Vikas Swami quoted about brahmacaris that they are interested in the Absolute Truth. A disciple prays to his guru, “Bring me from darkness to light, ignorance to knowledge, death to eternal life.” Doing nama-hatta preaching, the householders reveal to me their suffering.
Svarupa Damodara Prabhu: My guru said, “One can remain brahmacari if he has hot kirtana, nice prasadam, and good association.” Marry Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Damodara Carana Prabhu: We have to love service. We have to work on developing our relationship with Krishna. We serve all other asramas and appreciate all devotees.