Talking About How Renunciation Is Difficult

[Krishna holding fruits]“While Krishna was going to the fruit vendor very hastily, most of the grains He was holding fell. Nonetheless, the fruit vendor filled Krishna’s hands with fruits, and her fruit basket was immediately filled with jewels and gold.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.11.11)

Download this episode (right click and save)

phala-vikrayiṇī tasya


phalair apūrayad ratnaiḥ

phala-bhāṇḍam apūri ca

Friend1: I got a question for you.

Friend2: Shoot.

Friend1: I know that renunciation is good. I know that I shouldn’t covet so many things. But how do I stop my desires?

Friend2: Are you asking about how to stop wanting things that aren’t good for you or are you asking how to stop wanting things at all?

Friend1: Hmmm, let me think about that. Maybe the first.

Friend2: Oh okay, because desirelessness is not possible. If you don’t desire something, it means that you aren’t alive.

Friend1: I see. So that makes my question even more important. If to be alive means to desire things, how do you control the desires? How do you keep your wants focused on things that are good for you?

Friend2: It is very difficult. You’re essentially asking to control the mind. In the Bhagavad-gita Arjuna compares this to trying to control the wind.

Friend1: Right, and that’s impossible. The wind’s capabilities are insane. You can have the sturdiest building in the world, but a few wind gusts can bring it down.

Friend2: Yeah, and that’s not even addressing the issue of controlling. The buildings only provide a temporary shield from the wind. Arjuna speaks of trying to get control over the wind.

Friend1: So what is the conclusion? How do you control the mind?

Friend2: Look at the history of the various spiritual movements of India. Think of all the people who left home to wander the streets, begging for a living. In the renounced order of life, sannyasa, the method of eating is called madhukari.

Friend1: What is that?

Friend2: It’s taking a little bit from home to home. It’s eating the way the bees take nectar. The bees don’t take everything from just one flower. In the same way, if you’re fully renounced you’re not supposed to find a nice home and then take all your meals from there.

Friend1: I see.

Friend2: Then there is even more serious renunciation, like living away from people in general. Take up residence in caves, eat fruit that falls from the ground, bathe in rivers, and wear torn rags for clothing.

Friend1: Wow, that’s intense.

Friend2: Exactly. And even after all of that there is no guarantee that the mind will be controlled. You can still be full of desires. Bhakti-yoga is the only way to really control the mind.

Friend1: Through devotion? If you love God then automatically your mind will be right?

Friend2: It makes sense if you think about it. If you’re happy in your life, are you going to care so much if you lose a trivial object or two? Are you going to be so worried about protecting your possessions when the thing you value most is your relationship to God, whom you see every second through devotion?

Friend1: That’s a good point.

[fruit in a basket]Friend2: A great example is the fruit vendor in Vrindavana. She sold fruit for a living. By definition, this means that she had objects of attachment.

Friend1: And if you run a business, your mind is always focused on profit and loss. You’re never at peace.

Friend2: Exactly. If you’re selling fruit, one bad storm can ruin your supply in an instant. Then how will you live? But this vendor was ready to give up everything if need be. She filled Krishna’s hands with so much fruit. And this was after He barely gave her anything.

Friend1: Why?

Friend2: Think of it like the small child rushing up to the ice cream truck on the street. In their excitement, they forget to take money from the parents, who are still in the home. What will happen?

Friend1: Yeah, the ice cream man can’t just give away his product. If he did that for one kid, he’d have to do that for everyone.

[ice cream truck]Friend2: Krishna dropped the grains that were in His hands originally. The fruit vendor didn’t care. She was automatically renounced, though it didn’t necessarily seem that way from the outside. She had no care for profit and loss when she had the fortune that was the vision of an adorable Krishna in front of her.

Friend1: So she lost out on the exchange?

Friend2: That never happens, actually. As Krishna is Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one of His opulences is complete wealth. He transformed the fruits in the vendor’s basket into jewels. Thus she ended up making more than she normally would have.

Friend1: That’s nice, but wouldn’t that ruin her renunciation?

[vendor's basket of jewels]Friend2: She already had renunciation, and so there was no risk. She proved that she did not care so much for profit and loss. Giving the reward showed that Krishna did not make the vendor worse off. No one is ever worse off through following bhakti-yoga; that is the point to take away. Whatever personal attribute you previously tried with great difficulty to get will come very easily. You will be able to control the mind since you’ll always be with Krishna in sound.

Friend1: Right. Through chanting the names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Renunciation not easy to do,

Desires constantly coming to you.


Grasp of mind’s work gaining,

Likened to the wind controlling.


But to the fruit vendor just look,

How renunciation with her she took.


So many fruits away to Krishna gave,

Worrying not over profit to save.

Categories: the fruit vendor

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: