(Lord Śiva lives under a tree)

Guest: Supposing if I were to become a devotee and I might be influenced to try to live like Śiva because richness doesn't appeal to me. But the problem is that in a country like this the winter is extremely cold, and if I try to live like Śiva I would freeze to death. So...

Prabhupāda: I have understood. I have understood. Kṛṣṇa consciousness does not mean that you falsely make some attempt. The... Just like Arjuna. Arjuna understood the Kṛṣṇa philosophy, and it does not mean that he became a naked fakir and went away from the fighting place, and without any clothing he began to travel. Is it that? No. The only thing is that he changed the account. The account was on behalf of Kṛṣṇa. So you haven't got to make such renunciation that you have to live underneath a tree or give up your dress, become naked. No. That is not... You have misunderstood. You should dress himself properly, you should eat properly, you should work properly, but not on your account, but Kṛṣṇa's account. That is the thing. That's all.

Nirbandhe kṛṣṇa-sambandhe yukta-vairāgya ucyate. That is the difference between Vaiṣṇava philosophy and Māyāvādī philosophy. The Māyāvāda philosophy says that brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā, "This world is false and Brahman is truth. So let me become renounced of all this worldly relationship and try to be one with the Brahman." That is Māyāvāda philosophy. We don't say that. We say that because Brahman is satya, truth, and because the world is created by Brahman, so this is also truth. This is also truth. Pūrṇam idaṁ pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate (Śrī Īśopaniṣad). That is the version of Upaniṣad. The thing is, difference between Māyāvādī and Vaiṣṇava, they do not know the proprietorship. We know the proprietorship. We don't accept anything as "I am the proprietor." This is mistake. This is māyā. Actually... If I take, "It is Kṛṣṇa's," then I am liberated.

Just try to understand. You are sitting here. You know that this apartment or this loft belongs to somebody. So there is no harm sitting here, hearing here. But if you think that "This is mine," and if you want you take something out of this, then there is trouble. Similarly, this world belongs to Kṛṣṇa. If you have always that consciousness that it belongs to Kṛṣṇa... Just like a bank cashier. He knows that millions of dollars is coming to him, but he knows that "This is belonging to the bank. I am simply cashier." Similarly, you can deal with all the worldly things, but if your consciousness is Kṛṣṇa then you are free. Nikhileṣv apy avasthāsu jīvan muktaḥ sa ucyate. In any condition of life if one is Kṛṣṇa conscious, he's always liberated. He's not affected. So that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa consciousness does not teach you to become a false renouncer. What is the use of becoming a renouncer? After all, you have got this body. How can you renounce it? Either you cover it with underwear or either you cover it with costly dress, you have to cover it. So that covering also belongs to Kṛṣṇa. So we have to be situated under the consciousness that "Everything is Kṛṣṇa's. Nothing belongs to me." That is the actual fact. But by illusion we are accepting, "This is mine, this is mine, this is mine." We have to give up this consciousness and accept the Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is our preaching.

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Montreal, July 14, 1968)

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Do I Have to Live Underneath a Tree?