On 12 December 1936 Vijnanananda heard that Prince Edward VIII had renounced the throne of England in order to marry an American woman. The swami commented: "Look, the prince gave up such a vast empire, wealth, honor, and everything just for a woman! So a woman is greater than an empire, and again God is greater than a woman. Who renounces anything for God? God is the greatest of everything—upon gaining him one knows that there is no greater gain. But it is extremely difficult to attain him. The prince's renunciation of the empire is praiseworthy. Renunciation of any kind is good; it increases mental strength and dispassion. Today he has renounced the empire, perhaps in the future he may give up that woman."** The way this has been phrased reminds of Sri Ramakrishna saying:
When his attendant came to bow down to him, the swami said: "Today you won't get food in the monastery. Edward VIII has given up such a vast empire; will you not be able to give up food for one day?" When the monk agreed to fast, Vijnanananda said: "Look, the king has renounced his kingdom for a woman! What a play of Mahamaya!" The swami continued to praise renunciation, then finally said, "There is little hope of making any progress in spiritual life without renunciation."
The Chitshakti and Brahman of Vedanta are identical—like water and its wetness. The moment you think of the wetness of water, you are reminded of water. And the moment you think of water, you must think of its wetness. Take the example of the snake and its wriggling movement. The moment you think of the serpentine movement, you are reminded of the snake. When do I call Him Brahman? When He is inactive and unattached to work. A man may put on clothes, yet he remains the same man as when he was naked. He was naked, now he is clothed. He may again take off his clothes.