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CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Description of Varṇāśrama-dharma

As related in this chapter, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa explained to Uddhava the duties of the vānaprastha and sannyāsa orders and the religious practices proper to each of these levels of advancement.

One who is taking to the vānaprastha stage of life should leave his wife at home in the care of his sons, or else take her along, and with a peaceful mind spend the third quarter of his life in the forest. He should accept as his food whatever bulbs, fruits, roots and so on that grow in the forest, taking sometimes grains cooked by fire and sometimes fruits ripened by time. Furthermore, he should take as his garments tree bark, grass, leaves or the skin of a deer. It is prescribed that he should perform austerities by not cutting his hair, beard, or nails. Nor should he make any special attempt to remove dirt from his limbs. He should bathe three times daily in cold water and sleep upon the ground. During the hot season he should stand beneath the fearsome heat of the sun with fires blazing on four sides. During the rainy season he should stand in the midst of the downpour of rain, and during the cold winter he should submerge himself in water up to his neck. He is absolutely forbidden to clean his teeth, to store food that he has collected at one time to eat at another time, and to worship the Supreme Lord with the flesh of animals. If he can maintain those severe practices for the remainder of his life, the vānaprastha will achieve the Tapoloka planet.

The fourth quarter of life is meant for sannyāsa. One should develop complete detachment from attaining residence on different planets, up to even Brahmaloka. Such wishes for material elevation are due to desire for the fruits of material activity. When one recognizes that endeavors to achieve residence on the higher planets ultimately award only suffering, then it is enjoined that one should take to sannyāsa in a spirit of renunciation. The process of accepting sannyāsa involves worshiping the Lord with sacrifice, giving everything one possesses in charity to the priests and establishing within one’s own heart the various sacrificial fires. For a sannyāsī, association with women or even the sight of women is more undesirable than taking poison. Except in emergencies, the sannyāsī should never wear more clothing than a loincloth or some simple covering over his loincloth. He should carry no more than his staff and waterpot. Giving up all violence to living creatures, he should become subdued in the functions of his body, mind and speech. He should remain detached and fixed on the self and travel alone to such pure places as the mountains, rivers and forests. Thus engaged, he should remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead and dwell in a place that is fearless and not heavily populated. He should take his alms each day at seven homes chosen at random from those of the members of the four social classes, avoiding only the homes of those who are cursed or fallen. With a pure heart he should offer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead whatever food he has collected and take the mahā-prasādam remnants. In this way he should always be mindful that hankering for sense gratification is bondage and that engaging the objects of the senses in the service of Lord Mādhava is liberation. If one lacks knowledge and renunciation, or continues to be troubled by the unconquered six enemies headed by lust and the all-powerful senses, or if one accepts the tridaṇḍa renounced order simply for the purpose of carrying out a livelihood, then he will achieve as his result only the killing of his own soul.

A paramahaṁsa is not under the control of injunctions and prohibitions. He is a devotee of the Supreme Lord, detached from external sense gratification and completely free from desire for even such subtle gratificatory goals as liberation. He is expert in discrimination and, just like a simple child, is free from concepts of pride and insult. Although actually competent, he wanders about like a dull person, and although most learned, he engages himself like an insane fool in incoherent speech. Although actually fixed in the Vedas, he behaves in an unordered fashion. He tolerates the evil words of others and never shows contempt for anyone else. He avoids acting as an enemy or vainly indulging in argument. He sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead in all creatures and also all living beings within the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In order to keep his body alive for performing worship of the Lord, he accepts whatever excellent or inferior food, clothing and bedding he can obtain without endeavor. Although he has to make some effort to find food for maintaining his body, he does not become joyful when he finds something, nor does he become depressed when not finding anything. The Supreme Lord Himself, although not at all subject to the Vedic orders and prohibitions, by His own free will executes various prescribed duties; similarly the paramahaṁsa, even while on the platform of freedom from subjugation to Vedic rules and prohibitions, carries out various duties. Because his perception of dualities has become completely eradicated by transcendental knowledge, which is focused on the Supreme Lord, he obtains upon the demise of his material body the liberation known as sārṣṭi, in which one becomes equal in opulence with the Lord.

The person who desires his own best interest should take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master. Filling his mind with faith, keeping free from enviousness and remaining fixed in devotion, the disciple should serve the spiritual master, whom he should regard as nondifferent from the Supreme Lord. For a brahmacārī, the primary duty is service to the spiritual master. The main duties for a householder are protection of living beings and sacrifice, for a vānaprastha austerities, and for a sannyāsī self-control and nonviolence. Celibacy (practiced by householders at all times except once a month when the wife is fertile), penance, cleanliness, self-satisfaction, friendship with all living beings and above all worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are duties meant for every jīva soul. One acquires firm devotion for the Supreme Lord by always rendering service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead through one’s own particular prescribed duty, by not engaging in the worship of any other personalities, and also by thinking of all creatures as the place of residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His form as the Supersoul. The followers of the karma-kāṇḍa section of the Vedas can attain the planets of the forefathers and so on by their ritualistic activities, but if they become endowed with devotion for the Supreme Lord, then by these same activities they can achieve the supreme stage of liberation.

Devanagari

श्रीभगवानुवाच
वनं विविक्षु: पुत्रेषु भार्यां न्यस्य सहैव वा ।
वन एव वसेच्छान्तस्तृतीयं भागमायुष: ॥ १ ॥

Text

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
vanaṁ vivikṣuḥ putreṣu
bhāryāṁ nyasya sahaiva vā
vana eva vasec chāntas
tṛtīyaṁ bhāgam āyuṣaḥ

Synonyms

śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; vanam — the forest; vivikṣuḥ — desiring to enter; putreṣu — among the sons; bhāryām — wife; nyasya — entrusting; saha — together with; eva — indeed; — or; vane — in the forest; eva — certainly; vaset — one should dwell; śāntaḥ — with a peaceful mind; tṛtīyam — the third; bhāgam — division; āyuṣaḥ — of life.

Translation

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One who desires to adopt the third order of life, vānaprastha, should enter the forest with a peaceful mind, leaving his wife with his mature sons, or else taking her along with him.

Purport

In Kali-yuga a human being generally cannot live more than one hundred years, and even this is becoming most unusual. A man who has a reasonable expectation of living for one hundred years may adopt the vānaprastha order at the age of fifty, and then at the age of seventy-five he may take sannyāsa for complete renunciation. Since in Kali-yuga very few people live for one hundred years, one should adjust the schedule accordingly. Vānaprastha is intended as a gradual transition from materialistic family life to the stage of complete renunciation.

Devanagari

कन्दमूलफलैर्वन्यैर्मेध्यैर्वृत्तिं प्रकल्पयेत् ।
वसीत वल्कलं वासस्तृणपर्णाजिनानि वा ॥ २ ॥

Text

kanda-mūla-phalair vanyair
medhyair vṛttiṁ prakalpayet
vasīta valkalaṁ vāsas
tṛṇa-parṇājināni vā

Synonyms

kanda — with bulbs; mūla — roots; phalaiḥ — and fruits; vanyaiḥ — growing in the forest; medhyaiḥ — pure; vṛttim — sustenance; prakalpayet — one should arrange; vasīta — one should put on; valkalam — tree bark; vāsaḥ — as clothes; tṛṇa — grass; parṇa — leaves; ajināni — animal skins; — or.

Translation

Having adopted the vānaprastha order of life, one should arrange one’s sustenance by eating uncontaminated bulbs, roots and fruits that grow in the forest. One may dress oneself with tree bark, grass, leaves or animal skins.

Purport

A renounced sage in the forest does not kill animals, but rather acquires skins from animals who have suffered natural death. According to a passage from Manu-saṁhitā, quoted by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, the word medhyaiḥ, or “pure,” indicates that while residing in the forest a sage may not accept honey-based liquors, animal flesh, fungus, mushrooms, horseradish or any hallucinogenic or intoxicating herbs, even those taken as so-called medicine.

Devanagari

केशरोमनखश्मश्रुमलानि बिभृयाद् दत: ।
न धावेदप्सु मज्जेत त्रिकालं स्थण्डिलेशय: ॥ ३ ॥

Text

keśa-roma-nakha-śmaśru-
malāni bibhṛyād dataḥ
na dhāved apsu majjeta
tri kālaṁ sthaṇḍile-śayaḥ

Synonyms

keśa — hair on the head; roma — bodily hair; nakha — fingernails and toenails; śmaśru — facial hair; malāni — bodily waste products; bibhṛyāt — one should tolerate; dataḥ — the teeth; na dhāvet — should not clean; apsu — in water; majjeta — should bathe; tri-kālam — three times a day; sthaṇḍile — on the earth; śayaḥ — lying down.

Translation

The vānaprastha should not groom the hair on his head, body or face, should not manicure his nails, should not pass stool and urine at irregular times and should not make a special endeavor for dental hygiene. He should be content to take bath in water three times daily and should sleep on the ground.

Devanagari

ग्रीष्मे तप्येत पञ्चाग्नीन् वर्षास्वासारषाड्‍जले ।
आकण्ठमग्न: शिशिर एवंवृत्तस्तपश्चरेत् ॥ ४ ॥

Text

grīṣme tapyeta pañcāgnīn
varṣāsv āsāra-ṣāḍ jale
ākaṇtha-magnaḥ śiśira
evaṁ vṛttas tapaś caret

Synonyms

grīṣme — in the summer; tapyeta — one should accept as austerity; pañca-agnīn — five fires (the overhead sun and fires burning on four sides); varṣāsu — during the rainy season; āsāra — torrents of rain; ṣāṭ — tolerating; jale — in water; ā-kaṇṭha — up to the neck; magnaḥ — submerged; śiśire — in the coldest part of winter; evam — thus; vṛttaḥ — engaged; tapaḥ — penance; caret — one should execute.

Translation

Thus engaged as a vānaprastha, one should execute penance during the hottest summer days by subjecting oneself to burning fires on four sides and the blazing sun overhead; during the rainy season one should remain outside, subjecting oneself to torrents of rain; and in the freezing winter one should remain submerged in water up to one’s neck.

Purport

One who engages in sense gratification must perform severe penances at the end of life to counteract his sinful, hedonistic activities. A devotee of the Lord, however, naturally develops Kṛṣṇa consciousness and need not subject himself to such radical penances. As stated in the Pañcarātra:

ārādhito yadi haris tapasā tataḥ kiṁ
nārādhito yadi haris tapasā tataḥ kim
antar bahir yadi haris tapasā tataḥ kiṁ
nāntar bahir yadi haris tapasā tataḥ kim

“If one is worshiping the Lord properly, what is the use of severe penances? And if one is not properly worshiping the Lord, what is the use of severe penances? If Śrī Kṛṣṇa is realized within and without everything that exists, what is the use of severe penances? And if Śrī Kṛṣṇa is not seen within and without everything, then what is the use of severe penances?”

Devanagari

अग्निपक्वं समश्न‍ीयात् कालपक्व‍मथापि वा ।
उलूखलाश्मकुट्टो वा दन्तोलूखल एव वा ॥ ५ ॥

Text

agni-pakvaṁ samaśnīyāt
kāla-pakvam athāpi vā
ulūkhalāśma-kuṭṭo vā
dantolūkhala eva vā

Synonyms

agni — by fire; pakvam — made ready to eat; samaśnīyāt — one should eat; kāla — by time; pakvam — right for eating; atha — else; api — indeed; — or; ulūkhala — with grinding mortar; aśma — and stone; kuṭṭaḥ — pulverized, ground up; — or; danta — using the teeth; ulūkhalaḥ — as a grinding mortar; eva — indeed; — or, alternatively.

Translation

One may eat foodstuffs prepared with fire, such as grains, or fruits ripened by time. One may grind one’s food with mortar and stone or with one’s own teeth.

Purport

In Vedic civilization it is recommended that at the end of one’s life one should go to a holy place or forest for spiritual perfection. In sacred forests one does not find restaurants, supermarkets, fast-food chains and so on, and thus one must eat simply, reducing sense gratification.

Although in the Western countries people eat processed food, one living simply must himself separate and pulverize grains and other foods before eating. This is referred to here.

Devanagari

स्वयं सञ्चिनुयात् सर्वमात्मनो वृत्तिकारणम् ।
देशकालबलाभिज्ञो नाददीतान्यदाहृतम् ॥ ६ ॥

Text

svayaṁ sañcinuyāt sarvam
ātmano vṛtti-kāraṇam
deśa-kāla-balābhijño
nādadītānyadāhṛtam

Synonyms

svayam — himself; sañcinuyāt — should gather; sarvam — everything; ātmanaḥ — his own; vṛtti — sustenance; kāraṇam — facilitating; deśa — the particular place; kāla — the time; bala — and one’s strength; abhijñaḥ — understanding pragmatically; na ādadīta — should not take; anyadā — for another time; āhṛtam — provisions.

Translation

The vānaprastha should personally collect whatever he requires for his bodily maintenance, carefully considering the time, place and his own capacity. He should never collect provisions for the future.

Purport

According to Vedic regulations, one practicing austerity should collect only what he requires for immediate use, and upon receiving gifts of foodstuff he should immediately give up that which he has previously collected, so that there will be no surplus. This regulation is meant to keep one fixed in faithful dependence on the Supreme Lord. One should never stock food or other bodily necessities for future use. The term deśa-kāla-balābhijña indicates that in a particularly difficult place, or in time of emergency or personal incapacity, this strict rule need not be followed, as confirmed by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura.

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura points out that unless one is completely incapacitated, one should not depend on others for one’s personal maintenance, as this will create a debt that can only be repaid by taking another birth in the material world. This applies only to those endeavoring for personal purification and not to those engaged full time in devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa. A pure devotee eats, dresses and speaks only for the service of the Lord, and thus whatever assistance he accepts from others is not for himself. He is fully surrendered to the mission of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, one not so surrendered will certainly have to take birth again in the material world to repay all of his debts to others.

Devanagari

वन्यैश्चरुपुरोडाशैर्निर्वपेत् कालचोदितान् ।
न तु श्रौतेन पशुना मां यजेत वनाश्रमी ॥ ७ ॥

Text

vanyaiś caru-puroḍāśair
nirvapet kāla-coditān
na tu śrautena paśunā
māṁ yajeta vanāśramī

Synonyms

vanyaiḥ — obtained in the forest; caru — with oblations of rice, barley and dāl beans; puroḍāśaiḥ — and sacrificial cakes prepared with wild rice; nirvapet — one should offer; kāla-coditān — ritualistic sacrifices, such as āgrayaṇa, offered according to seasons (āgrayaṇa is the offering of the first fruits that appear after the rainy season); na — never; tu — indeed; śrautena — mentioned in the Vedas; paśunā — with animal sacrifice; mām — Me; yajeta — may worship; vana-āśramī — one who has gone to the forest, taking the vānaprastha order of life.

Translation

One who has accepted the vānaprastha order of life should perform seasonal sacrifices by offering oblations of caru and sacrificial cakes prepared from rice and other grains found in the forest. The vānaprastha, however, may never offer animal sacrifices to Me, even those sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas.

Purport

One who has taken the vānaprastha order of life should never perform animal sacrifices or eat meat.

Devanagari

अग्निहोत्रं च दर्शश्च पौर्णमासश्च पूर्ववत् ।
चातुर्मास्यानि च मुनेराम्नातानि च नैगमै: ॥ ८ ॥

Text

agnihotraṁ ca darśaś ca
paurṇamāsaś ca pūrva-vat
cāturmāsyāni ca muner
āmnātāni ca naigamaiḥ

Synonyms

agni-hotram — the fire sacrifice; ca — also; darśaḥ — the sacrifice performed on the new moon day; ca — also; paurṇa-māsaḥ — full moon sacrifice; ca — also; pūrva-vat — as previously, in the gṛhastha-āśrama; cātuḥ-māsyāni — the vows and sacrifices of cāturmāsya; ca — also; muneḥ — of the vānaprastha; āmnātāni — enjoined; ca — also; naigamaiḥ — by expert knowers of the Vedas.

Translation

The vānaprastha should perform the agnihotra, darśa and paurṇamāsa sacrifices, as he did while in the gṛhastha-āśrama. He should also perform the vows and sacrifices of cāturmāsya, since all of these rituals are enjoined for the vānaprastha-āśrama by expert knowers of the Vedas.

Purport

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has given a detailed explanation of the four rituals mentioned here, namely agnihotra, darśa, paurṇamāsa and cāturmāsya. The conclusion is that everyone should simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare and avoid the difficult entanglement of Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. If one neither chants Hare Kṛṣṇa nor performs such rituals, one certainly becomes a pāṣaṇḍī, an atheistic fool.

Devanagari

एवं चीर्णेन तपसा मुनिर्धमनिसन्तत: ।
मां तपोमयमाराध्य ऋषिलोकादुपैति माम् ॥ ९ ॥

Text

evaṁ cīrṇena tapasā
munir dhamani-santataḥ
māṁ tapo-mayam ārādhya
ṛṣi-lokād upaiti mām

Synonyms

evam — thus; cīrṇena — by the practice; tapasā — of austerity; muniḥ — the saintly vānaprastha; dhamani-santataḥ — emaciated so much that the veins are visible throughout his body; mām — Me; tapaḥ-mayam — the goal of all penance; ārādhya — worshiping; rṣi-lokāt — beyond Maharloka; upaiti — achieves; mām — Me.

Translation

The saintly vānaprastha, practicing severe penances and accepting only the bare necessities of life, becomes so emaciated that he appears to be mere skin and bones. Thus worshiping Me through severe penances, he goes to the Maharloka planet and then directly achieves Me.

Purport

A vānaprastha who develops pure devotional service achieves the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, while in the vānaprastha stage of life. One who does not become completely Kṛṣṇa conscious, however, first goes to the planet Maharloka, or Ṛṣiloka, and from there directly achieves Lord Kṛṣṇa.

One achieves Maharloka, or Ṛṣiloka, through strict observance of positive and negative regulations. However, without developing a taste for chanting and hearing the glories of the Lord (śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ), it is not possible to achieve the perfect liberation of going back home, back to Godhead. Therefore, on the Maharloka planet the unsuccessful sage gives more attention to chanting and hearing, and thus he gradually develops pure love of Godhead.

Devanagari

यस्त्वेतत् कृच्छ्रतश्चीर्णं तपो नि:श्रेयसं महत् ।
कामायाल्पीयसे युञ्ज्याद् बालिश: कोऽपरस्तत: ॥ १० ॥

Text

yas tv etat kṛcchrataś cīrṇaṁ
tapo niḥśreyasaṁ mahat
kāmāyālpīyase yuñjyād
bāliśaḥ ko ’paras tataḥ

Synonyms

yaḥ — one who; tu — indeed; etat — this; kṛcchrataḥ — with great penance; cīrṇam — for a long time; tapaḥ — austerity; niḥśreyasam — awarding ultimate liberation; mahat — glorious; kāmāya — for sense gratification; alpīyase — insignificant; yuñjyāt — practices; bāliśaḥ — such a fool; kaḥ — who; aparaḥ — else; tataḥ — besides him.

Translation

One who with long endeavor executes this painful but exalted penance, which awards ultimate liberation, simply to achieve insignificant sense gratification must be considered the greatest fool.

Purport

Although the process of vānaprastha described by Lord Kṛṣṇa is so glorious that even the consolation prize is promotion to Maharloka, one who consciously performs this process for such promotion to heaven is certainly the greatest fool. The Lord does not want this process to be abused or exploited by materialistic rascals, for the ultimate goal is love of Godhead.

Devanagari

यदासौ नियमेऽकल्पो जरया जातवेपथु: ।
आत्मन्यग्नीन् समारोप्य मच्चित्तोऽग्निं समाविशेत् ॥ ११ ॥

Text

yadāsau niyame ’kalpo
jarayā jāta-vepathuḥ
ātmany agnīn samāropya
mac-citto ’gniṁ samāviśet

Synonyms

yadā — when; asau — the saintly vānaprastha; niyame — in his prescribed duties; akalpaḥ — unable to carry on; jarayā — due to old age; jāta — arisen; vepathuḥ — trembling of the body; ātmani — within his heart; agnīn — the sacrificial fires; samāropya — placing; mat-cittaḥ — his mind fixed in Me; agnim — the fire; samāviśet — should enter.

Translation

If the vānaprastha is overtaken by old age and because of his trembling body is no longer able to execute his prescribed duties, he should place the sacrificial fire within his heart by meditation. Then, fixing his mind on Me, he should enter into the fire and give up his body.

Purport

Since the process of vānaprastha is recommended for those nearing the end of life, there is always the likelihood that one will prematurely succumb to the symptoms of old age and be unable to reach the final stage of sannyāsa. If one simply cannot carry on his religious duties due to old age, it is here advised that he fix the mind in Lord Kṛṣṇa and enter into the sacrificial fire. Although this may not be possible in the modern age, we can appreciate the absolute seriousness of going back home, back to Godhead, as evidenced in this verse.

Devanagari

यदा कर्मविपाकेषु लोकेषु निरयात्मसु ।
विरागो जायते सम्यङ् न्यस्ताग्नि: प्रव्रजेत्तत: ॥ १२ ॥

Text

yadā karma-vipākeṣu
lokeṣu nirayātmasu
virāgo jāyate samyaṅ
nyastāgniḥ pravrajet tataḥ

Synonyms

yadā — when; karma — by fruitive activities; vipākeṣu — in all that which is obtained; lokeṣu — including promotion to all the planets of the universe up to Brahmaloka; niraya-ātmasu — planets that are actually hellish, being material; virāgaḥ — detachment; jāyate — is born; samyak — completely; nyasta — giving up; agniḥ — the sacrificial fire of vānaprastha; pravrajet — one should take sannyāsa; tataḥ — at that point.

Translation

If the vānaprastha, understanding that even promotion to Brahmaloka is a miserable situation, develops complete detachment from all possible results of fruitive activities, then he may take the sannyāsa order of life.

Devanagari

इष्ट्वा यथोपदेशं मां दत्त्वा सर्वस्वमृत्विजे ।
अग्नीन् स्वप्राण आवेश्य निरपेक्ष: परिव्रजेत् ॥ १३ ॥

Text

iṣṭvā yathopadeśaṁ māṁ
dattvā sarva-svam ṛtvije
agnīn sva-prāṇa āveśya
nirapekṣaḥ parivrajet

Synonyms

iṣṭvā — having worshiped; yathā — according to; upadeśam — scriptural injunctions; mām — Me; dattvā — having given; sarva-svam — all one possesses; ṛtvije — to the priest; agnīn — the sacrificial fire; sva-prāṇe — within oneself; āveśya — placing; nirapekṣaḥ — without attachment; parivrajet — one should take sannyāsa and set off.

Translation

Having worshiped Me according to scriptural injunctions and having given all one’s property to the sacrificial priest, one should place the fire sacrifice within oneself. Thus, with the mind completely detached, one should enter the sannyāsa order of life.

Purport

One cannot maintain the sannyāsa order of life unless one gives up all materialistic association and engages exclusively in devotional service to the Supreme Lord. Any material desire will gradually prove to be a stumbling block in the prosecution of renounced life. Therefore, a liberated sannyāsī must vigilantly keep himself free from the weeds of material desires, which surface principally in the form of attachment to women, money and reputation. One may possess a beautiful garden filled with fruits and flowers, but without vigilant maintenance the garden will be overrun by weeds. Similarly, one who achieves a beautiful state of Kṛṣṇa consciousness takes the sannyāsa order of life, but if he does not vigilantly and painstakingly keep his heart clean, there is always the danger of a relapse into illusion.

Devanagari

विप्रस्य वै सन्न्यसतो देवा दारादिरूपिण: ।
विघ्नान् कुर्वन्त्ययं ह्यस्मानाक्रम्य समियात् परम् ॥ १४ ॥

Text

viprasya vai sannyasato
devā dārādi-rūpiṇaḥ
vighnān kurvanty ayaṁ hy asmān
ākramya samiyāt param

Synonyms

viprasya — of the saintly person; vai — indeed; sannyasataḥ — taking sannyāsa; devāḥ — the demigods; dāra-ādi-rūpiṇaḥ — appearing in the form of his wife or other women and attractive objects; vighnān — stumbling blocks; kurvanti — create; ayam — the sannyāsī; hi — indeed; asmān — them, the demigods; ākramya — surpassing; samiyāt — should go; param — back home, back to Godhead.

Translation

“This man taking sannyāsa is going to surpass us and go back home, back to Godhead.” Thus thinking, the demigods create stumbling blocks on the path of the sannyāsī by appearing before him in the shape of his former wife or other women and attractive objects. But the sannyāsī should pay the demigods and their manifestations no heed.

Purport

The demigods are empowered with universal administration and by their potency may appear as the former wife of a sannyāsī or as other women, so that the sannyāsī gives up his strict vows and becomes entangled in sense gratification. Lord Kṛṣṇa here encourages all sannyāsīs by telling them, “Pay no attention to such illusory manifestations. Continue your duties and go back home, back to Godhead.”

Devanagari

बिभृयाच्चेन्मुनिर्वास: कौपीनाच्छादनं परम् ।
त्यक्तं न दण्डपात्राभ्यामन्यत् किञ्चिदनापदि ॥ १५ ॥

Text

bibhṛyāc cen munir vāsaḥ
kaupīnācchādanaṁ param
tyaktaṁ na daṇḍa-pātrābhyām
anyat kiñcid anāpadi

Synonyms

bibhṛyāt — would wear; cet — if; muniḥ — the sannyāsī; vāsaḥ — clothes; kaupīna — the thick belt and underwear worn by saintly persons; ācchādanam — covering; param — other; tyaktam — given up; na — never; daṇḍa — besides his staff; pātrābhyām — and waterpot; anyat — else; kiñcit — anything; anāpadi — when there is no emergency.

Translation

If the sannyāsī desires to wear something besides a mere kaupīna, he may use another cloth around his waist and hips to cover the kaupīna. Otherwise, if there is no emergency, he should not accept anything besides his daṇḍa and waterpot.

Purport

A sannyāsī attracted to material possessions will spoil his worship of Lord Kṛṣṇa.

Devanagari

द‍ृष्टिपूतं न्यसेत् पादं वस्‍त्रपूतं पिबेज्जलम् ।
सत्यपूतां वदेद् वाचं मन:पूतं समाचरेत् ॥ १६ ॥

Text

dṛṣṭi-pūtaṁ nyaset pādaṁ
vastra-pūtaṁ pibej jalam
satya-pūtāṁ vaded vācaṁ
manaḥ-pūtaṁ samācaret

Synonyms

dṛṣṭi — by the sight; pūtam — ascertained as pure; nyaset — he should place; pādam — his foot; vastra — by his cloth; pūtam — filtered; pibet — he should drink; jalam — water; satya — by truthfulness; pūtām — pure; vadet — he should speak; vācam — words; manaḥ — ascertained by the mind; pūtam — to be pure; samācaret — he should perform.

Translation

A saintly person should step or place his foot on the ground only after verifying with his eyes that there are no living creatures, such as insects, who might be injured by his foot. He should drink water only after filtering it through a portion of his cloth, and he should speak only words that possess the purity of truth. Similarly, he should perform only those activities his mind has carefully ascertained to be pure.

Purport

While walking, a saintly person is careful not to kill any tiny creatures on the ground. Similarly, he filters his drinking water through cloth to avoid swallowing small creatures living within the water. Speaking untruths simply for sense gratification is detrimental to devotional service and should be avoided. Speaking impersonal philosophy and glorifying the sense gratification of the material world, even that found in heavenly planets, contaminates the heart and must be avoided by those desiring perfection in the loving service of the Lord. By serious consideration one can understand that any activity other than devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa has no ultimate value; therefore one should exclusively engage in the purified activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Devanagari

मौनानीहानिलायामा दण्डा वाग्देहचेतसाम् ।
न ह्येते यस्य सन्त्यङ्ग वेणुभिर्न भवेद् यति: ॥ १७ ॥

Text

maunānīhānilāyāmā
daṇḍā vāg-deha-cetasām
na hy ete yasya santy aṅga
veṇubhir na bhaved yatiḥ

Synonyms

mauna — avoiding useless speech; anīha — giving up fruitive activities; anila-āyāmāḥ — controlling the breathing process; daṇḍāḥ — strict disciplines; vāk — of the voice; deha — of the body; cetasām — of the mind; na — not; hi — indeed; ete — these disciplines; yasya — of whom; santi — exist; aṅga — My dear Uddhava; veṇubhiḥ — by bamboo rods; na — never; bhavet — is; yatiḥ — a real sannyāsī.

Translation

One who has not accepted the three internal disciplines of avoiding useless speech, avoiding useless activities and controlling the life air can never be considered a sannyāsī merely because of his carrying bamboo rods.

Purport

The word daṇḍa indicates the staff carried by those in the renounced order of life, and daṇḍa also indicates severe discipline. The Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs accept a staff made of three bamboo rods, signifying dedication of the body, mind and words to the service of the Supreme Lord. Here Lord Kṛṣṇa says that one must first accept these three daṇḍas, or disciplines (namely control of the voice, body and mind), within oneself. The practice of anilāyāma (or prāṇāyāma, regulating the life air) is meant to control the mind, and one who always thinks of service to Lord Kṛṣṇa has certainly achieved the perfection of prāṇāyāma. Merely carrying the three external daṇḍas without assimilating the internal daṇḍas of bodily, mental and vocal discipline can never make one an actual Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī, as explained here by Lord Kṛṣṇa.

In the Haṁsa-gītā section of Mahābhārata and in Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Upadeśāmṛta, there are instructions regarding the sannyāsa order of life. A conditioned soul who adopts only the external ornaments of tridaṇḍi-sannyāsa will not actually be able to control the senses. One who takes sannyāsa for false prestige, making a show of saintliness without actual advancement in kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, will soon be vanquished by the external energy of the Lord.

Devanagari

भिक्षां चतुर्षु वर्णेषु विगर्ह्यान् वर्जयंश्चरेत् ।
सप्तागारानसङ्‍क्लृप्तांस्तुष्येल्ल‍ब्धेन तावता ॥ १८ ॥

Text

bhikṣāṁ caturṣu varṇeṣu
vigarhyān varjayaṁś caret
saptāgārān asaṅkḷptāṁs
tuṣyel labdhena tāvatā

Synonyms

bhikṣām — charity obtained by begging; caturṣu — among the four; varṇeṣu — occupational divisions of society; vigarhyān — abominable, impure; varjayan — rejecting; caret — one should approach; sapta — seven; āgārān — houses; asaṅkḷptān — without calculation or desire; tuṣyet — one should be satisfied; labdhena — with that obtained; tāvatā — with just that amount.

Translation

Rejecting those houses that are polluted and untouchable, one should approach without previous calculation seven houses and be satisfied with that which is obtained there by begging. According to necessity, one may approach each of the four occupational orders of society.

Purport

Saintly persons in the renounced order of life may beg from strict followers of Vedic culture to obtain foodstuffs and other bodily necessities. According to Vedic injunction, a renounced saint should beg from the brāhmaṇa community, but if there is danger of his starving, he may beg from kṣatriyas, then vaiśyas, and even śūdras if they are not sinful, as expressed here by the word vigarhyān. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura explains that asaṅkḷptān indicates that one should not approach certain houses, calculating, “In that place I can get first-class food. That house has a big reputation among beggars.” Without discriminating, one should go to seven houses and be satisfied with whatever may be obtained there. One should beg for one’s personal maintenance only from houses where the inhabitants, being sincere followers of the varṇāśrama culture, have earned their livelihood by honest means and are free from sinful activities. One may beg alms from such householders. One must not beg alms for one’s personal maintenance from those who oppose the Supreme Lord’s devotional service, for such service is the whole purpose of varṇāśrama culture.

Those who oppose Vedic culture pass laws to make begging by saintly persons a criminal act. They thus insult and persecute saintly beggars, considering them to be ordinary vagrants. A lazy person begging to avoid work is certainly abominable, but a saintly person dedicated to the service of the Lord and practicing the discipline of begging to develop full dependence on the Lord’s mercy should be given all facility in human society. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura explains that there are three forms of collecting alms. Mādhukara is the process of imitating the bee, who collects a tiny amount of nectar from each flower. In this way, the saintly person accepts a very small amount from each person, avoiding social conflict. The process mentioned here is asaṅkḷpta, by which one indiscriminately approaches seven houses, being satisfied with whatever may be obtained. Prāk-praṇīta is that process by which one establishes regular donors and collects one’s maintenance from them. In this regard Śrīla Vīrarāghava Ācārya has described the initial stage of sannyāsa, called kuṭīcaka, as follows. A man accepting the initial stage of sannyāsa arranges for his children or other relatives and well-wishers to build him a kuṭī, or meditation cottage. He gives up worldly affairs and sits within the cottage, trying to remain free from lust, anger, greed, illusion and so on. According to the prescribed injunctions of regulated life, he accepts a tridaṇḍa, purifies himself with a waterpot, shaves his head (leaving a śikhā, or tuft), chants Gāyatrī mantra on the sacred thread and wears saffron garments. Bathing regularly, cleansing, performing ācamana, chanting japa, studying the Vedas, remaining celibate and meditating on the Lord, he receives regular supplies of food from his children, friends and relatives. Accepting only the bare necessities of life, he remains fixed in his cottage up to the moment of liberation.

Devanagari

बहिर्जलाशयं गत्वा तत्रोपस्पृश्य वाग्यत: ।
विभज्य पावितं शेषं भुञ्जीताशेषमाहृतम् ॥ १९ ॥

Text

bahir jalāśayaṁ gatvā
tatropaspṛśya vāg-yataḥ
vibhajya pāvitaṁ śeṣaṁ
bhuñjītāśeṣam āhṛtam

Synonyms

bahiḥ — outside of urban areas, in a secluded place; jala — of water; āśayam — to a reservoir; gatvā — going; tatra — there; upaspṛśya — being purified by contact with water; vāk-yataḥ — without speaking; vibhajya — duly distributing; pāvitam — purified; śeṣam — remnants; bhuñjīta — one should eat; aśeṣam — completely; āhṛtam — gathered by begging.

Translation

Taking the food gathered through begging, one should leave the populated areas and go to a reservoir of water in a secluded place. There, having taken a bath and washed one’s hands thoroughly, one should distribute portions of the food to others who may request it. One should do this without speaking. Then, having thoroughly cleansed the remnants, one should eat everything on one’s plate, leaving nothing for future consumption.

Purport

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura explains that a saintly person should not argue or quarrel with materialistic persons who may request or demand part of his foodstuff. The word vibhajya indicates that one should give something to such persons to avoid disturbance, and then, offering the remnants to Lord Viṣṇu, one should eat everything on one’s plate, without saving food for the future. The word bahiḥ indicates that one should not eat in a public place, and vāg-yata indicates that one should eat silently, meditating upon the Lord’s mercy.

Devanagari

एकश्चरेन्महीमेतां नि:सङ्ग: संयतेन्द्रिय: ।
आत्मक्रीड आत्मरत आत्मवान् समदर्शन: ॥ २० ॥

Text

ekaś caren mahīm etāṁ
niḥsaṅgaḥ saṁyatendriyaḥ
ātma-krīḍa ātma-rata
ātma-vān sama-darśanaḥ

Synonyms

ekaḥ — alone; caret — one should move about; mahīm — the earth; etām — this; niḥsaṅgaḥ — without any material attachment; saṁyata-indriyaḥ — completely controlling the senses; ātma-krīḍaḥ — enthusiastic by realization of the Supersoul; ātma-rataḥ — completely satisfied in spiritual understanding; ātma-vān — steady on the spiritual platform; sama-darśanaḥ — with equal vision everywhere.

Translation

Without any material attachment, with senses fully controlled, remaining enthusiastic, and satisfied in realization of the Supreme Lord and his own self, the saintly person should travel about the earth alone. Having equal vision everywhere, he should be steady on the spiritual platform.

Purport

One who remains attached to material sense gratification cannot be steady in the process of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. Being shackled by illusory desires, he is not able to fully control the senses. Actually, one should take shelter of devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours a day, for by such service one remains within the scope of spiritual reality. By chanting and hearing the holy names of the Lord along with the Lord’s glories and pastimes, one naturally drifts away from the field of material sense gratification. Good association with Lord Kṛṣṇa and His devotees automatically vanquishes useless material association, and one is able to carry out the Vedic injunctions meant to lift the conditioned soul out of the material field and onto the liberated platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In this regard, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī states in his Upadeśāmṛta (4):

dadāti pratigṛhṇāti
guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati
bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva
ṣaḍ-vidhaṁ prīti-lakṣaṇam

“Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one’s mind in confidence, inquiring confidentially, accepting prasādam and offering prasādam are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee and another.”

One who thus learns to associate with the Lord’s devotees actually remains insulated from the contamination of material life. By pure association one gradually understands the name, form, qualities, associates, pastimes and devotional service of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and thus even in this lifetime one can become a resident of the spiritual world. In the association of pure devotees there is no material contamination and no useless discussion, since all pure devotees are fully engaged twenty-four hours a day in the loving service of the Lord. By the influence of such devotees, one develops equal vision (sama-darśana) and sees the realized knowledge of Kṛṣṇa consciousness everywhere. As one begins to understand his eternal relationship with Lord Kṛṣṇa, he becomes ātma-vān, situated in his constitutional position. An advanced Vaiṣṇava, constantly enjoying the mellows of loving devotional service and carrying out the mission of the Lord on the earth, is ātma-krīḍa, one who enjoys life within the internal potency of the Supreme Lord. The advanced devotee remains constantly attracted to the Supreme Lord and His devotees and is therefore ātma-rata, fully satisfied by constant engagement in devotional service. One cannot possibly develop the exalted qualities mentioned here without becoming an unalloyed devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. One who is envious of the Lord and His devotees becomes attracted to bad association, gradually loses control of the senses and falls down into the network of impious life. The innumerable varieties of nondevotees are like branches sprouting from the single tree of enviousness of the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, and their association should be given up by all means.

Without unalloyed devotional service to the Lord, one loses touch with the desire and mission of the Personality of Godhead and becomes attracted to worshiping the wonderful male and female creations of the Lord’s illusory energy — demigods, demigoddesses, celebrities, politicians, prostitutes, etc. In this way, one foolishly considers something besides Lord Kṛṣṇa to be supremely wonderful. Actually, Lord Kṛṣṇa is the only true object of worship for those desiring to experience unlimited beauty and pleasure. By seriously taking to Kṛṣṇa consciousness one can realize the transcendental position of Lord Kṛṣṇa and gradually develop all of the qualities mentioned in this verse.

Devanagari

विविक्तक्षेमशरणो मद्भ‍ावविमलाशय: ।
आत्मानं चिन्तयेदेकमभेदेन मया मुनि: ॥ २१ ॥

Text

vivikta-kṣema-śaraṇo
mad-bhāva-vimalāśayaḥ
ātmānaṁ cintayed ekam
abhedena mayā muniḥ

Synonyms

vivikta — solitary; kṣema — safe; śaraṇaḥ — his dwelling; mat — in Me; bhāva — by constant thought; vimala — purified; āśayaḥ — his consciousness; ātmānam — on the soul; cintayet — he should concentrate; ekam — alone; abhedena — not different; mayā — from Me; muniḥ — the sage.

Translation

Dwelling in a safe and solitary place, his mind purified by constant thought of Me, the sage should concentrate on the soul alone, realizing it to be nondifferent from Me.

Purport

One who is engaged exclusively in the devotional service of the Lord in one of the five principal relationships is to be known as a pure Vaiṣṇava. Because of his advanced stage of love of Godhead, a pure devotee is able to constantly chant the glories of the Lord without material hindrance. He is not interested in anything except Lord Kṛṣṇa and never considers himself to be qualitatively different from the Lord. One who is still attracted by the gross material body and subtle material mind, which cover the eternal soul, continues to see himself as different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This misconception is due to false identification with matter. With senses purified of material contamination, one must serve the Lord, who is the master of all senses, and thus one’s devotional service is considered free from discrepancy.

One who ignores the injunctions of Vedic literature uselessly wastes his sense activity in illusory material activities. He falsely considers himself to be different from Lord Kṛṣṇa and therefore imagines that he possesses an interest independent of the Lord’s interest. There is no possibility that such a person can achieve steadiness in life, because the material field of action is constantly being shifted and transformed by the disturbing influence of time. If a devotee begins to cultivate an interest apart from the loving service of the Lord, his meditation on his oneness with the Lord will be disturbed and overturned. When the mind deviates from the lotus feet of the Lord, the duality of material nature again becomes prominent within the mind, and one resumes a work program based on the three modes of material nature. One who is not fixed in one’s own relationship with the Supreme Lord cannot be fearless or steady and is deprived of the shelter of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Therefore one should seriously contemplate, as described in this verse, one’s identity as a small particle of consciousness not different from the supreme consciousness, Lord Kṛṣṇa. Thus one should remain steady in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Devanagari

अन्वीक्षेतात्मनो बन्धं मोक्षं च ज्ञाननिष्ठया ।
बन्ध इन्द्रियविक्षेपो मोक्ष एषां च संयम: ॥ २२ ॥

Text

anvīkṣetātmano bandhaṁ
mokṣaṁ ca jñāna-niṣṭhayā
bandha indriya-vikṣepo
mokṣa eṣāṁ ca saṁyamaḥ

Synonyms

anvīkṣeta — one should see by careful study; ātmanaḥ — of the soul; bandham — the bondage; mokṣam — the liberation; ca — also; jñāna — in knowledge; niṣṭhayā — by steadiness; bandhaḥ — bondage; indriya — of the senses; vikṣepaḥ — deviation to sense gratification; mokṣaḥ — liberation; eṣām — of these senses; ca — and; saṁyamaḥ — complete control.

Translation

By steady knowledge a sage should clearly ascertain the nature of the soul’s bondage and liberation. Bondage occurs when the senses are deviated to sense gratification, and complete control of the senses constitutes liberation.

Purport

By carefully understanding one’s eternal nature, one will not again be bound up in the shackles of material energy, and by constant engagement in the service of the Absolute Truth, one is liberated. Then the flickering material senses can no longer drag one into the false consciousness of being a material enjoyer. Such steady sense control gives one relief from the harassment of material sense gratification.

Devanagari

तस्मान्नियम्य षड्‍वर्गं मद्भ‍ावेन चरेन्मुनि: ।
विरक्त: क्षुद्रकामेभ्यो लब्ध्वात्मनि सुखं महत् ॥ २३ ॥

Text

tasmān niyamya ṣaḍ-vargaṁ
mad-bhāvena caren muniḥ
viraktaḥ kṣudra-kāmebhyo
labdhvātmani sukhaṁ mahat

Synonyms

tasmāt — therefore; niyamya — completely controlling; ṣaṭ-vargam — the six senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste and the mind); mat-bhāvena — by consciousness of Me; caret — should live; muniḥ — the sage; viraktaḥ — detached; kṣudra — insignificant; kāmebhyaḥ — from sense gratification; labdhvā — having experienced; ātmani — in the self; sukham — happiness; mahat — great.

Translation

Therefore, completely controlling the five senses and the mind by Kṛṣṇa consciousness, a sage, having experienced spiritual bliss within the self, should live detached from insignificant material sense gratification.

Devanagari

पुरग्रामव्रजान्सार्थान् भिक्षार्थं प्रविशंश्चरेत् ।
पुण्यदेशसरिच्छैलवनाश्रमवतीं महीम् ॥ २४ ॥

Text

pura-grāma-vrajān sārthān
bhikṣārthaṁ praviśaṁś caret
puṇya-deśa-saric-chaila-
vanāśrama-vatīṁ mahīm

Synonyms

pura — cities; grāma — towns; vrajān — and pasturing grounds; sa-arthān — those working for bodily maintenance; bhikṣā-artham — for begging alms; praviśan — entering; caret — he should travel; puṇya — pure; deśa — places; sarit — with rivers; śaila — mountains; vana — and forests; āśrama-vatīm — possessing such residential places; mahīm — the earth.

Translation

The sage should travel in sanctified places, by flowing rivers and within the solitude of mountains and forests. He should enter the cities, towns and pasturing grounds and approach ordinary working men only to beg his bare sustenance.

Purport

According to Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī, the word pura refers to cities and towns with shopping centers, markets and other commercial enterprises, whereas grāma refers to smaller towns, lacking such facilities. The vānaprastha or sannyāsī trying to become free from material attachment should avoid those who are working day and night for sense gratification, approaching them only to engage them in necessary acts of charity. Those who are preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world are understood to be liberated souls, and therefore they constantly approach the materialistic living entities to engage them in the devotional service of Lord Kṛṣṇa. However, even such preachers should strictly avoid contact with the materialistic world when not actually necessary for advancing the mission of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The injunction is that one should not deal unnecessarily with the materialistic world.

Devanagari

वानप्रस्थाश्रमपदेष्वभीक्ष्णं भैक्ष्यमाचरेत् ।
संसिध्यत्याश्वसम्मोह: शुद्धसत्त्व: शिलान्धसा ॥ २५ ॥

Text

vānaprasthāśrama-padeṣv
abhīkṣṇaṁ bhaikṣyam ācaret
saṁsidhyaty āśv asammohaḥ
śuddha-sattvaḥ śilāndhasā

Synonyms

vānaprastha-āśrama — of the vānaprastha order of life; padeṣu — in the position; abhīkṣṇam — always; bhaikṣyam — begging; ācaret — one should perform; saṁsidhyati — one becomes spiritually perfect; āśu — quickly; asammohaḥ — free from illusion; śuddha — purified; sattvaḥ — existence; śīla — obtained by begging or gleaning; andhasā — by food.

Translation

One in the vānaprastha order of life should always practice taking charity from others, for one is thereby freed from illusion and quickly becomes perfect in spiritual life. Indeed, one who subsists on food grains obtained in such a humble manner purifies his existence.

Purport

In the Western countries people are generally so dull that they cannot distinguish between a saintly beggar and an ordinary hobo or hippie. A saintly beggar is constantly engaged in authorized devotional service to the Supreme Lord and accepts only what he requires for his bare maintenance. The author of this book remembers entering the Kṛṣṇa consciousness society as an arrogant university student and being quickly humbled by the process of begging on the street on behalf of Kṛṣṇa. This process is not theoretical but actually purifies one’s existence by forcing one to offer respect to all others. Unless one offers respect to others, one’s begging will be fruitless. Also, by begging one will not often eat very sumptuously. This is good because when the tongue is controlled the other senses are quickly pacified. A vānaprastha should never give up the purifying process of begging for his food, and ordinary people should not foolishly equate a lazy bum living at the cost of others with a saintly beggar engaged in higher duties for the Supreme Lord.

Devanagari

नैतद् वस्तुतया पश्येद् द‍ृश्यमानं विनश्यति ।
असक्तचित्तो विरमेदिहामुत्र चिकीर्षितात् ॥ २६ ॥

Text

naitad vastutayā paśyed
dṛśyamānaṁ vinaśyati
asakta-citto viramed
ihāmutra-cikīrṣitāt

Synonyms

na — never; etat — this; vastutayā — as ultimate reality; paśyet — one should see; dṛśyamānam — being observed by direct experience; vinaśyati — is destroyed; asakta — without attachment; cittaḥ — whose consciousness; viramet — one should be detached; iha — in this world; amutra — and in one’s future life; cikīrṣitāt — from activities performed for material advancement.

Translation

One should never see as ultimate reality those material things which obviously will perish. With consciousness free from material attachment, one should retire from all activities meant for material progress in this life and the next.

Purport

One may doubt how a gentleman can retire from family life and live as a beggar, eating meager foodstuffs. The Lord here responds by stating that sumptuous or palatable foods — along with all other material objects, such as the body itself — should never be seen as ultimate reality, since they are obviously perishable items. One should retire from material programs destined to enhance the quality of one’s illusion both in this life and the next.

Devanagari

यदेतदात्मनि जगन्मनोवाक्प्राणसंहतम् ।
सर्वं मायेति तर्केण स्वस्थस्त्यक्त्वा न तत् स्मरेत् ॥ २७ ॥

Text

yad etad ātmani jagan
mano-vāk-prāṇa-saṁhatam
sarvaṁ māyeti tarkeṇa
sva-sthas tyaktvā na tat smaret

Synonyms

yat — which; etat — this; ātmani — in the Supreme Lord; jagat — universe; manaḥ — of the mind; vāk — speech; prāṇa — and life air; saṁhatam — formed; sarvam — all; māyā — material illusion; iti — thus; tarkeṇa — by logic; sva-sthaḥ — fixed in the self; tyaktvā — giving up; na — never; tat — that; smaret — one should remember.

Translation

One should logically consider the universe, which is situated within the Lord, and one’s own material body, which is composed of mind, speech and life air, to be ultimately products of the Lord’s illusory energy. Thus situated in the self, one should give up one’s faith in these things and should never again make them the object of one’s meditation.

Purport

Every conditioned soul considers the material world to be the object of his personal sense gratification and therefore considers the material body to be his actual identity. The word tyaktvā indicates that one must give up one’s false identification with the material world and the material body, since both are merely products of the illusory potency of the Lord. One should never again meditate on the material world and body as objects of sense gratification but rather should become situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Looking at things from the eternal point of view, this world is simply illusory. The material energy of the Lord is devoid of consciousness and thus cannot be the basis of actual happiness. The Supreme Lord Himself is the only absolutely conscious entity. He is absolutely self-sufficient, standing alone as Viṣṇu, the Personality of Godhead. Only Viṣṇu, and not the insignificant workings of material nature, can give us the actual perfection of life.

Devanagari

ज्ञाननिष्ठो विरक्तो वा मद्भ‍क्तो वानपेक्षक: ।
सलिङ्गानाश्रमांस्त्यक्त्वा चरेदविधिगोचर: ॥ २८ ॥

Text

jñāna-niṣṭho virakto vā
mad-bhakto vānapekṣakaḥ
sa-liṅgān āśramāṁs tyaktvā
cared avidhi-gocaraḥ

Synonyms

jñāna — to philosophical knowledge; niṣṭhaḥ — dedicated; viraktaḥ — detached from external manifestations; — either; mat-bhaktaḥ — My devotee; — or; anapekṣakaḥ — not desiring even liberation; sa-liṅgān — with their rituals and external regulations; āśramān — the duties pertaining to particular statuses of life; tyaktvā — giving up; caret — one should conduct oneself; avidhi-gocaraḥ — beyond the range of rules and regulations.

Translation

A learned transcendentalist dedicated to the cultivation of knowledge and thus detached from external objects, or My devotee who is detached even from desire for liberation — both neglect those duties based on external rituals or paraphernalia. Thus their conduct is beyond the range of rules and regulations.

Purport

This verse describes the paramahaṁsa stage of life, in which there is no further need for rituals, external paraphernalia or rules and regulations. A completely realized jñāna-yogī pursuing liberation, or beyond that, a perfect devotee of the Lord who does not desire even liberation, has no further desire for material engagement. When one completely purifies the mind, there is no possibility of sinful behavior. Rules and regulations are meant for guiding those who have a tendency to act in ignorance or for personal gratification, but one who is perfect in spiritual consciousness can move freely, as described here by the Lord. One who tends to drive a car recklessly or who is unfamiliar with the local road conditions certainly needs the discipline of elaborate road signs and police enforcement of traffic laws. A perfectly safe driver, however, is thoroughly familiar with the local road conditions. He has no real need for the enforcement officials or the speed limits and caution signs meant for those unfamiliar with the road. A pure devotee of the Lord desires nothing except service to the Lord; he automatically fulfills the purport of all negative and positive injunctions, which is to always remember Kṛṣṇa and never forget Him. One should not, however, artificially imitate the exalted position of a paramahaṁsa devotee, for such imitation will quickly ruin one’s spiritual career.

In the previous verses the Lord has elaborately described various rituals, paraphernalia and disciplines for the various spiritual orders of life. The sannyāsī, for example, carries a tridaṇḍa and a waterpot and eats and lives in a particular way. A paramahaṁsa devotee, having completely given up all attachment and interest in the material world, is no longer attracted by such external features of renunciation.

Devanagari

बुधो बालकवत् क्रीडेत् कुशलो जडवच्चरेत् ।
वदेदुन्मत्तवद् विद्वान् गोचर्यां नैगमश्चरेत् ॥ २९ ॥

Text

budho bālaka-vat krīḍet
kuśalo jaḍa-vac caret
vaded unmatta-vad vidvān
go-caryāṁ naigamaś caret

Synonyms

budhaḥ — although intelligent; bālaka-vat — like a child (oblivious to honor and dishonor); krīḍet — he should enjoy life; kuśalaḥ — although expert; jaḍa-vat — like a stunted person; caret — he should act; vadet — he should speak; unmatta-vat — like an insane person; vidvān — although most learned; go-caryām — unrestricted behavior; naigamaḥ — although expert in Vedic injunctions; caret — he should perform.

Translation

Although most wise, the paramahaṁsa should enjoy life like a child, oblivious to honor and dishonor; although most expert, he should behave like a stunted, incompetent person; although most learned, he should speak like an insane person; and although a scholar learned in Vedic regulations, he should behave in an unrestricted manner.

Purport

A paramahaṁsa-sannyāsī, fearing that his mind may be deviated by the tremendous prestige that people sometimes offer to a perfectly self-realized person, conceals his position as described in this verse. A self-realized person does not try to please the mass of people, nor does he desire social prestige, since the mission of his life is to remain detached from the material world and to always please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although neglecting ordinary rules and regulations, a paramahaṁsa does not ever become sinful or immoral, but rather neglects ritualistic aspects of religious custom, such as dressing in a particular way, performing certain ceremonies or executing specific penances and austerities.

The pure devotees of the Lord who have dedicated their lives to propagating the Lord’s holy name must very expertly present Kṛṣṇa consciousness in a way pleasing to the mass of people so that they will accept it. Those who are preaching should try to make Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa popular without trying to advance their personal prestige in the name of missionary progress. A paramahaṁsa not engaged in distributing Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however, should have no attachment whatsoever to public opinion.

Devanagari

वेदवादरतो न स्यान्न पाषण्डी न हैतुक: ।
शुष्कवादविवादे न कञ्चित् पक्षं समाश्रयेत् ॥ ३० ॥

Text

veda-vāda-rato na syān
na pāṣaṇḍī na haitukaḥ
śuṣka-vāda-vivāde na
kañcit pakṣaṁ samāśrayet

Synonyms

veda-vāda — in the karma-kāṇḍa section of the Vedas; rataḥ — engaged; na — never; syāt — should be; na — nor; pāṣaṇḍī — atheistic, acting against Vedic injunctions; na — nor; haitukaḥ — a mere logician or skeptic; śuṣka-vāda — of useless topics; vivāde — in arguments; na — never; kañcit — any; pakṣam — side; samāśrayet — should take.

Translation

A devotee should never engage in the fruitive rituals mentioned in the karma-kāṇḍa section of the Vedas, nor should he become atheistic, acting or speaking in opposition to Vedic injunctions. Similarly, he should never speak like a mere logician or skeptic or take any side whatsoever in useless arguments.

Purport

Although a paramahaṁsa devotee conceals his exalted position, certain activities are forbidden even for one trying to conceal himself. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura explains that in the name of concealment one should not become a ghost. The word pāsaṇḍa refers to atheistic philosophies opposing the Vedas, such as Buddhism, and haituka refers to those who accept only that which can be demonstrated by mundane logic or experimentation. Since the whole purpose of the Vedas is to understand that which is beyond material experience, a skeptic’s so-called logic is irrelevant to spiritual progress. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī warns us in this regard that a devotee should not read atheistic literature, even with the purpose of refining arguments against atheism. Such literature should be entirely avoided. The above-mentioned prohibited activities are so detrimental to the advancement of Kṛṣṇa consciousness that they should not be adopted even as a superficial show.

Devanagari

नोद्विजेत जनाद् धीरो जनं चोद्वेजयेन्न तु ।
अतिवादांस्तितिक्षेत नावमन्येत कञ्चन ।
देहमुद्दिश्य पशुवद् वैरं कुर्यान्न केनचित् ॥ ३१ ॥

Text

nodvijeta janād dhīro
janaṁ codvejayen na tu
ati-vādāṁs titikṣeta
nāvamanyeta kañcana
deham uddiśya paśu-vad
vairaṁ kuryān na kenacit

Synonyms

na — never; udvijeta — should be disturbed or frightened; janāt — because of other people; dhīraḥ — a saintly person; janam — other people; ca — also; udvejayet — should frighten or disturb; na — never; tu — indeed; ati-vādān — insulting or harsh words; titikṣeta — he should tolerate; na — never; avamanyeta — should belittle; kañcana — anyone; deham — the body; uddiśya — for the sake of; paśu-vat — like an animal; vairam — hostility; kuryāt — he should create; na — never; kenacit — with anyone.

Translation

A saintly person should never let others frighten or disturb him and, similarly, should never frighten or disturb other people. He should tolerate the insults of others and should never himself belittle anyone. He should never create hostility with anyone for the sake of the material body, for he would thus be no better than an animal.

Purport

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has stated:

tṛṇād api su-nīcena
taror iva sahiṣṇunā
amāninā māna-dena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

“One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.”

A Vaiṣṇava should never disturb any other living entity with his body, mind or words. He should always be tolerant and never belittle others. Although a Vaiṣṇava may act powerfully against the demons for Lord Kṛṣṇa’s sake — as did Arjuna, Hanumān and many other great devotees — a Vaiṣṇava becomes very meek and humble in regard to his own reputation.

Devanagari

एक एव परो ह्यात्मा भूतेष्वात्मन्यवस्थित: ।
यथेन्दुरुदपात्रेषु भूतान्येकात्मकानि च ॥ ३२ ॥

Text

eka eva paro hy ātmā
bhūteṣv ātmany avasthitaḥ
yathendur uda-pātreṣu
bhūtāny ekātmakāni ca

Synonyms

ekaḥ — one; eva — indeed; paraḥ — Supreme; hi — certainly; ātmā — the Personality of Godhead; bhūteṣu — within all bodies; ātmani — within the living entity; avasthitaḥ — situated; yathā — just as; induḥ — the moon; uda — of water; pātreṣu — in different reservoirs; bhūtāni — all material bodies; eka — of the one Supreme Lord; ātmakāni — composed of the energy; ca — also.

Translation

The one Supreme Lord is situated within all material bodies and within everyone’s soul. Just as the moon is reflected in innumerable reservoirs of water, the Supreme Lord, although one, is present within everyone. Thus every material body is ultimately composed of the energy of the one Supreme Lord.

Purport

All material bodies are composed of the same material nature, which is ultimately the potency of the one Supreme Lord. Therefore, one cannot justify feelings of hostility toward any living entity. In carrying out the Lord’s mission on earth, the bona fide representatives of God never become envious or hostile toward anyone, even when chastised by those who flagrantly violate the laws of God. Every living being is ultimately the son of God, and God is present within everyone’s body. Therefore, saintly persons should be very careful even when dealing with the most insignificant person or creature.

Devanagari

अलब्ध्वा न विषीदेत काले कालेऽशनं क्व‍‍चित् ।
लब्ध्वा न हृष्येद् धृतिमानुभयं दैवतन्त्रितम् ॥ ३३ ॥

Text

alabdhvā na viṣīdeta
kāle kāle ’śanaṁ kvacit
labdhvā na hṛṣyed dhṛtimān
ubhayaṁ daiva-tantritam

Synonyms

alabdhvā — not obtaining; na — not; viṣīdeta — he should be depressed; kāle kāle — at different times; aśanam — food; kvacit — whatever; labdhvā — obtaining; na — not; hṛṣyet — should rejoice; dhṛti-mān — fixed in determination; ubhayam — both (obtaining and not obtaining good food); daiva — of the supreme power of God; tantritam — under the control.

Translation

If at times one does not obtain proper food one should not be depressed, and when one obtains sumptuous food one should not rejoice. Being fixed in determination, one should understand both situations to be under the control of God.

Purport

Because we desire to enjoy the material body, the varieties of material experience bring us flickering happiness and inevitable suffering. We foolishly consider ourselves to be controllers and doers, and thus through false egotism we are subjected to the volatile feelings of the material body and mind.

Devanagari

आहारार्थं समीहेत युक्तं तत् प्राणधारणम् ।
तत्त्वं विमृश्यते तेन तद् विज्ञाय विमुच्यते ॥ ३४ ॥

Text

āhārārthaṁ samīheta
yuktaṁ tat-prāṇa-dhāraṇam
tattvaṁ vimṛśyate tena
tad vijñāya vimucyate

Synonyms

āhāra — to eat; artham — in order; samīheta — one should endeavor; yuktam — proper; tat — of the person; prāṇa — life force; dhāraṇam — sustaining; tattvam — spiritual truth; vimṛśyate — is contemplated; tena — by that strength of the mind, senses and life air; tat — that truth; vijñāya — understanding; vimucyate — one is liberated.

Translation

If required, one should endeavor to get sufficient foodstuffs, because it is always necessary and proper to maintain one’s health. When the senses, mind and life air are fit, one can contemplate spiritual truth, and by understanding the truth one is liberated.

Purport

If foodstuffs do not come automatically or by token begging, then one should endeavor to keep body and soul together so that one’s spiritual program will not be disturbed. Normally, those who are endeavoring in spiritual life cannot maintain steady concentration on the truth if their mind and body are weakened by undereating. On the other hand, extravagant consumption of food is a great impediment for spiritual advancement and should be given up. The word āhārārtham in this verse indicates eating only to keep oneself fit for spiritual advancement and does not justify unnecessary collecting or warehousing of so-called alms. If one collects more than necessary for one’s spiritual program, the surplus becomes a heavy weight that drags one down to the material platform.

Devanagari

यद‍ृच्छयोपपन्नान्नमद्याच्छ्रेष्ठमुतापरम् ।
तथा वासस्तथा शय्यां प्राप्तं प्राप्तं भजेन्मुनि: ॥ ३५ ॥

Text

yadṛcchayopapannānnam
adyāc chreṣṭham utāparam
tathā vāsas tathā śayyāṁ
prāptaṁ prāptaṁ bhajen muniḥ

Synonyms

yadṛcchayā — of its own accord; upapanna — acquired; annam — food; adyāt — he should eat; śreṣṭham — first class; uta — or; aparam — low class; tathā — similarly; vāsaḥ — clothing; tathā — similarly; śayyām — bedding; prāptam prāptam — whatever is automatically obtained; bhajet — should accept; muniḥ — the sage.

Translation

A sage should accept the food, clothing and bedding — be they of excellent or inferior quality — that come of their own accord.

Purport

Sometimes excellent, sumptuous food will come without endeavor, and at other times tasteless food appears. A sage should not become happily excited when a sumptuous plate is brought to him, nor should he angrily refuse ordinary food that comes of its own accord. If no food comes at all, as mentioned in the previous verse, one must endeavor to avoid starvation. From these verses it appears that even a saintly sage must have a good dose of common sense.

Devanagari

शौचमाचमनं स्‍नानं न तु चोदनया चरेत् ।
अन्यांश्च नियमाञ्ज्ञानी यथाहं लीलयेश्वर: ॥ ३६ ॥

Text

śaucam ācamanaṁ snānaṁ
na tu codanayā caret
anyāṁś ca niyamāñ jñānī
yathāhaṁ līlayeśvaraḥ

Synonyms

śaucam — general cleanliness; ācamanam — purifying the hands with water; snānam — taking bath; na — not; tu — indeed; codanayā — by force; caret — one should perform; anyān — other; ca — also; niyamān — regular duties; jñānī — one who has realized knowledge of Me; yathā — just as; aham — I; līlayā — by My own desire; īśvaraḥ — the Supreme Lord.

Translation

Just as I, the Supreme Lord, execute regulative duties by My own free will, similarly, one who has realized knowledge of Me should maintain general cleanliness, purify his hands with water, take bath and execute other regulative duties not by force but by his own free will.

Purport

When the Supreme Personality of Godhead descends to the material world, He generally observes the Vedic regulative duties to set a proper example for mankind. The Lord acts by His own free will, since no one can oblige, force or impel the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Similarly, the jñānī, or self-realized soul, is fixed on the spiritual platform, beyond the material body, and should therefore execute the regulative duties in relation to the material body by his own free will and not as a servant of the rules and regulations. A self-realized soul is a servant of Lord Kṛṣṇa and not of rules and regulations. Nevertheless, a transcendentalist strictly complies with regular duties for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord. In other words, one who is advanced in loving devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa spontaneously moves according to the will of the Supreme. One who is perfectly situated in spiritual realization cannot become a servant of the material body or of rules and regulations concerning the material body. However, this verse and other similar statements in Vedic scriptures should not be ignorantly misinterpreted to justify immoral, whimsical behavior. Lord Kṛṣṇa is discussing the paramahaṁsa stage of life, and those who are attached to the material body have nothing to do with this paramahaṁsa stage, nor should they exploit its unique privileges and status.

Devanagari

न हि तस्य विकल्पाख्या या च मद्वीक्षया हता ।
आदेहान्तात् क्व‍‍चित् ख्यातिस्तत: सम्पद्यते मया ॥ ३७ ॥

Text

na hi tasya vikalpākhyā
yā ca mad-vīkṣayā hatā
ā-dehāntāt kvacit khyātis
tataḥ sampadyate mayā

Synonyms

na — not; hi — certainly; tasya — for the realized person; vikalpa — of something separate from Kṛṣṇa; ākhyā — perception; — which perception; ca — also; mat — of Me; vīkṣayā — by realized knowledge; hatā — is destroyed; ā — until; deha — of the body; antāt — the death; kvacit — sometimes; khyātiḥ — such perception; tataḥ — then; sampadyate — achieves equal opulences; mayā — with Me.

Translation

A realized soul no longer sees anything as separate from Me, for his realized knowledge of Me has destroyed such illusory perception. Since the material body and mind were previously accustomed to this kind of perception, it may sometimes appear to recur; but at the time of death the self-realized soul achieves opulences equal to Mine.

Purport

Lord Kṛṣṇa explained in verse 32 of this chapter that all material and spiritual objects are expansions of His potency. By realized knowledge of the Lord one gives up the illusion that anything, anywhere, at any time, can be separate from Lord Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa has also explained, however, that one must keep the material body and mind fit for executing devotional service; therefore even a self-realized soul may sometimes appear to accept or reject certain conditions or objects within this world. Such brief apparent duality of concentration upon something other than Kṛṣṇa does not change the liberated status of a self-realized soul, who achieves at the time of death the same opulences as Lord Kṛṣṇa in the spiritual world. The function of illusion is to separate one from Lord Kṛṣṇa, but the brief and occasional appearance of duality in the behavior or mentality of a pure devotee never separates him from the Lord. It does not constitute actual illusion, for it lacks the essential function of illusion, namely, the separation of one from Lord Kṛṣṇa.

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura describes the self-realized devotees as follows. The devotee of the Lord does not see anything as separate from Lord Kṛṣṇa and thus does not consider himself to be a permanent resident of the material world. At every moment the devotee is moved by his desire to serve Lord Kṛṣṇa. Just as those who are inclined to sense gratification pass their time making arrangements for their enjoyment, similarly the devotees are busy throughout the day arranging their devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa. Therefore they have no time to act like materialistic sense enjoyers. To ordinary persons it may seem that a pure devotee is seeing something as separate from Kṛṣṇa, but a pure devotee is actually fixed in his status as a liberated soul and is guaranteed to achieve a spiritual body in the kingdom of God. Ordinary, materialistic persons cannot always understand the activities of a pure devotee of the Lord, and thus they may try to minimize his position, considering him to be the same as themselves. At the end of life, however, the results achieved by the devotees of the Lord and ordinary materialists are vastly different.

Devanagari

दु:खोदर्केषु कामेषु जातनिर्वेद आत्मवान् ।
अजिज्ञासितमद्धर्मो मुनिं गुरुमुपव्रजेत् ॥ ३८ ॥

Text

duḥkhodarkeṣu kāmeṣu
jāta-nirveda ātmavān
ajijñāsita-mad-dharmo
muniṁ gurum upavrajet

Synonyms

duḥkha — unhappiness; udarkeṣu — in that which brings as its future result; kāmeṣu — in sense gratification; jāta — arisen; nirvedaḥ — detachment; ātma-vān — desiring spiritual perfection in life; ajijñāsita — one who has not seriously considered; mat — Me; dharmaḥ — the process of obtaining; munim — a wise person; gurum — a spiritual master; upavrajet — he should approach.

Translation

One who is detached from sense gratification, knowing its result to be miserable, and who desires spiritual perfection, but who has not seriously analyzed the process for obtaining Me, should approach a bona fide and learned spiritual master.

Purport

In the previous verses Lord Kṛṣṇa described the duty of one who has developed perfect knowledge. Now Lord Kṛṣṇa discusses the situation of one who, desiring self-realization, has become detached from material life but lacks perfect knowledge of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such a detached person desiring self-realization must approach the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and then he will quickly come to the standard of perfect understanding. One who is seriously inclined toward spiritual perfection should not hesitate to adopt the regular discipline necessary for achieving the highest perfection in life.

Devanagari

तावत् परिचरेद् भक्त: श्रद्धावाननसूयक: ।
यावद् ब्रह्म विजानीयान्मामेव गुरुमाद‍ृत: ॥ ३९ ॥

Text

tāvat paricared bhaktaḥ
śraddhāvān anasūyakaḥ
yāvad brahma vijānīyān
mām eva gurum ādṛtaḥ

Synonyms

tāvat — that long; paricaret — should serve; bhaktaḥ — the devotee; śraddhā-vān — with great faith; anasūyakaḥ — being without envy; yāvat — until; brahma — spiritual knowledge; vijānīyāt — he clearly realizes; mām — Me; eva — indeed; gurum — the spiritual master; ādṛtaḥ — with great respect.

Translation

Until a devotee has clearly realized spiritual knowledge, he should continue with great faith and respect and without envy to render personal service to the guru, who is nondifferent from Me.

Purport

As stated by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura in his Gurv-aṣṭaka prayers, yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ: one receives the mercy of the Supreme Lord through the mercy of the bona fide spiritual master. A devotee who has been blessed by his guru with spiritual knowledge becomes qualified to directly engage in the mission of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Śrīla Prabhupāda always emphasized that service to the spiritual master in separation, pushing on the mission of the guru, is the highest form of devotional service. The word paricaret in this verse indicates waiting upon one’s master by rendering personal service. In other words, one who has not clearly realized the teachings of his spiritual master should remain very close to the guru to avoid falling down into illusion, but one who has acquired realized knowledge by the mercy of his spiritual master may expand the spiritual master’s mission by traveling around the world to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Devanagari

यस्त्वसंयतषड्‍वर्ग: प्रचण्डेन्द्रियसारथि: ।
ज्ञानवैराग्यरहितस्‍त्रिदण्डमुपजीवति ॥ ४० ॥
सुरानात्मानमात्मस्थं निह्नुते मां च धर्महा ।
अविपक्व‍कषायोऽस्मादमुष्माच्च विहीयते ॥ ४१ ॥

Text

yas tv asaṁyata-ṣaḍ-vargaḥ
pracaṇḍendriya-sārathiḥ
jñāna-vairāgya-rahitas
tridaṇḍam upajīvati
surān ātmānam ātma-sthaṁ
nihnute māṁ ca dharma-hā
avipakva-kaṣāyo ’smād
amuṣmāc ca vihīyate

Synonyms

yaḥ — one who; tu — but; asaṁyata — having not controlled; ṣaṭ — the six; vargaḥ — items of contamination; pracaṇḍa — fierce; indriya — of the senses; sārathiḥ — the driver, intelligence; jñāna — of knowledge; vairāgya — and detachment; rahitaḥ — bereft; tridaṇḍam — the sannyāsa order of life; upajīvati — utilizing for one’s bodily maintenance; surān — the worshipable demigods; ātmānam — his own self; ātma-stham — situated within himself; nihnute — denies; mām — Me; ca — also; dharma- — ruining religious principles; avipakva — not yet dissolved; kaṣāyaḥ — contamination; asmāt — from this world; amuṣmāt — from the next life; ca — also; vihīyate — he is lost, deviated.

Translation

One who has not controlled the six forms of illusion [lust, anger, greed, excitement, false pride and intoxication], whose intelligence, the leader of the senses, is extremely attached to material things, who is bereft of knowledge and detachment, who adopts the sannyāsa order of life to make a living, who denies the worshipable demigods, his own self and the Supreme Lord within himself, thus ruining all religious principles, and who is still infected by material contamination, is deviated and lost both in this life and the next.

Purport

Lord Kṛṣṇa here condemns bogus personalities who adopt the sannyāsa order of life for sense gratification while still maintaining all of the symptoms of gross illusion. A false show of sannyāsa is never accepted by intelligent followers of Vedic principles. So-called sannyāsīs who ruin all Vedic religious principles sometimes become famous among foolish persons, but they are simply cheating themselves and their followers. These charlatan sannyāsīs are never actually engaged in the loving devotional service of Lord Kṛṣṇa.

Devanagari

भिक्षोर्धर्म: शमोऽहिंसा तप ईक्षा वनौकस: ।
गृहिणो भूतरक्षेज्या द्विजस्याचार्यसेवनम् ॥ ४२ ॥

Text

bhikṣor dharmaḥ śamo ’hiṁsā
tapa īkṣā vanaukasaḥ
gṛhiṇo bhūta-rakṣejyā
dvijasyācārya-sevanam

Synonyms

bhikṣoḥ — of a sannyāsī; dharmaḥ — the main religious principle; śamaḥ — equanimity; ahiṁsā — nonviolence; tapaḥ — austerity; īkṣā — discrimination (between the body and the soul); vana — in the forest; okasaḥ — of one dwelling, a vānaprastha; gṛhiṇaḥ — of a householder; bhūta-rakṣā — offering shelter to all living entities; ijyā — performance of sacrifice; dvi-jasya — of a brahmacārī; ācārya — the spiritual master; sevanam — serving.

Translation

The main religious duties of a sannyāsī are equanimity and nonviolence, whereas for the vānaprastha austerity and philosophical understanding of the difference between the body and soul are prominent. The main duties of a householder are to give shelter to all living entities and perform sacrifices, and the brahmacārī is mainly engaged in serving the spiritual master.

Purport

The brahmacārī lives in the āśrama of the spiritual master and personally assists the ācārya. Householders generally are entrusted with the performance of sacrifice and Deity worship and should provide maintenance for all living entities. The vānaprastha must clearly understand the difference between body and soul in order to maintain his status of renunciation, and he should also perform austerities. The sannyāsī should fully absorb his body, mind and words in self-realization. Having thus achieved equanimity of mind, he is the best well-wisher of all living entities.

Devanagari

ब्रह्मचर्यं तप: शौचं सन्तोषो भूतसौहृदम् ।
गृहस्थस्याप्यृतौ गन्तु: सर्वेषां मदुपासनम् ॥ ४३ ॥

Text

brahmacaryaṁ tapaḥ śaucaṁ
santoṣo bhūta-sauhṛdam
gṛhasthasyāpy ṛtau gantuḥ
sarveṣāṁ mad-upāsanam

Synonyms

brahma-caryam — celibacy; tapaḥ — austerity; śaucam — purity of mind without attachment or repulsion; santoṣaḥ — full satisfaction; bhūta — toward all living entities; sauhṛdam — friendship; gṛhasthasya — of the householder; api — also; ṛtau — at the proper time; gantuḥ — approaching his wife; sarveṣām — of all human beings; mat — of Me; upāsanam — worship.

Translation

A householder may approach his wife for sex only at the time prescribed for begetting children. Otherwise, the householder should practice celibacy, austerity, cleanliness of mind and body, satisfaction in his natural position, and friendship toward all living entities. Worship of Me is to be practiced by all human beings, regardless of social or occupational divisions.

Purport

Sarveṣāṁ mad-upāsanam indicates that all followers of the varṇāśrama system must worship Lord Kṛṣṇa or risk falling down from their position. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.3), na bhajanty avajānanti sthānād bhraṣṭāḥ patanty adhaḥ: even though one may be advanced in the performance of Vedic rituals and customs, without worshiping the Supreme Lord one will certainly fall down.

Those in the householder āśrama are not authorized to enjoy life like pigs and dogs, freely exercising their sexual potency. A religious householder should approach his wife at the prescribed time and place and beget a saintly child for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord. Otherwise, it is specifically mentioned here that a householder must practice celibacy along with all of the other members of advanced human civilization. The word śaucam indicates cleanliness of mind and body, or else freedom from attachment and repulsion. One who faithfully worships God as the supreme controller experiences santoṣa, full satisfaction in whatever situation the Lord arranges. By seeing Lord Kṛṣṇa within everyone, one becomes bhūta-suhṛt, the well-wishing friend of all.

Devanagari

इति मां य: स्वधर्मेण भजेन् नित्यमनन्यभाक् ।
सर्वभूतेषु मद्भ‍ावो मद्भ‍‍क्तिं विन्दते द‍ृढाम् ॥ ४४ ॥

Text

iti māṁ yaḥ sva-dharmeṇa
bhajen nityam ananya-bhāk
sarva-bhūteṣu mad-bhāvo
mad-bhaktiṁ vindate dṛḍhām

Synonyms

iti — thus; mām — Me; yaḥ — one who; sva-dharmeṇa — by his prescribed duty; bhajet — worships; nityam — always; ananya-bhāk — with no other object of worship; sarva-bhūteṣu — in all living entities; mat — of Me; bhāvaḥ — being conscious; mat-bhaktim — devotional service unto Me; vindate — achieves; dṛḍhām — unflinching.

Translation

One who worships Me by his prescribed duty, having no other object of worship, and who remains conscious of Me as present in all living entities, achieves unflinching devotional service unto Me.

Purport

It is clearly explained in this verse that loving devotional service unto Lord Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate goal of the entire varṇāśrama system, which the Lord has been elaborately explaining. In any social or occupational division of human society one must be a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and worship Him alone. The bona fide spiritual master is the representative of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and worship of the ācārya goes directly to the lotus feet of the Lord. Although ordinary householders are sometimes ordered by Vedic injunctions to worship particular demigods or forefathers, one should remember that Lord Kṛṣṇa is within all living entities. As stated here, sarva-bhūteṣu mad-bhāvaḥ. The pure devotees of the Lord worship the Lord alone, and those who cannot come to the standard of pure devotional service should at least meditate upon the Personality of Godhead within the demigods and all other living entities, understanding that all religious processes are ultimately meant for the pleasure of the Lord. In the course of missionary work even pure devotees must deal with government leaders and other prominent members of society, sometimes praising such persons and complying with their orders. Yet because the devotees are always meditating on Lord Kṛṣṇa situated as the Supersoul within everyone, they are therefore acting for the Lord’s pleasure and not for the pleasure of any ordinary human being. Those persons dealing with different demigods in the course of their varṇāśrama duties should similarly see the Lord as the basis of everything. They should concentrate on pleasing the Supreme Lord by all activities. This stage of life is called love of God, and it brings one to the point of actual liberation.

Devanagari

भक्त्योद्धवानपायिन्या सर्वलोकमहेश्वरम् ।
सर्वोत्पत्त्यप्ययं ब्रह्म कारणं मोपयाति स: ॥ ४५ ॥

Text

bhaktyoddhavānapāyinyā
sarva-loka-maheśvaram
sarvotpatty-apyayaṁ brahma
kāraṇaṁ mopayāti saḥ

Synonyms

bhaktyā — by loving service; uddhava — My dear Uddhava; anapāyinyā — unfailing; sarva — of all; loka — worlds; mahā-īśvaram — the Supreme Lord; sarva — of everything; utpatti — the cause of the creation; apyayam — and annihilation; brahma — the Absolute Truth; kāraṇam — the cause of the universe; — to Me; upayāti — comes; saḥ — he.

Translation

My dear Uddhava, I am the Supreme Lord of all worlds, and I create and destroy this universe, being its ultimate cause. I am thus the Absolute Truth, and one who worships Me with unfailing devotional service comes to Me.

Purport

As described in the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.11), Lord Kṛṣṇa is understood in three features — as impersonal Brahman, localized Paramātmā and ultimately the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the source of everything. Lord Kṛṣṇa absorbs the impersonal philosophers into the rays of His body, appears before the perfect yogīs as the Lord of the heart, and ultimately brings His pure devotees back to His own abode for an eternal life of bliss and knowledge.

Devanagari

इति स्वधर्मनिर्णिक्तसत्त्वो निर्ज्ञातमद्गति: ।
ज्ञानविज्ञानसम्पन्नो नचिरात् समुपैति माम् ॥ ४६ ॥

Text

iti sva-dharma-nirṇikta-
sattvo nirjñāta-mad-gatiḥ
jñāna-vijñāna-sampanno
na cirāt samupaiti mām

Synonyms

iti — thus; sva-dharma — by performing his prescribed duty; nirṇikta — having purified; sattvaḥ — his existence; nirjñāta — completely understanding; mat-gatiḥ — My supreme position; jñāna — with knowledge of the scriptures; vijñāna — and realized knowledge of the soul; sampannaḥ — endowed; na cirāt — in the near future; samupaiti — completely achieves; mām — Me.

Translation

Thus, one who has purified his existence by execution of his prescribed duties, who fully understands My supreme position and who is endowed with scriptural and realized knowledge, very soon achieves Me.

Devanagari

वर्णाश्रमवतां धर्म एष आचारलक्षण: ।
स एव मद्भ‍‍क्तियुतो नि:श्रेयसकर: पर: ॥ ४७ ॥

Text

varṇāśramavatāṁ dharma
eṣa ācāra-lakṣaṇaḥ
sa eva mad-bhakti-yuto
niḥśreyasa-karaḥ paraḥ

Synonyms

varṇāśrama-vatām — of the followers of the varṇāśrama system; dharmaḥ — religious principle; eṣaḥ — this; ācāra — by proper behavior according to the authorized tradition; lakṣaṇaḥ — characterized; saḥ — this; eva — indeed; mat-bhakti — with devotional service to Me; yutaḥ — conjoined; niḥśreyasa — the highest perfection of life; karaḥ — giving; paraḥ — supreme.

Translation

Those who are followers of this varṇāśrama system accept religious principles according to authorized traditions of proper conduct. When such varṇāśrama duties are dedicated to Me in loving service, they award the supreme perfection of life.

Purport

According to the varṇāśrama system, the members of different orders and statuses of life have many traditional duties, such as worshiping the forefathers to save them from possible sinful reactions. All such Vedic rituals, sacrifices, austerities and so forth should be offered to the lotus feet of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. They then become the transcendental means for going back home, back to Godhead. In other words, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or loving service to Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is the sum and substance of progressive human life.

Devanagari

एतत्तेऽभिहितं साधो भवान् पृच्छति यच्च माम् ।
यथा स्वधर्मसंयुक्तो भक्तो मां समियात् परम् ॥ ४८ ॥

Text

etat te ’bhihitaṁ sādho
bhavān pṛcchati yac ca mām
yathā sva-dharma-saṁyukto
bhakto māṁ samiyāt param

Synonyms

etat — this; te — unto you; abhihitam — described; sādho — O saintly Uddhava; bhavān — you; pṛcchati — have asked; yat — which; ca — and; mām — from Me; yathā — the means by which; sva-dharma — in one’s prescribed duty; saṁyuktaḥ — perfectly engaged; bhaktaḥ — being a devotee; mām — to Me; samiyāt — one may come; param — the Supreme.

Translation

My dear saintly Uddhava, I have now described to you, just as you inquired, the means by which My devotee, perfectly engaged in his prescribed duty, can come back to Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Purport

Thus end the purports of the humble servants of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda to the Eleventh Canto, Eighteenth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Description of Varṇāśrama-dharma.”