विविक्तचीरवसनं सन्तोषं येन केनचित् ॥ २५ ॥
santoṣaṁ yena kenacit
sarvatra — everywhere; ātma — for one’s true self; īśvara — and for the Supreme Personality of Godhead; anvīkṣām — meditation by keeping continuously in view; kaivalyam — solitude; aniketatām — having no fixed residence; vivikta-cīra — scraps of cloth found in unfrequented places; vasanam — wearing; santoṣam — satisfaction; yena kenacit — with anything.
One should practice meditation by constantly seeing oneself to be an eternal cognizant spirit soul and seeing the Lord to be the absolute controller of everything. To increase one’s meditation, one should live in a secluded place and give up false attachment to one’s home and household paraphernalia. Giving up the decorations of the temporary material body, one should dress himself with scraps of cloth found in rejected places, or with the bark of trees. In this way one should learn to be satisfied in any material situation.
Kaivalyam, or living in a secluded place, indicates a place free from material disturbances. Therefore, one should live in the association of Vaiṣṇavas, where the common goal is advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Especially in the Kali-yuga, if one tries to remain physically isolated from all others the result will be degradation or insanity. Aniketatām means that one should not be intoxicated by the ephemeral satisfaction of one’s “home sweet home,” which will vanish at any moment by the unforeseen circumstances produced by one’s previous activities. In this age it is not actually possible to dress in tree bark in modern cities, nor to wear mere scraps of cloth. Previously, human culture accommodated those practicing tapasya, or penances in the interest of spiritual advancement. In this age, however, the most urgent necessity is for preaching the message of Bhagavad-gītā throughout human society. Therefore, it is recommended that Vaiṣṇavas dress with clean and neat cloth, covering the body decently so that the conditioned souls will not be frightened or repulsed by the severe penances of the Vaiṣṇavas. In the Kali-yuga the conditioned souls are extremely attached to material sense gratification, and extreme austerities are not appreciated, but are instead considered abominable denials of the flesh. Of course, austerity is required for spiritual advancement, but the practical example set by Śrīla Prabhupāda in successfully spreading the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was that all material things should be used to attract people to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, Vaiṣṇavas may at times adopt ordinary dress to serve the higher principle of distributing Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In any case, one should learn to be satisfied in any material situation so as to prepare for the moment of death. According to Bhagavad-gītā, at the time of death the particular consciousness we have created in this life will carry us to our future situation. Therefore, human life can be seen as a type of practice for successfully fixing one’s mind on the Absolute Truth during the severe trials of death.