Traditional Vedik perspectives on Prabhupada's teachings
More Family related topics:
Prabhupäda: ....Just like generally a person is alone, but he
gets a wife with a hope for enjoying family life, children, wife, friends.
Gåha-kñetra, ataù gåha-kñetra-sutäpta-vittaiù.
Gåha means apartment, and kñetra means land. Gåha-kñetra-suta.
Suta means children. Ataù gåha-kñetra-suta äpta.
Äpta means friends, society. Ataù gåha-kñetra-sutäpta-vittaiù.
Äpta means friends, society, and to support all these things—Gåha,
kñetra, suta, äpta,—there is required money, vitta. Vitta means
money. Ataù gåha-kñetra-sutäpta-vittair janasya
moho ’yam ahaà mameti [SB 5.5.8]. This is material life. Gåha,
kñetra. “I must have Gåha.” Gåha means with wife. Na
gåhaà gåham ity ähur gåhiëé gåham
ucyate. Gåha. Gåha means house.
So we are also living in house, very nice house. But still, we are not gåhastha. A Gåha, to live in a house, does not mean a gåhastha. Na gåhaà gåham ity ähuù. Gåhastha means gåha. Gåhe tiñöhati iti gåhastha. Every Sanskrit word has got elaborate meaning. Gåhastha means one who stays in gåha, in house. He is called gåhastha. So we can be called gåhastha also. We are living in house. No. Çästra says, na gåhaà gåham ity ähuù: “Simply a house is not gåha.” There must be the housewife. That means wife. Gåhiëé gåham ucyate. In Hindi this word is used, garbhali means if there is no wife, that is not gåha. Cäëakya Paëòita says, putra-hénaà gåhaà çünyam. “You have got wife, but if you have no children, that gåha is also void.” So gåhastha means to live with wife and children, and cultivating spiritual life. That is called gåhastha. It doesn’t matter, you live with your wife and children, or you live with brahmacäré, sannyäsé. Anything. It doesn’t matter. Therefore there are so many divisions of life. Whichever status of life is suitable for you, you can accept. Brahmacäré, gåhastha, vänaprastha, sannyäsa äçrama. Äçrama, when the word is added, äçrama, that means it has got reference with cultivation of spiritual life. So gåhastha-äçrama. One can live at home with wife and children, but the business should be Kåñëa consciousness. We don’t accept the Mäyävädé sannyäsé because there is no Kåñëa consciousness. Simply by becoming sannyäsé... Brahma satyaà jagan mithyä: “This world is false. Brahman is truth. So I give up this world.” That kind of sannyäsé we do not accept. Either you become gåhastha or sannyäsé or brahmacäré, there must be Kåñëa. Then it will be called äçrama. Gåhastha-äçrama, sannyäsa-äçrama, brahmacäré-äçrama. Therefore this word is added, äçrama.
So Arjuna is in gåhastha-äçrama. He wants to serve Kåñëa. He’s Kåñëa’s friend. He is a devotee. Kåñëa has already recommended. In the Fourth Chapter He will declare, bhakto ’si priyo ’si me. “You are My dear friend. You are My devotee.” So he is qualified, gåhastha-äçramé. He is devotee of Kåñëa, but he is also family man. He has his wife, children. So here the problem is what is çreyas? What is ultimate good? That is mistaken here. Therefore Bhagavad-gétä is required. He is thinking that “Kåñëa is not so important. My family is important. My family.” Although he is devotee. Therefore kaniñöha-adhikäré, in the lower stage of devotee, in the lower stage of devotion, one may be interested in Kåñëa consciousness, but his real interest is how to improve this material life. Just like: “O God, give us our daily bread.” So he has gone to God not to serve God, but to take bread. Ärtaù arthärthé. That is also good. But he... Because he has gone to God to ask for bread, he is better than the rascals who do not care for God. He has gone to God. That is recommended in the Bhagavad-gétä. Ärto jijïäsur arthärthé jïäné ca bharatarñabha. Catur-vidhä bhajante mäà janäù sukåtino ’rjuna. “Arjuna, four kinds of people, they become devotee.” Who are they? Ärta. Ärta means distressed. Arthärthé, one who is poor, wants some money; jijïäsu, inquisitive; and jïäné, and a man of knowledge. So ärtaù arthärthé, this is meant, this is referred to the gåhastha. The gåhasthas, they become sometimes distressed. The gåhastha-äçrama means unless there is Kåñëa or full consciousness of Kåñëa, it is simply miserable, simply miserable. Duùkhälayam açäçvatam [Bg. 8.15]. Simply working hard day and night, then there is, child is sick, then wife is not satisfied, the servant is not satisfied... So many things, problem. But if there is Kåñëa in the center, the all problems will be solved. But people do not know this. They think that “I shall be happy with wife, children, servants, house, and this and that.” No. That is not possible. Therefore one should be in gåhastha-äçrama. Not only in family life. Family, the dogs have got family life. He has got wife, children. The cats and the hogs, a big family. Because a hog begets, at a time, one dozen children. What you beget? You are afraid of begetting one child even. This contraceptive method. But they are not afraid. They beget one dozen children at a time, twice in a year. So to live with family, wife, children... Then the hog accepts family life. No. That is not family life. You live with wife, children, peacefully, if you like, but bring in Kåñëa in the center. That is gåhastha-äçrama.
(Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Bhagavad Gita class BG 1:31. 24th July 1973. London.)
IN THE MAYIC WORLD MAN MUST LIVE PEACEFULLY WITH THE OBJECT OF CULTIVATING
THE SPIRIT. IN HIS SOCIETY HE MUST LEAD A PURE LIFE, AVOID SINS AND DO
AS MUCH GOOD AS HE CAN TO HIS BROTHER MAN. HE MUST BE HIMSELF HUMBLE BEARING
DIFFICULTIES OF LIFE WITH HEROISM, MUST NOT BRAG OF ANY GOODNESS OR GRANDEUR
HE HAS AND MUST TREAT EVERYONE WITH THE RESPECT DUE TO HIM. MARRIAGE WITH
A VIEW TO PEACEFUL AND VIRTUOUS LIFE AND WITH A VIEW TO PROCREATE SERVANTS
OF THE LORD IS A GOOD INSTITUTION FOR A VAISNAVA. SPIRITUAL CULTIVATION
IS THE MAIN OBJECT OF LIFE. DO EVERYTHING THAT HELPS IT AND ABSTAIN FROM
DOING ANYTHING WHICH THWARTS THE CULTIVATION OF THE SPIRIT. HAVE A STRONG
FAITH THAT KRISHNA ALONE PROTECTS YOU AND NONE ELSE. ADMIT HIM AS YOUR
ONLY GUARDIAN. DO EVERYTHING WHICH YOU KNOW KRISHNA WISHES YOU TO DO AND
NEVER THINK THAT YOU DO A THING INDEPENDENT OF THE HOLY WISH OF KRISHNA.
DO ALL THAT YOU DO WITH HUMILITY. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE A SOJOURNER
IS THIS WORLD AND YOU MUST BE PREPARED FOR YOUR OWN HOME. DO YOUR DUTIES
AND CULTIVATE BHAKTI AS A MEANS TO OBTAIN THE GREAT END OF LIFE, KRISHNA-PRITI.
EMPLOY YOUR BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT IN THE SERVICE OF THE DEITY. IN ALL YOUR
ACTIONS, WORSHIP THE GREAT LORD. DO THESE WITH YOUR HEART, MIND AND STRENGTH
IN THE COMPANY OF SPIRITUAL PEOPLE ALONE, AND YOU WILL SEE KRISHNA IN NO
TIME." ( SRILA BHAKTIVINODA THAKUR 1896 )
Prabhupäda: So unless you get happiness of the soul, simply trying
to get happiness of the body and the mind, you’ll never get happiness.
That is the information in this verse. Sa vai puàsäm paro dharmo
[SB 1.2.6]. Dharma means religion, English translation. But according to
the Vedic understanding dharma means the characteristic. Everything has
got a characteristic. In the chemical laboratory when something is tested
the characteristic is tested. “This is this chemical, it has got so many
characteristics.” So our characteristic, we living entities, we have got
our characteristic. What is that characteristic, general characteristics?
In this meeting we may be sitting, so many people, one may be Hindu, one
may be... Because I am talking of Hindu, Muslim, Christian. Here the word
is used, dharma. Sa vai puàsäm paro dharmo [SB 1.2.6]. So dharma,
we generally understand that I am Hindu, I am Muslim, I am Christian, I
am Arya-samaji, I am this, I am that. That is generally taken as dharma.
But according to Vedic principle dharma means characteristic. Just like
chili—to become hot—the characteristic of chili. We test in the market
when we go to purchase chili, we test how strong it is hot. If it is not
very strong in its hottiness, then we reject. “No, no, it is not good chili.”
Chili must be very hot. That is characteristic, that is dharma. Sugar must
be very sweet. That is characteristic, that is dharma. Sa vai puàsäm
paro dharmo [SB 1.2.6]. So at the present moment, being entrapped by the
material nature, we have accepted different types of dharmas. That is artificial.
That is artificial. “I am Hindu,” “I am Muslim,” “I am Christian,” “I am
Buddhist,” “I am this,” “I am that.” These are all in relationship with
this body. Accidentally if I am born in a Hindu family, or Muslim family,
or Christian family, I identify myself, “I am Hindu,” “I am Muslim,” “I
am Christian.” But real identification is, as I have already explained
to you, ahaà brahmäsmi, I am Brahman. I am the spirit soul.
So when you come to that platform of spiritual understanding then our characteristic
should be manifested. What is that? That is explained here, sa vai puàsäà
paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokñaje [SB 1.2.6]. Bhakti—to become
devotee of the Supreme Lord. That is our real characteristic. To become
devotee is already manifest. I am devotee to my country, I am devotee to
my society, I am devotee to my family, I am devotee to my husband, to my
wife, to my children. So devotion is already there. But that is not paro
dharmo. When we become devotee of the Supreme Lord, that is our real characteristic.
Devotion is already there, service is already there. Nobody can say that,
“I do not serve anyone.” No, that is not possible. You must serve. Because
that is your characteristic, that is your dharma. Everyone is serving.
If a person has nobody to serve, he keeps a cat, he keeps a dog and serves
him. So to give service, to love somebody else, that is my real characteristic.
But I am missing the point. I am loving cats and dogs and so many things,
but I am missing to love God. That is the missing point. Love is there,
object of love is there, but it is misplaced. Therefore, we are not getting
happiness. When it will be properly placed, love and the object of love,
then we’ll be happy.
(Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 26th November 1972. Srimad Bhagavatam 1:2:6. lecture. Hyderabad, India.)
Prabhupäda: Very good. Surrender unto God is real spiritual life.
Sarva-dharmän parityajya [Bg. 18.66]. Surrender to God means accepting
that which is favorable to God and rejecting that which is unfavorable.
The devotee is always convinced that God will give him all protection.
He remains humble and meek and thinks himself as one of the members of
God’s family. This is real spiritual communism. Communists think, “I am
a member of a certain community,” but it is a man’s duty to think, “I am
a member of God’s family.” God is the supreme father, material nature is
the mother, and living entities are all sons of God. There are living entities
everywhere—on land and in the air and water. There is no doubt that material
nature is the mother, and according to our experience we can understand
that a mother cannot produce a child without a father. It is absurd to
think that a child can be born without a father. A father must be there,
and the supreme father is God. In Kåñëa consciousness,
a person understands that the creation is a spiritual family headed by
one supreme father.
(Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The Quest for Enlightenment Chapter 6. Discussions on Western Philosophy and Science.)
....But in the same category we must live and execute
our Kåñëa consciousness. Then these impediments, gåheñu
saktasya pramattasya. Anyone who is..., all the karmés, they are
attached to this family life, but family life is good provided there is
Kåñëa consciousness. Gåhe vä vanete thäke,
hä gauräìga bole däke. It doesn’t matter, either
he is in family life or he’s in sannyäsé life, if he’s a devotee,
then his life is successful.
(Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 24th June 1976. Srimad Bhagavatam 7:6:8. lecture. New Vrindavan.)
My dear Maeve Davies,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 7 February, 1976. Please do not be worried. Our movement is essentially for spreading this chanting of Hare Krishna world wide. And the main responsibility of my disciples is to follow the four regulative principles and chant 16 rounds without fail. Please worry about that first. The best thing is to send your daughter to Gurukula, but if you cannot do that, then somehow see that she is trained nicely in Krishna Consciousness.
I hope this meets you well.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
(S.P.Letter to: Maeve Davies 21 February, 1976)
....So in a, in our Bengali language, it
is said that if the king is sinful, the whole kingdom becomes lost. And
if in the family, if the housewife is sinful, then the whole family becomes
lost. It is a common saying.
(Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.4th January 1973. Nectar of Devotion class. Bombay.)
“In the primary stage a child loves his parents, then his brothers
and sisters. And as he daily grows up, he begins to love his family, society,
community, country, nation or even the whole human society. But the loving
propensity is not satisfied even by loving all human society. That loving
propensity remains imperfectly fulfilled...”
Prabhupäda: When Vyäsadeva finished his all scripture writing, all the Vedas, Puräëas, even Brahma-sütra, he was not happy. He was not happy, and his spiritual master, Närada, came, inquired: “Why you are not happy? You have done so much work.” So he could not explain. He said, “I, I do not find why I am unhappy. But because you are my spiritual master, you can say.” So he indicated that “Because you did not describe about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, therefore you are not happy. Now you try to describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead, particularly.” And therefore he wrote this Çrémad-Bhägavatam. You’ll find this in the Third Chapter of the First Canto. Hmm.
Pradyumna: “But that loving propensity is not satisfied even by loving all of human society.” Oh. “That loving propensity remains imperfectly fulfilled until we know who is the supreme beloved.”
Prabhupäda: Yes. Supreme beloved, Kåñëa. Supreme Person, supreme beautiful, supreme rich, supreme famous, supreme wise. Everything supreme. We love somebody, or, out of these six opulences, if one opulence is there... Suppose one man is very rich and charitable, we love him. And... Just think over how Kåñëa is rich and how He’s charitable. He is giving His charity, He’s distributing foodstuff, millions and millions of living entities every day. We are taking prou..., pride if we can feed, say, hundred, two hundred, five hundred, two thousand. But just imagine. Eko bahünäà vidadhäti kämän. There are millions and millions of elephants all over the universe; Kåñëa is supplying their food. There are so many animals. How they’re getting food? So many birds. How they can...? Actually there is no scarcity of food. The scarcity of food is for the human society, or the animals who live with them. Because actually the human society is misusing the advanced consciousness; therefore they are put into the trouble. At the present moment, there is scarcity of water all over India, and so many things are being restricted. But in the Bhagavad-gétä it is said, yajïäd bhavati parjanya. So they are not performing yajïas. So this is nature’s restriction. We have got this information. They are not performing yajïas. They, they think by science, by electricity, by this and that, shall provide everything. But then the electricity is being also reduced, supply of electricity is being controlled. And one after, one after another, one after another... Because the supreme controller, if He does not sanction, your so-called scientific improvement or so-called social service will not make the whole world satisfied. That is not possible. That is not possible. This secret is known to the devotees. Yes?
(Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 4th January 1973. Nectar of Devotion class. Bombay.)
Detroit, July 17, 1971
sva-dharmaà caraëämbujaà hareù. Just like
many of our disciples, as a matter of civilized man they should have remained
at home, obedient to the parents, get married and live peacefully with
father and mother. Of course, European, American boys, they do not do that.
But it is expected that should be like that. Just like yourself. You should
have lived with your father. He also. But you did not do this. So take
it for granted, out of sentiment, you took to Kåñëa consciousness.
Tyaktvä sva-dharmam. To live family life, peaceful life, obedient
life to the fathers and mothers, this is called sva-dharma. So one gives
up this sva-dharma, tyaktvä sva-dharmam, and takes to Kåñëa
consciousness gone... Not many, a few. So Bhägavata says, yatra kva
väbhadram abhüd amuñya kim: “What is the wrong there?”
Even if he has fallen down, half-way, still there is no wrong. He has gained
something. That much service which he has already given to Kåñëa,
that is recorded. That is recorded. That is to his credit: “So this living
entity has given service.” But other men, he’s very honestly living as
a good citizen, as a good family member and good brähmaëa, good
kñatriya... So ko värtha äpto ’bhajatäà sva-dharmataù.
He’s sticking to his own principle of life, but he’s not a Kåñëa
conscious devotee. Then what is his gain? He’ll simply take the fruits
of his material activities and he’ll have to accept another body according
to that. But here, as it is assured in Bhagavad-gétä that çucénäà
çrématäà gehe yoga-bhrañöo ’bhijäyate
[Bg. 6.41], this man, who took by sentiment Kåñëa consciousness,
but could not follow it to the end; by some way or other, he has fallen
but he’ll be given chance to take birth as a human being, guaranteed, in
rich family, or in nice devotee family, yogi family or brähmaëa
family. So he’ll be given chance. But that man will take only the reaction
of his activities. Karmaëä daiva-netreëa [SB 3.31.1]. So
if he has acted like cats and dogs, he’ll get the cats and dogs. But here
it is guaranteed, here it is guaranteed that he’s going to get another
human body and very nice family.
Çyämasundara: Does that guarantee that he’ll become a devotee again?
Prabhupäda: Yes. Because he had already practiced. So if he, if he remembers, if he’s intelligent, that “I’ve got this nice position, according to çästra, because I had some good devotional activities in my past life. Now let me finish. I’ll not fall down. I have no economic problem. I have got so much facilities. So let me advance in Kåñëa consciousness.” If he gets this... He’ll get that sense.
Çyämasundara: He automatically gets that standard.
Prabhupäda: Yes. Hm.
(Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 3rd November 1973. Room Conversation. Delhi.)
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