Śrīmad Bhāgavatam|Canto 11 Chapter 17
Lord Kṛṣṇa’s Description of the Varṇāśrama System
yas tvayābhihitaḥ pūrvaṁ
sarveṣāṁ dvi-padām api
tvayi bhaktir nṛṇāṁ bhavet
tan mamākhyātum arhasi
śrī-uddhavaḥ uvāca — Śrī Uddhava said; yaḥ — which; tvayā — by You; abhihitaḥ — described; pūrvam — previously; dharmaḥ — religious principles; tvat-bhakti-lakṣaṇaḥ — characterized by devotional service to Your Lordship; varṇa-āśrama — of the varṇāśrama system; ācāravatām — of the faithful followers; sarveṣām — of all; dvi-padām — of ordinary human beings (who do not follow the varṇāśrama system); api — even; yathā — according to; anuṣṭhīyamānena — the process being executed; tvayi — in You; bhaktiḥ — loving service; nṛṇām — of human beings; bhavet — may be; sva-dharmeṇa — by one’s own occupational duty; aravinda-akṣa — O lotus-eyed one; tat — that; mama — to me; ākhyātum — to explain; arhasi — You ought.
Śrī Uddhava said: My dear Lord, previously You described the principles of devotional service that are to be practiced by followers of the varṇāśrama system and even ordinary, unregulated human beings. My dear lotus-eyed Lord, now please explain to me how all human beings can achieve loving service unto You by the execution of their prescribed duties.
purā kila mahā-bāho
dharmaṁ paramakaṁ prabho
yat tena haṁsa-rūpeṇa
brahmaṇe ’bhyāttha mādhava
sa idānīṁ su-mahatā
na prāyo bhavitā martya-
loke prāg anuśāsitaḥ
purā — previously; kila — indeed; mahā-bāho — O mighty-armed one; dharmam — religious principles; paramakam — bringing the greatest happiness; prabho — my Lord; yat — which; tena — by that; haṁsa-rūpeṇa — in the form of Lord Haṁsa; brahmaṇe — unto Lord Brahmā; abhyāttha — You spoke; mādhava — my dear Mādhava; saḥ — that (knowledge of religious principles); idānīm — presently; su-mahatā — after very long; kālena — time; amitra-karśana — O subduer of the enemy; na — not; prāyaḥ — generally; bhavitā — will exist; martya-loke — in human society; prāk — previously; anuśāsitaḥ — instructed.
My dear Lord, O mighty-armed one, previously in Your form of Lord Haṁsa You spoke to Lord Brahmā those religious principles that bring supreme happiness to the practitioner. My dear Mādhava, now much time has passed, and that which You previously instructed will soon practically cease to exist, O subduer of the enemy.
vaktā kartāvitā nānyo
dharmasyācyuta te bhuvi
sabhāyām api vairiñcyāṁ
yatra mūrti-dharāḥ kalāḥ
kartrāvitrā pravaktrā ca
tyakte mahī-tale deva
vinaṣṭaṁ kaḥ pravakṣyati
vaktā — speaker; kartā — creator; avitā — protector; na — not; anyaḥ — any other; dharmasya — of supreme religious principles; acyuta — my dear Acyuta; te — than You; bhuvi — on the earth; sabhāyām — in the assembly; api — even; vairiñcyām — of Lord Brahmā; yatra — wherein; mūrti-dharāḥ — in the personified form; kalāḥ — the Vedas; kartrā — by the creator; avitrā — by the protector; pravaktrā — by the speaker; ca — also; bhavatā — by Your Lordship; madhusūdana — my dear Madhusūdana; tyakte — when it is abandoned; mahī-tale — the earth; deva — my dear Lord; vinaṣṭam — those lost principles of religion; kaḥ — who; pravakṣyati — will speak.
My dear Lord Acyuta, there is no speaker, creator and protector of supreme religious principles other than Your Lordship, either on the earth or even in the assembly of Lord Brahmā, where the personified Vedas reside. Thus, my dear Lord Madhusūdana, when You, who are the very creator, protector and speaker of spiritual knowledge, abandon the earth, who will again speak this lost knowledge?
tat tvaṁ naḥ sarva-dharma-jña
yathā yasya vidhīyeta
tathā varṇaya me prabho
tat — therefore; tvam — You; naḥ — among us (human beings); sarva-dharma-jña — O supreme knower of religious principles; dharmaḥ — the spiritual path; tvat-bhakti — by loving service to You; lakṣaṇaḥ — characterized; yathā — in which way; yasya — of whom; vidhīyeta — may be executed; tathā — in that way; varṇaya — please describe; me — unto me; prabho — my Lord.
Therefore, my Lord, since You are the knower of all religious principles, please describe to me the human beings who may execute the path of loving service to You and how such service is to be rendered.
pṛṣṭaḥ sa bhagavān hariḥ
prītaḥ kṣemāya martyānāṁ
dharmān āha sanātanān
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca — Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; ittham — thus; sva-bhṛtya-mukhyena — by the best of His devotees; pṛṣṭaḥ — questioned; saḥ — He; bhagavān — the Supreme Personality of Godhead; hariḥ — Śrī Kṛṣṇa; prītaḥ — being pleased; kṣemāya — for the highest welfare; martyānām — of all conditioned souls; dharmān — religious principles; āha — spoke; sanātanān — eternal.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Śrī Uddhava, the best of devotees, thus inquired from the Lord. Hearing his question, the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, was pleased and for the welfare of all conditioned souls spoke those religious principles that are eternal.
dharmya eṣa tava praśno
tam uddhava nibodha me
śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; dharmyaḥ — faithful to religious principles; eṣaḥ — this; tava — your; praśnaḥ — question; naiḥśreyasa-karaḥ — the cause of pure devotional service; nṛṇām — for ordinary human beings; varṇa-āśrama — the varṇāśrama system; ācāra-vatām — for those who faithfully follow; tam — those highest religious principles; uddhava — My dear Uddhava; nibodha — please learn; me — from Me.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, your question is faithful to religious principles and thus gives rise to the highest perfection in life, pure devotional service, for both ordinary human beings and the followers of the varṇāśrama system. Now please learn from Me those supreme religious principles.
ādau kṛta-yuge varṇo
nṛṇāṁ haṁsa iti smṛtaḥ
kṛta-kṛtyāḥ prajā jātyā
tasmāt kṛta-yugaṁ viduḥ
ādau — in the beginning (of the millennium); kṛta-yuge — in the Satya-yuga, or age of truth; varṇaḥ — the social class; nṛṇām — of human beings; haṁsaḥ — named haṁsa; iti — thus; smṛtaḥ — well known; kṛta-kṛtyāḥ — perfect in the execution of duties by complete surrender to the Supreme Lord; prajāḥ — the citizens; jātyā — automatically by birth; tasmāt — therefore; kṛta-yugam — Kṛta-yuga, or the age in which all duties are fulfilled; viduḥ — was thus known by the learned.
In the beginning, in Satya-yuga, there is only one social class, called haṁsa, to which all human beings belong. In that age all people are unalloyed devotees of the Lord from birth, and thus learned scholars call this first age Kṛta-yuga, or the age in which all religious duties are perfectly fulfilled.
vedaḥ praṇava evāgre
dharmo ’haṁ vṛṣa-rūpa-dhṛk
haṁsaṁ māṁ mukta-kilbiṣāḥ
vedaḥ — the Veda; praṇavaḥ — the sacred syllable om; eva — indeed; agre — in Satya-yuga; dharmaḥ — the object of mental activities; aham — I; vṛṣa-rūpa-dhṛk — bearing the form of the bull of religion; upāsate — they worship; tapaḥ-niṣṭhāḥ — fixed in austerity; haṁsam — Lord Haṁsa; mām — Me; mukta — freed from; kilbiṣāḥ — all sins.
In Satya-yuga the undivided Veda is expressed by the syllable om, and I am the only object of mental activities. I become manifest as the four-legged bull of religion, and thus the inhabitants of Satya-yuga, fixed in austerity and free from all sins, worship Me as Lord Haṁsa.
prāṇān me hṛdayāt trayī
vidyā prādurabhūt tasyā
aham āsaṁ tri-vṛn makhaḥ
tretā-mukhe — at the beginning of Tretā-yuga; mahā-bhāga — O greatly fortunate one; prāṇāt — from the abode of prāṇa, or the life air; me — My; hṛdayāt — from the heart; trayī — the threefold; vidyā — Vedic knowledge; prādurabhūt — appeared; tasyāḥ — from that knowledge; aham — I; āsam — appeared; tri-vṛt — in three divisions; makhaḥ — sacrifice.
O greatly fortunate one, at the beginning of Tretā-yuga Vedic knowledge appeared from My heart, which is the abode of the air of life, in three divisions — as Ṛg, Sāma and Yajur. Then from that knowledge I appeared as threefold sacrifice.
vairājāt puruṣāj jātā
vipra — brāhmaṇas; kṣatriya — kṣatriyas, the martial class; viṭ — vaiśyas, mercantile men; śūdrāḥ — śūdras, workers; mukha — from the mouth; bāhu — arms; ūru — thighs; pāda — and legs; jāḥ — born; vairājāt — from the universal form; puruṣāt — from the Personality of Godhead; jātāḥ — generated; ye — who; ātma — personal; ācāra — by activities; lakṣaṇāḥ — recognized.
In Tretā-yuga the four social orders were manifested from the universal form of the Personality of Godhead. The brāhmaṇas appeared from the Lord’s face, the kṣatriyas from the Lord’s arms, the vaiśyas from the Lord’s thighs and the śūdras from the legs of that mighty form. Each social division was recognized by its particular duties and behavior.
brahmacaryaṁ hṛdo mama
sannyāsaḥ śirasi sthitaḥ
gṛha-āśramaḥ — married life; jaghanataḥ — from the loins; brahmacaryam — celibate student life; hṛdaḥ — from the heart; mama — My; vakṣaḥ-sthalāt — from the chest; vane — in the forest; vāsaḥ — dwelling; sannyāsaḥ — the renounced order of life; śirasi — in the head; sthitaḥ — situated.
The married order of life appeared from the loins of My universal form, and the celibate students came from My heart. The forest-dwelling retired order of life appeared from My chest, and the renounced order of life was situated within the head of My universal form.
varṇānām āśramāṇāṁ ca
āsan prakṛtayo nṝnāṁ
varṇānām — of the occupational divisions; āśramāṇām — of the social divisions; ca — also; janma — of birth; bhūmi — the situation; anusāriṇīḥ — according to; āsan — appeared; prakṛtayaḥ — the natures; nṝṇām — of human beings; nīcaiḥ — by inferior background; nīca — inferior nature; uttama — by superior background; uttamāḥ — superior natures.
The various occupational and social divisions of human society appeared according to inferior and superior natures manifest in the situation of the individual’s birth.
śamo damas tapaḥ śaucaṁ
santoṣaḥ kṣāntir ārjavam
mad-bhaktiś ca dayā satyaṁ
brahma-prakṛtayas tv imāḥ
śamaḥ — peacefulness; damaḥ — sense control; tapaḥ — austerity; śaucam — cleanliness; santoṣaḥ — full satisfaction; kṣāntiḥ — forgiveness; ārjavam — simplicity and straightforwardness; mat-bhaktiḥ — devotional service unto Me; ca — also; dayā — mercy; satyam — truth; brahma — of the brāhmaṇas; prakṛtayaḥ — the natural qualities; tu — indeed; imāḥ — these.
Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, cleanliness, satisfaction, tolerance, simple straightforwardness, devotion to Me, mercy and truthfulness are the natural qualities of the brāhmaṇas.
tejo balaṁ dhṛtiḥ śauryaṁ
sthairyaṁ brahmanyam aiśvaryaṁ
kṣatra-prakṛtayas tv imāḥ
tejaḥ — dynamic power; balam — bodily strength; dhṛtiḥ — determination; śauryam — heroism; titikṣā — tolerance; audāryam — generosity; udyamaḥ — endeavor; sthairyam — steadiness; brahmaṇyam — being always eager to serve the brāhmaṇas; aiśvaryam — leadership; kṣatra — of the kṣatriyas; prakṛtayaḥ — the natural qualities; tu — indeed; imāḥ — these.
Dynamic power, bodily strength, determination, heroism, tolerance, generosity, great endeavor, steadiness, devotion to the brāhmaṇas and leadership are the natural qualities of the kṣatriyas.
āstikyaṁ dāna-niṣṭhā ca
vaiśya-prakṛtayas tv imāḥ
āstikyam — faith in Vedic civilization; dāna-niṣṭhā — dedicated to charity; ca — also; adambhaḥ — being without hypocrisy; brahma-sevanam — service to the brāhmaṇas; atuṣṭiḥ — remaining dissatisfied; artha — of money; upacayaiḥ — by the accumulation; vaiśya — of the vaiśyas; prakṛtayaḥ — the natural qualities; tu — indeed; imāḥ — these.
Faith in Vedic civilization, dedication to charity, freedom from hypocrisy, service to the brāhmaṇas and perpetually desiring to accumulate more money are the natural qualities of the vaiśyas.
devānāṁ cāpy amāyayā
tatra labdhena santoṣaḥ
śūdra-prakṛtayas tv imāḥ
śuśrūṣaṇam — service; dvija — of the brāhmaṇas; gavām — of the cows; devānām — of worshipable personalities such as the demigods and the spiritual master; ca — also; api — indeed; amāyayā — without duplicity; tatra — in such service; labdhena — with that which is obtained; santoṣaḥ — complete satisfaction; śūdra — of the śūdras; prakṛtayaḥ — the natural qualities; tu — indeed; imāḥ — these.
Service without duplicity to the brāhmaṇas, cows, demigods and other worshipable personalities, and complete satisfaction with whatever income is obtained in such service, are the natural qualities of śūdras.
aśaucam anṛtaṁ steyaṁ
kāmaḥ krodhaś ca tarṣaś ca
sa bhāvo ’ntyāvasāyinām
aśaucam — dirtiness; anṛtam — dishonesty; steyam — thievery; nāstikyam — faithlessness; śuṣka-vigrahaḥ — useless quarreling; kāmaḥ — lust; krodhaḥ — anger; ca — also; tarṣaḥ — hankering; ca — also; saḥ — this; bhāvaḥ — the nature; antya — in the lowest position; avasāyinām — of those residing.
Dirtiness, dishonesty, thievery, faithlessness, useless quarrel, lust, anger and hankering constitute the nature of those in the lowest position outside the varṇāśrama system.
ahiṁsā satyam asteyam
dharmo ’yaṁ sārva-varṇikaḥ
ahiṁsā — nonviolence; satyam — truthfulness; asteyam — honesty; a-kāma-krodha-lobhatā — being free from lust, anger and greed; bhūta — of all living entities; priya — the happiness; hita — and welfare; īhā — desiring; ca — also; dharmaḥ — duty; ayam — this; sārva-varṇikaḥ — for all members of society.
Nonviolence, truthfulness, honesty, desire for the happiness and welfare of all others and freedom from lust, anger and greed constitute duties for all members of society.
vasan gurukule dānto
dvitīyam — second; prāpya — achieving; ānupūrvyāt — by the gradual process of purificatory ceremonies; janma — birth; upanayanam — Gāyatrī initiation; dvijaḥ — a twice-born member of society; vasan — residing; gurukule — in the āśrama of the spiritual master; dāntaḥ — self-controlled; brahma — the Vedic literatures; adhīyīta — should study; ca — and also understand; āhūtaḥ — being summoned by the spiritual master.
The twice-born member of society achieves second birth through the sequence of purificatory ceremonies culminating in Gāyatrī initiation. Being summoned by the spiritual master, he should reside within the guru’s āśrama and with a self-controlled mind carefully study the Vedic literature.
’rakta-pīṭhaḥ kuśān dadhat
mekhalā — belt; ajina — deerskin; daṇḍa — staff; akṣa — bead necklace; brahma-sūtra — brāhmaṇa thread; kamaṇḍalūn — and waterpot; jaṭilaḥ — with matted, unruly hair; adhauta — without polishing, bleaching or ironing; dat-vāsaḥ — the teeth and clothes; arakta-pīṭhaḥ — without accepting a luxurious or sensuous seat; kuśān — kuśa grass; dadhat — carrying in his hand.
The brahmacārī should regularly dress with a belt of straw and deerskin garments. He should wear matted hair, carry a rod and waterpot and be decorated with akṣa beads and a sacred thread. Carrying pure kuśa grass in his hand, he should never accept a luxurious or sensuous sitting place. He should not unnecessarily polish his teeth, nor should he bleach and iron his clothes.
japoccāre ca vāg-yataḥ
na cchindyān nakha-romāṇi
snāna — while bathing; bhojana — while eating; homeṣu — and while attending sacrificial performances; japa — while chanting mantras to oneself; uccāre — while passing stool or urine; ca — also; vāk-yataḥ — remaining silent; na — not; chindyāt — should cut; nakha — the nails; romāṇi — or hairs; kakṣa — in the armpits; upastha — pubic; gatāni — including; api — even.
A brahmacārī should always remain silent while bathing, eating, attending sacrificial performances, chanting japa or passing stool and urine. He should not cut his nails and hair, including the armpit and pubic hair.
reto nāvakirej jātu
yatāsus tri-padāṁ japet
retaḥ — semen; na — not; avakiret — should spill out; jātu — ever; brahma-vrata-dharaḥ — one who is maintaining the vow of celibacy, or brahmacarya; svayam — by itself; avakīrṇe — having flowed out; avagāhya — bathing; apsu — in water; yata-asuḥ — controlling the breathing by prāṇāyāma; tri-padām — the Gāyatrī mantra; japet — he should chant.
One observing the vow of celibate brahmacārī life should never pass semen. If the semen by chance spills out by itself, the brahmacārī should immediately take bath in water, control his breath by prāṇāyāma and chant the Gāyatrī mantra.
sandhye dve yata-vāg japan
agni — the fire-god; arka — the sun; ācārya — the ācārya; go — the cows; vipra — the brāhmaṇas; guru — the spiritual master; vṛddha — elder respectable persons; surān — the demigods; śuciḥ — purified; samāhitaḥ — with fixed consciousness; upāsīta — he should worship; sandhye — in the junctions of time; dve — two; yata-vāk — observing silence; japan — silently chanting or murmuring the proper mantras.
Purified and fixed in consciousness, the brahmacārī should worship the fire-god, sun, ācārya, cows, brāhmaṇas, guru, elderly respectable persons and demigods. He should perform such worship at sunrise and sunset, without speaking but by silently chanting or murmuring the appropriate mantras.
ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān
ācāryam — the spiritual master; mām — Myself; vijānīyāt — one should know; na avamanyeta — one should never disrespect; karhicit — at any time; na — never; martya-buddhyā — with the idea of his being an ordinary man; asūyeta — one should be envious; sarva-deva — of all demigods; mayaḥ — representative; guruḥ — the spiritual master.
One should know the ācārya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods.
sāyaṁ prātar upānīya
bhaikṣyaṁ tasmai nivedayet
yac cānyad apy anujñātam
sāyam — in the evening; prātaḥ — in the morning; upānīya — bringing; bhaikṣyam — food that is collected by begging; tasmai — unto him (the ācārya); nivedayet — one should deliver; yat — that which; ca — also; anyat — other things; api — indeed; anujñātam — that which is permitted; upayuñjīta — one should accept; saṁyataḥ — being fully controlled.
In the morning and evening one should collect foodstuffs and other articles and deliver them to the spiritual master. Then, being self-controlled, one should accept for oneself that which is allotted by the ācārya.
śuśrūṣamāṇaḥ — engaged in serving; ācāryam — the bona fide spiritual master; sadā — always; upāsīta — one should worship; nīca-vat — as a humble servant; yāna — by humbly following behind the guru when he is walking; śayyā — by taking rest with the spiritual master; āsana — sitting near the guru to render service; sthānaiḥ — by standing and humbly waiting upon the guru; na — not; ati — very; dūre — far away; kṛta-añjaliḥ — with folded hands.
While engaged in serving the spiritual master one should remain as a humble servant, and thus when the guru is walking the servant should humbly walk behind. When the guru lies down to sleep, the servant should also lie down nearby, and when the guru has awakened, the servant should sit near him, massaging his lotus feet and rendering other, similar services. When the guru is sitting down on his āsana, the servant should stand nearby with folded hands, awaiting the guru’s order. In this way one should always worship the spiritual master.
vidyā samāpyate yāvad
bibhrad vratam akhaṇḍitam
evam — thus; vṛttaḥ — engaged; gurukule — in the āśrama of the spiritual master; vaset — he should live; bhoga — sense gratification; vivarjitaḥ — freed from; vidyā — Vedic education; samāpyate — is completed; yāvat — until; bibhrat — maintaining; vratam — the vow (of brahmacarya); akhaṇḍitam — unbroken.
Until the student has completed his Vedic education he should remain engaged in the āśrama of the spiritual master, should remain completely free of material sense gratification and should not break his vow of celibacy [brahmacarya].
yady asau chandasāṁ lokam
gurave vinyased dehaṁ
yadi — if; asau — that student; chandasām lokam — the Maharloka planet; ārokṣyan — desiring to ascend to; brahma-viṣṭapam — Brahmaloka; gurave — unto the guru; vinyaset — he should offer; deham — his body; sva-adhyāya — of superior Vedic studies; artham — for the purpose; bṛhat-vrataḥ — observing the powerful vow of perpetual celibacy.
If the brahmacārī student desires to ascend to the Maharloka or Brahmaloka planets, then he should completely surrender his activities to the spiritual master and, observing the powerful vow of perpetual celibacy, dedicate himself to superior Vedic studies.
agnau gurāv ātmani ca
sarva-bhūteṣu māṁ param
agnau — in fire; gurau — in the spiritual master; ātmani — in oneself; ca — also; sarva-bhūteṣu — in all living entities; mām — Me; param — the Supreme; apṛthak-dhīḥ — without any concept of duality; upāsīta — one should worship; brahma-varcasvī — possessing Vedic enlightenment; akalmaṣaḥ — sinless.
Thus enlightened in Vedic knowledge by service to the spiritual master, freed from all sins and duality, one should worship Me as the Supersoul, as I appear within fire, the spiritual master, one’s own self and all living entities.
agṛhastho ’gratas tyajet
strīṇām — in relation to women; nirīkṣaṇa — glancing; sparśa — touching; saṁlāpa — conversing; kṣvelana — joking or sporting; ādikam — and so on; prāṇinaḥ — living entities; mithunī-bhūtān — engaged in sex; agṛha-sthaḥ — a sannyāsī, vānaprastha or brahmacārī; agrataḥ — first of all; tyajet — should give up.
Those who are not married — sannyāsīs, vānaprasthas and brahmacārīs — should never associate with women by glancing, touching, conversing, joking or sporting. Neither should they ever associate with any living entity engaged in sexual activities.
śaucam ācamanaṁ snānaṁ
tīrtha-sevā japo ’spṛśyā-
śaucam — cleanliness; ācamanam — purifying the hands with water; snānam — bathing; sandhyā — at sunrise, noon and sunset; upāstiḥ — religious services; mama — of Me; arcanam — worship; tīrtha-sevā — going to holy places; japaḥ — chanting the holy names of the Lord; aspṛśya — which are untouchable; abhakṣya — uneatable; asambhāṣya — or not to be discussed; varjanam — avoidance of things; sarva — for all; āśrama — orders of life; prayuktaḥ — enjoined; ayam — this; niyamaḥ — rule; kula-nandana — My dear Uddhava; mat-bhāvaḥ — perceiving My existence; sarva-bhūteṣu — in all living entities; manaḥ — of the mind; vāk — of words; kāya — of the body; saṁyamaḥ — regulation.
My dear Uddhava, general cleanliness, washing the hands, bathing, performing religious services at sunrise, noon and sunset, worshiping Me, visiting holy places, chanting japa, avoiding that which is untouchable, uneatable or not to be discussed, and remembering My existence within all living entities as the Supersoul — these principles should be followed by all members of society through regulation of the mind, words and body.
brāhmaṇo ’gnir iva jvalan
evam — thus; bṛhat-vrata — that great vow of perpetual celibacy; dharaḥ — maintaining; brāhmaṇaḥ — a brāhmaṇa; agniḥ — fire; iva — like; jvalan — becoming bright; mat-bhaktaḥ — My devotee; tīvra-tapasā — by intense austerities; dagdha — burned; karma — of fruitive activities; āśayaḥ — the propensity or mentality; amalaḥ — without contamination of material desire.
A brāhmaṇa observing the great vow of celibacy becomes brilliant like fire and by serious austerity burns to ashes the propensity to perform material activities. Free from the contamination of material desire, he becomes My devotee.
gurave dakṣiṇāṁ dattvā
atha — thus; anantaram — after that; āvekṣyan — desiring to enter family life; yathā — properly; jijñāsita — having studied; āgamaḥ — the Vedic literature; gurave — to the spiritual master; dakṣiṇām — remuneration; dattvā — giving; snāyāt — the brahmacārī should cleanse himself, comb his hair, put on nice clothes, etc; guru — by the spiritual master; anumoditaḥ — permitted.
A brahmacārī who has completed his Vedic education and desires to enter household life should offer proper remuneration to the spiritual master, bathe, cut his hair, put on proper clothes, and so on. Then, taking permission from the guru, he should go back to his home.
gṛhaṁ vanaṁ vopaviśet
pravrajed vā dvijottamaḥ
āśramād āśramaṁ gacchen
gṛham — the family home; vanam — the forest; vā — either; upaviśet — one should enter; pravrajet — one should renounce; vā — or; dvija-uttamaḥ — a brāhmaṇa; āśramāt — from one authorized status of life; āśramam — to another authorized status; gacchet — one should go; na — not; anyathā — otherwise; amat-paraḥ — one who is not surrendered to Me; caret — should act.
A brahmacārī desiring to fulfill his material desires should live at home with his family, and a householder who is eager to purify his consciousness should enter the forest, whereas a purified brāhmaṇa should accept the renounced order of life. One who is not surrendered to Me should move progressively from one āśrama to another, never acting otherwise.
gṛhārthī sadṛśīṁ bhāryām
yavīyasīṁ tu vayasā
yāṁ sa-varṇām anu kramāt
gṛha — household; arthī — one who desires; sadṛśīm — possessing similar characteristics; bhāryām — a wife; udvahet — one should marry; ajugupsitām — beyond reproach; yavīyasīm — younger; tu — indeed; vayasā — by age; yām — another wife; sa-varṇām — the first wife who is of the same caste; anu — after; kramāt — in succession.
One who desires to establish family life should marry a wife of his own caste, who is beyond reproach and younger in age. If one desires to accept many wives he must marry them after the first marriage, and each wife should be of a successively lower caste.
sarveṣāṁ ca dvi-janmanām
pratigraho ’dhyāpanaṁ ca
ijyā — sacrifice; adhyayana — Vedic study; dānāni — charity; sarveṣām — of all; ca — also; dvi-janmanām — those who are twice-born; pratigrahaḥ — acceptance of charity; adhyāpanam — teaching Vedic knowledge; ca — also; brāhmaṇasya — of the brāhmaṇa; eva — only; yājanam — performing sacrifices for others.
All twice-born men — brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas — must perform sacrifice, study the Vedic literature and give charity. Only the brāhmaṇas, however, accept charity, teach the Vedic knowledge and perform sacrifice on behalf of others.
anyābhyām eva jīveta
śilair vā doṣa-dṛk tayoḥ
pratigraham — accepting charity; manyamānaḥ — considering; tapaḥ — of one’s austerity; tejaḥ — spiritual influence; yaśaḥ — and fame; nudam — destruction; anyābhyām — by the other two (teaching Vedic knowledge and performing sacrifice); eva — indeed; jīveta — a brāhmaṇa should live; śilaiḥ — by collecting rejected grains in the field; vā — or; doṣa — the discrepancy; dṛk — seeing; tayoḥ — of those two.
A brāhmaṇa who considers that accepting charity from others will destroy his austerity, spiritual influence and fame should maintain himself by the other two brahminical occupations, namely teaching Vedic knowledge and performing sacrifice. If the brāhmaṇa considers that those two occupations also compromise his spiritual position, then he should collect rejected grains in agricultural fields and live without any dependence on others.
brāhmaṇasya hi deho ’yaṁ
kṛcchrāya tapase ceha
brāhmaṇasya — of a brāhmaṇa; hi — certainly; dehaḥ — body; ayam — this; kṣudra — insignificant; kāmāya — for sense gratification; na — not; iṣyate — is meant; kṛcchrāya — for difficult; tapase — austerities; ca — also; iha — in this world; pretya — after death; ananta — unlimited; sukhāya — happiness; ca — also.
The body of a brāhmaṇa is not intended to enjoy insignificant material sense gratification; rather, by accepting difficult austerities in his life, a brāhmaṇa will enjoy unlimited happiness after death.
dharmaṁ mahāntaṁ virajaṁ juṣāṇaḥ
mayy arpitātmā gṛha eva tiṣṭhan
nāti-prasaktaḥ samupaiti śāntim
śila-uñcha — of gleaning grains; vṛttyā — by the occupation; parituṣṭa — fully satisfied; cittaḥ — whose consciousness; dharmam — religious principles; mahāntam — magnanimous and hospitable; virajam — purified of material desire; juṣāṇaḥ — cultivating; mayi — in Me; arpita — dedicated; ātmā — whose mind; gṛhe — at home; eva — even; tiṣṭhan — remaining; na — not; ati — very; prasaktaḥ — attached; samupaiti — achieves; śāntim — liberation.
A brāhmaṇa householder should remain satisfied in mind by gleaning rejected grains from agricultural fields and marketplaces. Keeping himself free of personal desire, he should practice magnanimous religious principles, with consciousness absorbed in Me. In this way a brāhmaṇa may stay at home as a householder without very much attachment and thus achieve liberation.
samuddharanti ye vipraṁ
tān uddhariṣye na cirād
āpadbhyo naur ivārṇavāt
samuddharanti — uplift; ye — those who; vipram — a brāhmaṇa or devotee; sīdantam — suffering (from poverty); mat-parāyaṇam — surrendered to Me; tān — those who have uplifted; uddhariṣye — I will uplift; na cirāt — in the near future; āpadbhyaḥ — from all miseries; nauḥ — a boat; iva — like; arṇavāt — from the ocean.
Just as a ship rescues those who have fallen into the ocean, similarly, I very quickly rescue from all calamities those persons who uplift brāhmaṇas and devotees suffering in a poverty-stricken condition.
sarvāḥ samuddhared rājā
piteva vyasanāt prajāḥ
ātmānam ātmanā dhīro
yathā gaja-patir gajān
sarvāḥ — all; samuddharet — must uplift; rājā — the king; pitā — a father; iva — like; vyasanāt — from difficulties; prajāḥ — the citizens; ātmānam — himself; ātmana — by himself; dhīraḥ — fearless; yathā — just as; gaja-patiḥ — a bull elephant; gajān — the other elephants.
Just as the chief bull elephant protects all other elephants in his herd and defends himself as well, similarly, a fearless king, just like a father, must save all of the citizens from difficulty and also protect himself.
indreṇa saha modate
evam-vidhaḥ — thus (protecting himself and the citizens); nara-patiḥ — the king; vimānena — with an airplane; arka-varcasā — as brilliant as the sun; vidhūya — removing; iha — on the earth; aśubham — sins; kṛtsnam — all; indreṇa — Lord Indra; saha — with; modate — he enjoys.
An earthly king who protects himself and all citizens by removing all sins from his kingdom will certainly enjoy with Lord Indra in airplanes as brilliant as the sun.
sīdan vipro vaṇig-vṛttyā
paṇyair evāpadaṁ taret
na śva-vṛttyā kathañcana
sīdan — suffering; vipraḥ — a brāhmaṇa; vaṇik — of a merchant; vṛttyā — by the occupation; paṇyaiḥ — by doing business; eva — indeed; āpadam — suffering; taret — should overcome; khaḍgena — with sword; vā — or; āpadā — by suffering; ākrāntaḥ — afflicted; na — not; śva — of the dog; vṛttyā — by the occupation; kathañcana — by any means.
If a brāhmaṇa cannot support himself through his regular duties and is thus suffering, he may adopt the occupation of a merchant and overcome his destitute condition by buying and selling material things. If he continues to suffer extreme poverty even as a merchant, then he may adopt the occupation of a kṣatriya, taking sword in hand. But he cannot in any circumstances become like a dog, accepting an ordinary master.
vaiśya-vṛttyā tu rājanyo
cared vā vipra-rūpeṇa
na śva-vṛttyā kathañcana
vaiśya — of the mercantile class; vṛttyā — by the occupation; tu — indeed; rājanyaḥ — a king; jīvet — may maintain himself; mṛgayayā — by hunting; āpadi — in an emergency or disastrous situation; caret — may act; vā — or; vipra-rūpeṇa — in the form of a brāhmaṇa; na — never; śva — of the dog; vṛttyā — by the profession; kathañcana — in any circumstance.
A king or other member of the royal order who cannot maintain himself by his normal occupation may act as a vaiśya, may live by hunting or may act as a brāhmaṇa by teaching others Vedic knowledge. But he may not under any circumstances adopt the profession of a śūdra.
śūdra-vṛttiṁ bhajed vaiśyaḥ
kṛcchrān mukto na garhyeṇa
vṛttiṁ lipseta karmaṇā
śūdra — of the śūdras; vṛttim — occupation; bhajet — may accept; vaiśyaḥ — a vaiśya; śūdraḥ — a śūdra; kāru — of the artisan; kaṭa — straw baskets and mats; kriyām — making; kṛcchrāt — from the difficult situation; muktaḥ — freed; na — not; garhyeṇa — by that which is inferior; vṛttim — livelihood; lipseta — one should desire; karmaṇā — by work.
A vaiśya, or mercantile man, who cannot maintain himself may adopt the occupation of a śūdra, and a śūdra who cannot find a master can engage in simple activities like making baskets and mats of straw. However, all members of society who have adopted inferior occupations in emergency situations must give up those substitute occupations when the difficulties have passed.
mad-rūpāṇy anv-ahaṁ yajet
veda-adhyāya — by study of Vedic knowledge; svadhā — by offering the mantra svadhā; svāhā — by offering the mantra svāhā; bali — by token offerings of food; anna-ādyaiḥ — by offering grains, water, etc; yathā — according to; udayam — one’s prosperity; deva — the demigods; ṛṣi — sages; pitṛ — the forefathers; bhūtāni — and all living entities; mat-rūpāṇi — manifestations of My potency; anu-aham — daily; yajet — one should worship.
One in the gṛhastha order of life should daily worship the sages by Vedic study, the forefathers by offering the mantra svadhā, the demigods by chanting svāhā, all living entities by offering shares of one’s meals, and human beings by offering grains and water. Thus considering the demigods, sages, forefathers, living entities and human beings to be manifestations of My potency, one should daily perform these five sacrifices.
yadṛcchayā — without endeavor; upapannena — which is acquired; śuklena — by one’s honest occupation; upārjitena — acquired; vā — or; dhanena — with money; apīḍayan — not subjecting to discomfort; bhṛtyān — dependents; nyāyena — properly; eva — indeed; āharet — one should perform; kratūn — sacrifices and other religious ceremonies.
A householder should comfortably maintain his dependents either with money that comes of its own accord or with that gathered by honest execution of one’s duties. According to one’s means, one should perform sacrifices and other religious ceremonies.
kuṭumbeṣu na sajjeta
na pramādyet kuṭumby api
vipaścin naśvaraṁ paśyed
adṛṣṭam api dṛṣṭa-vat
kuṭumbeṣu — to the family members; na — not; sajjeta — one should be attached; na — not; pramādyet — should become crazy; kuṭumbī — having many dependent family members; api — although; vipaścit — a wise person; naśvaram — temporary; paśyet — should see; adṛṣṭam — future rewards such as residence in heaven; api — indeed; dṛṣṭa-vat — just like that which is already experienced.
A householder taking care of many dependent family members should not become materially attached to them, nor should he become mentally unbalanced, considering himself to be the lord. An intelligent householder should see that all possible future happiness, just like that which he has already experienced, is temporary.
anu-dehaṁ viyanty ete
svapno nidrānugo yathā
putra — of children; dāra — wife; āpta — relatives; bandhūnām — and friends; saṅgamaḥ — the association, living together; pāntha — of travelers; saṅgamaḥ — association; anu-deham — with each change of body; viyanti — they are separated; ete — all these; svapnaḥ — a dream; nidrā — in sleep; anugaḥ — occurring; yathā — just as.
The association of children, wife, relatives and friends is just like the brief meeting of travelers. With each change of body one is separated from all such associates, just as one loses the objects one possesses in a dream when the dream is over.
itthaṁ parimṛśan mukto
gṛheṣv atithi-vad vasan
na gṛhair anubadhyeta
ittham — thus; parimṛśan — deeply considering; muktaḥ — a liberated soul; gṛheṣu — at home; atithi-vat — just like a guest; vasan — living; na — not; gṛhaiḥ — by the domestic situation; anubadhyeta — should become bound; nirmamaḥ — without any sense of personal proprietorship; nirahaṅkṛtaḥ — without false ego.
Deeply considering the actual situation, a liberated soul should live at home just like a guest, without any sense of proprietorship or false ego. In this way he will not be bound or entangled by domestic affairs.
iṣṭvā mām eva bhaktimān
tiṣṭhed vanaṁ vopaviśet
prajāvān vā parivrajet
karmabhiḥ — by activities; gṛha-medhīyaiḥ — suitable for family life; iṣṭvā — worshiping; mām — Me; eva — indeed; bhakti-mān — being a devotee; tiṣṭhet — one may remain at home; vanam — the forest; vā — or; upaviśet — may enter; prajā-vān — having responsible children; vā — or; parivrajet — may take sannyāsa.
A householder devotee who worships Me by execution of his family duties may remain at home, go to a holy place or, if he has a responsible son, take sannyāsa.
yas tv āsakta-matir gehe
straiṇaḥ kṛpaṇa-dhīr mūḍho
mamāham iti badhyate
yaḥ — one who; tu — however; āsakta — attached; matiḥ — whose consciousness; gehe — to his home; putra — for children; vitta — and money; eṣaṇa — by ardent desire; āturaḥ — disturbed; straiṇaḥ — lusty to enjoy women; kṛpaṇa — miserly; dhīḥ — whose mentality; mūḍhaḥ — unintelligent; mama — everything is mine; aham — I am everything; iti — thus thinking; badhyate — is bound.
But a householder whose mind is attached to his home and who is thus disturbed by ardent desires to enjoy his money and children, who is lusty after women, who is possessed of a miserly mentality and who unintelligently thinks, “Everything is mine and I am everything,” is certainly bound in illusion.
aho me pitarau vṛddhau
anāthā mām ṛte dīnāḥ
kathaṁ jīvanti duḥkhitāḥ
aho — alas; me — my; pitarau — parents; vṛddhau — elderly; bhāryā — wife; bāla-ātma-jā — having a mere infant in her arms; ātmā-jāḥ — and my other young children; anāthāḥ — with no one to protect them; mām — me; ṛte — without; dīnāḥ — wretched; katham — how in the world; jīvanti — can they live; duḥkhitāḥ — suffering greatly.
“O my poor elderly parents, and my wife with a mere infant in her arms, and my other young children! Without me they have absolutely no one to protect them and will suffer unbearably. How can my poor relatives possibly live without me?”
hṛdayo mūḍha-dhīr ayam
atṛptas tān anudhyāyan
mṛto ’ndhaṁ viśate tamaḥ
evam — thus; gṛha — in his domestic situation; āśaya — by intense desire; ākṣipta — overwhelmed; hṛdayaḥ — his heart; mūḍha — unintelligent; dhīḥ — whose point of view; ayam — this person; atṛptaḥ — unsatisfied; tān — them (family members); anudhyāyan — constantly thinking of; mṛtaḥ — he dies; andham — blindness; viśate — enters; tamaḥ — darkness.
Thus, because of his foolish mentality, a householder whose heart is overwhelmed by family attachment is never satisfied. Constantly meditating on his relatives, he dies and enters into the darkness of ignorance.