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Becoming Vanaprastha or Sannyasa

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  • hemantag
    Question: Is it right for a householder devotee to abandon his mundane duties and just walk away to the forest even though his family members need his help?
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2006
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      Question: Is it right for a householder devotee to abandon his mundane
      duties and just walk away to the forest even though his family members
      need his help? (E.g. become Vanaprastha or Sannyasa).

      Answer:
      Indian scriptural instruction: `Pravritir esa bhutanam
      nivrittis tu maha-phala'— Path of worldly mindedness and the path of
      renunciation. Conditioned souls are generally eligible for `path of
      worldly mindedness'. Persons eligible for `path of renunciation' are
      very rare.
      When conditioned souls become averse to worship of Supreme
      Lord they are enveloped by external material potency consisting of
      three primal qualities— Sattvah, Rajah and Tamah. Living beings are
      created by Rajah guna, they are sustained for some time by Sattva guna
      and they are destroyed by Tamah guna. Conditioned souls have become
      victims of birth, death and threefold afflictions. The real self
      `Atma' originates from marginal potency or according to Gita,
      originates from Para-shakti. Atma is Anu-saccidananda— minute
      existence, knowledge and bliss entity. As Atma is the outcome of
      marginal potency (a demarcating line between Internal potency and
      External potency), they can go either side. When they become averse to
      God by misusing their relative independence, they are enveloped by
      external or illusory energy. After 8 millions of births of different
      species, they become human beings. God gives them discriminating power
      between eternal and non-eternal. They can accept Eternal Reality
      Supreme Lord and worship Him. Previously in ancient times, Varnashram
      Dharma was prescribed according to quality and action— four Vranas and
      four Ashrams were introduced. Four Vranas— Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya
      and Sudra. Four Ashrams— Brahmachari, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and
      Sannyasa. This subject is very elaborate and scientific. It is not
      possible to have elaborate discussion of it through letter. Many
      scriptural evidences are to be referred to. There is a gradual
      procedure to attain the highest spiritual stage.
      Due to foreign invasions, Indian scientific process of
      social enhancement was disturbed. The social systems are different in
      foreign countries. So it is irrelevant to go into it in detail. They
      will not find interest in it. It will be boring for them. Varnashram
      Dharma is only in vogue in India. In Kaliyuga, Varnashram dharma has
      become deteriorated due to foreign influence.
      Incompetent persons, finding difficulty after marriage to
      lead household life and to maintain family members, give up family
      life. By that they commit sin. Acceptance of Sannyasa for them is
      prohibited. There may be some exceptional cases— by providence, some
      fortunate persons may come in contact with bona fide sadhus and get
      chance of getting the temperament of worshipping God and leading
      restricted lives.
      In Srimad Bhagavat, third canto, Kapil Bhagavan in His
      instruction to mother Devahuti said about the original and concomitant
      qualities of a bona fide pure devotee— sadhu. He mentioned in His
      instruction, one of the original qualifications of sadhu should be—
      `Mat-krite tyakta-karmanas tyakta-svajana-bandhavah'— abandoning of
      Varnashram dharma and relinquishing of bodily relations and friends
      are allowed if it is for the propitiation of Supreme Lord. In case
      there is any other ulterior motive, to fulfil material desires, then
      abandoning of Varnashram duties and relations will be considered as
      sinful act.
      For getting actual knowledge of it, one should go through
      the topic of conversation between Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Rai
      Ramananda in Kovur, South India, narrated by Srila Kaviraj Goswami in
      Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita.

      - Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj
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