Canto 11: General HistoryChapter 17: Lord Kṛṣṇa's Description of the Varṇāśrama System

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.17.23



jaṭilo 'dhauta-dad-vāso

'rakta-pīṭhaḥ kuśān dadhat


mekhalā — belt; ajina — deerskin; daṇḍa — staff; akṣa — bead necklace; brahma-sūtrabrāhmaṇa 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; kuśānkuśa 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.


The word adhauta-dad-vasa indicates that a renounced brahmacārī is not concerned with a glistening smile to attract the opposite sex, nor does he pay much attention to his outer garments. Brahmacārī life is meant for austerity and obedience to the spiritual master so that later in life, when one becomes a businessman, politician or intellectual brāhmaṇa, one will be able to call upon resources of character, discipline, self-control, austerity and humility. Student life, as described here, is far different from the mindless hedonism known as modern education. Of course, in the modern age, Kṛṣṇa conscious brahmacārīs cannot artificially adopt the ancient dress and ritualistic duties described here; but the essential values of self-control, purity and obedience to a bona fide spiritual master are just as necessary today as they were in Vedic times.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
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