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

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.17.55

karmabhir gṛha-medhīyair

iṣṭvā mām eva bhaktimān

tiṣṭhed vanaḿ vopaviśet

prajāvān parivrajet


karmabhiḥ — by activities; gṛha-medhīyaiḥ — suitable for family life; iṣṭvā — worshiping; māmMe; eva — indeed; bhakti-mān — being a devotee; tiṣṭhet — one may remain at home; vanam — the forest; — or; upaviśet — may enter; prajā-vān — having responsible children; — 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.


This verse describes the three alternatives for a householder. He may continue at home, or he may take vānaprastha, which involves going to a sacred place with one's wife. Or if he has a responsible son to take over his family duties, he may take sannyāsa, the renounced order, for a definitive solution to the problems of life. In all three āśramas, ultimate success depends on sincere surrender to the Supreme Lord; therefore, the most important qualification one can have is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

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