|Canto 11: General History||Chapter 18: Description of Varṇāśrama-dharma|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.18.25
abhīkṣṇaḿ bhaikṣyam ācaret
saḿsidhyaty āśv asammohaḥ
vānaprastha-āśrama — of the vānaprastha order of life; padeṣu — in the position; abhīkṣṇam — always; bhaikṣyam — begging; ācaret — one should perform; saḿsidhyati — one becomes spiritually perfect; āśu — quickly; asammohaḥ — free from illusion; śuddha — purified; sattvaḥ — existence; śīla — obtained by begging or gleaning; andhasā — by food.
One in the vānaprastha order of life should always practice taking charity from others, for one is thereby freed from illusion and quickly becomes perfect in spiritual life. Indeed, one who subsists on food grains obtained in such u humble manner purifies his existence.
In the Western countries people are generally so dull that they cannot distinguish between a saintly beggar and an ordinary hobo or hippie. A saintly beggar is constantly engaged in authorized devotional service to the Supreme Lord and accepts only what he requires for his bare maintenance. The author of this book remembers entering the Kṛṣṇa consciousness society as an arrogant university student and being quickly humbled by the process of begging on the street on behalf of Kṛṣṇa. This process is not theoretical but actually purifies one's existence by forcing one to offer respect to all others. Unless one offers respect to others, one's begging will be fruitless. Also, by begging one will not often eat very sumptuously. This is good because when the tongue is controlled the other senses are quickly pacified. A vānaprastha should never give up the purifying process of begging for his food, and ordinary people should not foolishly equate a lazy bum living at the cost of others with a saintly beggar engaged in higher duties for the Supreme Lord.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
His Holiness Hrdayananda dasa Goswami
Gopiparanadhana dasa Adhikari
Dravida dasa Brahmacari