|Canto 2: The Cosmic Manifestation||Chapter 1: The First Step in God Realization|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.1.16
gṛhāt pravrajito dhīraḥ
śucau vivikta āsīno
gṛhāt — from one's home; pravrajitaḥ — having gone out; dhīraḥ — self-controlled; puṇya — pious; tīrtha — sacred place; jala-āplutaḥ — fully washed; śucau — cleansed; vivikte — solitary; āsīnaḥ — seated; vidhivat — according to regulations; kalpita — having done; āsane — on a sitting place.
One should leave home and practice self-control. In a sacred place he should bathe regularly and sit down in a lonely place duly sanctified.
To prepare oneself for the better next life, one must get out of one's so-called home. The system of varṇāśrama-dharma, or sanātana-dharma, prescribes retirement from family encumbrances as early as possible after one has passed fifty years of age. Modern civilization is based on family comforts, the highest standard of amenities, and therefore after retirement everyone expects to live a very comfortable life in a well-furnished home decorated with fine ladies and children, without any desire to get out of such a comfortable home. High government officers and ministers stick to their prize posts until death, and they neither dream nor desire to get out of homely comforts. Bound by such hallucinations, materialistic men prepare various plans for a still more comfortable life, but suddenly cruel death comes without mercy and takes away the great planmaker against his desire, forcing him to give up the present body for another body. Such a planmaker is thus forced to accept another body in one of the 8,400,000 species of life according to the fruits of the work he has performed. In the next life, persons who are too much attached to family comforts are generally awarded lower species of life on account of sinful acts performed during a long duration of sinful life, and thus all the energy of the human life is spoiled. In order to be saved from the danger of spoiling the human form of life and being attached to unreal things, one must take warning of death at the age of fifty, if not earlier. The principle is that one should take it for granted that the death warning is already there, even prior to the attainment of fifty years of age, and thus at any stage of life one should prepare himself for a better next life. The system of the sanātana-dharma institution is so made that the follower is trained for the better next life without any chance that the human life will be spoiled. The holy places all over the world are meant for the residential purposes of retired persons getting ready for a better next life. Intelligent persons must go there at the end of life, and for that matter, after fifty years of age, to live a life of spiritual regeneration for the sake of being freed from family attachment, which is considered to he the shackle of material life. One is recommended to quit home just to get rid of material attachment because one who sticks to family life until death cannot get rid of material attachment and as long as one is materially attached one cannot understand spiritual freedom. One should not, however, become self-complacent simply by leaving home or by creating another home at the holy place, either lawfully or unlawfully. Many persons leave home and go to such holy places, but due to bad association, again become family men by illicit connection with the opposite sex. The illusory energy of matter is so strong that one is apt to be under such illusion at every stage of life, even after quitting one's happy home. Therefore, it is essential that one practice self-control by celibacy without the least desire for sex indulgence. For a man desiring to improve the condition of his existence, sex indulgence is considered suicidal, or even worse. Therefore, to live apart from family life means to become self-controlled in regard to all sense desires, especially sex desires. The method is that one should have a duly sanctified sitting place made of straw, deerskin and carpet, and thus sitting on it one should chant the holy name of the Lord without offense, as prescribed above. The whole process is to drag the mind from material engagements and fix it on the lotus feet of the Lord. This simple process alone will help one advance to the highest stage of spiritual success.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness