Canto 7: The Science of GodChapter 14: Ideal Family Life

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.14.2

śrī-nārada uvāca

gṛheṣv avasthito rājan

kriyāḥ kurvan yathocitāḥ

vāsudevārpaṇaḿ sākṣād

upāsīta mahā-munīn


śrī-nāradaḥ uvācaŚrī Nārada Muni replied; gṛheṣu — at home; avasthitaḥ — staying (a householder generally stays home with his wife and children); rājanO King; kriyāḥ — activities; kurvan — performing; yathocitāḥ — suitable (as instructed by the guru and śāstra); vāsudeva — unto Lord Vāsudeva; arpaṇam — dedicating; sākṣāt — directly; upāsīta — should worship; mahā-munīn — the great devotees.


Nārada Muni replied: My dear King, those who stay at home as householders must act to earn their livelihood, and instead of trying to enjoy the results of their work themselves, they should offer these results to Kṛṣṇa, Vāsudeva. How to satisfy Vāsudeva in this life can be perfectly understood through the association of great devotees of the Lord.


The format for gṛhastha life should be dedication to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bhagavad-gītā (6.1) it is said:

anāśritaḥ karma-phalaḿ

kāryaḿ karma karoti yaḥ

sa sannyāsī ca yogī ca

na niragnir na cākriyaḥ

"One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic, not he who lights no fire and performs no work." Whether one acts as a brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha or sannyāsī, he must act only for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, VāsudevaKṛṣṇa, the son of Vasudeva. This should be the principle for everyone's life. Nārada Muni has already described the principles of life for a brahmacāri, vānaprastha and sannyāsī, and now he is describing how a gṛhastha should live. The basic principle is to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The science of satisfying the Supreme Lord can be learned as described here: sākṣād upāsīta mahā-munīn. The word mahā-munīn refers to great saintly persons or devotees. Saintly persons are generally known as munis, or thoughtful philosophers concerned with transcendental subject matters, and mahā-munīn refers to those who have not only thoroughly studied the goal of life but who are actually engaged in satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva. These persons are known as devotees. Unless one associates with devotees, one cannot learn the science of vāsudevārpaṇa, or dedicating one's life to Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

In India the principles of this science were followed strictly. Even fifty years ago, I saw that in the villages of Bengal and the suburbs of Calcutta, people engaged in hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam daily when all their activities ended, or at least in the evening before going to bed. Everyone would hear the Bhāgavatam. Bhāgavata classes were held in every village, and thus people had the advantage of hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which describes everything about the aim of life — liberation or salvation. This will be clearly explained in the next verses.

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