Canto 6: Prescribed Duties for MankindChapter 5: Nārada Muni Cursed by Prajāpati Dakṣa

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 6.5.36

śrī-dakṣa uvāca

aho asādho sādhūnāḿ

sādhu-lińgena nas tvayā

asādhv akāry arbhakāṇāḿ

bhikṣor mārgaḥ pradarśitaḥ


śrī-dakṣaḥ uvācaPrajāpati Dakṣa said; aho asādhoO greatly dishonest nondevotee; sādhūnām — of the society of devotees and great sages; sādhu-lińgena — wearing the dress of a saintly person; naḥ — unto us; tvayā — by you; asādhua dishonesty; akāri — has been done; arbhakāṇām — of poor boys who were very inexperienced; bhikṣoḥ mārgaḥ — the path of a beggar or mendicant sannyāsī; pradarśitaḥ — shown.


Prajāpati Dakṣa said: Alas, Nārada Muni, you wear the dress of a saintly person, but you are not actually a saint. Indeed, although I am now in gṛhastha life, I am a saintly person. By showing my sons the path of renunciation, you have done me an abominable injustice.


Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, sannyāsīra alpa chidra sarva-loke gāya (Cc. Madhya 12.51). In society one will find many sannyāsīs, vānaprasthas, gṛhasthas and brahmacārīs, but if all of them properly live in accordance with their duties, they are understood to be sādhus. Prajāpati Dakṣa was certainly a sādhu because he had executed such great austerities that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, had appeared before him. Nevertheless, he had a fault-finding mentality. He improperly thought Nārada Muni to be asādhu, or nonsaintly, because Nārada had foiled his intentions. Desiring to train his sons to become gṛhasthas fully equipped with knowledge, Dakṣa had sent them to execute austerities by Nārāyaṇa-saras. Nārada Muni, however, taking advantage of their highly elevated position in austerity, instructed them to become Vaiṣṇavas in the renounced order. This is the duty of Nārada Muni and his followers. They must show everyone the path of renouncing this material world and returning home, back to Godhead. Prajāpati Dakṣa, however, could not see the exaltedness of the duties Nārada Muni performed in relation to his sons. Unable to appreciate Nārada Muni's behavior, Dakṣa accused Nārada of being asādhu.

The words bhikṣor mārga, "the path of the renounced order," are very significant in this regard. A sannyāsī is called tridaṇḍi-bhikṣu because his duty is to beg alms from the homes of gṛhasthas and to give the gṛhasthas spiritual instructions. A sannyāsī is allowed to beg from door to door, but a gṛhastha cannot do so. Gṛhasthas may earn their living according to the four divisions of spiritual life. A brāhmaṇa gṛhastha may earn his livelihood by becoming a learned scholar and teaching people in general how to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He may also assume the duty of worship himself. Therefore it is said that only brāhmaṇas may engage in Deity worship, and they may accept as prasāda whatever people offer the Deity. Although a brāhmaṇa may sometimes accept charity, it is not for his personal maintenance but for the worship of the Deity. Thus a brāhmaṇa does not stock anything for his future use. Similarly, kṣatriyas may collect taxes from the citizens, and they must also protect the citizens, enforce rules and regulations, and maintain law and order. Vaiśyas should earn their livelihood through agriculture and cow protection, and śūdras should maintain their livelihood by serving the three higher classes. Unless one becomes a brāhmaṇa, one cannot take sannyāsa. Sannyāsīs and brahmacārīs may beg alms door to door, but a gṛhastha cannot.

Prajāpati Dakṣa condemned Nārada Muni because Nārada, a brahmacārī who could beg from door to door, had made sannyāsīs of Dakṣa's sons, who were being trained to be gṛhasthas. Dakṣa was extremely angry at Nārada because he thought that Nārada had done him a great injustice. According to Dakṣa's opinion, Nārada Muni had misled Dakṣa's inexperienced sons (asādhv akāry arbhakāṇām). Dakṣa regarded his sons as innocent boys who had been misled when Nārada showed them the renounced order of life. Because of all these considerations, Prajāpati Dakṣa charged that Nārada Muni was asādhu and should not have adopted the dress of a sādhu.

Sometimes a saintly person is misunderstood by gṛhasthas, especially when he instructs their young sons to accept Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Generally a gṛhastha thinks that unless one enters gṛhastha life he cannot properly enter the renounced order. If a young man immediately adopts the path of the renounced order in accordance with the instructions of Nārada or a member of his disciplic succession, his parents become very angry. This same phenomenon is occurring in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement because we are instructing all the young boys in the Western countries to follow the path of renunciation. We allow gṛhastha life, but a gṛhastha also follows the path of renunciation. Even a gṛhastha has to give up so many bad habits that his parents think his life has been practically destroyed. We allow no meat-eating, no illicit sex, no gambling and no intoxication, and consequently the parents wonder how, if there are so many no's, one's life can be positive. In the Western countries especially, these four prohibited activities practically constitute the life and soul of the modern population. Therefore parents sometimes dislike our movement, just as Prajāpati Dakṣa disliked the activities of Nārada and accused Nārada of dishonesty. Nevertheless, although parents may be angry at us, we must perform our duty without hesitation because we are in the disciplic succession from Nārada Muni.

People addicted to householder life wonder how one can give up the enjoyment of gṛhastha life, which is a concession for sex enjoyment, simply to become a mendicant in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. They do not know that the householder's concession for sex life cannot be regulated unless one accepts the life of a mendicant. The Vedic civilization therefore enjoins that at the end of one's fiftieth year one must give up household life. This is compulsory. However, because modern civilization is misled, householders want to remain in family life until death, and therefore they are suffering. In such cases, the disciples of Nārada Muni advise all the members of the younger generation to join the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement immediately. There is nothing wrong in this.

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