|Canto 4: Creation of the Fourth Order||Chapter 31: Nārada Instructs the Pracetās|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 4.31.1
smaranta ātmaje bhāryāḿ
visṛjya prāvrajan gṛhāt
maitreyaḥ uvāca — Maitreya said; tataḥ — thereafter; utpanna — developed; vijñānāḥ — possessing perfect knowledge; āśu — very soon; adhokṣaja — by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhāṣitam — what was enunciated; smarantaḥ — remembering; ātma-je — unto their son; bhāryām — their wife; visṛjya — after giving; prāvrajan — left; gṛhāt — from home.
The great saint Maitreya continued: After that, the Pracetās lived at home for thousands of years and developed perfect knowledge in spiritual consciousness. At last they remembered the blessings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and left home, putting their wife in charge of a perfect son.
After the Pracetās had finished their penances, they were blessed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord blessed them by telling them that after finishing their family life they would return home, back to Godhead, in due course of time. After finishing their family life, which lasted thousands of years according to the calculations of the demigods, the Pracetās decided to leave home, putting their wife in the charge of a son named Dakṣa. This is the process of Vedic civilization. In the beginning of life, as a brahmacārī, one has to undergo severe penances and austerities in order to be educated in spiritual values. The brahmacārī, or student, is never allowed to mingle with women and learn from the beginning of life about sex enjoyment. The basic flaw in modern civilization is that boys and girls are given freedom during school and college to enjoy sex life. Most of the children are varṇa-sańkara, meaning "born of undesirable fathers and mothers." Consequently, the whole world is in chaos. Actually, human civilization should be based on the Vedic principles. This means that in the beginning of life boys and girls should undergo penances and austerities. When they are grown, they should get married, live for some time at home and beget children. When the children are grown up, the man should leave home and search for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In this way one can make one's life perfect by going home to the kingdom of God.
Unless one practices penances and austerities in his student life, he cannot understand the existence of God. Without realizing Kṛṣṇa, one cannot make his life perfect. The conclusion is that when the children are grown, the wife should be put in the children's charge. The husband may then leave home to develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Everything depends on the development of mature knowledge. King Prācīnabarhiṣat, the father of the Pracetās, left home before the arrival of his sons, who were engaged in austerity within the water. As soon as the time is ripe, or as soon as one has developed perfect Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he should leave home, even though all his duties may not be fulfilled. Prācīnabarhiṣat was waiting for the arrival of his sons, but following the instructions of Nārada, as soon as his intelligence was properly developed, he simply left instructions for his ministers to impart to his sons. Thus without waiting for their arrival, he left home.
Giving up a comfortable home life is absolutely necessary for human beings and is advised by Prahlāda Mahārāja. Hitvātma-pātaḿ gṛham andha-kūpam: to finish the materialistic way of life, one should leave his so-called comfortable home life, which is simply a means for killing the soul (ātma-pātam). The home is considered to be a dark well covered by grass, and if one falls within this well, he simply dies without anyone's caring. One should therefore not be too much attached to family life, for it will spoil one's development of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness