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Grihastha life after 50

Post Author: Bhakta Igor    Date: 2007-12-04 21:20:33
Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krsna
All glories to Swami Gaurangapada!
All glories to Srilla Prabhupada!

I found on many places in Srilla Prabhupada's purports that ideal householder should retire from his material duties when he reach 50 years, fully engage in devotional service, live on holy place, absorb in Naam, preach and on that way make his life perfect.

Some devotees think that this is not suitable for this modern age and they are giving example of Srilla Bhaktivinoda Thakura.

Is it all right for grhastha to have such desire (simultaneously not neglecting family/material duties but accepting them)? Family life is in touch with constant earning money, daily job, management etc. In such atmosphere it is harder for ordinary person to make spiritual progress. Also to support family he or she in modern times must work many more hours then before, and when working hours are over there are small amount of time for serious spiritual activities.

Such position is like burning cage - it is burning everywhere, but person can not escape! What should person do in such case?

It may or not be relate with this topic, I just remembered Lord Gauranga who abandoned his grhastha life in very young age. His wife could not tolerate pain of separation but He took sanyas anyway. What is significance for us in this lila?

I can practically see that there is no end in material entanglement of this world. Desires of relatives, neighbors, friends etc. can never become fully satisfied by any material means. I am working very very hard for past seven months, almost whole day to secure existence for my family and to fulfill different duties and obligations best I can. There is no varnasrama or support of community and more or less we are like aliens in sense-gratification community. It is hard battle for existence.

When person is starting to make some spiritual progress materially absorbed persons can not understand that. They think that we are crazy. So in this insane environment it is hard to dedicate fully to spiritual practice. Devotees like me are in great need of sanga, community support, etc. Internet is giving us some possibility for that, yet it is not enough. Anyway I just wanted to describe thinking of aspiring devotee flamed in burning cage.

Basic question was about leaving family life after 50. Please share and elaborate about this topic.

Dasso'smi Igor

Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krsna

Post Author: Bhakta Igor    Date: 2007-12-05 18:39:29
Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krsna
All glories to Swami Gaurangapada!
All glories to Srilla Prabhupada!

Thank you Gauranga das Prabhu for nice quotation of Srilla Prabhupadas letter. Yes, this is general advice for grhastha couples. In that letter Srilla Prabhupada wrote ?We are concerned more for Krishna Consciousness and if that work is executed more nicely by cooperation of husband & wife, there is no necessity of thinking wife as impediment to Krishna Consciousness.?

Basic consideration is Krsna Consciousness or serious spiritual practice. But what should devotee do if he / she really badly suffer drown in material duties, work and obligations simultaneously neglecting spiritual practice? Therefore in this letter Srilla Prabhupada wrote word if. If grhastha life is based on spiritual nourishment there is no need for any change, but what is in case when spiritual life is put in second or evan tenth place? I must say that I am really trying to fulfill my householder duties toward my wife and son; I do not want to escape from that. But generally speaking trying to be devotee in materialistic surroundings, where quite opposite values are required to be successful, is really challenging task.

Recently owner of radio station where I am working said to me that I am crazy, that my values and thinking is not what is required if person want to earn money and be successful in materialistic sense. If you want to be successful you must be like others, you must lie, bribe, steal and be aggressive.

Thank you very much Jaganatha Gauranga das Prabhu for your answer.I really appreciate it. Yes it is very painful situation to constantly be surrounded with persons who do not have taste for devotional activities. Thank you very much for your advice about reading and remembering Srimad Bhagavatam. Yes, bhagavatam rasam alayam, we should always taste this wonderful fruit of devotional literature. I completely agree with your words that there are many examples of ideal householders in Bhagavatam.

Problem is because standards of modern living are not simple standards. To be successful in material sense ordinary person need much much more then before. This is endless sense-gratification society and to raise child in such environment is almost imposable. If you do not have this and that then you are not worth of any attention. When person is poor, friends and relatives do not appreciate anything and criticize ?He is unable to earn enough, to provide nice house, car and solid bank account. Money and social status are only measurement of advancement and position today in world. That is really monumental task to overcome it in present situation.

I want to say that I am living in very specific country. In past ten years we had three wars and economy is devastated. I am very good and appreciate in my radio journalist job for past eight years but despite all that, my salary is around 200 US dollars per month and that money is enough only for bare necessities. In country of 6 million persons more then 450.000 are living under lowest edge of poverty ?government declared few days ago. This age of Kali is full of suffering.

From other side do we have other solution then to go further best we can in this crazy environment? Therefore preaching is greatest necessity so that future generations may live at least in spiritually organized communities and grhasthas of tomorrow may raise their children in spiritual neighborhood. That is only cure for all suffering. Otherwise it is impossible for grhastha to be prosperous in society of grhamedhas. We are not sane by measurements of today materially intoxicated world.

There are many duties and obligations that we have toward family members, society, forefathers, demigods etc. But if those obligations are hindrance for our spiritual advancement what we can do? Gopies had many duties toward their husbands, but when they heard melodious call of Krsnas flute they did not hesitate. Similarly, Arjuna had many obligations toward his relatives but nevertheless he fight on battlefield of Kuruksetra to fulfill Lords desire.

Death may come in any moment and what will be with our so called obligations? We are not controllers. We may act to fulfill so many duties and obligations according to our varna and asrama, but if we are neglecting our original duty ?samsidhir hari tosanam ?to satisfy Lord Hari then what we are actually doing? What is then real value of our words and acts? What is our real duty is good question?

Thank you very much for your comments and advices. Please feel free to contribute more without hesitation. We are here to discuss and help each other in this path of devotion. That is real treasure of vaisnava sanga.

All glories to Swami Gaurangapada
Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krsna
Dassosmi Igor

Post Author: Bhakta Igor    Date: 2007-12-06 17:13:47
Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krsna
Thank you Jagannatha Gauranga das Prabhu on your words. Yes, you are right, person should learn to be tolerant, to try it best without attachment. trinad api sunicena taror iva sahisnuna...and by chanting of Holy Name remember Supreme Lord. yatha tatha va vidadhatu lampato mat-prana-nathas tu sa eva naparah whatever position we are, favorable or unfavorable Lord Krsna should remain our life and soul.

" I also was wondering if you are initiated by anyone?"
No. I am trying to become aspirating disciple of our Gurudeva, and only by his causeless mercy I am still trying to make some progress.

"Also if you need any monetary help I would be glad to help"
All I need is your blessings so that some day I will be able to chant Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krsna Maha Mantra in association of devotees trying to somehow satisfy our Gurudeva. If you can give me that blessing that will be my eternal wealth. dhana mora nityananda radha-krsna sri carana sei mora abharana...

Thank you very much for your help.
All glories to Swami Gaurangapada!
All glories to Srilla Prabhupadda!
Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krsna

Post Author: Jagannatha Gauranga dasa    Date: 2007-12-05 02:13:38
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!
Dandavats and obeissances Bhakta Igor.

I really feel for you and can understand what you are going through. It is a very painful situation to be around people who don't know the value of life and who always try to push you away from spiritual activities. It can be depressing and lonely. I think it's even sadder to see people entangled with their designations and yet still think they are happy. When I see people so enveloped my mind remembers all the great stories of the Srimad Bhagavatam. I believe realizing the purports of the Bhagavatam is our greatest friend for coping in this age. There are so many great stories of how great devotee householders lived within family life but were unattached and renounced at end of life and went back to Godhead. Also Lord Krsna in Dvaraka was a family man 16,108 times and although he rigidly followed the rules and regulations of family life he was never overly attached to his wife or children. So I think reading the Bhagavatam as a whole and the Lord's Dvaraka and other pastimes can surely put you in a transcendental renunciate state of mind to cope with your situation. I know this is easier said than done because we don't always have enough time to really relish and dive into our readings which is unfortunate, but they are they for us like our very best friend. We may not be able to perfectly follow their example because of the age of kali but it makes one feel better to read about such great souls.

I do also agree that this age is very hard because we tend to be more lusty and yet maintaining a family seems like a monumental task at the least so it sometimes seems that we really can't escape from this problem. There is just so many worries and responsibilites in starting a family it seems. I don't want to sound like I'm giving you advice because you are probably a little more advanced than me but I will share my thoughts. I think that once you start your family you are obliged to look after them, their is no way to dodge the responsibility. You have to make sure your kids have clothes and food and are in good health. For your daughters you have to find them a suitable husband or that will lead to MUCH trouble. Also you must do your best to get them interested in the Lord so they can become devotees in this or their next life. These are things that all family men must do and it is very hard in these modern societies but it can be done with the Lord's help.

I agree with Bhaktivinoda Thakure that being a sannyasa within householderlife is most realistic for this age. We must remember that Srila Prabhupada's wife was a daughter of a rich man so his wife and children were taken care of so to prematurely leave the family is obviously not a good idea for most of us. So basically I think it is best to look after your family duties but to do it with an air of attachment,and really really really try to read and understand the Bhagavatam someway somehow and have their conclusions always on our mind, and when the kids are over 18 or married and can fend for themselves, then you and your wife can move to a holy place in India like Jagannatha Puri and forever give up all material ideas and thoughts. I think this kind of renunciation is best. Please don't be offended by my brashness and please take to heart whatever Swami Gaurangapada tells you because only a pure Vaisnava like himself can guide and help you or anyone.

Post Author: Jagannatha Gauranga dasa    Date: 2007-12-06 00:08:22
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!

Dear Bhakta Igor,

I agree that it sometime seems that our material duties can sometimes seem to take precedent over our spiritual activities, even Srila Prabhupada in his early years couldn't join Bhaktisiddhanta's movement right away because he had so many family responsibilities, and he lamented, but because he was a surrendered soul the Lord eventually put him in a position where he could think about him all the time. You are definitely on the right path though and your success in guaranteed so you should always keep that in mind and be tolerant. I surely know what you are going through when the environment that you are in doesn't allow you to meditate on the spiritual world fully and it seems like there is no end, it's like torture. All that we can do is surrender to the Vaisnavas and the Lord will help us out one step at a time at the very least. I also was wondering if you are initiated by anyone? That I think is very important and surely makes things run much smoother certainly in my case since I was initiated by Swami Gaurangapada. Also if you need any monetary help I would be glad to help as I am single without too many payments, just let me know.

Nityananda Gauranaga Hare Krishna

Post Author: Gouranga dasa    Date: 2007-12-05 00:17:53
Dearest Igor Prabhu, Please accept my respectful Obeisances, I found an interesting letter from Srila Prabhupada...

My Dear Krishna devi,
Please accept my blessings. I was very glad to receive your letter dated Oct. 20. I can understand your anxiety about your husband & rest assured that I shall never advise your husband to leave you. Both of you are very good souls & constantly engaged in the service of the Lord. One who has got a helpful wife at home does not require to accept Sannyas. If required, both you and your husband can preach Krishna Consciousness combinedly. We are concerned more for Krishna Consciousness & if that work is executed more nicely by cooperation of husband & wife, there is no necessity of thinking wife as impediment to Krishna Consciousness. While I am living you should act according to my instructions & there is no question of impediment. Hope you are well.

Your ever well-wisher
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

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