2 Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has stated that in the age of Kali it

    is recommended that all jivas become grhastha Vaishnavas, for in

    this there is no fear of falling down. The meaning of this

    statement is that it is the duty of all human beings to live in an

    unfallen condition and engage in the service of Vishnu and

    Vaishnavas. However, it is not the intention of the author to instruct

    that everyone must be a grhastha, or that in the age of Kali

    no one should accept any asrama other than the grhastha-asrama.


    Those who are heavily influenced by the material qualities of

    passion and ignorance, who are excessively attached to material

    sense enjoyment, and who have a strong inclination toward the

    path of fruitive action (pravrtti-marga) are recommended to

    accept marriage and follow the grhastha-dharma in order to

    counteract these tendencies. On the other hand, those whose

    nature is of the quality of goodness and purity, and who follow

    the path of detachment (nivrtti-marga) should not marry and

    thus become fallen.


    In the Vishnu Purana (3.8.9) we find the following statement

    regarding asrama:


    varnasramacaravata purusena parah puman

    visnur aradhyate pantha nanyat tat-tosa-karanam


    Shri Vishnu is worshiped only by carrying out one's prescribed duties

    in varnasrama. There is no other way to please Him.


    In this sloka, the word asrama refers not only to the grhasthaasrama,

    but to all four asramas. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.17.14) there

    is the following statement regarding asrama:


    grhasramo janghanato brahmacaryam hrdo mama

    vaksah-sthalad vane vasah sannyasah sirasi sthitah


    The grhastha-asrama has sprung from the thighs of My universal

    form, the brahmacari-asrama from My heart, the vanaprasthaasrama

    from My chest, and the sannyasa-asrama from My head.


    These are the four asramas described in the sastra. One of the

    characteristics of a Vaishnava is engaging in the worship of Shri

    Vishnu while remaining in the asrama for which he is eligible. At

    present there is no shortage of examples of this. In this very book,

    the characters, Prema dasa, Vaishnava dasa, Ananta dasa, and many

    other qualified instructors are sannyasis, brahmacaris, or grha-tyagis.


    Another point is that not all the followers of the author, Shri

    Bhaktivinoda Thakura, are grhastha-bhaktas. Some of them are

    brahmacaris and some have given up household life, and are situated

    in the highest order, sannyasa, and are thus fit to instruct the

    world. In the third chapter, sannyasa is referred to as the topmost

    asrama. This same conclusion is expressed in Shrimad-Bhagavatam

    (11.17.15), the crest-jewel of all sastras:


    varnanam asramanams ca janma-bhumy-anusarinih

    asan prakrtayo nrnam nicair nicottamottamah


    The varnas and asramas of humanity are possessed of higher and

    lower natures in accordance with the higher and lower places on

    Shri Bhagavan's universal body from which they appeared.


    The conclusion of this statement is that sannyasa is the highest

    of the four asramas, and grhastha is the lowest. The brahmacari-

    asrama is situated above the grhastha-asrama, and the vanaprasthaasrama

    is situated above the brahmacari-asrama. These asramas are

    related to the acquired tendency arising from one's temporary



    Like varnas, asramas are also divided according to nature, tendency,

    and work. Men of lower nature, who are inclined to engage

    in fruitive action, are compelled to become grhasthas. Naisthikabrahmacaris,

    those who adopt a life-long vow of celibacy, are the

    wealth of Shri Krishna's heart. Vanaprastha renunciants have appeared

    from Krishna's chest, and sannyasis, who are the reservoirs of

    auspicious qualities, have arisen from His head. The brahmacaris,

    vanaprasthas, and sannyasis are therefore all superior to the

    grhasthas, but one remains ineligible to enter into these three superior

    asramas as long as a taste for the path of renunciation is

    not awakened in the heart. In the Manu-samhita (5.56) it is said:


    na mamsa-bhaksane dose na madye na ca maithune

    pravrttir esa bhutanam nivrttis tu mahaphalah


    Human beings are naturally inclined to the pleasures of meateating,

    intoxication, and sexual indulgence, but abstinence from

    such activities yields highly beneficial results.


    This is corroborated in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.11):


    loke vyavayamisa-madya-seva nitya hi jantor na hi tatra codana

    vyavasthitis tesu vivaha-yajna-sura-grahair asu nivrttir ista


    In this world it is observed that people have a natural tendency

    toward sexual enjoyment, meat-eating, and intoxication. Sastra

    cannot sanction engagement in such activities, but special provisions

    have been given whereby some association with the opposite

    sex is permitted through marriage; some eating of flesh is

    permitted through performance of sacrifice; and the drinking of

    wine is permitted in the ritual known as sautramani-yajna. The

    purpose of such injunctions is to restrain the licentious tendencies
    of the general populace and to establish them in moral conduct.

    Therefore, the grhastha-asrama is necessary in Kali-yuga in order

    to draw people away from the path of fruitive action and toward

    the path of renunciation. It was never the intention of the

    author to suggest that those who are eligible for the highest order

    of life should become grhasthas. Later in this same chapter, ShriBhaktivinoda Thakura has expressed the purpose of marriage inthe following words: "One should not enter marriage for the purpose of begetting childrenor to worship the forefathers. Rather, one should think, 'I accept this maidservant of Krishna so that we may be able to assisteach other in the service of Krishna.' This attitude is favorable to bhakti." 

  • Sadhu vritti from Bhaktyaloka By Bhaktivinoda Thakura


    What is proper occupation? To know this, one should see the behavior of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's followers. As far as possible I will try to briefly compile them in this essay. First I will write about the behavior and occupation of the grihastha, as found in the character of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees.
    As a support for his devotional service, a householder should find a suitable wife. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 15.26-27) the Lord says:
    grihastha ha-ilama, ebe cahi griha-dharma
    grihini vina griha-dharma na haya shobhana
    “Since I am remaining at home it is My duty to act as a grihastha. Without a wife, there is no meaning to householder life.”
    While living with one's wife and maintaining religious family life, Krishna's servants and maidservants are born in the form of sons and daughters. Nourishing them is called maintaining the family. The pious acquisition of wealth is required in these activities. In this regard Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has said in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 5.41) and Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 15.96):
    prabhu bale,—parivara aneka tomara
    nirvaha kemate tabe haibe sabara?
    `grihastha' hayena inho, cahiye sancaya
    sancaya na kaile kutumba-bharana nahi haya
    “The Lord said: There are so many members in your family. How will you maintain everyone? Being a householder, one needs to save some money. Because he is not doing so, it is very difficult for him to maintain his family.”
    One must be educated at a proper age. But he should not study atheistic literatures. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 12.49 and Madhya 9.241-242) the Lord says:
    pade kene loka?—krishna bhakti janibare
    se yadi nahila, tabe vidyaya ki kare?
    vishaya-madandha saba kichui na jane
    vidya-made, dhana-made vaishnava na cine
    bhagavata padiyao ka 'ro buddhi nasha
    “Why do people study? Education is only for understanding devotional service of Lord Krishna. If you miss this point, then what is the use of your education? Everyone is blinded by pride and sense gratification. Being proud of their education and wealth, they fail to recognize a Vaishnava. If one studies Shrimad Bhagavatam improperly his intelligence is polluted.”
    Serving guests is the principle duty of a grihastha—this is the Lord's instruction. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 14.21, 26) it is stated:
    grihasthere mahaprabhu shikhayena dharma
    atithira seva—grihasthera mula-karma
    akaitave citta-sukhe ya 'ra yena shakti
    taha karilei bali atithite bhakti
    “In this way the Lord satisfied all His guests and taught the world how to behave as a perfect householder. The foremost duty of a householder is to serve his guests. If a householder happily serves his guests without duplicity and according to his ability he is considered hospitable.”
    A grihastha should act with simplicity in his dealings with people; he should not allow any kind of cheating or duplicity in his heart. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 14.142) the Lord says:
    ataeva grihe tumi krishna bhaja giya
    kutinati parihari' ekanta haiya
    “Therefore go back to your home and worship Lord Krishna with full attention, giving up all duplicity.”
    It is the principle duty of a grihastha to serve senior persons. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 15.21) the Lord says:
    grihastha ha-iya kariba pita-matara sevana
    ihate-i tushta habena lakshmi-narayana
    “Later I shall become a householder and thus serve My parents, for this action will very much satisfy Lord Narayana and His wife, the goddess of fortune.”
    A householder should take the principles of renunciation to heart; but he should not simply dress as a renunciate. As stated by the Lord in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 16.237-239):
    sthira hana ghare yao, na hao vatula
    krame krame paya loka bhava-sindhu-kula
    markata-vairagya na kara loka dekhana
    yatha-yogya vishaya bhunja' anasakta hana
    antare nishtha kara, bahye loka-vyavahara
    acirat krishna tomaya karibe uddhara
    “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said: Be patient and return home. Don't be a crazy fellow. By and by you will be able to cross the ocean of material existence. You should not make yourself a showbottle devotee and become a false renunciate. For the time being, enjoy the material world in a befitting way and do not become attached to it. Within your heart, you should keep yourself very faithful, but externally you may behave like an ordinary man. Thus Krishna will soon be very pleased and deliver you from the clutches of maya.”
    A householder is duty-bound to work for the benefit of everyone. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 9.41, 7.92) the Lord said:
    bharata-bhumite haila manushya-janma yara
    janma sarthaka kari' kara para-upakara
    naca, gao, bhakta-sange kara sankirtana
    krishna-nama upadeshi' tara' sarva-jana
    “One who has taken his birth as a human being in the land of India (Bharata-varsha) should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people. My dear child, continue dancing, chanting, and performing sankirtana in association with devotees. Furthermore, go out and preach the value of chanting krishna-nama, for by this process You will be able to deliver all fallen souls.”
    In this practice of devotional service, duplicitous association has been prohibited. Even in street sankirtana one should chant and dance in the association of pure devotees. One should not chant in the association of nondevotees.
    A householder should fully depend on the will of the Lord in all his activities. The Lord says in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 28.55):
    shuna mata, ishvarera adhina samsara
    svatantra haite shakti nahika kahara
    “Listen, dear mother, the whole world is under the control of the Lord. No one has the power to become independent.”
    A householder should cautiously give up the association of nondevotees, women, and uxorious people. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.87) the Lord said:
    asat-sanga-tyaga,—ei vaishnava-acara
    `stri-sangi'—eka asadhu, `krishnabhakta' ara
    “A Vaishnava should always avoid the association of ordinary people. Common people are very much materially attached, especially to women. Vaishnavas should also avoid the company of those who are not devotees of Lord Krishna.”
    By following his prescribed duties a grihastha Vaishnava should accumulate wealth for his maintenance. He should not accumulate wealth by sinful means. Lord Nityananda Prabhu has stated in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 5.685-688):
    shuna dvija, yateka pataka kaili tui
    ara yadi na karis, saba nimu muni
    parahimsa, daka, curi—saba anacara
    chada giya, iha tumi na kariha ara
    dharma pathe giya tumi laha hari-nama
    tabe tumi anyere kariba paritrana
    yata saba dasyu, cora dakiya aniya
    dharma-pathe sabare laoyao tumi giya
    “Now listen carefully, O brahmana. I will take responsibility for all your previous misdeeds if you do not repeat them. No more aggression, violence, looting, or murder; give them up forever. Lead a religious life and chant the holy names of the Supreme Lord. Then later you can also save others. Go and meet other dacoits and murderers and bring them to the path of pure religious life.”
    A householder should not hanker for another's wife or prostitutes. This is exhibited in the Lord's dealings with Krishnadasa in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 9.227-228):
    gosanira sange rahe krishnadasa brahmana
    bhattathari-saha tahan haila darashana
    stri-dhana dekhana tanra lobha janmaila
    arya sarala viprera buddhi-nasha kaila
    “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was accompanied by His servant, Krishnadasa. He was a brahmana, but he met with the Bhattatharis there. With women the Bhatöatharis allured the brahmana Krishnadasa, who was simple and gentle. By virtue of their bad association, they polluted his intelligence.”
    The Lord protected that brahmana from the women's clutches by pulling him by the hair. The words sarala vipra mean a weak-hearted young brahmana.
    He is a real householder who chants one hundred thousand names every day. Pure devotees should accept prasada in the houses of such grihasthas. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (9.121-2) the Lord said:
    prabhu bale,—jana, `laksheshvara' bali kare?
    prati-dina laksha-nama ye grahana kare
    se janera nama ami bali `laksheshvara'
    tatha bhiksha amara, na yai anya ghara
    “The Lord replied: Do you know who is a laksheshvara? He is someone who chants one laksha, or one hundred thousand, holy names everyday. I call such a person a laksheshvara. I only take meals in that person's house, no one else.”
    There is no difference between smartas and Vaishnavas regarding following the codes of religion. The Lord has said in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 9.388-9):
    adhama janera ye acara, yena dharma
    adhikari vaishnaveo kare sei karma
    krishna kripaye se iha janibare pare
    e saba sankaöe keha mare, keha tare
    “Sometimes an exalted Vaishnava exhibits the same activities as a materialistic person. One can understand this by the mercy of Krishna; otherwise in this dilemma one may be liberated or destroyed.”
    The purport is that the conviction in the heart of a Vaishnava is independent. If one is a Vaishnava, then he can understand the conviction in the heart of another Vaishnava who is engaged in the same activities as those of the smartas. One who cannot understand this cannot respect Vaishnavas, and he thereby goes to hell.
    The Lord has explained the duties of householders in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 15.104):
    prabhu kahena—`krishna-seva', `vaishnava-sevana'
    `nirantara kara krishna-nama-sankirtana'
    “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied: Without cessation continue chanting the holy name of Lord Krishna. Whenever possible, serve Him and His devotees, the Vaishnavas.”
    It is the duty of a grihastha to constantly chant the holy names of the Lord and serve the Vaishnavas and the Lord with the help of his relatives and by the wealth he has earned through his pious life. Regarding serving the Vaishnavas, one should know that there are three types of nonduplicitous devotees. Serving such Vaishnavas is called vaishnava-seva. There is no need to gather many Vaishnavas by invitation. Whenever a Vaishnava comes for any purpose he should be properly served with care. By gathering many Vaishnavas, one may commit offenses. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 15.198):
    bahuta sannyasi yadi aise eka öhani
    sammana karite nari, aparadha pai
    “If all the sannyasis come together, it would not be possible for me to pay them proper respects. Therefore I would be an offender.”
    It is the duty of a grihastha Vaishnava to show mercy on the poor and fallen. As stated in Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 3.238):
    dine daya kare,—ei sadhu-svabhava haya
    “It is a characteristic of all saintly persons to be kind toward the poor and fallen.”
    A grihastha Vaishnava should not desire to give up his body merely out of some sentiment or anger. As stated by the Lord in Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 4.57):
    deha-tyagadi yata, saba—tamo-dharma
    tamo-rajo-dharme krishnera na paiye marma
    “Acts such as suicide are influenced by the mode of ignorance, and in ignorance and passion one cannot understand who Krishna is.”
    There is no consideration of superior or inferior status due to social position in regard to worshiping Krishna. In worldly occupations there are different activities according to the different social divisions, which are due to superior and inferior grades of intelligence. There are no such distinctions in the process of devotional service. As confirmed by the Lord in Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 4.66-67):
    nica-jati nahe krishna-bhajane ayogya
    sat-kula-vipra nahe bhajanera yogya
    yei bhaje sei bada, abhakta—hina, chara
    krishna-bhajane nahi jati-kuladi-vicara
    “A person born in a low family is not unfit for discharging devotional service to Lord Krishna, nor is one fit for devotional service simply because he is born in an aristocratic family of brahmanas. Anyone who takes to devotional service is exalted, whereas a nondevotee is always condemned and abominable. Therefore in the discharge of devotional service to the Lord, there is no consideration of the status of one's family.”
    Also in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 5.84) it is said:
    sannyasi pandita-ganera karite garva nasha
    nica-shudra-dvara karena dharmera prakasha
    “To vanquish the false pride of so-called renunciates and learned scholars, He spreads real religious principles, even through a shudra, or lowborn fourth-class man.”
    A grihastha Vaishnava should feel satisfied with whatever food and clothing he gets without difficulty. As stated in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 4.293):
    saba' haite bhagyavanta—shri shaka, vyanjana
    punah punah yaha prabhu karena grahana
    “The spinach and vegetables are the most fortunate of all, for the Lord accepts them again and again.”
    A grihastha Vaishnava should perform devotional service with undeviated attention, knowing Krishna as the Lord of all. He should not disrespect the demigods worshiped by the smarta-sampradaya. As stated in Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 2.243):
    na mane' chaitanya-patha, bolaya `vaishnava'
    shivere amanya kare vyartha ta 'ra saba
    “If one claims to be a Vaishnava, but he disrespects Lord Siva and does not strictly follow the path exhibited by Lord Chaitanya, all his efforts are futile.”
    It is the duty of a grihastha to work for the benefit of others even by giving up his own self-interest. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 3.365) it is said:
    apanara bhala hau yete jana dekhe
    sujana apana chadiyao para rakhe
    “Some people expect only benefits for themselves, but a gentleman cares for others while giving up his own interest.”
    A grihastha Vaishnava should respect and worship tulasi. As stated in Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 8.159-160):
    sankhya nama laite ye sthane prabhu vaise
    tathai rakhena tulasire prabhu pashe
    tulasire dekhena, japena sankhya-nama
    e bhakti-yogera tattva ke bujhibe ana?
    “Wherever the Lord sits to chant His rounds, He keeps tulasi before Him. He gazes at tulasi while He chants His rounds. Who can understand the science of devotional service?”
    A householder with devotion is glorious, while a householder without devotion is insignificant. Whatever social dealings a householder has to perform should be done while taking shelter of the holy name of Krishna. Regarding the character of the mahajana Shri Kalidasa, the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 16.6-7) states:
    maha-bhagavata tenho sarala udara
    krishna-nama-`sankete' calaya vyavahara
    kautukete tenho yadi pashaka khelaya
    `hare krishna' `krishna' kari' pashaka calaya
    “Kalidasa was a very advanced devotee, yet he was simple and liberal. He would chant the holy name of Krishna while performing all his ordinary dealings. When he used to throw dice in jest, he would throw the dice while chanting Hare Krishna.”
    Everyone is prohibited from corrupt earning or spending, and workers are prohibited from accepting bribes. As stated by the Lord in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 9.90, 142-144):
    rajara vartana khaya, ara curi kare
    raja-dandya haya sei shastrera vicare
    `vyaya na kariha kichu rajara mula-dhana'
    rajara mula-dhana diya ye kichu labhya haya
    sei dhana kariha nana dharme-karme vyaya
    asad-vyaya na kariha,—yate dui-loka yaya
    “One who serves the government but misappropriates the government's revenue is liable to be punished by the king. That is the verdict of all revealed scriptures. Do not spend any of the King's revenue. First you should pay the revenue due the King, and then you may spend the balance for religious and fruitive activities. Don't spend a farthing for sinful activities for which you will be the loser both in this life and the next.”
    A grihastha should accept a spiritual master who is full of devotion and of pure character. As stated in Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 21.65):
    guru yatha bhakti-shunya, tatha shishyagana
    “As the guru is without devotion, so are the disciples.”
    A householder should be particularly careful not to commit offenses against the Vaishnavas. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 22.33) the Lord says:
    ye vaishnava-sthane aparadha haya ya 'ra
    punah sei kshamile se ghuce, nahe ara
    “When someone offends a Vaishnava, he is not relieved until he is forgiven by that same Vaishnava.”
    Serving devotees is a householder's main duty. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 16.57, 60):
    vaishnavera shesha-bhakshanera eteka mahima
    kalidase paoyaila prabhura kripa-sima
    bhakta-pada-dhuli ara bhakta-pada-jala
    bhakta-bhukta-avashesha—tina maha-bala
    “Taking the remnants of the Vaishnavas' food is so valuable that it induced Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to offer Kalidasa His supreme mercy. The dust of the feet of a devotee, the water that has washed the feet of a devotee, and the remnants of food left by a devotee are three very powerful substances.”
    In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.20.27-8) Lord Krishna describes how a householder should act until his natural propensity for enjoying sense objects is overcome and he fully attains the characteristics of a pure devotee:
    jata-shraddho mat-kathasu nirvinnah sarva-karmasu
    veda duhkhatmakan kaman parityage 'py anishvarah
    tato bhajeta mam pritah shraddhalur dridha-nishcayah
    jushamanash ca tan kaman duhkhodarkamsh ca garhayan
    “Having awakened faith in the narrations of My glories, being disgusted with all material activities, knowing that all sense gratification leads to misery, but still being unable to renounce all sense enjoyment, My devotee remains happy and worships Me with great faith and conviction. Even though he is sometimes engaged in sense enjoyment, My devotee knows that all sense gratification leads to a miserable result, and he sincerely repents such activities.”
    When a householder has faith, he should take initiation into the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.64):
    shraddhavan jana haya bhakti-adhikari
    `uttama', `madhyama', `kanishöha'—shraddha-anusari
    “A faithful devotee is a truly eligible candidate for the loving service of the Lord. According to one's faith, one is classified as a topmost devotee, an intermediate devotee, or an inferior devotee.”
    A grihastha Vaishnava must gradually acquire all the qualities mentioned in Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.78-80):
    kripalu, akrita-droha, satya-sara sama
    nidosha, vadanya, mridu, shuci, akincana
    sarvopakaraka, shanta, krishnaika-sharana
    akama, aniha, sthira, vijita-shad-guna
    mita-bhuk, apramatta, manada, amani
    gambhira, karuna, maitra, kavi, daksha, mauni
    “Devotees are always merciful, humble, truthful, equal to all, faultless, magnanimous, mild, and clean. They are without material possessions, and they perform welfare work for everyone. They are peaceful, surrendered to Krishna, and desireless. They are indifferent to material acquisitions and fixed in devotional service. They completely control the six bad qualities—lust, anger, greed, and so forth. They eat only as much as required, and they are not inebriated. They are respectful, grave, compassionate, and without false prestige. They are friendly, poetic, expert, and silent.”
    A grihastha Vaishnava should be eager to associate with advanced devotees. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.83) it is stated:
    krishna-bhakti-janma-mula haya `sadhu-sanga'
    “The root cause of devotional service to Lord Krishna is association with advanced devotees.”
    Out of all the processes of devotional service, one should give earnest attention to the five limbs mentioned in Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.128-129) as follows:
    sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-shravana
    mathura-vasa, shri-murtira shraddhaya sevana
    sakala-sadhana-shreshöha ei panca anga
    krishna-prema janmaya ei pancera alpa sanga
    “One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Shrimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura, and worship the Deity with faith and veneration. These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Krishna.”
    Gradually one should diminish the following of prescribed rules out of obligation and cultivate spontaneous attachment. When spontaneous attachment to the Lord is awakened, many prescriptions are automatically discarded and atonement becomes needless. The difference is described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.140, 142-143) as follows:
    kama tyaji' krishna bhaje shastra-ajna mani'
    deva-rishi-pitradikera kabhu nahe rini
    vidhi-dharma chadi' bhaje krishnera carana
    nishiddha papacare tara kabhu nahe mana
    ajnane va haya yadi `papa' upasthita
    krishna tanre shuddha kare, na karaya prayashcitta
    “If a person gives up all material desires and completely engages in the transcendental loving service of Krishna, as enjoined in revealed scriptures, he is never indebted to demigods, sages, or forefathers. Although the pure devotee does not follow all the regulative principles of varnashrama, he worships the lotus feet of Krishna. Therefore he naturally has no tendency to commit sin. If, however, a devotee accidentally becomes involved in a sinful activity, Krishna purifies him. He does not have to undergo the regulative form of atonement.”
    A grihastha Vaishnava should not endeavor for any knowledge or renunciation other than knowledge of one's relationship with the Lord in devotional service and renunciation born from devotional service. If one begins the worship of Krishna with special care and eagerness, then he achieves all auspiciousness. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.145):
    jnana-vairagyadi—bhaktira kabhu nahe `anga'
    ahimsa-yama-niyamadi bule krishna-bhakta-sanga
    “The path of speculative knowledge and renunciation is not very essential for devotional service. Indeed, good qualities such as nonviolence and mind and sense control automatically accompany a devotee of Lord Krishna.”
    The gradations of devotion to Lord Krishna are stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 23.10-13). One should cultivate them as follows:
    sadhu-sanga haite haya `shravana-kirtana'
    sadhana-bhaktye haya `sarvanartha-nivartana'
    anartha-nivritti haile bhaktye `nishöha' haya
    nishöha haite shravanadye `ruci' upajaya
    ruci haite bhaktye haya `asakti' pracura
    asakti haite citte janme krishne prity-ankura
    sei `bhava' gadha haile dhare `prema'-nama
    sei prema—`prayojana' sarvananda-dhama
    “When one is encouraged in devotional service by the association of devotees, one becomes free from all unwanted contamination by following the regulative principles and chanting and hearing. When one is freed from all unwanted contamination, he advances with firm faith. When firm faith in devotional service awakens, a taste for hearing and chanting also awakens. After taste is awakened, a deep attachment arises, and from that attachment the seed of love for Krishna grows in the heart. When that ecstatic emotional stage intensifies, it is called love of Godhead. Such love is life's ultimate goal and the reservoir of all pleasure.”
    A grihastha Vaishnava should constantly chant the holy names while carefully giving up the ten offenses. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 4.70-71):
    bhajanera madhye shreshöha nava-vidha bhakti
    `krishna-prema', `krishna' dite dhare maha-shakti
    tara madhye sarva-shreshöha nama-sankirtana
    niraparadhe nama laile paya prema-dhana
    “Among the ways of executing devotional service, the nine prescribed methods are the best, for these processes have great potency to deliver Krishna and ecstatic love for Him. Of the nine processes of devotional service, the most important is to always chant the holy name of the Lord. If one does so, avoiding the ten kinds of offenses, one very easily obtains the most valuable love of Godhead.”
    A householder should accept pure devotional service that is not based simply on religious sentiments. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 23.41) the Lord states:
    mora nritya dekhite uhara kon shakti?
    payah pan karile ki mote haya bhakti?
    “What qualification does he have to watch My dancing? By drinking milk can one attain devotion for Me?”
    The mood of servitude is proper for a living entity, and the mood of being lord is detrimental. As stated in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 23.480, 482):
    udara-bharana lagi' ebe papi saba
    laoyaya `ishvara ami'—mule jaradgava
    kukkurera bhakshya deha—ihare laiya
    balaye `ishvara' vishnu-maya mugdha haiya
    “All sinful persons claim to be God in order to fill their bellies, although factually they are idiots. Accepting the material body, which is meant to be eaten by the dogs, they call themselves God under the influence by Lord Vishnu's external energy.”
    A grihastha Vaishnava should model his character after that of Lord Chaitanya and His followers. A householder should follow the ways of life and obtain his means of livelihood as exhibited by Lord Chaitanya and His followers. If one desires Krishna in all his activities, then those activities are auspicious. By endeavoring to gratify one's senses and attain irrelevant fruits, one becomes a materialist. For a devotee, to remain a householder or to become a renunciate is the same thing. Shrila Ramananda Raya, Shri Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Shri Shrivasa Pandita, Shri Shivananda Sena, Shri Satyaraja Khan, and Shri Advaita Prabhu were all grihasthas and have shown us the way of faultless living. The difference between a householder and a renunciate is due to their different means of livelihood. If the home is favorable for a devotee's devotional service, then he should not leave. It is his duty to remain a grihastha with detachment. But when the home becomes unfavorable for his service, he then becomes eligible to leave home. At that time the detachment he develops for his house through his devotional service is accepted. For this reason, Shrivasa Pandita did not leave home. For this reason, Svarupa Damodara took sannyasa. All genuine devotees have remained either at home or in the forest due to this consideration. Whoever has left home due to this consideration is called a genuine renunciate. He is always careful not to commit offenses against the holy name.

  • Marriage & Sex:

    Many years ago, me and a friend were discussing the spiritual  liberation of Married couples.

    The discussion was about Straight & Gay married couples... and  Sadhana (daily spiritual routine).

    So, if a Straight married couple is to have sex only to produce  spiritually conscious children, this would certainly limit their sex  life for the fulfillment of pleasure.  We assumed that Straight couples  might be having casual sex for pleasure (as may likely be the case).

    That being said, Gay couples can adopt children, and we assumed that  Gay couples would be having casual sex for pleasure.

    So far, it looks like the only difference is sexual preference.  Now,  as to spiritual development...

    In most marriages, as I might guess, sex becomes less important and  is eventually eliminated as time passes.  So if a couple is engaged  in a daily spiritual routine that is conducive to spiritual advancement  at the level of purity at which they are living their lives, then it  follows that as they purify their personal physical relationship, their  Sadhana will also become more spiritually effective.

    Our  conclusion... Sexual preference does not limit spiritual development or  the eventual liberation that may be gained.


    •  Shubham said;

      "One should not enter marriage for the purpose of begetting children or to worship the forefathers. Rather, one should think, 'I accept this maidservant of Krishna so that we may be able to assist each other in the service of Krishna.' This attitude is favorable to bhakti."

                                                                                                        Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

      I Agree, devotional couples who marry can be of great assistance to each other in the service of Krishna and the advancement of Bhakiti in their lives.

  • Haribol! (me again) 


    I just need to add: If I am in fact accurate in perceiving an attitude of intolerance towards "LGBT" devotees here, I want to say that I fully and completely forgive those who hold these attitudes.   You can't know what you don't know and have never had the opportunity to learn.  I am here to gently help you understand the reality of being "LGBT." (I use the quotation marks because I understand that it is a material designation and we are all ultimately NOT these material bodies and material designations we attach to them, but spirit souls, servants of Krishna.) I don't want to make anyone feel bad, I just want to give you the opportunity to learn what you perhaps may not have had the opportunity to learn.


    I can't speak for everyone of course, but for me personally, I definitely did not "choose" (at least consciously, within this body) to be born as a gender or sexually variant person. Coming to terms with this aspect of my being has caused me a great deal of pain and confusion, and it is largely BECAUSE of this pain and confusion that I have ended up coming to Krishna Consciousness and learning about God. Had I been heterosexual I may very well have had more facility for enjoying and would not have needed to question things more deeply and develop spiritual understanding. So in my case, being "LGBT" has in fact been a blessing in disguise, and I could argue that Krishna has "used" this circumstance to bring me closer to Him.  I certainly do not think that the permiscuous lifestyle adopted by many gay men and women is advisable and I avoid associating with such people as much as possible. But I think we need to be careful not to paint all "LGBT" people with the same brush. We need to understand that gender identity, sexual orientation, and biological gender are all different things and that they exist in as many differect configurations as there are people. This creates a great deal of complexity and variety and we cannot possibly expect that what works for one individual is what will work for another.


    I could say lots more, but I will leave it up to anyone who wants to to contact me. I am happy to engage in conversation on this or any other topic.


    Thank you for allowing me to share and I wish you all the best in your spiritual endeavors.


    Hare Krishna

    • @ Daniel,

      Thank You Very Much for such beautiful explanation 

      • Haribol Ankit!

        By Not Supporting Homosexuals do we mean to say that 'Krishna will not accept some's services just because he is GAY ????

        I just read in the Srimad Bhagavatam, 1.2.33, Purport by Srila Prabhupada:

        "...the living beings are parts and parcels of the Lord. They are therefore one with the Lord. In the Bhagavad-gita the living beings in all varieties of bodies have been claimed by the Lord as His sons."

        So that obviously includes those with homosexual desires! My understanding is that He regards all living entities equally regardless of their material condition and is eager to accept services from them.

        The real spiritual growth is in going beyond our sexual desire. but not going away from it, not running away from it.

        Yes, I agree.



  • The real spiritual growth is in going beyond our sexual desire. but not going away from it, not running away from it. it can be of hetrosexual or homosexual. whats the matter ? 

    I do not agree to the point that if a man who is straight can not control his sexual desire should get married to a woman and perform his Bhakti. and just because some one is GAY should 'CHANGE' and become straight or live alone for life time. 

    Let me just clear one more point. 

    I am support Homosexuals in path of Bhakti just as Hetrosexuals. I do not see any difference between any married couple in Grihastha Aashram and one Gay Couple who is living together and being loyal to each and Serving Krishna together. 

    Just think ones with free mind. By Not Supporting Homosexuals do we mean to say that 'Krishna will not accept some's services just because he is GAY ????" 

    a real wise spiritual man can really understand it. But yes, Can't comment on so called 'Religious' people. 

    Hare Krishna 

  • Hare Krishna dear devotees,

    Please accept my humble obeisances.


    I understand that the question asked by Subhashini Gopinath was "What are ISKCON''s views on gay marriage and same-sex marriage? as per Vedic scriptures.And also surrogacy...Pure scriptural  basis."  So the responses given reflect what the official policy of Srila Prabhupada was in regards to homosexuality and I applaud Shubham's diligence and sincerity in relaying this information.


    I think it's important to know the official policy on gay marriage, but In talking to senior devotees in person I have been told that while Srila Prabupada DID need to state the official policy so that people knew and understood what the ultimate standard was, when it came to individuals he dealt with them very compassionately and on an individual basis.


    Anyway, homosexuals coming to Krsna consciousness will need special guidance from senior devotees. The homosexual must be understood as an individual person and be given proper facility after frank discussion. He should understand his condition to be especially fallen, but should be confident that by Krsna consciousness, all difficulties can be overcome. And other devotees should be sympathetic and understanding with such sincere souls. We must be compassionate, but we cannot sacrifice our standards of purity. (By Bhakti Vikasa Swami)


    This point can't be emphasised enough. Krishna has a unique relationship with each soul individually, and material nature is so complex that no two situations or circumstances are exactly alike. Every senior devotee that I have talked to has been quite careful to offer me advice that is tailored to my particular circumstances. Therefore, the right course of action ultimately depends on the individual. 


    I am not arguing that illicit sex of any kind is acceptable for spiritual progress. I am simply saying that if a person is able to improve their situation IN THE DIRECTION OF the goal, we should give them all encouragement and not make them feel bad they aren't at the ultimate destination yet. Progress is progress and will open the way for more progress. While gay partnerships may not be acceptable as per OFFICIAL Gaudiya Vaisnav policy, we need to acknowledge that for SOME individuals in SOME particular circumstances it may be the course of action that allows those devotees to make PROGRESS. It does not mean that it is ideal.  It simply means it is better than where they were before. If we force someone to do something that it is not possible for them to accomplish, than we condemn them to stay stuck where they are. I think it is very important to understand this.  This also requires some humility on the part of everbody. Part of being humble means recognizing that we as limited spirit souls don't necessarily know what the right course of action is for somebody else. We have limited knowledge and we simply have to do our best to follow advice from those who are more spiritually advanced.


    If we listen to the individual stories of those who are dealing with the confusion, pain and uncertainty of being "gay" or "transexual" or "gender varient", whatever term you want to use, we can develop more compassion and see them as souls who are simply dealing with some difficult circumstances and trying to find healing and acceptance in the midst of them. 


    I am truly sorry if my words are offensive to anyone. It is not my intention at all to make anyone feel bad. But I do feel that there is some misinformation and misunderstanding surrounding this issue and that it will ultimately be very damaging to our spiritual progress, "gays" and "heterosexuals" alike, unless we work to clear this misunderstanding.  


    Yours in service,





  • Hare Krishna Ankit ji and Daniel ji!

    I am writing these words for you.


    Why you feel that homosex is natural? Because in So-called Christian world it is accepted. Even priests are homosexuals. But this is Krsna consciousness. It is on spiritual platform. Homosex or heterosex, both are based on bodily platform. There are ways to forget or minimize heterosex by celibacy or religious marriage for Krsna consciousness. But for homosex there is one alternative , that is, celibacy. Even it can be converted into heterosex by taking food in mode of goodness or only Prasadam. What we eat affects our consciousness.

    Changing Nature:

    Bilvamangala Thakura ji was changed just by one statement from prostitute and he took to devotional service.

    Ashoka was moved when he saw river of blood in war of Kalinga.

    Changing the association of material mode is tough task but it can be done by changing food, control, austerity and must devotional service. If you still say that we can’t change sexuality, it means you are insincere. You want to remain in this world and Lord will not interfere.

    Change will take time but this does not mean you become content with your spiritual progress. Even Mahabhagavatas feel that they are lower than dust of other devotees or even lower than worm in a stool. We should always try to progress. Devotional service is endless. We must atleast attain the stage of pure devotion which is causeless and unflinching.

    Only demons like Ravana, Kamsa, Hiranyakasyipu did not change even after so much intelligent advices. So, Please do not follow them.

    Srila Prabhupada used to say” If you want to have sex, Krsna will give you pigeon body to have sex 300 times a day.” Sex is there in every species. But Krsna Consciousness is obtained in only human form of life.

    Do not pretend to be in Krsna Consciousness and at the same time also in animal consciousness.

    If you are really sincere, serious and pure, Lord will protect you from anything which is harmful to Devotion. It depends upon you to be sincere for material enjoyment or sincere to get devotional service.

    We should not compromise our spiritual progress at the cost of bodily comforts and enjoyment.

    Yes, we may not be able to follow all rules quickly as we are accustomed to material nature for many lives. But to be content or satisfied with this lowly position is not the solution. We must think of our shortcomings and try to progress.

    Also, We should not say that we are Vaishnavas if we are not on that platform. If a conditioned soul claims to be devotee and engages in sinful activities, he/she is not a devotee. If he/she is sane then he/she will never say himself/herself to be a devotee because devotee lives on spiritual platform beyond bodily, mental, intellectual plane.

    The proper term should be aspirant or aspiring servant of Vaishnavas as we can never become equal to Great Acharyas who are ocean of mercy even in our perfectional stage.

    Also, Vaishnava means no material designation. A Vaishanav is Vaishanva, not male-female-hindu-muslim-christian-indian-foreigner-white-black-outcaste-brahmana-sannyasi-brhamacari-grhstha-lesbian-gay-enunch-impotent Vaishnava as these are material designations.

    Sorry if it hurt anyone, but it was necessary to defend authority of scriptures and Srila Prabhupada along with Acharayas.








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