Talk About Varnasrama,
S.B. 2.1.1-5

June 28, 1977, Vrndavana
Prabhupada: (Bengali) [break] ...whether I have a family.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah.
Prabhupada: These Englishmen were very much eager to know the man who is working, whether he's family man, because a family man will never become irresponsible. And this is very, very much visible fact in India. A very poor man, if he's family man, he'll work. It is the family affection. And in economics we have read Marshall's economics. He gives... The economic development takes place by family affection.
Tamala Krsna: Very good observation.
Prabhupada: Hm. Therefore in India the father-mother takes the responsibility of the son, to make him a family man. Then leave, marry.
Tamala Krsna: Not a bogus sadhu.
Prabhupada: Then he... Father-mother knows that he'll take care of his life automatically. And the boy and the girl are not allowed to mix with second girl, second boy. They are kept strictly. And when they're grown up, they're allowed to mix and the affection becomes firm. These are psychology. It is the psychology of woman that before puberty, if she has got a boy, she loves forever. She'll never be unchaste. So these marriage things are done very psychologically, scientifically, so that they may become happy, and then, in peaceful mind, combine together, good cooperation, they make progress, spiritual. This is the plan, varnasrama-dharma. Very scientific. And Krsna says, "I am that." Whatever Krsna shall give-perfect. Nobody cares. They are suffering.
Tamala Krsna: Now you are introducing again to the world. There is good hope. Young girls in our society, they should be promised to some boy just in the same way, by their parents.
Prabhupada: And if required, one man can take care of more than one wife because woman population is greater.
Tamala Krsna: Right. And some boys want to remain brahmacari. So naturally there's fewer men for women.
Prabhupada: And those who are able, you can keep more than one wife. Just see Krsna-sixteen thousand wives. God. That is God. Come on, if there is anyone to compete. Sixteen thousand palaces, sixteen thousands wives, each wife, ten sons. That is God.
Tamala Krsna: No one is equal to or greater than Him.
Prabhupada: All queens are happy. Whatever she desires from husband... Satyabhama... And Krsna went to the heaven and brought the parijata flower to satisfy. This is husband. Wife has asked for something: "All right."
Tamala Krsna: He even had to fight.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. That is husband's duty. She has dedicated her everything to the husband, and husband must see that she is comfortable. This is husband. She must have children, she must have good house, good eating, good clothing, good ornament. Then she is satisfied. They want these things. A woman does not mind very much, "My husband has got more than one wife." If she gets all the comforts of her wishes, some children and some comforts, then she is... She does not grudge because woman knows man's psychology. A man is not satisfied with one woman. So he must be given that. But she must be chaste. She cannot have more than... Then their relation is all right. If the woman allows husband"He likes. Let him have more than one woman, but I must be chaste"this... Our civilization is nowhere, Vedic culture.
Tamala Krsna: In the villages in India, is this still going on sometimes. We see in the cities it's not, but in the villages, do they still have more than one wife?
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Not poor man. Ksatriyas.
Tamala Krsna: Oh, not these...
Prabhupada: No.
Tamala Krsna: Not these workers.
Prabhupada: They cannot maintain.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah, that's right. They don't have the land to maintain. You have to have land.
Prabhupada: You can have more than one wife, but maintain them just like wife. She may not have any complaints that "My husband cannot maintain me."
Satadhanya: (entering) All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: Close that door. How are you?
Satadhanya: Feeling much better. [break]
Prabhupada: ...man and woman happy, and in happiness, in peace of mind, make progress, spiritual life. That is the Vedic civilization. The guide is there, brahmana. The protection is there, ksatriya. The food is there, vaisya. And labor is there, sudra. Combine together, live very happily, peacefully, in the society. You'll find still. The aim is how to realize God. Village to village, you'll find temples.
Tamala Krsna: I saw when going to the bank yesterday. We passed through the bhangi colony, but there was a temple there. They have their temple, even the bhangis.
Prabhupada: In our childhood we have seen. The bhangis, they carry stool, walk in the morning with stool, so neat and clean. And if you go to the house, you cannot understand that this is a bhangi's house. So neat and clean. And bathing their utensils, their sitting place. After taking thorough bath, sometimes they are worshiping Deity.
Prabhupada: Still you'll find.
Tamala Krsna: Really?
Prabhupada: Bhangi. And business is carrying stool.
Tamala Krsna: When they say "untouchables," do they mean those bhangis?
Prabhupada: They have introduced this word, "untouchable."
Tamala Krsna: But is that the community that they're talking about?
Prabhupada: Hm hm.
Tamala Krsna: And still they worship Deity.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. There are many devotees, Vaisnava. Hui(?) dasa, a great Vaisnava.
Prabhupada: A famous Vaisnava, Hui(?) dasa, he's coming from the bhangis. Everyone is given chance. Socially there may be distinction. Spiritually everyone is given equal chance. Krsna says, mam hi partha vyapasritya ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah [Bg. 9.32]. Papa-yonayah means these bhangi, camaras. And they are not upstart: "Now I have become Vaisnava. Therefore I shall become equal with the brahmana." No. He is satisfied with his own... They are cooking. Oh, you'll like to cook, er, eat. I have seen it.
Tamala Krsna: They cook nicely.
Prabhupada: Everything equal. Taking bath, cleansing and worshiping, chanting...
Tamala Krsna: They don't eat meat?
Prabhupada: Most of them, they eat, but there are... They do not eat... Not meat. Fish. Meat-eating was introduced by the...
Tamala Krsna: British.
Prabhupada: ...Britishers. Otherwise, nonvegetarian in India means up to fish. (pause) In Gujarat still you'll find. One young girl... You see here that all young girls are carrying water, collecting. In the morning collecting water, cleansing the house, utensils, clothes, taking bath, then cooking, those girls. Their first business. Man's business is to earn money, go to the market, the necessities. Woman's business is take care of household affairs, children, and they have got engagement. And in the presence of father or elder brother or husband, a woman has to earn livelihoodthat's a great insult.
Tamala Krsna: Disgrace. That's disgraceful.
Prabhupada: Yes.
Tamala Krsna: That means the husband is irresponsible. That means the man is irresponsible, to let his wife do that. And they let their unmarried daughters do.
Prabhupada: And woman left alone means prostitution.
Tamala Krsna: That's what's going on now in Bombay, Calcutta. The men send their unmarried daughters to become secretary. She must be... And even before that, they go to college, freely mixing with the men.
Prabhupada: As soon as they allow young girl to mix with young boysfinished.
Tamala Krsna: This coeducation is very bad.
Prabhupada: And in the Western countries it is openly allowed, dating. "Please learn this art." (pause) And if you keep woman chaste, then nice children will come, no hippies.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah, just like that boy, Dapni, Dapni's(?) grandson. Nice boy.
Prabhupada: That's it. And if nice children are there in the society, they will become responsible men. Then there will be no disturbance in the society. Everything will go on smoothly. Brahmana is acting as brahmana; ksatriya is acting as... They are both... No quarrel. No animosity. Everyone is cooperating with one another. The whole society becomes peaceful. Family becomes peaceful. The man personally becomes peaceful. Then he will be able to make progress. Kutah santi ayuktasya. If you are not peaceful, how you can attain? Or if you are not a devotee, you cannot be peaceful. Or if you are not peaceful, you cannot become devotee. But if you can become devotee, you become peaceful. So I have studied practically. Vedic way of simple life is the best. And unless you adopt the Vedic way of simple life, you'll be implicated, material desires. There is no end. The Western civilization, they are after sense gratification, but there is no limit where it will end. The psychology is that everything new. They are changing"change, change, change." And there is no limit. Where the sense gratification will be satisfied, this much? Krsi-go-raksya-vanijyam vaisya-karma. Kamasya na indriya-pritir labho jiveta yavata [Bg. 18.44]. Na indriya-pritih. We require sense gratificationwe have got sensesbut not for the matter of sense. Just to live. Just like sleepingwe require bedding. And why shall I be dissatisfied if there is no good bedstead and no silk, silver and, or, and this, that, so...? Within my means, whatever comforts are available, I make satisfaction. Why shall I make competition?
Tamala Krsna: That's not the purpose of life. It's missing.
Prabhupada: Therefore the Bhagavata says, kamasya na indriya-pritir labhah, kamasya labho jiveta yavata. So why they are restless? They do not know the end of life. So what is the end of life? Jivasya tattva-jijnasa na yas ceha karmabhih. The real business is that "What is Brahman?" If your mind is diverted to brahma-jijnasa, then naturally these nonsense things, they will be... Therefore Bhagavata begins, athato brahma jijnasa, janmady asya yatah, param satyam dhimahi [SB 1.1.1]. The knowledge is there. The process is there. Everything has to be dovetailed. What is that? Dovetailing? So the great sages, brahmanas, they were holding meeting in Naimisaranya, discussion how people will be happy.
Tamala Krsna: That's the duty of the sages.
Prabhupada: Munayah sadhu prsto 'ham yat krtah krsna-samprasnah: [SB 1.2.5] "Oh, you have raised the krsna-samprasna? Very, very..." Loka-hitam. Is not the beginning? The rascals has given meaning, munayah... The whole scheme is how people will be happy.
Tamala Krsna: Sages are living for that purpose.
Prabhupada: Hm?
Tamala Krsna: Sages and munis, brahmanas...
Prabhupada: Everyone. (Bengali) The civilization is... They are also trying loka-hita-karana, how people will be happy, but in a wrong way.
Tamala Krsna: Who is that who is trying also? Who did you say was also trying?
Prabhupada: The materialists. They are trying in the society, but in a wrong way. In a wrong way they have taken the hobby of sense gratification. And that will never be satisfied.
Tamala Krsna: 'Cause they think that the body is the identity, not the soul.
Prabhupada: Soul, they do not know what is. There is soul, and there is activity of the soul, soul is the fundamental basisthese rascals, they do not know. Apasyatam atma-tattvam [SB 2.1.2]. They do not know atma-tattvam. Grhesu grha-medhinam. Srotavyadini rajendra nrnam santi sahasrasah [SB 2.1.2]. They are increasing thousands and thousands of demands. Why? Apasyatam atma-tattvam [SB 2.1.2]. They do not see. They do not know what is happiness. Therefore their center is grhesu grha-medhinam.
Tamala Krsna: Where are these verses from, Srila Prabhupada?
Prabhupada: Bhagavata. You do not read?
Tamala Krsna: Oh, Prahlada, teachings...
Prabhupada: (laughs) Not Prahlada. You are... You do not care? Pariksit Maharaja. Find out Second Canto. You should read and write in so many...
Tamala Krsna: It's hard to remember the Sanskrit.
Prabhupada: Beginning of the Second Canto. Can you read?
Upendra: What was the verse?
Prabhupada: First of all find out Second Canto, Second Canto, first chapter.
Tamala Krsna: Second Canto, first chapter.
Upendra: Second Canto, first chapter.
Prabhupada: Can you read?
Upendra: Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya: "O my Lord, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You." Next sloka?
"Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said, My dear king, your question is glorious because it is very beneficial to all kinds of people. To hear the answer to this question is the prime subject matter of hearing, and it is approved by all transcendentalists."
"Those persons who are materially engrossed, being blind to the knowledge of ultimate truth, have many things as subject matter for hearing in the human society, O emperor."
Prabhupada: Just like our men. Little advanced, they have no more interest with hearing newspaper, ordinary sex novel. This is for the rascals. Apasyatam atma-tattvam [SB 2.1.2]. We are interested in Bhagavata. That's all. You can read. Go on.
"The life span of such envious householders is passed at night either in sleeping or in sex indulgence, and in the daytime either in making money or in maintaining family members."
Prabhupada: So this business...
Satadhanya: They waste all the time.
atma-sainyesv asatsv api
tesam pramatto nidhanam
pasyann api na pasyati
[SB 2.1.4]
"Persons devoid of atma-tattva do not inquire into the problems of life, being too attached to the fallible soldiers like the body, children, wife, etc. Although sufficiently experienced, still they do not see their inevitable destruction."
Prabhupada: What is the purport?
Upendra: This material world is called the world of death. Every living being, beginning from Brahma, whose duration of life is some thousands of millions of years, down to the germs who live for a few seconds only, is struggling for existence. Therefore, this life is a sort of fight with material nature, which imposes death upon all. In the human form of life, a living being is competent enough to come to an understanding of this great struggle for existence, but being too attached to family members, society, country, etc., he wants to win over the invincible material nature by the aid of bodily strength, children, wife, relatives, etc. Although he is sufficiently experienced in the matter by dint of past experience and previous examples of his deceased predecessors, he does not see that the so-called fighting soldiers like the children, relatives, society members and countrymen are all fallible in the great struggle. One should examine the fact that his father or his father's father has already died, and that he himself is therefore also sure to die, and similarly, his children, who are the would-be fathers of their children, will also die in due course. No one will survive in this struggle with material nature. The history of human society definitely proves it, yet the foolish people still suggest that in the future they will be able to live perpetually, with the help of material science. This poor fund of knowledge exhibited by human society is certainly misleading, and it is all due to ignoring the constitution of the living soul. This material world exists only as a dream, due to our attachment to it. Otherwise, the living soul is always different from the material nature. The great ocean of material nature is tossing with the waves of time, and the so-called living conditions are something like foaming bubbles, which appear before us as bodily self, wife, children, society, countrymen, etc. Due to a lack of knowledge of self, we become victimized by the force of ignorance and thus spoil the valuable energy of human life in a vain search after permanent living conditions, which are impossible in this material world.
Our friends, relatives and so-called wives and children are not only fallible, but also bewildered by the outward glamor of material existence. As such, they cannot save us. Still we think that we are safe within the orbit of family, society or country.
The whole materialistic advancement of human civilization is like the decoration of a dead body. Everyone is a dead body flapping only for a few days, and yet all the energy of human life is being wasted in the decoration of this dead body. Sukadeva Gosvami is pointing out the duty of the human being after showing the actual position of bewildered human activities. Persons who are devoid of the knowledge of atma-tattva are misguided, but those who are devotees of the Lord and have perfect realization of transcendental knowledge are not bewildered.
Prabhupada: Sometimes I become surprised how I have written this. Although I am the writer, still sometimes I am surprised how these things have come. Such vivid description. Where is such literature throughout the whole world? It is all Krsna's mercy. Every line is perfect.
Tamala Krsna: The purports are as nice as the slokas.
Prabhupada: It is explained in this way.
Tamala Krsna: Srila Prabhupada, it's 7:30 now. [break]
Prabhupada: I have not done it, but I have seen it.
Tamala Krsna: You learned everything by seeing. You said that you learned how to cook by watching your mother.
Prabhupada: Sometimes I used to cook.
Tamala Krsna: Oh, for your family?
Prabhupada: Our family men. I asked my mother, "I'll do this, that." They'll allow, "All right."
Tamala Krsna: You said that sometimes you would be walking in the footpath, and you would watch those men cook their...
Prabhupada: Not cook. Somebody's doing some artistic work. I'll stand. I'll see how they are doing.
Tamala Krsna: Artistic?
Prabhupada: Just like knitting. So I'll learning knitting by standing before. They're making some flower of wool, so I'll learn it, and it will come out. That was my hobby. And similarly I learned how to worship Radha-Krsna.
Tamala Krsna: By watching. You watched your father?
Prabhupada: Father and the Mullik's Thakurbhari. "I'll do." I'll ask my father, "Give me Deity. I shall worship." "Yes, take Deity."
Tamala Krsna: How old were you when you got your Radha-Krsna Deity?
Prabhupada: About six, seven years old.
Tamala Krsna: Oh. Was it very elaborate worship?
Prabhupada: Not elaborate. But I'll decorate. I'll keep it in a place. Whatever I eat, I offered. I imitate, ghee lamp, arati.
Tamala Krsna: Putting to rest.
Prabhupada: There was engagement in a small corner of the room.
Tamala Krsna: Then Ratha-yatra. Sounds like a very pleasant childhood.
Prabhupada: Yes. My father's friends, the Mulliks, they used to criticize my..., "Oh, you are holding Ratha-yatra festival, and you are not inviting us."
Tamala Krsna: You didn't invite them?
Prabhupada: It is childish play. Where is invitation? So my father, the children, they were playing. "Oh, by the name of children you are avoiding us." It was like that. But the festival was going on. We called the professional kirtaniyas. They performed kirtana. There will be procession of my small children friends.
Tamala Krsna: Miniature Ratha-yatra.
Prabhupada: Hm. A small ratha the father give. The height, about this, made of nice, strong wood.
Tamala Krsna: All the boys would pull it?
Prabhupada: Everything small scale.
Tamala Krsna: Small pullers also.
Prabhupada: Eight days, eight kind of varieties of prasadam, my mother will prepare.
Tamala Krsna: She would take part by preparing.
Prabhupada: Yes. And now... Whether the... Make very nice bannerjee(?). Formerly people were engaged in these things. There was another Mullik family, Rajen..., Raja Rajendra. He was distributing jagannatha-prasada, daily, two thousand portions.
Tamala Krsna: Which Mullik?
Prabhupada: Raja Rajendranath Mullik. He was also holding very big festival, Ratha-yatra. So we had the opportunity of seeing once.
Tamala Krsna: You must have been dreaming about Puri Ratha-yatra.
Prabhupada: Yes. Whenever I would find some time, I would consult timetable, "How to go to Puri and Vrndavana? What is the fare?" At that time carriage(?) was three rupees. I think it was four rupees, one anna. And Vrndavana was six rupees.
Tamala Krsna: You had some money saved up?
Prabhupada: Yes, with my father.
Tamala Krsna: You said that your grandmother would give you one gold coin each year.
Prabhupada: Not gold coin. This copper coin, looking like gold.
Tamala Krsna: And you'd keep it banked with your mother, and if she ever was angry with you, you threatened.
Prabhupada: Yes. "Bring my money." The society was so nice, and everyone was happy, everyone. These Marwaris, especially, they are very good community. They... As family people, they know how to earn, how to become happy by family. I like these Marwaris.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah, they also feel at home...
Prabhupada: They're vegetarian.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah. Sometimes I would visit Dalmiya-ji in his home. I was so amazed to see how happy his family life is. They have no...
Prabhupada: Marwaris, they do know how to earn money, how to save money, how to become happier man. The worship is...
Tamala Krsna: And they always have the temple in their homes. The women are engaged.
Prabhupada: And they make general houses in such a way that you get a room and there is everything, arrangement. There is howah(?). You don't require to cook. You take food from the howah(?). Very nice food. You pay just like a small hotel. They... All their business family... You see. You have seen Calcutta Birla house.
Tamala Krsna: Oh, yeah.
Prabhupada: They occupy only one room. Their everything is like that. Pay for. There is no botheration of cooking or purchasing.
Tamala Krsna: You mean, different families occupy one room only?
Prabhupada: Well, different family, different room, but they can live very humbly. Those who have little income, they'll somehow or other take one room, live in. And in that house, everything is there. You can purchase. And you earn money.
Tamala Krsna: Sometimes you see a very wealthy may living in only two, three rooms with his whole family.
Prabhupada: That's all. And generally one room. Otherwise two roomsone stock room, one sleeping room. They live very economically and save money.
Tamala Krsna: Frugal.
Prabhupada: Frugal, yes. And when there is enough money, they construct their own house. Then they live very luxuriously. In the beginning, no.
Tamala Krsna: Right. And they'll work sixteen hours sometimes.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. As much as possible. Very hard-working.
Satadhanya: And their sons also work with them.
Prabhupada: And whatever money saved, they purchase ornament. They don't deposit in the bank.
Tamala Krsna: Oh. That's one of their things.
Prabhupada: Hm. That is Indian style. To save money means purchase ornament.
Tamala Krsna: Purchasing one ornament.
Prabhupada: Ornament for the wife.
Tamala Krsna: That could be...
Prabhupada: Because she likes ornament, gold, and they have got molten(?) in the jewelry.
Tamala Krsna: How do you get the money back? Sell it?
Prabhupada: Hm? There is no question. It is saving. Suppose you want two hundred rupees. After spending, if there is three hundred rupees, invest hundred rupees in ornament.
Tamala Krsna: But how do you save enough money to get the house if you have all ornaments?
Prabhupada: You keep it. Don't deposit in bank.
Tamala Krsna: They don't trust this banking system.
Prabhupada: No, formerly there was no bank practically. Now they... Generally, ordinary man, whatever little saving is there, they will invest in metal utensils, in ornament, in Benarsi sari, like that.
Tamala Krsna: Benarsi sari also considered very valuable.
Prabhupada: It is golden, gold border. You can... When you want to..., mean an old Benarsi sari..., you can go. There are persons, they'll take it, and they'll burn it, and the borders will take care, either silver or gold. Still in Delhi we find. Any investment were... Not this plastic plate and paper plate.
Tamala Krsna: Oh. Whenever they buy something, it must have value.
Prabhupada: Must have value. That is Indian investment.
Tamala Krsna: That's the opposite of the Western.
Prabhupada: And whatever you manufacture, you can show back. Suppose this tape recorder. If it is working, it has value. What is the use of it? Who cares for you? If it is in working order, it has value. Otherwise, (taps microphone) who cares for it? But if you have got gold, silver, metal... There was a small banker's. You require... I am poor man. I require only two rupees, but I have no money. You take one utensil and go to a small banker. He will keep this pot. "Give me two rupees." The pot is only five rupees' worth, so he'll keep it. He'll give you two rupees. So your immediate necessity is... This way, Indian economics.
Tamala Krsna: I've noticed that the people in the villages, when they come to fetch water, they have very nice pots. The ladies are wearing some bracelets. Gold, I think, it must be.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes.
Tamala Krsna: Even the village.
Prabhupada: Yes. You'll find description in Bhagavata. They were coming to congratulate Krsnaso nice dress, so nice ornament, so nice foodstuff made of ghee, grains in our...
Satadhanya: Sometimes the rich Marwari ladies, when they come to Mayapura, once in a while they give some ornament to the Deity. They'll give one ring or one bracelet, gold.
Prabhupada: That was always. They would offer some ornament to the Deity.
Tamala Krsna: Yeah, there's the example...
Prabhupada: That Saksi-Gopala. The queen wanted to give her nose pearl. Very happy spiritual society.
Tamala Krsna: Now you are developing that all over the world, Srila Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: I have thought it over, over. It was very, very nice. What is this nonsense society? Tin car?
Tamala Krsna: And they're becoming worse...
Prabhupada: And rubber tire, that's all.
Tamala Krsna: The cars nowadays...
Prabhupada: Cannister, tin cannister. In your country these have been all piled up.
Tamala Krsna: The cars.
Prabhupada: Whole cars, useless, piled up. But then they are smashed and again melted and again crushed.
Satadhanya: They build them so that in one year, two years, they break. Then they can sell more.
Prabhupada: Because they have no other business. Punah punas carvita-carvananam [SB 7.5.30]. Chewing the chewed. Make a car, break it, and again melt it and again make another car. That's all. This is their civilization, car-making civilization. No spiritual idea, no ambition for spiritual life. But they'll do. They'll do something. So therefore they are making, breaking more. Make the car; break the car; again make the car; again break the car. Therefore you are habituated to change.
Tamala Krsna: If something is nice, it must be destroyed.
Prabhupada: No, it has... Everything is destroyed, material. (end)

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