TEXT 18
sarvāśramān upādāya
svāśrameṇa kalatravān
vyasanārṇavam atyeti
jala-yānair yathārṇavam
SYNONYMS
sarva—all; āśramān—social orders; upādāya—completing; sva—own; āśrameṇa—by the social orders; kalatra-vān—a person living with a wife; vyasana-arṇavam—the dangerous ocean of material existence; atyeti—one can cross over; jala-yānaiḥ—with seagoing vessels; yathā—as; arṇavam—the ocean.
TRANSLATION
As one can cross over the ocean with seagoing vessels, one can cross the dangerous situation of the material ocean by living with a wife.
PURPORT
There are four social orders for cooperation in the endeavor for liberation from material existence. The orders of brahmacarya, or pious student life, household life with a wife, retired life and renounced life all depend for successful advancement on the householder who lives with a wife. This cooperation is essential for the proper functioning of the institution of the four social orders and the four spiritual orders of life. This Vedic varṇāśrama system is generally known as the caste system. The man who lives with a wife has a great responsibility in maintaining the members of the other social orders—the brahmacārīs, vānaprasthas and sannyāsīs. Except for the gṛhasthas, or the householders, everyone is supposed to engage in the spiritual advancement of life, and therefore the brahmacārī, the vānaprastha and the sannyāsī have very little time to earn a livelihood. They therefore collect alms from the gṛhasthas, and thus they secure the bare necessities of life and cultivate spiritual understanding. By helping the other three sections of society cultivate spiritual values, the householder also makes advancement in spiritual life. Ultimately every member of society automatically becomes spiritually advanced and easily crosses the ocean of nescience.

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