evaṁ samuditas tena
dakṣiṇī-kṛtya taṁ prīto
vanam eva jagāma ha
maitreyaḥ uvāca—the great sage Maitreya said; evam—thus; samuditaḥ—addressed; tena—by Him; kapilena—by Kapila; prajāpatiḥ—the progenitor of human society; dakṣiṇī-kṛtya—having circumambulated; tam—Him; prītaḥ—being pacified; vanam—to the forest; eva—indeed; jagāma—he left; ha—then.
Śrī Maitreya said: Thus when Kardama Muni, the progenitor of human society, was spoken to in fullness by his son, Kapila, he circumambulated Him, and with a good, pacified mind he at once left for the forest.
Going to the forest is compulsory for everyone. It is not a mental excursion upon which one person goes and another does not. Everyone should go to the forest at least as a vānaprastha. Forest-going means to take one-hundred-percent shelter of the Supreme Lord, as explained by Prahlāda Mahārāja in his talks with his father. Sadā samudvigna-dhiyām (Bhāg. 7.5.5). People who have accepted a temporary, material body are always full of anxieties. One should not, therefore, be very much affected by this material body, but should try to be freed. The preliminary process to become freed is to go to the forest or give up family relationships and exclusively engage in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the purpose of going to the forest. Otherwise, the forest is only a place of monkeys and wild animals. To go to the forest does not mean to become a monkey or a ferocious animal. It means to accept exclusively the shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and engage oneself in full service. One does not actually have to go to the forest. At the present moment this is not at all advisable for a man who has spent his life all along in big cities. As explained by Prahlāda Mahārāja (hitvātma-pātaṁ gṛham andha-kūpam), one should not remain always engaged in the responsibilities of family life because family life without Kṛṣṇa consciousness is just like a blind well. Alone in a field, if one falls into a blind well and no one is there to save him, he may cry for years, and no one will see or hear where the crying is coming from. Death is sure. Similarly, those who are forgetful of their eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord are in the blind well of family life; their position is very ominous. Prahlāda Mahārāja advised that one should give up this well somehow or other and take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and thus be freed from material entanglement, which is full of anxieties.
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