TEXT 54
sumanaḥ-sama-dharmaṇāṁ strīṇāṁ śaraṇa āśrame puṣpa-madhu-gandhavat kṣudratamaṁ kāmya-karma-vipākajaṁ kāma-sukha-lavaṁ jaihvyaupasthyādi vicinvantaṁ mithunī-bhūya tad-abhiniveśita-manasaṁ ṣaḍaṅghri-gaṇa-sāma-gītavad atimanohara-vanitādi-janālāpeṣv atitarām atipralobhita-karṇam agre vṛka-yūthavad ātmana āyur harato ’ho-rātrān tān kāla-lava-viśeṣān avigaṇayya gṛheṣu viharantaṁ pṛṣṭhata eva parokṣam anupravṛtto lubdhakaḥ kṛtānto ’ntaḥ śareṇa yam iha parāvidhyati tam imam ātmānam aho rājan bhinna-hṛdayaṁ draṣṭum arhasīti.
SYNONYMS
sumanaḥ—flowers; sama-dharmaṇām—exactly like; strīṇām—of women; śaraṇe—in the shelter; āśrame—household life; puṣpa—in flowers; madhu—of honey; gandha—the aroma; vat—like; kṣudra-tamam—most insignificant; kāmya—desired; karma—of activities; vipāka-jam—obtained as a result; kāma-sukha—of sense gratification; lavam—a fragment; jaihvya—enjoyment of the tongue; aupasthya—sex enjoyment; ādi—beginning with; vicinvantam—always thinking of; mithunī-bhūya—engaging in sex life; tat—in his wife; abhiniveśita—always absorbed; manasam—whose mind; ṣaṭ-aṅghri—of bumblebees; gaṇa—of crowds; sāma—gentle; gīta—the chanting; vat—like; ati—very; manohara—attractive; vanitā-ādi—beginning with the wife; jana—of people; ālāpeṣu—to the talks; atitarām—excessively; ati—very much; pralobhita—attracted; karṇam—whose ears; agre—in front; vṛka-yūtha—a group of tigers; vat—like; ātmanaḥ—of one’s self; āyuḥ—span of life; harataḥ—taking away; ahaḥ-rātrān—days and nights; tān—all of them; kāla-lava-viśeṣān—the moments of time; avigaṇayya—without considering; gṛheṣu—in household life; viharantam—enjoying; pṛṣṭhataḥ—from the back; eva—certainly; parokṣam—without being seen; anupravṛttaḥ—following behind; lubdhakaḥ—the hunter; kṛta-antaḥ—the superintendent of death; antaḥ—in the heart; śareṇa—by an arrow; yam—whom; iha—in this world; parāvidhyati—pierces; tam—that; imam—this; ātmānam—yourself; aho rājan—O King; bhinna-hṛdayam—whose heart is pierced; draṣṭum—to see; arhasi—you ought; iti—thus.
TRANSLATION
My dear King, woman, who is very attractive in the beginning but in the end very disturbing, is exactly like the flower, which is attractive in the beginning and detestable at the end. With woman, the living entity is entangled with lusty desires, and he enjoys sex, just as one enjoys the aroma of a flower. He thus enjoys a life of sense gratification—from his tongue to his genitals—and in this way the living entity considers himself very happy in family life. United with his wife, he always remains absorbed in such thoughts. He feels great pleasure in hearing the talks of his wife and children, which are like the sweet humming of bumblebees that collect honey from flower to flower. He forgets that before him is time, which is taking away his life-span with the passing of day and night. He does not see the gradual diminishing of his life, nor does he care about the superintendent of death, who is trying to kill him from behind. Just try to understand this. You are in a precarious position and are threatened from all sides.
PURPORT
Materialistic life means forgetting one’s constitutional position as the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, and this forgetfulness is especially enhanced in the gṛhastha-āśrama. In the gṛhastha-āśrama a young man accepts a young wife who is very beautiful in the beginning, but in due course of time, after giving birth to many children and becoming older and older, she demands many things from the husband to maintain the entire family. At such a time the wife becomes detestable to the very man who accepted her in her younger days. One becomes attached to the gṛhastha-āśrama for two reasons only—the wife cooks palatable dishes for the satisfaction of her husband’s tongue, and she gives him sexual pleasure at night. A person attached to the gṛhastha-āśrama is always thinking of these two things—palatable food and sex enjoyment. The talks of the wife, which are enjoyed as a family recreation, and the talks of the children both attract the living entity. He thus forgets that he has to die someday and has to prepare for the next life if he wants to be put into a congenial body.
The deer in the flower garden is an allegory used by the great sage Nārada to point out to the King that the King himself is similarly entrapped by such surroundings. Actually everyone is surrounded by such a family life, which misleads one. The living entity thus forgets that he has to return home, back to Godhead. He simply becomes entangled in family life. Prahlāda Mahārāja has therefore hinted: hitvātma-pātaṁ gṛham andha-kūpaṁ vanaṁ gato yad dharim āśrayeta [SB 7.5.5]. Family life is considered a blind well (andha-kūpam) into which a person falls and dies without help. Prahlāda Mahārāja recommends that while one’s senses are there and one is strong enough, he should abandon the gṛhastha-āśrama and take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord, going to the forest of Vṛndāvana. According to Vedic civilization, one has to give up family life at a certain age (the age of fifty), take vānaprastha and eventually remain alone as a sannyāsī. That is the prescribed method of Vedic civilization known as varṇāśrama-dharma. When one takes sannyāsa after enjoying family life, he pleases the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu.
One has to understand one’s position in family or worldly life. That is called intelligence. One should not remain always trapped in family life to satisfy his tongue and genitals in association with a wife. In such a way, one simply spoils his life. According to Vedic civilization, it is imperative to give up the family at a certain stage, by force if necessary. Unfortunately, so-called followers of Vedic life do not give up their family even at the end of life, unless they are forced by death. There should be a thorough overhauling of the social system, and society should revert to the Vedic principles, that is, the four varṇas and the four āśramas.

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