dvijo ’dhityavabudhya ca
dattva varam anujnato
guroh kamam yadisvarah
grham vanam va praviset
pravrajet tatra va vaset
usitva—residing; evam—in this way; guru-kule—under the care of the spiritual master; dvi-jah—the twice-born, namely the brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaisyas; adhitya—studying Vedic literature; avabudhya—understanding it properly; ca—and; trayim—the Vedic literatures; sa-anga—along with supplementary parts; upanisadam—as well as the Upanisads; yavat-artham—as far as possible; yatha-balam—as far as one can, according to one’s ability; dattva—giving; varam—remuneration; anujnatah—being asked; guroh—of the spiritual master; kamam—desires; yadi—if; isvarah—capable; grham—household life; vanam—retired life; va—either; praviset—one should enter; pravrajet—or get out of; tatra—there; va—either; vaset—should reside.
According to the rules and regulations mentioned above, one who is twice-born, namely a brahmana, ksatriya or vaisya, should reside in the guru-kula under the care of the spiritual master. There he should study and learn all the Vedic literatures along with their supplements and the Upanisads, according to his ability and power to study. If possible, the student or disciple should reward the spiritual master with the remuneration the spiritual master requests, and then, following the master’s order, the disciple should leave and accept one of the other asramas, namely the grhastha-asrama, vanaprastha-asrama or sannyasa-asrama, as he desires.
To study the Vedas and understand them, of course, requires some special intelligence, but the members of the three higher sections of society—namely the brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaisyas—must learn the Vedic literatures according to their capability and power to understand. In other words, studying the Vedic literatures is compulsory for everyone but the sudras and antyajas. The Vedic literature gives the knowledge that can lead one to understand the Absolute Truth—Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan. Guru-kula, or the reformatory educational institution, should be used only to understand Vedic knowledge. At the present time there are many educational institutions for training and technology, but such knowledge has nothing to do with understanding of the Absolute Truth. Technology, therefore, is meant for the sudras, whereas the Vedas are meant for the dvijas. Consequently this verse states, dvijo ’dhityavabudhya ca trayim sangopanisadam. At the present time, in the age of Kali, practically everyone is a sudra, and no one is a dvija. Therefore the condition of society has very much deteriorated.
Another point to be observed from this verse is that from the brahmacari-asrama one may accept the sannyasa-asrama, vanaprastha-asrama or grhastha-asrama. It is not compulsory for a brahmacari to become a grhastha. Because the ultimate aim is to understand the Absolute Truth, there is no necessity of going through all the different asramas. Thus one may proceed to the sannyasa-asrama directly from the brahmacari-asrama. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura accepted the sannyasa-asrama directly from the brahmacari-asrama. In other words, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura did not think it compulsory to accept the grhastha-asrama or vanaprastha-asrama.
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