This chapter describes the occupational duties of the householder according to the time, the country and the performer. When Yudhisthira Maharaja became very much inquisitive about the occupational duties for the householder, Narada Muni advised him that a grhastha’s first duty is to be fully dependent on Vasudeva, Krsna, and to try to satisfy Him in all respects by executing one’s prescribed devotional service. This devotional service will depend on the instructions of authorities and the association of devotees who are actually engaged in devotional service. The beginning of devotional service is sravanam, or hearing. One must hear from the mouths of realized souls. In this way the grhastha’s attraction to his wife and children will gradually be reduced.
As for the maintenance of his family, a grhastha, while earning what he requires for his living, must be very conscientious and must not undergo extraordinary endeavor simply to accumulate money and unnecessarily increase in material comforts. Although a grhastha should externally be very active in earning his livelihood, he should internally be situated as a fully self-realized person, without attachment for material gains. His dealings with family members or friends should be performed simply to fulfill their purpose; one should not be extravagantly engaged in this way. Instructions from family members and society should be accepted superficially, but in essence the grhastha should be engaged in occupational duties advised by the spiritual master and sastra. Specifically a grhastha should engage in agricultural activities to earn money. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (18.44), krsi-go-raksya-vanijyam—agriculture, cow protection and trade—are special duties of grhasthas. If by chance or by the grace of the Lord more money comes, it should be properly engaged for the Krsna consciousness movement. One should not be eager to earn more money simply for sensual pleasure. A grhastha should always remember that one who is endeavoring to accumulate more money than necessary is to be considered a thief and is punishable by the laws of nature.
A grhastha should be very much affectionate toward lower animals, birds and bees, treating them exactly like his own children. A grhastha should not indulge in killing animals or birds for sense gratification. He should provide the necessities of life even to the dogs and the lowest creatures and should not exploit others for sense gratification. Factually, according to the instructions of Srimad-Bhagavatam, every grhastha is a great communist who provides the means of living for everyone. Whatever a grhastha may possess he should equally distribute to all living entities, without discrimination. The best process is to distribute prasada.
A grhastha should not be very much attached to his wife; he should engage even his own wife in serving a guest with all attention. Whatever money a grhastha accumulates by the grace of God he should spend in five activities, namely worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, receiving Vaisnavas and saintly persons, distributing prasada to the general public and to all living entities, offering prasada to his forefathers, and also offering prasada to his own self. Grhasthas should always be ready to worship everyone as mentioned above. The grhastha should not eat anything not offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As it is said in the Bhagavad-gita (3.13), yajna-sistasinah santo mucyante sarva-kilbisaih: “The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food that is offered first for sacrifice.” The grhastha should also visit the holy places of pilgrimage mentioned in the puranas. In this way he should fully engage in worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead for the benefit of his family, his society, his country, and humanity at large.
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