kaumara acaret prajno
dharman bhagavatan iha
durlabham manusam janma
tad apy adhruvam arthadam
sri-prahradah uvaca—Prahlada Maharaja said; kaumarah—in the tender age of childhood; acaret—should practice; prajnah—one who is intelligent; dharman—occupational duties; bhagavatan—which are devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; iha—in this life; durlabham—very rarely obtained; manusam—human; janma—birth; tat—that; api—even; adhruvam—impermanent, temporary; artha-dam—full of meaning.
Prahlada Maharaja said: One who is sufficiently intelligent should use the human form of body from the very beginning of life—in other words, from the tender age of childhood—to practice the activities of devotional service, giving up all other engagements. The human body is most rarely achieved, and although temporary like other bodies, it is meaningful because in human life one can perform devotional service. Even a slight amount of sincere devotional service can give one complete perfection.
The whole purpose of Vedic civilization and of reading the Vedas is to attain the perfect stage of devotional service in the human form of life. According to the Vedic system, therefore, from the very beginning of life the brahmacarya system is introduced so that from one’s very childhood—from the age of five years—one can practice modifying one’s human activities so as to engage perfectly in devotional service. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (2.40), svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat: “Even a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” Modern civilization, not referring to the verdicts of Vedic literature, is so cruel to the members of human society that instead of teaching children to become brahmacaris, it teaches mothers to kill their children even in the womb, on the plea of curbing the increase of population. And if by chance a child is saved, he is educated only for sense gratification. Gradually, throughout the entire world, human society is losing interest in the perfection of life. Indeed, men are living like cats and dogs, spoiling the duration of their human lives by actually preparing to transmigrate again to the degraded species among the 8,400,000 forms of life. The Krsna consciousness movement is anxious to serve human society by teaching people to perform devotional service, which can save a human being from being degraded again to animal life. As already stated by Prahlada Maharaja, bhagavata-dharma consists of sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam/ arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam [SB 7.5.23]. In all the schools, colleges and universities, and at home, all children and youths should be taught to hear about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, they should be taught to hear the instructions of Bhagavad-gita, to put them into practice in their lives, and thus to become strong in devotional service, free from fear of being degraded to animal life. Following bhagavata-dharma has been made extremely easy in this age of Kali. The sastra says:
One need only chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. Everyone engaged in the practice of chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra will be completely cleansed, from the core of his heart, and be saved from the cycle of birth and death.
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