srnu bhargavy amum gatham
srnu—please hear; bhargavi—O daughter of Sukracarya; amum—this; gatham—history; mat-vidha—exactly resembling my behavior; acaritam—behavior; bhuvi—within this world; dhirah—those who are sober and intelligent; yasya—of whom; anusocanti—lament very much; vane—in the forest; grama-nivasinah—very much attached to materialistic enjoyment.
My dearly beloved wife, daughter of Sukracarya, in this world there was someone exactly like me. Please listen as I narrate the history of his life. By hearing about the life of such a householder, those who have retired from householder life always lament.
Persons who live in the village or town are called grama-nivasi, and those who live in the forest are called vana-vasi or vanaprastha. The vanaprasthas, who have retired from family life, generally lament about their past family life because it engaged them in trying to fulfill lusty desires. Prahlada Maharaja said that one should retire from family life as soon as possible, and he described family life as the darkest well (hitvatma-patam grham andha-kupam). If one continuously or permanently concentrates on living with his family, he should be understood to be killing himself. In the Vedic civilization, therefore, it is recommended that one retire from family life at the end of his fiftieth year and go to vana, the forest. When he becomes expert or accustomed to forest life, or retired life as a vanaprastha, he should accept sannyasa. Vanam gato yad dharim asrayeta [SB 7.5.5]. Sannyasa means accepting unalloyed engagement in the service of the Lord. Vedic civilization therefore recommends four different stages of life—brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa. One should be very much ashamed of remaining a householder and not promoting oneself to the two higher stages, namely vanaprastha and sannyasa.
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