Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 7 Chapter 14:1-15

Book 7: Chapter 14

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 7: Chapter 14: Verses 1-15
An inquiry into right conduct (continued)

Yudhisthira submitted : O celestial sage, (pray) tell me the method (course of conduct) by which a householder like me, whose mind is excessively attached to his household, may easily attain the said state (final beatitude). Narada replied : Staying in his. house, O king (Yudhisthira), and (duly) performing the 'duties proper to the life of a householder as an offering to Lord Visnu Himself for His pleasure 'alone (expecting no reward for them), a man should wait upon great sages (devotees of the Lord). Surrounded by (associating with) men who are tranquil (by nature) and reverently hearing again and again according to his leisure the nectar-like stories of the Lord's descents, he should gradually give up through the fellowship of saints attachment to his body, wife, progeny, etc., who are themselves going to be severed (from him), (even) as he who has woke up (from a dream) gives up attachment to (the objects seen in) a dream. Serving his body and household only to the extent it is (absolutely) necessary to do so and (outwardly) appearing like one attached to them, though (inwardly) disgusted (with them), a wise man should exhibit (his) humanity (behave like ordinary men) in the midst of men. And not recognizing anything as his own, he should give his assent to whatever his kinsmen, parents, sons, brothers and other relations say and whatever they desire (so that there may be no occasion for tussle with them). A wise man (aware of the infinite resources of the Lord) should do (all) this (the duties enjoined on a householder) while enjoying the wealth acquired by the grace of the Lord as well as that obtained from the earth, nay, (even) that got as a windfall, everything having been produced by Visnu (the immortal Lord). That much (and not more) constitutes the (rightful) due of living beings (men), with which their belly may be filled (their body and soul may be kept together). He who claims more is a thief and deserves punishment.

He should look upon deer, camels, donkeys, monkeys, rats, reptiles, birds and flies as though they were their (own) children What is that which distinguishes these from those (children)? (They deserve his fostering care as much as his own children). Even a householder should not seek after the (first) three objects of human pursuit (viz., religious merit, worldly possessions and sensuous enjoyment) with great pains, but (only) as much (of them) as has been assigned (to him) by fate and (that too) with due regard to place and time. He should unsparingly divide in due proportion (all) objects of enjoyment among all including dogs, sinful creatures and those belonging to the lowest strata of society (lit., those living at the end of a town or village); (nay, not minding his own inconvenience,) he should allow those deserving of service the (legitimate) use (unobjectionable services) even of his only wife, whom people regard as their (sole) possession. The Lord (who is conquered by none) is veritably conquered by him who (inwardly) ralinquishes his claim on that (his) wife for whose sake a man is prone to lay down his own life or (even) to kill his (own) father and teacher (in the event of their being suspected to have illicit connection with her). How despicable (on the one hand) is this worthless body, which is sure to be reduced in the end (after death) to the state of worms (on getting decomposed if interred) or converted into ordure (if left unprotected and devoured by carnivorous animals) or into ashes (if cremated) and equally despicable is (the body of) a wife, who is loved for the sake of such a body; and how exalted (on the other hand) is this soul (our real Self), which is all-pervading (lit., covers the entire space by its glory) ! A householder should sustain himself with (live on) articles (of food etc.) obtained by force of destiny and left after (the performance of) the five great sacrifices (respectful offerings to the animal kingdom, human beings, manes, Rsis and gods). Forgoing his claim on everything else, a wise man bids fair to attain the position of exalted souls (ascetics of the highest order). With the wherewithal earned through one's own vocation he should daily worship the (highest) Purusa (the Inner Controller of all) separately in the form of the gods (the divine intelligences presiding over the various departments of Nature), Rsis (seers), human beings, the animal kingdom, manes (the spirits of the departed) and his own self.



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