THE CLOUD LIKE MENDICANTS
Light of the Bhagavata, Text 32
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The beautiful white clouds, freed from all burdens of water distribution, float in midair, like mendicants freed from all family responsibilities.
As long as one is attached to the so- called responsibilities of family burdens he is always full of cares and anxieties about meeting his family expenses. The four orders of social life, as designed in the var_āśrama system, are very scientific and cooperative. In student life one is taught the primary principles of the human form of life. One who enters the householder’s life can execute the duties of a family man because he has already been trained for this job in the brahmacarya-āśrama. And after fifty years of age the householder retires from family life and prepares for the life of sannyāsa.
The householder is duty-bound to main-tain the members of all three of the other āśramas, namely the brahmacārīs, the vānaprasthas, and the sannyāsīs. In this way, every member of society was given a chance to retire for a higher order of spiri-tual culture, and the householders ne-glected no one. The brahmacārīs, vānaprasthas, and sannyāsīs all curtailed their necessities to the minimum, and therefore no one would begrudge main-taining them in the bare necessities of life.
In Kali-yuga, however, the entire system has gone topsy-turvy. The student lives in luxury at the expense of the father or the father-in-law. When the educated, indul-gent student becomes a householder by the strength of university degrees, he requires money by all means for all kinds of bodily comfort, and therefore he cannot spare even a penny for the so-called vānaprasthas and sannyāsīs. The vānaprasthas and sannyāsīs nowadays are those who were unsuccessful in family life. Thus the so- called sannyāsīs try to construct another home in the name of the sannyāsa-āśrama and glide down into all sorts of luxury at the expense of others. So all these var_as and āśramas have now become so many transcendental frauds.
But that does not mean that there is no reality in them. One should not conclude that there is no good money simply because one has met with counterfeit coins. The sannyāsa-āśrama is meant for complete free-dom from all anxieties, and it is meant for uplifting the fallen souls, who are merged in materialism. But unless the sannyāsī is freed from all cares and anxieties, like a white cloud, it is difficult for him to do any-thing good for society.
– An expert from Sri Krishna-kathamrta Bindu, a free bi-monthly magazine service provided by Gopal Jiu Publications.