Chapter 14: The Supreme of the Householder's Life
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    Welcome, Guest · RSS 2018-11-20, 1:10 AM

    Chapter 14: The Supreme of the Householder's Life

    (1) S'rî Yudhishthhira said: 'Can you please explain to me how householders [grihasthas] like me not conversant with the goal of life, also easily may achieve this position of liberation in accord with the scriptures oh devarishi.'

    Nârada Muni said: 'Oh King someone who maintains a household should honor the great devotees [or sages] by properly engaging in activities in service of the visible form of Vâsudeva [the avatâra]. (3-4) When one according to time [on 'sundays'], in the company of others completely being relieved of material [karmic] activities, hears the nectar of the narrations about the Lord His avatâras, one will by such good company being separated from the physical association with one's wife and children, gradually be freed from one's desires [and pride] like awakening from a dream  [see also 5.5: 1 and B.G. 18: 54]. (5) As long as he is dedicated to earning his living, he should, being knowledgeable about the physical affair of his family life, therein [thus on 'sundays' being devoted] not be attached, even though he appears to be so. That is the way for him to be a human being in human society. (6) Without being selfish he should [try to] have peace with, sympathize with, or even be pleased with whatever his relatives, parents, children, brothers, friends and others might say or wish. (7) [To meet this demand] the intelligent person must utilize everything that is created by the Infallible One and was obtained without effort: all the things that are divine [like fruits], all that is obtained from the earth [like minerals] and all that is won by chance [donations, cast-offs]. (8) The stomach one may fill as much as is needed and not more, because claiming more than one is entitled to makes one a thief deserving punishment. (9) Deer, camels, asses, monkeys, mice, snakes, birds and flies one should consider as one's children. How little difference is there between these animals and children? (10) On the threefold path [of dharma, artha and kâma] not being too zealous [not engaging in ugra-karma] a person, notwithstanding his concerns about his household, should obtain only as much as the grace of God would provide according to time and circumstance [see also 4.8: 54]. (11) Up to the dog, the fallen soul and the outcast, one should divide what is necessary according to the need. Even one's wife so close to one's heart, should be shared so that she can be there [as a mother] for all the people [e.g. for one's guests]. (12) One may give up the claim of owning her, a notion for which one was prepared to kill oneself or others or abandon one's parents or spiritual master. Thus one may conquer Him who cannot be conquered [but by sacrifice]. (13) What is [the value of] the attachment to this insignificant vehicle of time that is doomed to be eaten by the insects, to turn into stool or into ashes? What is the value of being attracted to the body of one's wife, compared to [the value of one's attraction for] the soul that is as all-pervading as the ether? (14) That what the Lord provides, that what one acquires through one's sacrifices, one should consider the means of one's livelihood. They who are wise ultimately give up all their claims of proprietorship for the sake of the soul. It is [not about acquiring possessions, it is] about achieving the position of the great ones. (15) With the means that someone naturally acquired with his dutiful engagements, he must next to the daily sacrifices for the gods, the sages, for mankind, all other living beings, the forefathers and for himself, separately be of worship for the Original Person present in everyone's heart. (16) The moment one [as a householder] has everything under control including oneself, one should, with sacrifices in the fire according to the regulations as laid down in the scriptures, be of worship with all the means available for pleasing the Lord [see B.G. 4: 24-29]. (17) Oh King, the Supreme Lord, the enjoyer of all sacrifices is not worshiped by the offerings of ghee in the mouth of the fire as much as he is by offerings to the mouths of the scholars [see also 3.16: 8]. (18) Be therefore according to your ability of worship for the knower of the field [the Lord, see B.G. 13: 3], by offering all that is desired first of all to the brahminical demigods, and then to all the ordinary human beings and the other living entities.

    During [for instance] the dark fortnight of the month Âs'vina [October-November] the twice-born ones with sufficient wealth should offer oblations to the forefathers and also make offerings to their relatives during the month Bhâdra [August-September] if they can afford it. (20-23) One is also advised to perform one's ceremonies at the solstices when the sun moves to the south and north or when it enters Aries or Capricorn [during the equinoxes], in the yoga [12.3 degrees of arc] named Vyatîpâta, on the days covering three lunar days [tithis] and on days of solar and lunar eclipses and on the twelfth lunar day and when the moon passes the constellation [nakshatra] of S'ravana. Also suitable for the s'raddha-ceremony is the day of Akshaya-tritîyâ, the ninth lunar day of the bright fortnight of the month Kârtika, the four ashthakâs [the 'eight days'] in the winter season and cool season, the seventh lunar day of the bright fortnight of the month of Mâgha, the day of a conjunction of Maghâ-nakshatra and the waxing moon, on the days when the moon is completely full or not completely full when they coincide with the nakshatras from which the names of certain months are derived, on every twelfth lunar day in conjunction with any of the nakshatras named Anurâdhâ, S'ravana, Uttara-phalgunî, Uttarâshâdhâ or Uttara-bhâdrapadâ, on the eleventh lunar day that is in conjunction with either Uttara-phalgunî, Uttarâshâdhâ or Uttara-bhâdrapadâ and on days in conjunction with one's own birth star [janma-nakshatra] or the S'ravana-nakshatra. (24) It is by these auspicious times [of being regular to natural occurrences] that the fate of human beings is improved. For the human being during all seasons to have auspiciousness, success and longevity, one therefore on those days must perform all kinds of ceremonies [*]. (25) At all these natural times taking a holy bath, doing japa [the Vedic rosary], performing fire sacrifices and keeping to vows, constitutes with whatever that is given in respect of the Supreme Lord, the twice-born ones managing the deities, the forefathers, the godly ones, the human beings in general and all other living beings, a permanent benefit. (26) Oh King, the purification rituals that serve the interest of [having days with] the wife, the children and oneself as also the interest of having funerals, memorial days and days for doing fruitive labor must be performed at the [natural] times [relative to sun and moon] meant for them.

    Let me now describe the places suitable for religious practices. The place most conducive to the sacred purpose is one where a follower of truth is available [the hermitage of a saint, a Vaishnava, a guru], a place [a temple] where an image [a representative form] is available of the Supreme Lord of all the moving and nonmoving entities in this universe or a place [a school, an âs'rama] where an association of brahmins is found endowed with education, penance and mercy. (29) Every place where the form of the Supreme Lord is worshiped is an all-auspicious refuge, [especially] in combination with a river like the Ganges or one of the other famous rivers that are mentioned in the Purânas. (30-33) Lakes as Pushkara and celebrated places that harbor the saints like Kurukshetra, Gayâ, Prayâga [Allahabad] and Pulaha-âs'rama; Naimishâranya [near Lucknow], Phâlgunam, Setubhanda [towards Lankâ], Prabhâsa, Dvârakâ, Benares, Mathurâ, Pampâ, Bindu-sarovara, Badarikâs'rama, Nandâ, the places of Sîtâ Devî and Lord Râma like Citrakûtha and oh King, all hillsides such as Mahendra and Malaya, all belong to the holiest places. These places and all the places where the Lord and His deities are worshiped [thus also places outside of India] should by someone who desires the auspiciousness time and again be visited because the religious activities performed there are a thousand times more effective.

    Oh controller of the earth, the Supreme Lord, in whom all that moves and not moves rests, is the only person in the world worthy to receive the honor. This is the conclusion of all scholars expert in determining to whom one should make one's offering [see also 4.31: 14]. (35) The sons of Brahmâ as also others faithful to the truth [at Yudhishthhira's Râjasûya sacrifice] oh King, decided that from the most venerable, saintly personalities of God, the Infallible One [Krishna] was to be selected as the best one, as the first one among them to be worshiped. (36) The countless souls populating the entire universe are like a giant tree and because He is the root of that tree the worship of the Infallible One will satisfy all living entities [viz. the entire tree is satisfied by watering the root]. (37) He, as the Original Person [the Purusha] lies down among the ones created, in the form of their life principle [jîva]. Man, the saints, the gods and the other living beings whom He gave a place to live in the form of a body, are His residential places [see also B.G. 18: 61]. (38) Oh King, the Lord is present in them in different degrees so that a person is eligible for being honored as far as the [quality of the] soul [in the sense of understanding and penance and such] is manifest [compare B.G. 15: 15]. (39) When the scholars saw how since Tretâ-yuga there was mutual disrespect in human society oh King, they introduced deities of the Lord in order to exercise respect [see also 12.3: 52]. (40) Since then one worships with great faith and all requirements the deity of the Lord, even though that reverence shown in contempt of the person yields no results [only loving the person will, see also 3.29: 25 and B.G. 18: 68 & 69]. (41) Oh best of kings, know that the brahmin is the most worthy person of all people to receive the grace, for he embodies with his austerity, education and satisfaction the Vedic knowledge of Hari, the Supreme Personality. (42) The brahmins are [in the eyes] of Him, Lord Krishna who is the life and soul of the universe oh King, the most important and worshipable persons, for they sanctify by the dust [the grace] of their feet all the three worlds.'