Srimad Bhagavatam 11.18.06 - Harsh Reality of Old Age (download mp3)
by Vraj Bihari Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
svayam sañcinuyat sarvam
The vanaprastha should personally collect whatever he requires for his bodily maintenance, carefully considering the time, place and his own capacity. He should never collect provisions for the future.
According to Vedic regulations, one practicing austerity should collect only what he requires for immediate use, and upon receiving gifts of foodstuff he should immediately give up that which he has previously collected, so that there will be no surplus. This regulation is meant to keep one fixed in faithful dependence on the Supreme Lord. One should never stock food or other bodily necessities for future use. The term desa-kala-balabhijña indicates that in a particularly difficult place, or in time of emergency or personal incapacity, this strict rule need not be followed, as confirmed by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura points out that unless one is completely incapacitated, one should not depend on others for one’s personal maintenance, as this will create a debt that can only be repaid by taking another birth in the material world. This applies only to those endeavoring for personal purification and not to those engaged full time in devotional service to Lord Krsna. A pure devotee eats, dresses and speaks only for the service of the Lord, and thus whatever assistance he accepts from others is not for himself. He is fully surrendered to the mission of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, one not so surrendered will certainly have to take birth again in the material world to repay all of his debts to others.