Benefits of Varnashrama and it's Historical Fall

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.18.42 - Psychological benefits of Varnashrama Marriage and its Historical Fall (download mp3)
by Braj Mohan Prabhu at ISKCON Choawpatty

SB 11.18.42
bhiksor dharmah samo ’himsa
 tapa iksa vanaukasah
grhino bhuta-raksejya

The main religious duties of a sannyasi are equanimity and nonviolence, whereas for the vanaprastha austerity and philosophical understanding of the difference between the body and soul are prominent. The main duties of a householder are to give shelter to all living entities and perform sacrifices, and the brahmacari is mainly engaged in serving the spiritual master.

The brahmacari lives in the asrama of the spiritual master and personally assists the acarya. Householders generally are entrusted with the performance of sacrifice and Deity worship and should provide maintenance for all living entities. The vanaprastha must clearly understand the difference between body and soul in order to maintain his status of renunciation, and he should also perform austerities. The sannyasi should fully absorb his body, mind and words in self-realization. Having thus achieved equanimity of mind, he is the best well-wisher of all living entities.

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