Srimad Bhagavatam 01.07.02 - Transcending bodily concept of Life (download mp3)
by Dayal Chandra Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
āśramaḥ paścime taṭe
śamyāprāsa iti prokta
Śrī Sūta said: On the western bank of the river Sarasvatī, which is intimately related with the Vedas, there is a cottage for meditation at Śamyāprāsa which enlivens the transcendental activities of the sages.
For spiritual advancement of knowledge a suitable place and atmosphere are definitely required. The place on the western bank of the Sarasvatī is especially suitable for this purpose. And there is the āśrama of Vyāsadeva at Śamyāprāsa. Śrīla Vyāsadeva was a householder, yet his residential place is called an āśrama. An āśrama is a place where spiritual culture is always foremost. It does not matter whether the place belongs to a householder or a mendicant. The whole varṇāśrama system is so designed that each and every status of life is called an āśrama. This means that spiritual culture is the common factor for all. The brahmacārīs, the gṛhasthas, the vānaprasthas and the sannyāsīs all belong to the same mission of life, namely, realization of the Supreme. Therefore none of them are less important as far as spiritual culture is concerned. The difference is a matter of formality on the strength of renunciation. The sannyāsīs are held in high estimation on the strength of practical renunciation.