Srimad Bhagavatam 01.15.37 - Obstacles or Stepping Stones to Success (download mp3)
by Gauranga Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
yudhiṣṭhiras tat parisarpaṇaṁ budhaḥ
pure ca rāṣṭre ca gṛhe tathātmani
adharma-cakraṁ gamanāya paryadhāt
Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was intelligent enough to understand the influence of the Age of Kali, characterized by increasing avarice, falsehood, cheating and violence throughout the capital, state, home and among individuals. So he wisely prepared himself to leave home, and he dressed accordingly.
The present age is influenced by the specific qualities of Kali. Since the days of the Battle of Kurukṣetra, about five thousand years ago, the influence of the Age of Kali began manifesting, and from authentic scriptures it is learned that the Age of Kali is still to run on for 427,000 years. The symptoms of the Kali-yuga, as mentioned above, namely avarice, falsehood, diplomacy, cheating, nepotism, violence and all such things, are already in vogue, and no one can imagine what is going to happen gradually with further increase of the influence of Kali till the day of annihilation. We have already come to know that the influence of the Age of Kali is meant for godless so-called civilized man; those who are under the protection of the Lord have nothing to fear from this horrible age. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was a great devotee of the Lord, and there was no necessity of his being afraid of the Age of Kali, but he preferred to retire from active household life and prepare himself to go back home, back to Godhead. The Pāṇḍavas are eternal companions of the Lord, and therefore they are more interested in the company of the Lord than anything else. Besides that, being an ideal king, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira wanted to retire just to set an example for others. As soon as there is some young fellow to look after the household affairs, one should at once retire from family life to uplift oneself to spiritual realization. One should not rot in the dark well of household life till one is dragged out by the will of Yamarāja. Modern politicians should take lessons from Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira about voluntary retirement from active life and should make room for the younger generation. Also retired old gentlemen should take lessons from him and leave home for spiritual realization before being forcefully dragged away to meet death.