Further Quotes From Srila Prabhupada Regarding Grhasta Asrama

Manidhara Das
26 May 2018

Husband and wife preaching

As most of the devotees today operate in this ashrama, any attempt to protect this ashram from disintegration is helpful to help devotees to advance through different stages of their lives in proper fashion.

Here are some quotes from Srila Prabhupada which, even extracted from His letters, are by no means circumstantial. Nothing what we see today was not present during the time Srila Prabhupada preached on this planet. There are no new problems, just the vocabulary may changed in deceiving way. Problems are the same and so are the solutions.

Disgusted by the response of His disciples, Srila Prabhupada taking much risk by marrying and facilitating His disciples in best way possible, and finally seeing their ungrateful attitude, (leading to the point that 1972 He renounced any involvement in marriage arrangements whatsoever), Srila Prabhupada issued following request:

“So far as you getting yourself married, I have no objection provided you agree to some points. First of all you must promise that you will not separate under any circumstances. This marriage is serious business and not to be taken lightly. There is no question of separation in Krsna conscious marriages. Therefore I am asking all those who want to be married that they sign one paper promising that there will be no separation.“
London, 8th of August 1971

Further on, to be even more sure, Srila Prabhupada initiated a “testing time” for new grhasta couples.

“I have no objection to marriage, but to bless it by a fire sacrifice, that I am thinking if they don't stay together, that it is not good. But if they can remain together for one year, then there can be a fire sacrifice. But changing three times in month husband and wife, that is not good. ”
Vrindavana 2nd of September 1975

Even today such a blue print of vedic marriage sounds almost theoretical but it is, as anything Vedic culture may offer, of a genius. We can only hope that some day and in some place such culture will prevail.

“In Vedic society no girl was allowed to remain independent and unmarried. Independence for women means they become like prostitutes, struggling to capture some man who will take care of her. In this way the so called independent women has to work very hard to make herself attractive by artificially wearing cosmetics, miniskirts, and so many other things. Formerly a girl would be married to a suitable boy at very early age, say six years old. But although a girl was married early she did no stay with her husband immediately, but was gradually trained in so many ways how to cook, clean and serve her husband in so many ways… up to the time of her puberty. So all the time there was no anxiety because a girl would know: I have got a husband and the boy would know I have got this girl as my wife. Therefore when the boy and girl would come of age there was no chance of illicit sex life. And the psychology is that the first boy that a girl accepts in marriage, that girl will give completely her heart to…. . thus if a girl gets good husband, one who has accepted a bona fide spiritual master and is firmly fixed up in his service, automatically the wife of such a good husband inherits all the benefits of his spiritual advancement.”
Evanston, Illinois 28th of July 1973

The following quote seems almost antique from todays point of view where karmi and ISKCON society is filled by desperate single women, often accompanied by their children who lost their father on the way. In karmi society such women congregate in public bars and pubs, in ISKCON they congregate …. in the Sunday Feast:-) : -(

“Regarding remarriage, no, remarriage should be always discouraged. Remarriage means accepting sense gratification. Our mission is to curtail sense gratification, three times marrying in a year, this is not good, and they are doing this.”
21st of August 1975

The indulgence of devotees while serving the needs of members of the Hindu congregation in name of “preaching”, by conducting marriage ceremonies for them was commented by Srila Prabhupada as follows:

“Regarding …marrying, for the time being they can be married by the civil court without delay. Both the husband and wife may be allowed to associate with you and after few days, if you recommend for initiation, then you can send their beads and they will be initiated by post. At that time you can perform our regular wedding ceremony as usual. That will be nice. Uninitiated couples cannot be married by us. We shall not take the responsibility of an ordinary marriage maker. Our practice is to help devotees for advancing in Krishna Consciousness. In such activities, when there is necessity, we get them married also. “
Los Angeles, 11th January 1970

Regarding children education, Srila Prabhupada advises as follows:

“Regarding your question about sex life, the basic principle is that in executing Krishna Consciousness sex life should be avoided as far as possible, and it may be utilized for begetting Krishna Conscious children. This is the basic principle that should be followed as far as possible by all married individuals. During the period of pregnancy sex life should be strictly avoided. The basic idea of raising children is described in Vedic literature, from birth to age of five years parents may be very lenient with the child. From ages six to ten they should tighten the discipline of their child and from ages of ten to sixteen the parents should be as strict as a tiger with their child so that he will be afraid to be disobedient at all. Then after sixteen year the parents shall treat their child as a friend and the child is allowed to gradually develop his adult responsibility and independence.

In the chaotic Kali Yuga of today we find ourselves and others often in state of living which cannot be classified in terms of Vedic culture. No wonder Srila Prabhupada used to call us “members of unknown cast”. Nevertheless He clarifies:

“You say that much of your time will be engaged in earning money, but that does not mean you have to cease your service to Krsna. You are praying for Krsna's blessing to serve me better, but when Krsna speaks through me you hesitate to accept my words. I don't know why you should work at all if you want to remain brahmacary. Here is an ideal brahmacary with me. He works day and night with me. Why don't you also become brahmacary like him, and come here? One who is a householder he has to work because he has to maintain wife and children at home. But for a brahmacary why should he take the botheration of working simply for the sake of satisfying his belly? So far the belly satisfaction that is already arranged by Krsna. Krsna is supplying food to the birds and beasts, so why should He not supply a brahmacary? Food is not a problem.

So my advice to you is that either you become a regular householder, giving 50% of your earnings to Krsna, 25% for family and 25% for savings, or else you strictly follow the principles of brahmacary life…. . “
Los Angeles, 29th of June 1969

The issue of a grhasta surrendering 50% to Krsna, became somewhat controversial as this statement became a tool to press grhastas to give money to a spiritual authority who on the other side acted in a completely non-transparent and occasionally opportunistic way. As Srila Prabhupada's statement doesn't specify if 50% is relating to brutto or netto income of the householder, it can be safely stated that a householder who is struggling barely to survive (not being able even to put any savings aside whatsoever), will be hardly able to divide his funds in a way suggested above. Srila Prabhupada's following letter clarifies the matter:

“…And if you are unable to give 50% of your income, then who is pressing you? It is voluntary. If you not got any means, who is exacting you? These things are happening to you, not to others. There are grhastas who don't feel any inconvenience. They have dedicated their lives to the service of the Lord…”
Los Angeles 9th of July 1971

Srila Prabhupada further surely amazed a grhasta who was obviously living on his own as a businessman and felt the urge to surrender to the cause of Srila Prabhupada's movement more. I believe that this grhasta must have been deeply touched by Srila Prabhupada's tender care:
“Regarding disposing of your business in order to join our business fully, I am simply thinking about your wife and children. Do you think that without conducting your business there will be sufficient provision for upkeep of your family? We require personalities like you to join this movement wholeheartedly, but because you have got a wife and children I am hesitant to ask you to close your business. As a responsible head of a family you should consider this point seriously.“
Los Angeles 29th of June 1970

Additionally, something I personally do very rarely, here some quotes from obviously experienced men. Karmis know well the intricacies of householder life, but unfortunately have no clue what to do about it. Even Srila Prabhupada commented in one sentence, “the relationship between man and a women is very complicated”. He supplied us with the final guideline by saying, “when they are devotees, it will be OK”.

Unfortunately many grhastas consider the challenges grhasta ashrama provides as being of material nature, and herewith to be ”renounced“. Failing to prove themselves spiritually (the only way to overcome material dualities), they occasionally try to escape into the realm of tyaga, forgetting that unregulated material desires will bring them forcefully again back into the realm of bhoga. Failing to fulfill the purpose of grhasta ashrama, first to regulate while gradually diminishing the flow of ones material desires, they get overpowered by material nature again, often with much worse results as during their first attempt to address their material propensities. 

And so even a person under karmic law can still get a glimpse of the difficulties arising from a contact between man and women. 

“The most beautiful quality of a woman is silence. ”
Lucius Seneca

“If charity of a woman is endless, so is her anger. ”

“A woman can forgive anything but the fact you don't want her. ”
Alfred De Musset

“Even the most honest woman is hiding at the bottom of her heart some secret.”
Immanuel Kant

“So you want to take revenge on the one who took you wife? Give her to him!”
Sacha Guitry

“Robbers want from you money or life. Women want both. ”
Samuel Butler

“What you did for a woman - that she can forget. But she will never forget what you didn't do for her.”
Andre Maurois

“Woman is like your shadow. Run after her, she will escape. Run from her, she will follow you.”

“Women have two weapons: cosmetics and tears. Lucky for the men, they cannot use them both simultaneously. ”
Napoleon Bonaparte

“If you want to be happy with a man you must have for him lots of understanding, and little love. If you want to be happy with a woman, you must have for her lots of love, and give up hope for understanding her.”
Andre Maurois

“The tragedy of women is that at the end they all look like their mothers.”
Oscar Wilde

“Intuition is a specific instinct which tells a woman that she is right even she is not.”
Elbert Hubbard

“If a woman wants to rule, she must pretend that she is doing what the man wants to do.”
Honore de Balzac

“The greatest achievement for general welfare of human kind we find being accomplished by men, who are bereft of women and children.”
Francis Bacon

“Man is generally pleased by a nice cooked lunch on the table, and not that his wife speaks greek.”
Samuel Johnson


“For woman marriage is an excursion. For man a parking lot.”
Glenn Gosse

“For a woman it is better to marry a man who loves her as a man she loves.”
Arabic proverb