Quotes by Swami B.G. Narasingha Maharaja on the topic of Family Life. These are quotes and excerpts that have been extracted from articles, lectures and letters by Swami B.G. Narasingha.

CHILDREN CAN BE KṚṢṆA CONSCIOUS JUST BY TAKING PRASĀDA

Somebody asked me recently about children and japa and I said, “Children can’t chant japa. Japa is not a child’s activity.” Sitting around mindlessly uttering some names – maybe its some pious activity for them. What is their concentration? What is the siddhānta? There is none. That may grow little by little. Children have an innocence. A child can be Kṛṣṇa conscious just by eating prasādam. But you hit an age where you either surrender or māyā takes you out. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter who your family is. It doesn’t matter who your father or mother is, where you grew up, what school you went to, what you did when you were a child. You will have to surrender.

BE THE SPIRITUAL EXAMPLE!

D

on’t just sit in household life doing the duties of a 20, 35, 40 year old man. Don’t sit simply waiting for the grandchildren to come. Don’t do that! Life is too short! At a point you need to be finished with all that. But of course, the parents will say they want to be there for the children etc etc. Don’t just be there to give them bread and butter – be there as a spiritual example also. That’s the key! Then the next stage is vānaprastha. That means leaving home, travelling, and giving away your things.

Śrīla Prabhupāda says, pañcaśordhvaṁ vanaṁ vrajet – “At the age of 50, one should go to the forest.” That means detachment from family life. Prabhupāda set the example – he left home, took vānaprastha and then took sannyāsa. So at the very least, at the age of 50 or 60, one should leave home, leave the comforts of family life, and take vānaprastha. But an attached man wants to die surrounded by his family. Prabhupāda writes in the Bhāgavatam that if a man suddenly leaves home and dies without his family’s knowing, that is actually a glorious death.

YOUR FAMILY IS NOT PERMANENT!

I tell some of my gṛhastha godbrother-friends who are attached to their families, “You don’t even know who these people are! And at the end of life, you will never, ever, ever see them again!” Well, some of my godbrothers say, “I’ll be waiting for that day!!!” because they’re not very happy with the family. But most of them are happy with their family and assume that its all permanent – it’s not permanent! You don’t even know who your son is! In your past life, you could have been his enemy, he could have been your enemy – you could have been killing each other!…we think the family unit is this loving, shelter-giving, long-lasting thing – its nothing of the kind! It’s temporary, its illusory, and we’re oftentimes brought together in one life as a result of very bad relations we had with each other in a previous life.

GṚHASTHA AND GṚHAMEDHI

Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and his wife had 13 children, he was the District Magistrate at Puri, he wrote books, chanted 64 rounds every day and supported the sādhus. But I guess you are not Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura! What I do notice though is that even a little māyā comes and you are swept away. You used to make some service donation every month in the past from your job, but you stopped that long back when the second child was on the way. Now you are unable to even put together recipes as a simple service. When you come to the āśrama then also you have no service. So what is the point of your life? Simply eating, sleeping, making kids and working like an ass! That is gṛhamedhi – not gṛhastha. I think that we will not trouble you further for service or to give classes or to translated anything. Otherwise it makes you out to be a hypocrite. When one is in māyā and has no service, then what will he preach and how others will be inspired by his example? You should take a hard look at your life and see what it means to be a real gṛhastha and not a gṛhamedhi.

YOU’RE GONNA WRESTLE WITH CROCODILES?

Some time back, N______ said that its perfectly okay to have two wives, and his reasoning was that, “Well, Lord Nityānanda had two wives!” Yes, that’s right, He did! And Nityānanda Prabhu also jumped in the Ganges and wrestled with crocodiles! You gonna do that too? Hell! I’d pay to see that! Hey! Kṛṣna in Dvārakā had 16,108 wives – so go for it! What’s stopping you? In that regard, what was the norm 500 years ago, or 5000 years ago, isn’t coming back any time too soon, and you can’t use Nityānanda and other great personalities as an excuse for your immorality.

THE COMPANY OF VAIṢṆAVAS FOR HOUSEHOLDERS

Keep in touch and always try to keep the company of the Vaiṣṇavas. Otherwise, householder life turns into a deep dark well filled with shallow relationships, exploitation, sense-enjoyment, flattery, delusion, disappointment, hard work, no service connection and second-class prasādam. So be advised young man. Many opportunities only come once in life, so choose wisely!

YOUR LAME-ASS EXCUSE!

I‘ve heard devotees say, “Well, my wife and my kids are devotees, so I’m helping them, so that’s Vaiṣṇava sevā, that’s devotional service!”

No! That’s NOT devotional service! That’s just your lame-ass excuse for being overly attached to your family! It’s ok – help your family, that’s your duty, but don’t pretend it’s devotional service. When the ācāryas and the Gosvāmīs are talking about Vaiṣṇava sevā, they’re talking about serving the guru, serving the higher Vaiṣṇavas, serving those devotees whose conception will help us advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness – not helping your wife in the kitchen chopping vegetables, or giving your kids a hand with their business or helping them with their homework. Don’t mix apples and oranges – there’s gradations of everything in this world. It’s not all one! Think about it – being blissfully engaged in direct service to your guru, or Śrīla Prabhupāda…how is that qualitatively the same as helping your family members clean the house or put up shelves???

FIFTY-PERCENT!

It is the duty of the guru and sannyāsīs to travel, but it is the duty of the householders to sponsor that travel etc. Śrīla Prabhupāda was very strong on the point that householders must give fifty-percent of their wealth for spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but who is willing to do that? Therefore, I am in India where Śrīla Prabhupāda ordered me to preach.

YOUR FAMILY IS NOT PERMANENT!

I tell some of my gṛhastha godbrother-friends who are attached to their families, “You don’t even know who these people are! And at the end of life, you will never, ever, ever see them again!” Well, some of my godbrothers say, “I’ll be waiting for that day!!!” because they’re not very happy with the family. But most of them are happy with their family and assume that its all permanent – it’s not permanent! You don’t even know who your son is! In your past life, you could have been his enemy, he could have been your enemy – you could have been killing each other!…we think the family unit is this loving, shelter-giving, long-lasting thing – its nothing of the kind! It’s temporary, its illusory, and we’re oftentimes brought together in one life as a result of very bad relations we had with each other in a previous life.

INCREASING YOUR KARMA

W hen you work and enjoy the earnings you are simply increasing karma or entanglement in this world. When you surrender your earnings to Kṛṣṇa then you are proportionately disentangled. Working a job is just a job. It may pay the rent but it entangles one more and more in the laws of karma in the material world. Serving Kṛṣṇa and his devotees is the path of liberation from material bondage.

To be a good businessman one must be a good cheat. To be a good devotee one must be honest!

WORK IN THE WORLD

W hen you work and enjoy the earnings, you are simply increasing karma or entanglement in this world. When you surrender your earnings to Kṛṣṇa, then you are proportionately disentangled. Working a job is just a job. It may pay the rent, but it entangles one more and more in the laws of karma in the material world. Serving Kṛṣṇa and His devotees is the path of liberation from material bondage. To be a good businessman, one must be a good cheat. To be a good devotee, one must be honest!

THE CLOCK IS TICKING…

M onkey see, monkey do’…as long as you remain situated there, involved with business and family, the rest of your family will take that as an example, and even an excuse to follow suit. You are well past the age of material retirement into spiritual life and Śrīla Prabhupāda expects an example of you also. Not trying to be offensive or too pushy, but the clock is ticking on all of us!!!