Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.12.5

April 16

Pradyumna: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. [devotees repeat] [chants verse; devotees respond] [break]

sāyaṁ prātaś cared bhaikṣyaṁ
gurave tan nivedayet
bhuñjīta yady anujñāto
no ced upavaset kvacit
[SB 7.12.5]


Translation: “The brahmacārī should go out morning and evening for collecting alms. All the collections should be offered to the spiritual master. The brahmacārī is supposed to eat only if he is ordered to take foodstuffs by the spiritual master; otherwise, without being so ordered by the spiritual master, he may sometimes have to observe fasting.”


sāyaṁ prātaś cared bhaikṣyaṁ
gurave tan nivedayet
bhuñjīta yady anujñāto
no ced upavaset kvacit
[SB 7.12.5]

Very strict life. The brahmacārī should go out of the āśrama for begging alms: “Mother, we are coming from such and such temple or āśrama. Give us some alms.” So every home, gṛhastha, they will give some little atta. It doesn’t matter he gives so much. A little, that is nice. Little atta or little rice or little ḍāl, little fruits or little vegetable—everyone can contribute. And the brahmacārī should go neighboring householders’ place to take something from him. This collection is not for his personal sense gratification. This collection is made from these persons to offer to the Deity. Offer. They are simply eating. Gṛhiṇāṁ dīna-cetasām, mahad-vicalanaṁ nṛṇāṁ, gṛhiṇāṁ dīna-cetasām [SB 10.8.4]. The householders especially, they have become very cripple-minded. In the śāstra it is said that sannyāsīs, brahmacārīs, they are supposed to be maintained by the gṛhastha as their children. As they are maintaining their own children—there is no disgust—similarly, if a brahmacārī or a gṛhastha comes…, er, brahmacārī or sannyāsī, so he should not be refused. Give something. If you give little rice, that is also good, but don’t refuse. This is Vedic system. Bhaikṣyam. When this is stopped, that is called durbhikṣa. When this alms collection is impossible, that is called durbhikṣa. Even brahmacārī and sannyāsīs cannot get any alms, that is the period of durbhikṣa.

So in the Kali-yuga there is durbhikṣa. Nobody can give even little rice. That is called durbhikṣa. Anāvṛṣṭya durbhikṣa kara-pīḍitāḥ [SB 12.2.9]. People in this age will be harassed by three things. One thing is anāvṛṣṭi: there will be scarcity of rainfall or no rainfall. When I first went to Hyderabad they said that for three, four years there was no rain. Is it not?

Devotee: Yes.

Prabhupāda: But since Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is being chanted, there is rainfall. So they do not know the secret of rainfall. Yajñād bhavanti parjanyaḥ. If you perform yajña, then there will be cloud. Parjanyād anna-sambhavaḥ. Annād bhavanti bhūtāni parjanyād anna-sambhavaḥ [Bg. 3.14]. This prescription is there. As soon as you stop performing yajña—you take pleasure in sporting, no yajña… Now big, big cities, they have got big, big Olympian sporting, but no yajña performance. So why there shall not be scarcity of rain? And as soon as there is scarcity of rain, there is scarcity of food grains. And as soon as there is scarcity of food grain, so many so-called association will come out, “Give us grain. We have to feed such and such person, such and such village.” So it is not going to the village. It is collected, and they use at their own. And government also raise tax. There will be constant durbhikṣa. So to stop durbhikṣa, government will tax the people. These are all stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Anāvṛṣṭi durbhikṣa kara-pīditāḥ, acchinna-dāra-draviṇā gacchanti giri-kānanam [SB 12.2.9]. In this Kali-yuga people will be very, very much harassed. First of all there is scarcity of rain, then scarcity of food grain, and then taxation by the government. These things we are expecting. It is already begun.

So durbhikṣa means these brahmacārīs, sannyāsīs, they should go to every householder’s house and take some alms. When this is refused, that means we are calling durbhikṣa, scarcity of food grain. It should be given. That is… A small collection, it is going to the temple for offering prasādam to the Lord and the prasādam to the Vaiṣṇavas, brāhmaṇas. Therefore something must be given. If we open this gurukula as we are contemplating, the students should be trained up to go house to house and take little alms. It doesn’t matter one has to give one kilogram. No. Whatever you can, you must give. This is the system all over India still. So here it is said that sāyaṁ prātaś cared bhaikṣyam. Twice in a day the brahmacārīs should be trained up to collect alms: in the morning, in the evening. And bhaikṣyam, and gurave tan nivedayet: and whatever collection is there, it should be offered to the guru. Not that something kept for my own purpose. No. Everything should be offered, whatever you collect. You cannot keep, because everything in the gurukula or in the temple, it is for the interest of the guru. In the beginning it was said, vasan dānto guror hitam [SB 7.12.1]. Everything, all collection, either in cash or kind, that is for the benefit of guru, not the personal benefit. No. Therefore only the gṛha…, I mean to say, sannyāsīs and the brahmacārīs, they can beg. They can collect, not others. That is prohibited. Sāyaṁ prātaś cared bhaikṣyam gurave tan nivedayet.

Now, as soon as you bring the collection before the guru… It was meant for the guru, so it is guru’s property. It is not your property. “Then what I shall do? Everything is given to guru. Then what shall I do?” That is said: bhuñjīta yady anujñātaḥ. Now, these things will be prepared. The brahmacārī will collect ḍāl, rice, atta and everything. It will be prepared, offered to the Deity. That’s a fact. But if by mistake guru forgets to call a particular disciple—“My dear son, please come, take your prasādam”—then he should not take prasādam.Guru has forgotten, so I shall not go and take, myself, the foodstuff. I shall fast.” This is brahmacārī. Here it is said, bhuñjīta yady anujñāto. Everything is there, prasādam is ready, but you can eat if you are ordered by the spiritual master. This is called tapasya. Not that “Guru is not here, and so much foodstuff. Let me eat sumptuously and sleep twenty-four hours.” This is not brahmacārī. We should be very careful. Without order of guru… Of course, our students are trained up. They ask permission. But here it is said that he should not ask permission even. If guru calls him, then he can take; otherwise, guru has forgotten to call him somehow or other, so he should starve, or he should fast on that day.

So this is discipline and hardship, voluntary hardship. The brahmacārī may come from the royal house… Just like our Kṛṣṇa is actually son of Vasudeva, and He was brahmacārī. And when Sudāmā Vipra… Kṛṣṇa was supposed to be kṣatriya and Sudāmā Vipra was brāhmaṇa, so brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas are especially meant for going to the gurukula and live very strictly according to the principle of gurukula. So Kṛṣṇa and Sudāmā Vipra went to collect dry fuel from the woods. When Sudāmā Vipra came to Kṛṣṇa’s house, He reminded, “My dear Sudāmā, do you remember that day that both of us, we went to the forest and there was cyclone and rain, we could not come out?” So that means so much painstaking for the matter of guru. One cannot refuse, that “I am coming from very rich family. Why should you ask me to go to collect some… I can purchase it. I have money.” No. If you have to… Here it is said that brahmacārī gurukule vasan dānto guror hitam, ācaran dāsavan nīcaḥ. Even if you are coming from the royal family, even if you are coming from the very respectable brāhmaṇa family, when you are under the control of guru you should act like servant. And what kind of servant? Menial servant, nīca. Not that “I am very rich man’s son. You are asking me to do this? No, I cannot do it.” No. This is called tapasya. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa [SB 6.1.13].

So it is very difficult at the present moment to introduce all these principles, because the days are different. If we become very strict, so then… Ordinarily they are not coming. There is no such strict principle, and we are constructing very nice palatial building with attached bathroom and everything complete. Still, people are not coming. This is different days. So it is very difficult to introduce the original way of brahmacarya, vānaprastha, sannyāsa and gṛhastha. Everything has topsy-turvied. But there is only one way. That is there in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, that “Although this age is full of faults…” Kalau doṣa-nidhe rājan. The Śukadeva Gosvāmī said, “My dear King, Parīkṣit Mahārāja, I have described so many faults of this age, and you must be perplexed. It is just like the ocean of faults. But there is one benefit. That is specially for this age.” What is that? Kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet [SB 12.3.51]: “If simply this system is introduced, Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra,kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya, this Hare Kṛṣṇa… Sometimes they come to fight with us, that “Why you say ‘Hare Kṛṣṇa’? Why you do not say ‘Hare Rāma’?” Perhaps you have got experience. But śāstra says, kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya. It does not mean that we do not accept Rāma as the Supreme Per… That does not mean. Śāstra said, kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet. And it is said in the śāstra that if you chant viṣṇu-sahasra-nāma, after chanting thousand times Viṣṇu’s name, it is equal to one rāma-nāma. And after chanting thrice rāma-nāma, it is equal to one kṛṣṇa-nāma. This is said in the śāstra. So this Hare Kṛṣṇa… Of course, in some Purāṇas the beginning is Hare Rāma, but in many Purāṇas it is Hare Kṛṣṇa. So we have no objection. Either you begin with Hare Rāma or Hare Kṛṣṇa, we have no objection. But the śāstra says, kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya. The Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, there is no difference, but why in the śāstra it is said, kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya? So Hare Kṛṣṇa is quite to the rulings of the śāstra. There is no discrepancies, although we have no objection—either you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa or Hare Rāma.

So these things as far as possible we shall introduce, but our main principle is “Chant.” If the brahmacārīs are trained up to rise early in the morning and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, attend maṅgala-ārati, then go to the sea for taking bath and again come and again attend vaidika school… And Veda-vyāsa… So Veda-vyāsa means to study Kṛṣṇa literature. Because nowadays it is not possible that the students, especially foreign students, they will be very much inclined to read from Sāma-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Ṛg-Veda, Atharva-Veda, or pronounce the Upaniṣad, Brahma-sūtra. The time is changed. As far as possible… But there is essence of all these Vedic literature. Bhāṣyāyāṁ brahma-sūtrāṇāṁ vedārtha-paribṛṁhitam. This Bhāgavata, this is the essence of Brahma-sūtra. Nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ idam [SB 1.1.3]. So we are contemplating to start this brahmacārī-āśrama, so these things should be followed, that the brahmacārī… Sāyaṁ prātaḥ. It is begun here, sāyaṁ prātar upāsitā guru-agny-arka-surottamān. This should be practiced, surottamān, especially the Deity.

So these are the principles to be followed, that a brahmacārī should always remain dedicated to the guru. Whatever collection he makes, he should offer to the spiritual master, and spiritual master will ask him, “My dear such and such, my dear son, please come and take your prasādam.” If he forgets, then we should not go personally, and we should wait or we shall fast. These are the some of the rules and regulation as far as possible. But if we follow the principles of Bhāgavatam, kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet [SB 12.3.51], if we… [break] [end]

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