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Narada explains Varnasrama Dharma to Yudhisthira | from 12 Mahajanas

Once, Maharaja Yudhisthira inquired from Narada about the system of varnasrama dharma.

In reply, the great sage Narada said, “Long ago, I heard about this topic from the great sages, Nara and Narayana, at Badarikasrama.

“The duties of brahmanas are worshipping the Supreme Lord, instructing others how to worship the Lord, studying the Vedic literatures, teaching others the Vedic literatures, giving charity, accepting charity in return, chanting mantras, taking bath three times a day, being truthful, maintaining cleanliness, displaying compassion- as well as peacefulness, self-control, austerity, forgiveness, satisfaction, the giving up of idle talks, and ultimately, surrendering completely to the lotus feet of Sri Krsna.”

Narada Muni instructs Maharaj Yudhishthira (left)

“Expertise in the art of fighting, conquering of enemies, protecting the citizens, and performing pious activities with the wealth that has been accumulated- these are the duties of ksatriyas ”

“Farming, protecting cows, trading, and serving the Supreme Lord and the brahmanas with their accumulated wealth are the duties of vaisyas. To serve the members of the three other varnas, while giving up sinful activities and engaging in the worship of Hari, is the work of sudras .”

Narada continued, “Serving the husband, following the order of the husband, performing household duties, worshipping Lord Hari under the direction of the husband – as well as truthfulness, compassion, cleanliness and giving up anger and greed are the duties of women.”

“It is the duty of the out-castes, the dog-eaters, as well as those who are most sinful to mould their activities in such a way that they can think of Lord Hari while carrying out their respective professions.”

“A brahmacari should live at the gurukula, serve his spiritual master with a controlled mind, perform the daily rituals, conduct fire sacrifices, study the Vedas under the guidance of the spiritual master, carry a water pot, beg alms from door to door every morning and evening, offer everything that he receives by begging to his spiritual master, and accept only that foodstuff, etc. that is given by his spiritual master.”

“A household couple should live in the family of Krsna and engage in His worship while giving up sinful activities. The husband and wife should remain satisfied with whatever they receive by the grace of God, and they should serve Lord Hari, the spiritual master, and the Vaisnavas.”

“After reaching the age of fifty, the householder should give up family life and go to the forest. He should maintain his body by eating the fruits and roots that are available in the forest. He should collect wood, chant mantras three times a day, perform fire sacrifices, keep his hair and beard, carry a stick and a water pot, and wear tree bark.”

“When one actually develops detachment, he should give up all varieties of activities by accepting the renounced order of life. He should wander about, from village to village, dress himself in a loincloth, and carry a stick and water pot as his only companions. He should he peaceful, self-controlled, compassionate toward all living entities, devoted to the Supreme Lord, detached from material enjoyment, and interested in studying devotional literatures. He should remain engaged in the service of the Supreme Lord, with his mind, body and speech.”

Just as Narada is fond of quarrelling, he is also fond of singing Krsna’s glories and thereby distributing love of Krsna to the fallen, conditioned souls. It is not possible for ordinary living entities to understand his exhibition of transcendental etiquette, behaviour and dealings.

It was Narada who mercifully awarded the opportunity to Dhruva and Prahlada to directly see the Supreme Lord. Daksa had cursed Narada when he had delivered his hundreds of sons from material existence by instructing them in the science of the Absolute Truth.

Daksa had said “O wicked sage! You have made all my sons renounced by your counselling. Therefore, I curse you so that you will not be able to stay in one place for long. You will have to always travel throughout the universe.”

It is for this reason that Narada Muni constantly travels and delivers the suffering living entities from the ocean of material existence. Narada was glad to hear this curse because by remaining in one place, a person increases his attachment so that his worship of Lord Hari is impeded.

Radhika Raman Das

Raman (Radhika Raman Das) joined ISKCON in 2003 and got initiated by HH Bhakti Caitanya Swami Maharaj in 2011. As the Editor in Chief at Vaisnava Blog, he helps readers around the world hone in their Spiritual Curiosity, express their unique realizations as aspiring Vaisnava writers and enthusiasts, as well as to spread the digital seed of Srila Prabhupada's mission to spread Krishna Consciousness all around the globe.

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