What does Vanaprastha look like in modern society at age 50 and later?
The Sastras say Vanaprastha is after 50, but keeping in mind the present situation in Kali Yuga and our shorter life spans, I just said 40 because you never know what happens. So the quicker the better. So what do I mean when I say pause and look at life is where you define your goals and you start working in that direction. It's very important. You just don't keep going for the sake of going, right? Just don't get into that routine of earning money, taking care of wife, children, business, house, etc. So at some point of time, you have to start and stop interfering in minute details of everybody's life connected to you, but start making retirement plans. The quicker the better and those who are smart, they plan their finances and life, too. With every rising and setting of sun, it's one day less in your life. You just running towards that.
See the problem is, you're not able to see Kala, that is the problem. You're not able to see the death. If we can see death, things will become very easy, but the problem is we are in the world of illusion. You're not able to see death coming towards you. Our lives are like those of a frog planning to eat the butterfly making all grandeur plans. And as the frog is ready to eat the butterfly, at that very moment, the snake comes and eats the frog and all your material plans are foiled. This is what is with our life also. We're making so many grandeur plans, but the problem is we're making these plans because we think we are permanent. If we are always in that consciousness that we are not permanent, then you will definitely plan your life in a different way. When you are constantly in consciousness that you're going to die, you will never commit sin because you know you are temporary, anytime you have to go. Just come into that consciousness into that mood, that I'm temporary, just be in that consciousness all the time. Of course, it's easier said than done but scriptures help us in that matter when you constantly read Srimad Bhagavatam, take association of devotees. Then you are in the constant remembrance that anytime you have to leave this home. And if you are in that consciousness all the time, then you don't need any training of how to be in Vanaprastha. It will come naturally. Just like you go on a vacation and you know that you're going to stay in that place three or four days. You are so sharp and you don't want to waste your time. You have a big list of sightseeing places. I want to see, I don't want to miss, I just have four more days to go, right? Nobody has to come and tell you that don't waste your time. I've not seen anybody who goes on vacation and simply sleeps. He's so worried because he's paying bills everyday for the hotel and he's eating food outside. He is worried that he has to finish up seeing all these places and have to go back. So if somebody is constantly in that consciousness, then sure they don't need any training, it just comes naturally. Vanaprastha will come naturally.
When we have trouble, is it okay to approach the Lord to help us? Does that become fruitive activity?
Very beautiful question. So your question is that in devotional life, we have been taught that you're not supposed to ask anything from the Lord. So during the time of trouble and we are asking something from the Lord, is it a fruitive activity? No, it's not. Anything to do with the Lord is not fruitive activity. In Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, whether you have akama, sarva kama, moksha kama, whatever, you have one desire, many desires, just approach Krishna. Because the moment you approach Krishna, then everything becomes spiritual. Now, it's the way of your asking. What is your intention because Lord gives a lot of points for your intention. So if you're asking, please remove this problem from my life so that I can have a better spiritual life, then there is no harm in that. Having said that, when we ask the Lord, our asking itself is at fault. We think that we are very intelligent. What we do is we tell our problem to the Lord. And we also give our solution to the Lord. Lord, this is the problem and this is the solution of the problem. So kindly execute this solution. That is where we make a mistake. You simply tell your problem to the Lord and let Him give the solution. The problem is that we think we are very intelligent. We think if this is a problem, this has to be the solution. But sometimes Lord has his own way. For your problem, you may know only one solution, but the Lord knows hundreds of different solutions for that problem. So that space you have to give to the Lord, that this is my problem and you do whatever is best for me. Even that doesn't need to be said actually. He knows what to do. In fact, even if you don't express your problem, the Lord knows very well because He just like a mother. Mother knows very well what the child wants. This whole process of us going and standing in front of the Lord and expressing our problem is just for our purification. If we don't go and speak to the Lord, we will end up sharing it with somebody else. This is what happened, you know that, or you will be constantly meditating on the problem. It is a psychological process. If you simply go and stand in front of the Lord and share it with Him as your friend, then it's better you approach Him directly. But even if you share it with Him or you don't want to share it with Him, He'll sort it out because He is your well wisher. You are surrendered to Him. There's no harm in going and expressing it. Don't try to give solution. He knows what is the best solution for you. And He'll do it, He'll do it. You just go and express your problem. There's nothing wrong in doing that. The beautiful part is whether it's good or bad, whether you are asking the Lord to help you solve the problem or for some desire, the moment you approach Him, He will purify. The only thing is you worship only Him. If you can just maintain that and nobody else, not these monopolies God. It's only Him. That's it. And nobody else. That one thing we should maintain. At no point of time should we get attracted for quick solutions, quick fix or approach Shiva or Durga devi, or some demigod and let me get my things quickly. Don't do that because Lord has a better plan. In case of Narada Muni, his mother died. Now somebody will be like Narada Muni is a devotee of the Lord. Why did his mother died? Why didn't the Lord help him. But Lord created such situation in his life because he wanted to accelerate Narada Muni's spiritual life. If his mother would not have died, he would never be able to follow the Bhaktivedantas and he would never go further in the spiritual journey. He would simply stay back because his mother was widow and he had to serve his mother. So the Lord has his own way of giving solutions. So when you approach Lord, approach, but also be 100% ready to accept His solution, not your solution, whatever way He gives solution. And the other beauty is when you approach the Lord, you get purified. Sometimes you get purified of that desire itself, something like Dhruva Maharaj. He approached the Lord to be rich. I want to be king. But in this whole process of approaching the Lord, when the Lord finally appeared, Dhruva Maharaj said I don't want anything. I'm sorry. Here is a diamond and I was simply asking for some pieces of glass. I don't want anything like that. So that is the benefit of approaching the Lord and nothing wrong in approaching the Lord when you are in trouble.
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