“The Blessed Lord said: One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic: not he who lights no fire and performs no work.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.1)
कार्यं कर्म करोति यः
स सन्न्यासी च योगी च
न निरग्निर् न चाक्रियः
kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ
sa sannyāsī ca yogī ca
na niragnir na cākriyaḥ
Friend1: You ever run into parents who are afraid to share the Vedas with their children?
Friend2: I think I have a general idea what you are talking about, but please elaborate. What do you mean by the Vedas?
Friend2: Are the parents afraid the children won’t give a positive reception? They will get turned off by the overwhelmingly philosophical nature?
Friend1: There might be parents like that, but I am more referring to those who want to hide shastra from their children.
Friend2: What would be the purpose of that? Isn’t shastra supposed to be like an instruction manual for living? Why would you want to hide knowledge from people who need to learn things?
Friend1: Well, that is what I find puzzling about the whole thing. I guess the parents are afraid the children will give up the material world, as a result. They will be free of attachments.
Friend2: Isn’t that a good thing?
Friend1: One would think.
Friend2: There are a few sides to this. One is the kind of parent that wants their children to support them, well into old age. You can’t do that on a sannyasi’s salary, if you know what I’m saying.
Friend1: That’s funny, because a person in the renounced order of life is not supposed to have a salary.
Friend2: The other kind of parent is generally concerned about their children not being able to support themselves.
Friend1: Through work and the like.
Friend2: Yeah, just be a normal kid, instead. Study. Get into a good college. Land a high paying job. Marry someone. Have children. You know, the typical cycle.
Friend1: I recently heard something from His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada along this topic. Something to the effect of Arjuna being a military man prior to hearing Bhagavad-gita and staying a military man after the fact.
Friend2: Oh, sure. That is one of the amazing aspects to the conversation. Nothing about the occupation changed. Arjuna did not become a sannyasi.
Friend1: Which sort of invalidates the fears of the parents.
Friend2: They are only afraid out of ignorance. They don’t know any better. If they understood Bhagavad-gita, they would know that there is nothing to fear. There is direct assurance from Krishna to Arjuna.
माम् एकं शरणं व्रज
अहं त्वां सर्व-पापेभ्यो
मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)
Friend1: What about the other side of things? If Arjuna didn’t change occupations, what did he gain from hearing Bhagavad-gita?
Friend2: Everything. He carried out the same work, but with a different mentality. That is one of the great lessons to take away.
Friend1: The mentality of work makes a difference?
Friend2: Oh, for sure. The mentality is the determining factor between distress and pleasure. We can take a simple example of an adult woman doing work around the house.
Friend2: If she is doing it out of the need for a salary, to be paid a sufficient amount for maintaining a livelihood, she might not enjoy it as much.
Friend1: Right, because people get stuck wit horrible bosses. Perhaps the working conditions are not up to standard. Harassment. Exploitation.
Friend2: Take the same woman, the same work, but for the beneficiary of a child. Her child. She moves about with the same effort, but the experience is blissful. She will fondly recall that time many years later.
Friend1: That is true. It is like a burden of love.
Friend2: Working for Krishna is like yajna. It is sacrifice equal to a formal ceremony that you see in a temple. Giving up the results of such work for Krishna’s benefit is no different than becoming a sannyasi and renouncing the material world.
Friend1: That is really interesting. There is so much nuance and detail to that presentation.
Friend2: Which is why every person should feel comfortable making the approach. There is nothing to fear. No one comes out a loser in their relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is only everything to gain.
Only everything to gain,
Their connection to sustain.
In relationship with Krishna so,
Not required as sannyasi to go.
Arjuna within the military staying,
Skill in battle for dharma displaying.
In this way even the child can read,
From Gita knowledge to proceed.