Published on April 17th, 2019 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada | Full size image


Ideal Householder Life–Better than Many Sannyasis

I am so pleased upon you that you are showing the example of an ideal householder. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura was also a householder, but he lived in so perfect Krishna Consciousness that he is better than many Sannyasis like us.

Montreal, 30 August, 1968

My Dear Rupanuga,

Please accept my blessings. I beg to thank you for your letter dated August 24, 1968, with 2 pictures, photographs of our temple in Buffalo. You have written to say that Buffalo is doing well, but I think Buffalo is doing well because you are doing well. Every place is expansion of Krishna’s material energy, and material energy being expansion of Krishna, in one sense there is no difference between Krishna and the material energy. The only defect of material energy is that it is something like the prison department of the government. But it is not that all the persons residing in prison are under prison rules and regulations. Similarly, all conditioned souls who are within this material energy, are supposed to be the prison walls of material nature, but those who are officering on behalf of Krishna, they are not members of the prison rules and regulations. So our members of Krishna Consciousness all over the world who are engaged in preaching Lord Krishna’s desire, that everyone should surrender unto Him, so one who has taken up seriously to preach this message in the world, he is considered as doing well. So my conclusion is that Buffalo is doing well because you are doing well. I am so glad to see that one of my sincere disciples has sacrificed everything for spreading Krishna Consciousness, and I am so pleased upon you that you are showing the example of an ideal householder. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura was also a householder, but he lived in so perfect Krishna Consciousness that he is better than many Sannyasis like us. So far I am concerned, I could not live like Bhaktivinode Thakura because I was disgusted with my family members and I was obliged to give up my family life. But Krishna is so kind that although I left my few children born out of this physical body, Krishna has sent many nice beautiful obedient children for propagating my mission. And you are one of them. So I am very much obliged to you.

The best thing that you are doing, that you are training our grandchild, Mr. Eric. I always see that he is always with you and from very childhood, he is getting the Krishna Consciousness ideas, and similar opportunity was for me when I was a little boy, like your child. My father also trained me and instructed me to his best capacity, and he prayed for me that Radharani may be pleased upon me, and I think by my father’s blessings and grace, I may have come to this position, and I might have gotten into relationship with His Divine Grace, Om Visnupad Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja. So it is also Krishna’s Grace that I got good father, and a good Spiritual Master, and in my old age also, Krishna has favored me with so many good children. So when I feel I see that Krishna is so kind upon me, so I offer my obligations unto Him.

I shall be glad to receive a copy of the pictures taken by Joey, as you describe it has come so successful.

From the pictures of our Buffalo center, it appears it is very nice cottage and I think it is quite suitable for our purpose.

Regarding your question: “about the six-armed Lord Caitanya you gave me (Krishna, Lord Caitanya, and Lord Rama combined.) Why is Lord Caitanya carrying a forked stick? What do the Saivite-like tilakas on His arms signify? And to whom was this form revealed?” The forked stick is a symbol of ekadandi. The Mayavadi sannyasis, they carry ekadanda, one stick. As we Vaisnava sannyasis carry 3 danda, or three sticks, combined together. The one stick is the symbol of understanding oneness. The monists only accept chin matra, there is only one spirit soul; they do not understand the varieties of the spiritual world. And so far our three sticks are concerned, we take it for granted that we have dedicated our life, for Krishna’s service in 3 ways, namely, in our body, in our mind, and in our words. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura has sung in a poetry that my mind, my body, and my home is surrendered unto You. So a Grhastha or householder like you, you are also tridandi. Because you have sacrificed everything, your life, your home, and your child, so you are a tridandi sannyasi, in fact. So continue this attitude seriously and sincerely, so you will be also as good as a sannyasi even though you are in the dress of a Grhastha. The Saivite tilaka is three pundra, 3 lines, on the forehead, in 3 parallel lines. Our tilak udra pundra, they are distinctive marks of different sections. There are two sections of the Vedic followers. Namely, the impersonalists and personalists. So the tilak distinguishes one from the impersonalists. Our undra pundra, Visnu temple, udra pundra means Visnu temple, so we are distinguished from the mayavadis who use the three parallel lines, tripundra.

Regarding my going to Buffalo: It may be postponed for the time being. You will be glad to know that I am proceeding to New York tomorrow evening, at 4:30, and reaching there at 5:50. I wish to remain at least for a week in New York, and then start for San Francisco. Hope this meets you in good health,

Your ever well-wisher,

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

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10 Responses to Ideal Householder Life–Better than Many Sannyasis

  1. Aman says:

    Hare Krishna Prabhu
    I’m 22 years old and can’t become a full time preacher as of now because of many responsibilities. Sometimes I have to read material things, and watch even sports and movies which Srila Prabhupada never liked. I do not do such things for enjoyment but just to stay updated with what’s going on in the world, to remain in the company of material friends, and to learn various other things of this material world. Should I continue like this until I become a full-time preacher or would you suggest some changes that I should make?

    • Hare Krishna Aman

      You can read Prabhupada’s books, you know what he suggests. If we want to become actually Krishna conscious we have to surrender to Srila Prabhupada and strictly follow the four regulative principles: no illicit sex, no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication, chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day and read Srila Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours a day. Actually these things like watching movies, sports and keeping in the company of material friends and trying to keep up-to-date with everything that is happening in the material world, this is the business of the materialists, the non-devotees. Devotees want to keep up with what is happening in the spiritual world. Instead of watching the movies and the sports they want to be engaged in devotional service and be hearing about Krishna and His pastimes in Vrindavan.

      So preaching is not possible unless one is a pure devotee of Krishna… It is not possible to be a materialist and then suddenly become a full-time preacher… One has to become brahmacari [student] first. He has to learn Krishna consciousness before he can preach it…

      But the reality is the situation at the present time is very difficult. Association is very powerful and you have outlined your life as being full of association with non-devotees and engagement in completely non-devotional activities like watching the movies and sports, etc. This association with non-devotees is powerful and through this association gradually you will take on all the non-devotee [demonic] qualities and you will loose the Krishna conscious qualities. That is why when we read Srila Prabhupada’s books he is so much stressing the importance of associating with the devotees and living with the devotees. But the ISKCON, the association of devotees who are interested in engaging in pure devotional service 24 hours a day, no longer exists.

      So we are in the position that to make advancement in Krishna consciousness we have to avoid the association of non-devotees and associate with devotees. But there is no place for associating with devotees and very hard at this time to find any sincere devotees actually surrendered to and strictly following Srila Prabhupada.

      And we have the nature that we want to associate with some people. So we tend to associate with non-devotees and gradually become non-devotees ourselves by the power of this non-devotee association.

      So there it is. If you keep on associating with non-devotees, watching the karmi movies and the sports, etc, then gradually you will forget about Krishna consciousness and become a non-devotee yourself just like your material friends.

      That will happen… The power of association is very strong. So we need to adjust our lives so we do not associate with non-devotees, and so we don’t waste our time with the movies and sports, etc. So it means we have to actually take Krishna consciousness seriously. Really chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day, really read Srila Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours a day, but more actually. And we have to see that we have developed a taste for chanting Hare Krishna and reading Prabhupada’s books. Chanting Hare Krishna for us should be the most ecstatic, the most enjoyable thing in our lives. If it is not, if we don’t have any taste for chanting Hare Krishna then we can know that we are in maya, and we need to become Krishna conscious…

      So you know everything is in Prabhupada’s books and you know that Prabhupada says we have to give up the association of non-devotees, etc. The point is when we become actually a little Krishna conscious we will not have any interest in watching these movies or in the sports, etc., or in hanging out with non-devotee friends except unless we can make them interested in hearing about Krishna and make them devotees. That is really what we have to do. That is what Prabhupada did when he came to USA. There were no devotees in the USA so Prabhupada preached Krishna consciousness there and made many devotees and then lived with them, in the association of the devotees…

      So we probably have to do something like that. Because without living in the association of devotees it is very hard to become Krishna conscious..

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • Aman says:

        Thanks Prabhuji. I realize that I’m being tricked by Maya after making some progress. I have lost a lot of the taste for material things but somehow I’m not able to chant 16 rounds regularly and that is the reason these unnecessary desires are coming again. I hope I will be able to elevate myself again.

        • Hare Krishna Aman

          Yes. This happens. As soon as we try a little seriously to become Krishna conscious maya tricks us into thinking that it is not so important to chant 16 rounds, better to watch the movies and the sports and go out with our karmi friends…

          But that is maya and we need to recognize it and reject it and keep chanting Hare Krishna and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books and following the regulative principles. Krishna consciousness is an ever-increasing ocean of transcendental bliss but we can’t taste it in the beginning. In the beginning even chanting Hare Krishna may seem bitter to us, we may not like to do it, but chanting Hare Krishna is the medicine that will cure our material disease. So we have to take the medicine [chant Hare Krishna] if we want to cure the material disease. Even if the medicine tastes bitter to us. We have to take the medicine regularly anyhow if we want to be cured.

      • Aman says:

        Hare Krishna Prabhu!

        It’s been 2 years since this comment and finally now I have almost given up the company of materialistic persons, watching sports, movies etc and I know how to do it better now. If we say only things that Prabhupada has said then most people will voluntarily leave us and only devotees will remain. If we give Prabhupada’s books to materialists they will certainly leave without our making much effort. These things I have experienced.

        We need to be very very serious and patience and determination to chant Hare Krishna at least 16 rounds a day, read Srila Prabhupada’s book at least 1-2 hours a day and follow the four regulating principles- no illicit sex (including movies and sports), no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication.

        Hare Krishna!
        All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

        • Yes. Very good. But problem is in material world 99.9999% of the people are completely materialistic… So eventually, if Lord Caitainya’s and Srila Prabhupada’s sankirtan movement is going to start flooding the world again we have to work out how to turn the materialists into devotees. That was Srila Prabhupada’s special ability. He could turn 100% demons, 100% materialists into pure devotees of Krishna. So we have to learn that. But that is a more advanced stage of course.

  2. S says:

    Prabhu, today I have witnessed my mother go through a hellish situation. My mother’s workplace is nearly an hour away from our home, and with traffic and poor weather conditions, that can increase to even two hours, and driving for so long really is physically and mentally draining. Additionally, the people at her workplace treat her very poorly, especially because she tries to do the right thing and she prefers to not spend her time with most of her coworkers because they are a bad influence (gossipers, judgemental of other people, greedy, etc.). My mother has recently, by the grace of Krishna, started chanting 16 rounds daily. She gave up meat, and tries her best to follow Srila Prahupada’s principles. This morning, there were very poor emergency situations because of all the snow, and because of something in her heart, she felt that she should not go to work today. So she asked my father, but for $80, he forced her out of the house and work. Her car fell into a ditch, but by God’s grace, there were people to help. Anyways, I witnessed her crying and feeling so lost. She could not bear it anymore, and even told me things like how he used to beat her so much. Once, because she wanted to go to Isckon and have a darshan of the lord, he took us there, but when we came home, he beat her very badly with a steering wheel lock. My brother and I had no idea because we were young and out of love and compassion for him, my mother did not want us to think poorly of him.

    I ordered a Bengali edition of the Gita and Isopanisad from Isckon for her today, because I wanted her to feel peace from the Lord’s and Srila Prabhupada’s words. But I myself am not feeling peace either prabhu. It hurts me to think how someone can be so cruel, even though the back of my head is telling me that it is this material world and karma. Prabhu, I am wondering if you may able to guide us both so that we may come closer to the Lord. We are trying to surrender, but it is very difficult. My mother loves to cook and do very nice pujas and fasts for Krishna when she has no work, but my father gets angry with her. Actually, he thought that it was for this reason that my mother did not want to go work today. He thinks that he should get something because my mother is providing the Lord with his food and such. Anyways, I am sorry for this long post. My father is a lot better now and he is generally a nice man, but I cannot bear him hurting my mother like this and I hate that we must go behind his back to buy things for the Lord, etc. What do we do, prabhu? How will our situation get better? Please kindly answer, especially for my mother, who feels so lost and uncared for, though she is still so thankful to God for everything she has.

    • Hare Krishna

      Your father does get to enjoy the Krishna prasadam after your mother cooks it and offers it to Krishna? So surely he can enjoy this.

      I do not know the situation so what can I say and how can I advise you what to do? The best thing is to convince your father to become a devotee of Krishna also. I do not know if you have tried this. Encourage him to read some of Srila Prabhupada’s books. Even the very small books like Beyond Birth and Death, Perfect Questions Perfect Answers, etc. Feed your father with sumptuous Krishna prasadam that your mother has cooked and offered to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna. Encourage your mother also to read Srila Prabhupada’s books more as that will give her a more solid understanding of the philosophy of Krishna consciousness and she will be more able to talk to your father about Krishna consciousness.

      Sometimes these problems happen because of misunderstandings and communication problems. You know, your father may be thinking one thing, thinking your mother is thinking something different from what she is actually thinking, and he gets upset for no reason. So rather than trying to hide that you and your mother want to worship Krishna from him I think it is better to do these things completely openly so he knows exactly what you are doing. If you are hiding things from him and trying to do things behind his back, no matter what they are, that may make him angry.

      The best idea I think is to convince your father that worshiping Krishna is all-auspicious and that it will be good for the whole family, it will be good for him also, it will be good for him in this life and also in the next life.

      I think your father is Indian and in the Indian culture this Krishna culture is there. So it can get covered but I am sure deep down Krishna consciousness is there in your father’s heart. So the best thing is to try and help him to awaken this dormant Krishna consciousness in his heart.

      As far as the bad weather and having to travel for hours to get to and from work and the difficult conditions on the roads and the problems with health, etc, unfortunately these are all just symptoms of living in the material world. The material world is not a nice place. It was never meant to be a nice place. We were never meant to be happy here. This material world is full of suffering and death so we should not be too surprised when we experience suffering and death in our lives. It is not that a devotee does not experience these things, but he is untouched by these things. Because a devotee realizes that he is not the material body he knows that any bodily inconveniences do not actually inconvenience his soul. So inspite of all material difficulties the devotee remains firmly fixed in Krishna consciousness.

      So in summary I feel very sorry for the difficult position of your mother but she should know it certainly that many, many great devotees in the past have also been put into very difficult positions but that does not in any way diminish their faith in Krishna. Rather it strengthens their faith in Krishna. You can read Teachings of Queen Kunti. If the BBT have Teachings of Queen Kunti in Bengali that would be very good for your mother to read or if she can read it in English that would be even better. We have it in English at or you can read it online at or you can download the PDF file from

      Even you could get this Teachings of Queen Kunti book and if your mother can not understand the English, but I think she probably can, you can read it to her translating it into Bengali as you read it.

      I think you and your mother and also your father, if you can get him to listen to it, would enjoy reading Teachings of Queen Kunti.

      You can also try showing your father some of the Srila Prabhupada DVDs, not so much the classes initially but the shows like the Acharya Series, The Science of God, Your Ever-Wellwisher, etc, etc…

      The real idea is to gradually convince your father that Krishna consciousness is good for him, good for the family, that it will help him in every way.

      So as I say I can not really advise you. Generally it is always better to try to rectify the situation rather than leaving your father. That would also create a huge disturbance in all of your lives and there is really no guarantee that you would end up in any better situation later on. There is an English saying, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.” You know in Kali-yuga it is very difficult to find that perfect husband, the perfect father… So really you have a lot to gain if you can just convince your father that Krishna consciousness is nice, what Prabhupada is preaching makes sense, that prasadam tastes nice, and that Krishna consciousness is very auspicious and is good for him and good for the family. Even if he does not really strictly follow the principles of Krishna consciousness himself, even if he just has a favorable attitude towards Srila Prabhupada and Krishna consciousness then things will change greatly I think.

      So I think it is important not to be too demanding on your father and not to expect too much but just try to get him a little bit favorable towards Krishna consciousness, try to get him attached to Krishna prasadam and try to get him to respect Srila Prabhupada and at least realize that Prabhupada is a very wise man presenting the traditional Indian Vedic knowledge in a very practical and easy to understand way.

      So these are my feelings. Of course only you and your mother really know the actual situation and you are the ones who will ultimately know what to do. So you should both chant Hare Krishna and read Srila Prabhupada’s books and pray for inspiration on how to solve this problem. So you could also read this letter to your mother and discuss it with her and see what she thinks.

      Anyhow I wish you all success and in any case never forget Krishna and never forget Srila Prabhupada.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  3. Coated Sugar says:


    I am neophyte devotee of Lord Krishna. I do my chanting everyday(not 16 rounds,, but my promised 1-2 rounds).Everyday every moment I try to see Krishna in everything and try to follow Srila Prabhupada instructions.I have bravely fought many life situations all alone in tough situations,all with the mercy of Krishna.

    However this time my battle is unique.It is a battle with my own self. My husband is having an internet affair.He says he wont leave me and I know he wont leave me and spoil our family of 4 ( 2 kids also), but his infidelity hurts me a lot. He says he has no physical relationship, but I know he talks all intimate stuff and cares for the person while he does not show as much care for me.

    I am having a hard time forgiving him. I am gettting tangled in Maya. I am spending so much time crying over this issue. I am having diffciulty in seeing Krishna in him and still loving him . My speech has become bitter though I prefer to keep silent most of the time. I have lost all interest in performing my household chores. As a woman , I think my duty is to serve the lord by serving my husband, kids and the home. I have spent atleast one week just trying to spy on him.He gets away from one way to another and I dont like spying.

    How should I fight this battle with krishna consciousness. I could have gone to a marriage counselor but they are material and they would suggest me a divorce.I dont want that.I want to fulfill my duties of a woman and yet remain unattached to the labor of my fruits. For the first time in my life I am unable to let go of this incident and unable to see this as an illusory pleasure which is repeatedly pulling me.

    I cannot talk to my parents or his parents about this.I am not sure how you may help me in reducing my husband’s internet affair, but I am sure you can show me a path to fight this battle without creating any more bad karma for myself.I have already raised the topic twice in my home and a huge scene was created and I hold myself responsible for the Ashanti in my home.

    Krishna Devotee

    • Hare Krishna Mataji

      Just take shelter of Krishna. Become a pure devotee of Krishna. Chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily. 16 rounds is the minimum. Whoever has told you to chant one or two rounds is a rascal. 16 rounds is the minimum. It does not take long. Surely you can find 2 hours a day out of 24 to spend chanting Hare Krishna?

      That will solve most of your problems.

      Simply take shelter of Krishna as your actual husband but continue to act as a faithful wife to your husband.

      Men sometimes have these problems. What can be done. You should just ignore it and serve him and your family nicely and you can get the strength to do this through your Krishna consciousness.

      So take Krishna consciousness more seriously and automatically the problems in your life will become quite insignificant.

      In relationships there will always be problems, we have to expect it. Simply go on serving your husband and family as if nothing was going on and in the long run everything will be fine. In the meantime become a stronger devotee of Krishna.

      In one sense this is showing you that there is no happiness in the material world, and when these things happen to devotees we should take it as an indication tht we need to take Krishna consciousness more seriously.

      Chant Hare Krishna [at least 16 rounds a day] and be happy!!

      Madhudvisa dasa

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About the Author

Founded the Hare Krishna Movement in 1966 in New York. In only 11 years he spread the movement all over the world. He wrote more than 80 books including Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Sri Isopanisad. Prabhupada's books constitute a complete library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.

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