5: Narada Instructs Yudhisthira on Ashrama Dharmam-6.
It is immaterial whether we marry or not. It depends upon the need that is felt inside. Even in the Himalayas we may feel that we are a Grihastha because of the pressure that we feel inside. The external things, appurtenances, husband, wife, etc., are only symbols of forms of an inner connotation, a need that is felt inside us. What binds us or liberates us is the need that is felt inside. We are the makers of our destiny; we create our bondage, and we are also responsible for our freedom. No external aid can help us in this matter. But external aids are sometimes necessary, just as we require a pen to write a book, a plate on which to eat our meal, a glass for drinking water, a seat to sit on, and a bed to lie on. These are external forms of requirement necessitated by the needs felt inside, which otherwise cannot be expressed properly. If the need can be sublimated, the external appurtenances are not necessary.
There are duties imposed upon a householder, apart from this justification for enjoyment in a controlled manner. The duty is to be of service to people. Social welfare, which is very much emphasised these days, is part and parcel of the requirement of a Grihastha life. A Grihastha is not a libertine who can do whatever he likes. It is, again, a life of austerity. Inasmuch as the duties control the enjoyments of life, all the experiences in that condition become spiritualised. Wherever duty controls experience, that particular experience gets spiritualised. Where we have no duty but only rights, there is an adverse effect produced by our experiences. This is a purely psychological secret into which we have to delve for our own welfare.
But it is not that we have to live this kind of life of social work and family existence forever. There is a time in everyone’s life when one feels that the world cannot give more than what it has already given. The wisdom of life acquired during the Grihastha period consummates in a maturity of experience which tells us that we have had enough of this world. The sense of having enough cannot arise unless we have passed through this world and experienced all the layers of provision that the Earth can give us, because a rejection of the world cannot give us an idea of the world. The world has to be conquered and made our own. It has to be befriended, and this can be done only by the experience of passing through the conditions of life.
To be continued ..