ÅrÄ«-prahlÄdaá¸¥ uvÄca - PrahlÄda MahÄrÄja replied; tat - that; sÄdhu - very good, or the best part of life; manye - I think; asura-varya - O King of the asuras; dehinÄm - of persons who have accepted the material body; sadÄ - always; samudvigna - full of anxieties; dhiyÄm - whose intelligence; asat-grahÄt - because of accepting the temporary body or bodily relations as real (thinking 'I am this body, and everything belonging to this body is mine'); hitvÄ - giving up; Ätma-pÄtam - the place where spiritual culture or self-realization is stopped; gá¹ham - the bodily concept of life, or household life; andha-kÅ«pam - which is nothing but a blind well (where there is no water but one nonetheless searches for water); vanam - to the forest; gataá¸¥ - going; yat - which; harim - the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ÄÅrayeta - may take shelter of.
Hiraá¹yakaÅipu thought that PrahlÄda, being nothing but a small boy with no actual experience, might reply with something pleasing but nothing practical. PrahlÄda MahÄrÄja, however, being an exalted devotee, had acquired all the qualities of education.
yasyÄsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiÃ±canÄ
sarvair guá¹ais tatra samÄsate surÄá¸¥
harÄv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guá¹Ä
manorathenÄsati dhÄvato bahiá¸¥
âOne who has unflinching devotional faith in Ká¹á¹£á¹a consistently manifests all the good qualities of Ká¹á¹£á¹a and the demigods. However, he who has no devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no good qualifications because he is engaged by mental concoction in material existence, which is the external feature of the Lord.â (BhÄg. 5.18.12) So-called educated philosophers and scientists who are simply on the mental platform cannot distinguish between what is actually sat, eternal, and what is asat, temporary. The Vedic injunction is asato mÄ jyotir gama: everyone should give up the platform of temporary existence and approach the eternal platform. The soul is eternal, and topics concerning the eternal soul are actually knowledge. Elsewhere it is said, apaÅyatÄm Ätma-tattvaá¹ gá¹heá¹£u gá¹ha-medhinÄm: those who are attached to the bodily conception of life and who thus stick to life as a gá¹hastha, or householder, on the platform of material sense enjoyment, cannot see the welfare of the eternal soul. PrahlÄda MahÄrÄja confirmed this by saying that if one wants success in life, he should immediately understand from the right sources what his self-interest is and how he should mold his life in spiritual consciousness. One should understand himself to be part and parcel of Ká¹á¹£á¹a and thus completely take shelter of His lotus feet for guaranteed spiritual success. Everyone in the material world is in the bodily conception, struggling hard for existence, life after life. PrahlÄda MahÄrÄja therefore recommended that to stop this material condition of repeated birth and death, one should go to the forest (vana).
In the vará¹ÄÅrama system, one first becomes a brahmacÄrÄ«, then a gá¹hastha, a vÄnaprastha and finally a sannyÄsÄ«. Going to the forest means accepting vÄnaprastha life, which is between gá¹hastha life and sannyÄsa. As confirmed in the Viá¹£á¹u PurÄá¹a (3.8.9), vará¹ÄÅramÄcÄravatÄ puruá¹£eá¹a paraá¸¥ pumÄn viá¹£á¹ur ÄrÄdhyate: by accepting the institution of vará¹a and ÄÅrama, one can very easily elevate himself to the platform of worshiping Viá¹£á¹u, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Otherwise, if one remains in the bodily conception, one must rot within this material world, and his life will be a failure. Society must have divisions of brÄhmaá¹a, ká¹£atriya, vaiÅya and ÅÅ«dra, and for spiritual advancement one must gradually develop as a brahmacÄrÄ«, gá¹hastha, vÄnaprastha and sannyÄsÄ«. PrahlÄda MahÄrÄja recommended that his father accept vÄnaprastha life because as a gá¹hastha he was becoming increasingly demoniac due to bodily attachment. PrahlÄda recommended to his father that accepting vÄnaprastha life would be better than going deeper and deeper into gá¹ham andha-kÅ«pam, the blind well of life as a gá¹hastha. In our Ká¹á¹£á¹a consciousness movement we therefore invite all the elderly persons of the world to come to Vá¹ndÄvana and stay there in retired life, making advancement in spiritual consciousness, Ká¹á¹£á¹a consciousness.