Episode # 59 – Primary duty of a “Grihastha” and a “Sanyasin” – How different is it???

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In the previous episode we had witnessed Vidura’s explanation about two harmful thorns that keep pricking us every day in our life – “Kaama(Desire) and “Krodha” (Anger). The message from the previous episode was that we should be able to keep both of them under control by developing the ability of discrimination as to what is needed for us and what is not. If we’re able to do this, we can certainly eliminate these two hard-pricking thorns off our lives forever and this would lead us to peace of mind.

Now moving on further, Vidura explains the next important duo.

“Dvaaveva na viraajethe vipareethena karmanaa!”

 Here from this sloka Vidura confidently declares that a person, who performs two activities, would never prosper in his/her life at any cost! It is essential for us to know these two activities because, for the first time in the “Vidura Neeti” we are witnessing a moment wherein Vidura is exuding 100% confidence in this sloka.

“Grihasthascha niraarambaha kaaryavaanschaiva bhikshukaha!!”

Now who are those two categories of people who will never prosper in their lives? A head of the family (Grihastha) who is lazy and a Saint (Sanyasin) who is extremely active!

In simpler explanation, the first person that Vidura is talking about is a “Grihastha” (means, head of the family) who sits at home lazily without going for a job to earn the bread and butter for his family. This is obviously seen in today’s world too – Wherein we can witness innumerable families going down the brink because of this careless attitude of the husband. In a family, there are some norms that exist – A male member is supposed to go out, earn money for the running of the family and the female member is supposed to effectively take care and manage the house properly. Of course, things have changed in today’s world wherein women have also started working and getting to high ranks in the corporate world too. Such efforts are commendable without any doubt. But the point is not this. The point here is to emphasize that as a male member of a family, it is the bound duty of him to work, earn money and thus uplift his family towards sustainable development. If the male member fails in this duty, Vidura explains that such a person along with his family would go into shambles.

Now coming to the next person – A Saint (Sanyasin) should free himself completely from worldly aspects such as earning money, caring for relatives, family, friends, etc. The main purpose of being a Sanyasin is to renounce the worldly life and be completely detached from everything. If this person has to go into money management, people management, etc. then what is the use of being a Sanyasin? He could as well be a “Grihastha”! If we see the modern day context, things look fascinating – We can see many “Mutts” of prominent saints running commercial institutions like schools, colleges, hospitals, etc. In today’s world, academic institutions and hospitals are the primary sources of making truckloads of money! On one hand we say that sanyasins are supposed to completely give up worldly activities of money and people management and on the other hand we see exactly the opposite! Of course many mutts claim that they are running these schools, colleges, etc. as “charitable” institutions, but what is the real meaning of a “charitable institution”? Ideally a charitable institution should run for the benefit of the poor and the downtrodden people of the society and focus on their welfare and upliftment. For instance, school and college education should be either free of cost or should be offered at a subsidized fee. Charitable hospitals should focus on free medical treatments to the poor and the needy. Thus on the whole, the focus should be on “Education for life” and not on “Education for living”.

But the real question to be asked today is that, does this happen? Unfortunately we see modern day “Mutts” running institutions that make huge money by charging exorbitant fees for education and medical treatments  and eventually ends up into heavy politics! Is this the purpose of running a “Mutt”? The main purpose behind the functioning of a “Mutt” is to enable people to develop themselves spiritually and to obtain peace of mind and not to run commercial institutions that mint money! Thus a sanyasin should definitely avoid doing such things.

Hence the message from this important sloka is that, a family-oriented person should focus on money and people management and not be detached like a saint. Similarly, a saint should be completely detached from all worldly activities and not run behind money and people management. A “Grihastha” should strive to take efforts towards managing money and people whereas a “Sanyasin” should move away from taking such efforts. This is extremely important. So for today, let us ponder about these two important points explained by Vidura. We shall wait till the next episode to witness the next important point. Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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