Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
This is in continuation of the previous offering titled, "The Indefatigable Time" wherein we were discussing the various aspects of time from scriptures like Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita. Now let us continue further.
Srila Prabhupada, founder of ISKCON and the famous author of innumerable books on Krishna-consciousness, emphasized that humanity follow the rites of passage called samskaara. Samskaaras marks important stages of time in one's life. In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 10.5.4, Sukadeva Goswami while mentioning the various ways of purification says to Parikshit Maharaj,
kālena snāna-śaucābhyāṁ saṁskārais tapasejyayā
śudhyanti dānaiḥ santuṣṭyā dravyāṇy ātmātma-vidyayā
O King, by the passing of time, land and other material possessions are purified; by bathing, the body is purified; and by being cleansed, unclean things are purified. By purificatory ceremonies, birth is purified; by austerity, the senses are purified; and by worship and charity offered to the brahmanas, material possessions are purified. By satisfaction, the mind is purified; and by self-realization, or Krishna consciousness, the soul is purified.
So as per this verse pure devotees of Krishna is not dependent on samskārās for purification. But unfortunately, in this age we are all born impure (icchā-dveṣa-samutthena), hence samskārās are there to purify us, initially, from the lower modes of passion and ignorance. "In the Age of Kali, mlecchas, or lowborn people who have not undergone the purifying process of samskara, who do not know how to apply that process in actual life, and who are covered by the modes of passion and ignorance will take the posts of administrators. They will devour the citizens with their atheistic activities." (Srimad Bhagavatam 12.1.40) Srila Prabhupada comments in this connection that, "A person who is not purified by the prescribed process of samskaara is called asamskrita." (Caitanya Caritamrta Antya 3.124 purport)
Out of many samskārās which was followed before, only maybe three or four are relevantly possible for people today. Srila Prabhupada noted this and stressed that grahastas follow the most important samskārās of marriage and that for begetting a good child, the garbhādhāna samskārā. That presupposes proper planning, involving consulting a Vaishnava astrologer. In his purport to verse 3.21.15, Srila Prabhupada says, "Not more than twenty-five years ago, and perhaps it is still current, parents in India used to consult the horoscope of the boy and girl to see whether there would be factual union in their psychological conditions. These considerations are very important. Nowadays marriage takes place without such consultation, and therefore, soon after the marriage, there is divorce and separation. Formerly husband and wife used to live together peacefully throughout their whole lives, but nowadays it is a very difficult task."
Thus most marriages today are built on a shaky foundation, and coupled with not knowing the science of securing an auspicious birth, they naturally shun the risk. If the child would happen to be of mean character or retarded, that would be an extra burden on top of the already laborious toil of raising a child. Therefore avoiding childbirth by artificial means is very popular today.
Krishna willing we shall see the guidance provided by scriptures for the above problem, in the subsequent offering.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Amogha-drk Krishna das
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