Guest (4) (man): Śrīla Prabhupāda, how can we understand why the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement seems to attract so many young boys and young girls in the Western world...
Prabhupāda: Tax? Tax?
Prabhupāda: Attracts, oh.
Guest (4): Attracts so many young people and not so much the middle-aged and older people in the Western world.
Prabhupāda: Not only Western world, everywhere. Therefore they are called "old fools." (laughter) Because they require time to forget what they have learned. Young men, they are receptive. Therefore, for education, younger age is recommended. There is a history in... One father and one daughter, they both appeared for B.A. examination. The father failed and the daughter passed. Younger generation, they can receive very nicely. Older generation, it is little difficult. Therefore it is recommended by Prahlāda Mahārāja,
- kaumāra ācaret prājño
- dharmān bhāgavatān iha
- durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma
- tad apy adhruvam arthadam
- (SB 7.6.1)
He recommended, "My dear friends..." Prahlāda Mahārāja was five years old boy and he was preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness in his classroom. When the teachers are out he would preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness. When friends would request, "My dear Prahlāda, just play. This is tiffin hour," so he said, "No, no, no, no. My dear friends," kaumāra ācaret prājño dharmān bhāgavatān iha. "Immediately. We are now young boys. This is the time to learn." Kaumāra. Kaumāra means between five to ten years. This is the time. Dharmān bhāgavatān iha. Why? Now durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma: "Don't think that your life is guaranteed. We can die at any moment. Better understand the science of God in this early age." This is Prahlāda Mahārāja's recommendation. So this bhāgavata-dharma, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, should be learned from the very beginning. Then it will be solid. By nature's way younger generation, they capture very nicely. Yes. This question was asked by many gentlemen to me, that "Why younger generation attracted?" Because they are receptive. This is the age. So don't waste time. From the very beginning of life, when we can talk, when we can walk, learn Kṛṣṇa consciousness, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Life will be successful.
We are, therefore, opening so many gurukulas to teach from the very beginning of life. Brahmacārī gurukule vasan dānto guror hitam. They should be trained up how to offer respect to guru, to superior. These things are not taught. The Vedic system is first brahmacārī, then gṛhastha. That is compulsory, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa, four divisions. First of all he must be trained up first-class brahmacārī, up to twenty-five years. And then, if he likes, he can enter into family life. That is also up to fifty years. Naturally a person after being trained up as brahmacārī enters family life, he cannot stay in family life for all the days. Fifty years, when his sons are grown up, say twenty years, twenty-five years, then he can retire from family life. That is called vānaprastha. The wife can remain as assistant, not for any other purpose. Then, when he is fully prepared, the wife goes to the care of elderly children and the wife takes sannyāsa.
But this culture is lost. Now unless one is shot dead, he would not leave family life. (laughter) Even Mahatma Gandhi, he got independence and everything; still he would not leave. So he was shot dead. This is our position. All politicians, all big big men, they are not going to retire, stuck up. This is not civilization. When one is young, he can remain with family, wife, children, twenty-five to fifty years. That's all. No more. Give up. Then take vānaprastha. Train up yourself for becoming sannyāsī. Then take sannyāsa simply for understanding God. That is sannyāsa. You can take sannyāsa from the very beginning, but if it is not possible, at least at the fag end of your life everyone should take sannyāsa and completely devote in understanding the science of God. That is called sannyāsa.
This is Vedic system, varṇāśrama-dharma. Now it is foolishly going as Hindu dharma. What is the Hindu dharma? Hindu is not found even in the scriptures. This is a name given by the Mohammedans. Sindu. There is a river, Sindu. From Sindu it has come, "Hindu." Actually the Vedic culture is varṇāśrama-dharma, four varṇas and four āśramas. That is real Vedic culture, how to create brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa—eight. This is called varṇāśrama-dharma.
- puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
- viṣṇur ārādhyate panthā
- nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam
- (CC Madhya 8.58)
Actually human civilization begins when this institution of varṇāśrama is accepted. Otherwise it is animal civilization—eating, sleeping, mating, and dancing, that's all. All right. Thank you very much.