Kuntīdevī is woman. So as a man has got one family, the woman has got two families. Affection... A man has got affection for one family, but a woman has got affection for two families: father's family and husband's family. Therefore he (she) specifically mentions, pāṇḍuṣu. Pāṇḍuṣu means husband's family, and vṛṣṇiṣu, that is father's family. Kṛṣṇa's father, Vasudeva... And Vasudeva's sister is Kuntīdevi. Therefore she belonged to the Vṛṣṇi family, Yadu family, from the father's side. And from the husband's side she belongs to the Kuru family. Actually the pāṇḍuṣu, later on, they became Pāṇḍus because Dhṛtarāṣṭra wanted to separate them from the Kuru family. Both of them, the Dhṛtarāṣṭra's family and Pāṇḍu's family, both of them belonged to the Kuru's family. But because Dhṛtarāṣṭra was very much anxious to separate the Pāṇḍavas, or the sons of his younger brother, Pāṇḍu, from the family, so they were known as Pāṇḍavas, and his own sons were known as Kurus.
So Kuntī is praying. The prayer is very peculiar. What is that peculiar prayer? The prayer is sneha-pāśam imam. Pāśam means "rope." We are bound up by the ropes of affection to the family. This family or that family, everyone is bound up. Ato gṛha-kṣetra-sutāpta-vittair janasya moho 'yam (SB 5.5.8). This family combination is māyā because we all, living entities, we are being washed away by the waves of material nature. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ (BG 3.27). So just like the waves of the river carry so many straws scattered here and there, and sometimes by whirlwind, all the straws meet together in the water, so our meeting—"I am the father. You are the son. She is the wife. He is the grandson," or "He is father," or "She is..."—in this way, our mixing up in a group of family is exactly like the assembly of some straws in the waves of the river. It has no meaning. Just like the straws, they gather together by the movement of the waves, and again, by the movements of waves, the straws are scattered here and there, here and there, here and... Nowadays it is very practical. Just like I am an Indian. I have my family. You are European, you are American. You have got family. But now where we are from, the family, we scattered. This is practical. We have no more any connection with our father, mother or children. No. We are now gathered in another group, Kṛṣṇa conscious society.
So this is māyā. Janasya moho 'yam ahaṁ mameti (SB 5.5.8). We gather exactly like the straws, and on account of māyā's influence, we become very much attached: "Oh, here is my son. Here is my wife. Here is my family. Here is my..." And this is the, what is called, entanglement. Our main business is in the human form of life how to get out of this material world. They do not know. They not only create family but also society, community, nation, In this way we are embarrassed. The so-called nationalism, socialism and communism—simply moha, moha, exactly the same way as the small, that insects, under some illusion, moha, they come to the light and sacrifice their life. I have told you many times. We have seen in 1947, partition days, Hindu-Muslim fighting. One party was Hindu, other party was Muslim. They fought and so many died. And after death, there was no distinction who is Hindu or who is Muslim. The municipal men, they gathered together in piles and to throw them somewhere. Exactly the same way, the same insects, they come to the light and die in the morning, and we gather them together and throw in the street.
So long the life is there, everyone is thinking, "I have got this responsibility. I have got this responsibility. I have got this responsibility," and they are working very, very hard and doing all nonsense. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma (SB 5.5.4). Now, somebody's stealing for the sake of family maintenance, doing so many sinful activities, but when they are scattered again by the laws of nature, nobody will be sympathetic to me if I suffer for my own sinful activities. But they do by the so-..., for the so-called family. They get money, and they... Due to affection... First of all, whatever he earns, by hook or by crook, first of all he wants to see that his wife, children, are fed up very nicely. And, at last, if there is some remnants, he can eat, out of affection. You see?
So therefore this affection is the very hard knot for being bound up in this material world, this affection. Therefore the Vedic civilization is that the affection is to be cut off compulsory at a certain age, not that the affection should continue. If the affection continues, then there is no chance of my becoming free from this material world. There is no chance. Therefore vānaprastha. Because the wife's..., affection with the wife, is very, very strong. So vānaprastha means the husband and wife, they give up the affection. Not give up, go away from home, and they travel in the holy places just to purify, and again, when the affection draws, they come to the family. Again remain for one or two months, then again go away. So the wife, there is no sex connection, but wife remains as assistant to the man to be accustomed how to remain aloof from the family. And then, when he is practiced to remain aloof from the..., then wife is also sent back to the family, to the care of elderly children, and the man takes sannyāsa, compulsory. It is called "civil suicide." My Guru Mahārāja used to say, "Commit civil suicide." Mean... If you commit suicide it is criminal. It is also suicide, no more connection with family. This is also suicide, but it is civil. There is no criminal action against... But it is also voluntarily committing suicide—no more connection with anyone.
Ata saba hari āra varṇāśrama-dharma, niṣkiñcana haya laya kṛṣṇaika śaraṇa.(?) This is the... Varṇāśrama-dharma, that is material. Varṇāśrama is planned for material life in a systematic way so that, in due course of time, one may give up the family relationship and take sannyāsa and completely devote for Kṛṣṇa's service. This is the plan of varṇāśrama-dharma. Varṇāśrama-dharma is not meant for planning something, and you remain in the family. No. The Varṇāśrama... Varṇa means brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13). Guṇa, not everyone is qualified in the same way. Therefore you... The ācārya will pick up that "They are meant for becoming brāhmaṇas. They are meant for kṣatriyas." Or for coming from kṣatriya family, or the brāhmaṇa family... So first of all, these varṇas, then āśrama. The brāhmaṇa, one who is qualified as a brāhmaṇa, he has to observe the four āśramas, a brāhmaṇa: the brahmacārī-āśrama, the gṛhastha-āśrama, the vānaprastha-āśrama and sannyāsa-āśrama. The kṣatriya, they'll have to observe three āśramas: brahmacārī, gṛhastha and vānaprastha. And the vaiśyas, two āśramas: brahmacārī and gṛhastha. And śūdra, only one āśrama, only gṛhastha. A śūdra is never offered sannyāsa. A... Only the brāhmaṇa is offered.