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sastrasya pitur adesam
yo na veda nivartakam
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
[Narada Muni had asked how one could ignorantly defy one’s own father. The Haryasvas understood the meaning of this question.] One must accept the original instructions of the sastra. According to Vedic civilization, one is offered a sacred thread as a sign of second birth. One takes his second birth by dint of having received instructions in the sastra from a bona fide spiritual master. Therefore, sastra, scripture, is the real father. All the sastras instruct that one should end his material way of life. If one does not know the purpose of the father’s orders, the sastras, he is ignorant. The words of a material father who endeavors to engage his son in material activities are not the real instructions of the father.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Bhagavad-gita (16.7) says, pravrttim ca nivrttim ca jana na vidur asurah: demons, who are less than human beings but are not called animals, do not know the meaning of pravrtti and nivrtti, work to be done and work not to be done. In the material world, every living entity has a desire to lord it over the material world as much as possible. This is called pravrtti-marga. All the sastras, however, advise nivrtti-marga, or release from the materialistic way of life. Apart from the sastras of the Vedic civilization, which is the oldest of the world, other sastras agree on this point. For example, in the Buddhist sastras Lord Buddha advises that one achieve nirvana by giving up the materialistic way of life. In the Bible, which is also sastra, one will find the same advice: one should cease materialistic life and return to the kingdom of God. In any sastra one may examine, especially the Vedic sastra, the same advice is given: one should give up his materialistic life and return to his original, spiritual life. Sankaracarya also propounds the same conclusion. Brahma satyam jagan mithya: this material world or materialistic life is simply illusion, and therefore one should stop his illusory activities and come to the platform of Brahman.
The word sastra refers to the scriptures, particularly the Vedic books of knowledge. The Vedas — Sama, Yajur, Rg and Atharva — and any other books deriving knowledge from these Vedas are considered Vedic literatures. Bhagavad-gita is the essence of all Vedic knowledge, and therefore it is the scripture whose instructions should be especially accepted. In this essence of all sastras, Krsna personally advises that one give up all other duties and surrender unto Him (sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja).
One should be initiated into following the principles of sastra. In offering initiation, our Krsna consciousness movement asks one to come to the conclusion of sastra by taking the advice of the supreme speaker of the sastra, Krsna, forgetting the principles of the materialistic way of life. Therefore the principles we advise are no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling and no meat-eating. These four types of engagement will enable an intelligent person to get free from the materialistic life and return home, back to Godhead.
In regard to the instructions of the father and mother, it may be said that every living entity, including even the insignificant cats, dogs and serpents, takes birth of a father and mother. Therefore, getting a material father and mother is not a problem. In every form of life, birth after birth, the living entity gets a father and mother. In human society, however, if one is satisfied with his material father and mother and their instructions and does not make further progress by accepting a spiritual master and being educated in the sastras, he certainly remains in darkness. The material father and mother are important only if they are interested in educating their son to become free from the clutches of death. As instructed by Rsabhadeva (Bhag. 5.5.18): pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat/ na mocayed yah samupeta-mrtyum. One should not strive to become a mother or father if one cannot save one’s dependent son from the impending danger of death. A parent who does not know how to save his son has no value because such fathers and mothers may be had in any form of life, even among the cats, dogs and so on. Only a father and mother who can elevate their son to the spiritual platform are bona fide parents. Therefore according to the Vedic system it is said, janmana jayate sudrah: one is born of a material father and mother as a sudra. The purpose of life, however, is to become a brahmana, a first-class man.
A first-class intelligent man is called a brahmana because he knows the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Truth. According to the Vedic instructions, tad-vijñanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet: to know this science, one must approach a bona fide guru, a spiritual master who will initiate the disciple with the sacred thread so that he may understand the Vedic knowledge. Janmana jayate sudrah samskarad dhi bhaved dvijah. Becoming a brahmana through the endeavor of a bona fide spiritual master is called samskara. After initiation, one is engaged in study of the sastra, which teaches the student how to gain release from materialistic life and return home, back to Godhead.
The Krsna consciousness movement is teaching this higher knowledge of retiring from materialistic life to return to Godhead, but unfortunately many parents are not very satisfied with this movement. Aside from the parents of our students, many businessmen are also dissatisfied because we teach our students to abandon intoxication, meat-eating, illicit sex and gambling. If the Krsna consciousness movement spreads, the so-called businessmen will have to close their slaughterhouses, breweries and cigarette factories. Therefore they are also very much afraid. However, we have no alternative than to teach our disciples to free themselves from materialistic life. We must instruct them in the opposite of material life to save them from the repetition of birth and death.
Narada Muni, therefore, advised the Haryasvas, the sons of Prajapati Daksa, that instead of begetting progeny, it would be better to leave and achieve the perfection of spiritual understanding according to the instructions of the sastras. The importance of the sastras is mentioned in Bhagavad-gita (16.23):
yah sastra-vidhim utsrjya
na sa siddhim avapnoti
na sukham na param gatim
“One who disregards the injunctions of the sastras and acts whimsically, as he likes, never achieves the perfection of life, not to speak of happiness. Nor does he return home to the spiritual world.”