santosam yena kenacit
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
One should practice meditation by constantly seeing oneself to be an eternal cognizant spirit soul and seeing the Lord to be the absolute controller of everything. To increase one’s meditation, one should live in a secluded place and give up false attachment to one’s home and household paraphernalia. Giving up the decorations of the temporary material body, one should dress himself with scraps of cloth found in rejected places, or with the bark of trees. In this way one should learn to be satisfied in any material situation.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Kaivalyam, or living in a secluded place, indicates a place free from material disturbances. Therefore, one should live in the association of Vaisnavas, where the common goal is advancement in Krsna consciousness. Especially in the Kali-yuga, if one tries to remain physically isolated from all others the result will be degradation or insanity. Aniketatam means that one should not be intoxicated by the ephemeral satisfaction of one’s “home sweet home,” which will vanish at any moment by the unforeseen circumstances produced by one’s previous activities. In this age it is not actually possible to dress in tree bark in modern cities, nor to wear mere scraps of cloth. Previously, human culture accommodated those practicing tapasya, or penances in the interest of spiritual advancement. In this age, however, the most urgent necessity is for preaching the message of Bhagavad-gita throughout human society. Therefore, it is recommended that Vaisnavas dress with clean and neat cloth, covering the body decently so that the conditioned souls will not be frightened or repulsed by the severe penances of the Vaisnavas. In the Kali-yuga the conditioned souls are extremely attached to material sense gratification, and extreme austerities are not appreciated, but are instead considered abominable denials of the flesh. Of course, austerity is required for spiritual advancement, but the practical example set by Srila Prabhupada in successfully spreading the Krsna consciousness movement was that all material things should be used to attract people to Krsna consciousness. Therefore, Vaisnavas may at times adopt ordinary dress to serve the higher principle of distributing Krsna consciousness. In any case, one should learn to be satisfied in any material situation so as to prepare for the moment of death. According to Bhagavad-gita, at the time of death the particular consciousness we have created in this life will carry us to our future situation. Therefore, human life can be seen as a type of practice for successfully fixing one’s mind on the Absolute Truth during the severe trials of death.