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SB 11.18.25

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Please note: The synonyms, translation and purport of this verse were composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


abhīkṣṇaṁ bhaikṣyam ācaret
saṁsidhyaty āśv asammohaḥ
śuddha-sattvaḥ śilāndhasā


vānaprastha-āśrama—of the vānaprastha order of life; padeṣu—in the position; abhīkṣṇam—always; bhaikṣyam—begging; ācaret—one should perform; saṁsidhyati—one becomes spiritually perfect; āśu—quickly; asammohaḥ—free from illusion; śuddha—purified; sattvaḥ—existence; śīla—obtained by begging or gleaning; andhasā—by food.

Translation and purport composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


One in the vānaprastha order of life should always practice taking charity from others, for one is thereby freed from illusion and quickly becomes perfect in spiritual life. Indeed, one who subsists on food grains obtained in such a humble manner purifies his existence.


In the Western countries people are generally so dull that they cannot distinguish between a saintly beggar and an ordinary hobo or hippie. A saintly beggar is constantly engaged in authorized devotional service to the Supreme Lord and accepts only what he requires for his bare maintenance. The author of this book remembers entering the Kṛṣṇa consciousness society as an arrogant university student and being quickly humbled by the process of begging on the street on behalf of Kṛṣṇa. This process is not theoretical but actually purifies one's existence by forcing one to offer respect to all others. Unless one offers respect to others, one's begging will be fruitless. Also, by begging one will not often eat very sumptuously. This is good because when the tongue is controlled the other senses are quickly pacified. A vānaprastha should never give up the purifying process of begging for his food, and ordinary people should not foolishly equate a lazy bum living at the cost of others with a saintly beggar engaged in higher duties for the Supreme Lord.

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