Light of the Bhāgavata

Text 46

The merchants, preachers, kings, and students who were confined to home during the four months June, July, August, and September began to flow out and attain success in life, just as perfected souls attain the required body as soon as they leave the present one. 

The people in general—especially the merchants, preachers, kings, and students—are advised not to leave home during the four months of the rainy season. These four months are known as Cāturmāsya, and for everyone there are specific rules for observing this period, partly for the sake of health and partly for spiritual realization. During this period the merchants cannot do free business, dedicated souls like sannyāsīs cannot freely preach the doctrines of the Vedas, kings cannot go out to tour their states, and students cannot go to their schools, which are closed. But after the Cāturmāsya period they all get the freedom to go out and perform their respective duties, and by doing so they can achieve the results they desire. 

In the same way, one cannot achieve the desired results of one’s penances until one attains freedom from the present body. There are various ways to practice the various kinds of yoga to attain various results in various spheres of life. It is not that everything is the same. There are varieties of life, varieties of planets, and varieties of success in spiritual realization. And all these can be achieved only when we have finished the Cāturmāsya-like period of life. It is a foolish imagination, therefore, that we can go to other planets in the present body. If we want to go to Devaloka, the planets of the demigods, we must achieve the required qualifications, and the same is true if we want to go back to the kingdom of God. If we want to remain on this planet in some better condition of life, that also will depend on the required achievements. In any case, those achievements can be fulfilled just after one leaves the body. 

The merchants, preachers, kings, and students form the four important sections of human society. The merchants should see that everyone gets his proper share of the food given as a gift by God. The sannyāsī preachers should go from door to door to preach the sense of God consciousness, not to build maṭhas and temples but to enlighten the people. The king should go out from his home to see with his own eyes how things are going on. (Mahārāja Parīkṣit, while on tour, saw a man, Kali, attempting to kill a cow, so the king at once punished him.) And students should gather knowledge wherever it is available. The combined work of these four sections is meant for the general welfare of society.