Householder Life

How to Earn One’s Livelihood in Grihastha Ashram

Do’s and Don’ts on how to earn one’s livelihood in grihastha ashram.

  • A grihastha must earn wealth to maintain his family. But he must do it in an uncomplicated way.
  • Simple living and high thinking is the motto of a Krishna conscious grihastha. He is not an unduly ambitious individual trying to earn more money than necessary, hoarding more goods than necessary.
  • In the process of earning his livelihood, a grihastha should not be unfair to others, not exploit or cheat others, nor cause cruelty or injustice to others.
  • He must not perform sinful activities. He must work honestly according to his qualifications and his prescribed duties.
  • He should not be corrupt in his earning or spending.
    The guiding principle is that a grihastha must earn enough money in a straight forward Krishna Conscious way to keep body and soul together, to serve the Supreme Lord, to keep his family together, chant together, worship the deities together and to call devotees home to serve them and feed them Krishna prasad.
  • If a devotee desires to earn a large sum of money for Krishna’s service, he should seek guidance from a senior Vaisnava and should be careful not to entangle himself in dubious and risky ventures, threatening his mental peace and health.
  • Grihastha ashram is full of anxieties, such as getting children married, providing education to one’s children, buying a house, etc., all of which require certain amount of money. One should not be unduly anxious about household affairs. While doing one’s duty as a parent a grihastha devotee is aware that his children have their own karmic destiny and free will. One should simply try to execute one’s responsibilities surrendering to Krishna with full faith in Him. The real meaning of the word ashraya, implicit in grihastha ashram, is to fully depend on the Supreme Lord in all of one’s activities taking His shelter.
    Bhakti Vinoda Thakura has sung, “chant the holy name of Krishna without offense. Krishna is our mother, Krishna is our father and Krishna is the treasure of our life.”
  • A grihastha should see his family members as Krishna’s representatives, although he should be doing his very best to maintain and protect them. Internally, one should have the understanding that this is Krishna’s family. Discharging one’s duties in such a consciousness, ushers in a feeling of trusteeship and inculcates an attitude of earning one’s livelihood in a pious way.
  • How does a grihastha practice detachment? Detachment from one’s children, wife and home does not mean that one should have no feelings for them. They are natural objects of our affection, but when they are not favorable for our Krishna consciousness, one should not be attached to them. However, sincere efforts to make them Krishna conscious should not be given up. The process of Krishna consciousness is very simple and joyous to perform. Every grihastha should endeavor to train his family members in Krishna consciousness. In such a household, where all the members are Krishna conscious, there is no need to change from family life to renounced life.

Reproduced from the Grahastha Manual by Radhanath Swami Maharaj.