Spiritual Perfection in Householder Life

Householder Life: An Equal Opportunity for Going Back to Godhead

Householder life, if properly conducted according to the instructions of the great acharyas is a powerful tool for attaining spiritual perfection. Spiritual perfection means to awaken the pure love of God which is currently lying dormant within one’s heart. Such awakening qualifies one to become a fully liberated soul even within this very lifetime and to thus become fully qualified for going back to home, back to Godhead at the end of this lifetime. For such a liberated soul death is not at all fearful. Rather it is an exciting moment of being promoted to a better position within the inconceivably amazing arrangements of the Supreme Lord. For such a liberated soul going back to home, back to Godhead is not a concern because by dint of his pure devotion he has already attained the kingdom of God through his constant direct association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Just as Lord Caitanya prays that He does not want wealth, women, followers, or even liberation from the cycle of birth and death, that He only desires pure devotional service—in a similar way, the devotee of the Lord who renounces material sense gratification and fully absorbs himself in devotional service is fully satisfied simply by being engaged in devotional service. He requires nothing else for his happiness. He is completely happy and free from anxiety. His going back to home, back to Godhead is fully guaranteed, but even before attaining that transcendental realm he is a fully liberated even in this world by his full surrender to the orders of Sri Krishna and Sri Guru.

This exalted state of pure prema-bhakti, pure love of Godhead, is just as available to the householders as it is to the brahmacaris and sannyasis. In fact in this connection Srila Prabhupada points out in a Srimad Bhagavatam lecture he gave in Gorakhpur, India on 12 February 1971, that among the twelve great mahajanas, the number of grihasthas is greater than the number of brahmacaris. In the list below we see that out of the list of 12 mahajanas, seven of the list are grihasthas and five are brahmacaris:

  1. Lord Brahma (grihastha)
  2. Narada Muni (brahmacari)
  3. Lord Shiva (grihastha)
  4. Kumaras (brahmacari)
  5. Lord Kapiladeva (brahmacarI)
  6. Svayambhuva Manu (grihastha)
  7. Prahlada Maharaja (grihastha)
  8. Janaka Maharaja (grihastha)
  9. Grandfather Bhisma (brahmacari)
  10. Bali Maharaja (grihastha)
  11. Sukadeva Goswami (brahmacari)
  12. Yamaraja (grihastha)

Srila Prabhupada points out that anyone who knows the science of Krishna can become a mahajana, a great transcendentalist. So the householder should not think that he is hopelessly trapped in a dark well of sense enjoyment. He should realize that he has equal facility with the brahmacaris and sannyasis for becoming a pure devotee of Krishna. Just as the brahmacaris and sannyasis can strictly follow the orders of the spiritual master and become perfect, similarly if the householder strictly follows the rules and regulations of householder life under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master without any deviation, he will also attain perfection in this very lifetime.

Krishna confirms in Bhagavad-gita 9.32 that everyone has an equal opportunity to attain the supreme destination. We can see the wonderful example of Bhaktivinode Thakur. He was an employee of the British government and he had a very large family. And at the same time he was a pure devotee of Krishna and a powerful acharya of the Krishna consciousness movement. This should be the standard of all householders. If one strictly follows the rules and regulations of householder life, his married life is called grihastha ashram because it is place for spiritual cultivation. But if one neglects the scriptural injunctions and the instructions of the spiritual master, his householder life is called grihamedhi life and will take him down to the animal kingdom in his next birth.

Srila Prabhupada very wonderfully describes the glories of the ideal householder, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur: “Our acharya Bhaktivinode Thakur was the perfect householder and we should take his example. How nice a householder he was and how nice children he produced; one of them is my Guru Maharaja. That is the example. So follow it and become successful in Krishna Consciousness.” (from a letter to Svarupa das written in Bombay on 15 June 1971)

Bhaktivinode Thakur has written a very nice song in which he teaches the perfect mood for householders:

‘āmāra’ bolite prabhu! āre kichu nāi
tumi-i āmāra mātra pitā-bandhu-bhāi

“O Lord, nothing further remains that may be called ‘mine.’ Father, friend, brother-You alone are all these to me.”

bandhu, dārā, suta, sutā-tava dāsī dās
sei to’ sambandhe sabe āmāra prayās

“My friends, wife, sons and daughters are now Your servants and maidservants. Whatever care I take for them is only as they are related to You.”

dhana, jana, gṛha, dāra ‘tomāra’ boliyā
rakhā kori āmi mātro sevaka hoiyā

“Declaring that my wealth, family members, home, and wife are truly Yours, I continue as a mere servant to dutifully protect them.”

tomāra kāryera tore uparjibo dhan
tomāra saṁsāre-vyaya koribo vahan

“For the purpose of Your service I will earn money and bear the expense of maintaining Your household.”

bhālo-manda nāhi jāni sevā mātro kori
tomāra saṁsāre āmi viṣaya-praharī

“I know nothing of what is good or bad; I simply render my service. I am but a watchman set to guard the properties of Your household.”

tomāra icchāya mora indriya-cālanā
śravana, darśana, ghrāna, bhojana-vāsanā

“I exercise my senses only according to Your direction, and thus I desire to hear, see, smell, and taste.”

nija-sukha lāgi’ kichu nāhi kori ār
bhakativinoda bole, tava sukha-sār

“I no longer do anything for my own pleasure. Bhaktivinoda says, ‘Your pleasure is the essence of everything.’”

The Guiding Principles for Liberating the Householders from Material Entanglement

The wonderful regulative principles of freedom have been lovingly presented by the previous acharyas and so clearly explained in a manner just suitable for our understanding by our ISKCON Founder-Acharya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. These divine guidelines, if sincerely followed, enable us to attain the supreme goal of pure Krishna bhakti. Even though householder life is a concession for sex pleasure, this does not mean that the householders have a license for unrestricted sex pleasure.

In his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 3.14.33 Srila Prabhupada strongly warns those who are married to avoid sex that is not according to regulative principles:

“Sex life with one’s wife is equal to prostitution if the regulations are not properly followed.”

And he very wisely guides the householders in his purport to Bhagavad-gita 3.34 as follows:

“One has to follow those rules and regulations, unattached to them, because practice of sense gratification under regulations may also lead one to go astray — as much as there is always the chance of an accident, even on the royal roads. Although they may be very carefully maintained, no one can guarantee that there will be no danger even on the safest road. The sense enjoyment spirit has been current a very long, long time, owing to material association. Therefore, in spite of regulated sense enjoyment, there is every chance of falling down; therefore any attachment for regulated sense enjoyment must also be avoided by all means. But attachment to Krsna consciousness, or acting always in the loving service of Krsna, detaches one from all kinds of sensory activities. Therefore, no one should try to be detached from Krsna consciousness at any stage of life. The whole purpose of detachment from all kinds of sense attachment is ultimately to become situated on the platform of Krsna consciousness.”

Srila Prabhupada very wisely advises the householders that even though they have license for sex enjoyment they must cultivate detachment from it. So how do they do that? What are the practical guidelines? How to have sex, the topmost of all material pleasures, and at the same time become detached from it? In the very beginning days of ISKCON Srila Prabhupada gave specific instructions to his householder disciples exactly how they were to have sex in such a way that they could simultaneously become detached from it. These practical guidelines are most important because they save the householders from remaining attached to sex pleasure. These guidelines are absolutely necessary because as long as one is attached to sex pleasure it will not be possible for him to go back to home, back to Godhead. In the following letter written to Satsvarupa das on 20 September 1968 when Srila Prabhupada was in San Francisco we see clearly Srila Prabhupada’s order that sex is limited to once a month just after the wife’s menstrual cycle. Also Srila Prabhupada strictly forbids any kind of contraceptive method as being very much sinful:

“In your letter of the 17th instant, you have very frankly inquired from me about householder life, especially in the matter of sex relationship. A sannyasi is not supposed to be asked about anything sexual. But still, because you are so much dependent on my instruction, so I must give you information as far as possible. Married life is not for sex indulgence. The principle of marriage is on the background of getting good children. So the householder is allowed to have sex life once in a month, just after the menstrual period. The menstrual period prolongs at least for 5 days, so after this 5 days, one can have sex life provided he desires to get a child. And as soon as the wife is pregnant, no more sex life, until the child is born and is grown up at least for 6 months. After that, one may have sex life on the same principle. If one does not want more than one or two children, he should voluntarily stop sex life. But one should not strictly use any contraceptive method and at the same time indulge in sex life. That is very much sinful. If the husband and wife can voluntarily restrain by powerful advancement of Krishna Consciousness. That is the best method. It is not necessary that because one has got wife, therefore you must have sex life. The whole scheme is to avoid sex life as far as possible. And if one can avoid it completely then it is a great victory for him. Married life is a sort of license for sex life on condition of raising children. So you should try to understand these principles of married life and use your discretion.”

Srila Prabhupada likens contraception to illegally denying a tenant access to his apartment. The unborn spirit-soul in a seed form is present within the semina of the male. When he injects the semina into his wife the spirit-soul gets the opportunity to develop a body within the womb of the mother. If the woman takes birth control pills she has made her womb an uninhabitable place for that spirit-soul who is rightfully entering into her body it to take up residence and develop a body. Thus contraception is a criminal act of illegally denying a tenant access to his apartment. Similarly if condoms are used the soul is being blocked from even getting through the door of the apartment which is rightfully his to enter. Thus the use of condoms is also a criminal act.

The Vedic ritualistic ceremony for impregnating one’s wife was known as the garbhadana samskara. It was a child-begetting public religious ceremony for sanctifying the placing of the seed within the mother’s womb. Sex was not indulged in in a fit of passion. It was instead carefully regulated for attracting the highest quality children to take birth. In this regard Srila Prabhupada explains as follows in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 5.2.2:

“According to the Vedic system, therefore, before a child is conceived, the garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is performed. This ceremony molds the mentality of the father in such a way that when he plants his seed in the womb of his wife, he will beget a child whose mind will be completely saturated with a devotional attitude. At the present moment, however, there are no such garbhādhāna-saṁskāras, and therefore people generally have a lusty attitude when they beget children. Especially in this age of Kali, there are no garbhādhāna ceremonies; everyone enjoys sex with his wife like a cat or dog. Therefore according to śāstric injunctions, almost all the people of this age belong to the śūdra category.”

The time and place of having sex was sanctified by a ceremony before the seed of a child was planted within the fertile womb of the wife. Srila Prabhupada describes the necessity of the garbhadana samskara in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 3.20.28 as follows:

“It follows that any father and mother should also be careful while begetting children. The mental condition of a child depends upon the mental status of his parents at the time he is conceived. According to the Vedic system, therefore, the garbhadhana-samskara, or the ceremony for giving birth to a child, is observed. Before begetting a child, one has to sanctify his perplexed mind. When the parents engage their minds in the lotus feet of the Lord and in such a state the child is born, naturally good devotee children come; when the society is full of such good population, there is no trouble from demoniac mentalities.”

Srila Prabhupada further elaborates on this in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 3.14.38 as follows:

“The conditions for having good progeny in society are that the husband should be disciplined in religious and regulative principles and the wife should be faithful to the husband. In Bhagavad-gita (7.11) it is said that sexual intercourse according to religious principles is a representation of Krsna consciousness. Before engaging in sexual intercourse, both the husband and the wife must consider their mental condition, the particular time, the husband’s direction, and obedience to the demigods. According to Vedic society, there is a suitable auspicious time for sex life, which is called the time for garbhadhana. Diti neglected all the principles of scriptural injunction, and therefore, although she was very anxious for auspicious children, she was informed that her children would not be worthy to be the sons of a brahmana.

The point is that one must follow regulative principles in order to beget saintly children. Unregulated sex life attracts children of a demoniac quality. In the former times to insure good progeny the system was that a husband and wife would have no sexual relations unless there was first of the execution of the garbhadhana samskara.

The birth of a human being is a great science, and therefore reformation of the act of impregnation according to the Vedic ritual called Garbhadhana-samskara is very important for generating good population. The problem is not to check the growth of the population, but to generate good population on the level of Vidura, Vyasa and Maitreya. There is no need to check the growth of population if the children are born as human beings with all precautions regarding their birth. So-called birth control is not only vicious but also useless.”

And in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 3.31.5 he further states:

“The garbhādhāna ceremony before sexual intercourse was compulsory for persons in the higher grades of society, and it is very scientific.”

To not follow the principle of sanctifying one’s act of sex is very dangerous because it can attract children of a demoniac mentality. This is confirmed as follows by Srila Prabhupada in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 3.16.35:

“The living entity takes shelter within the semen of a father, which is injected within the womb of a mother, and with the help of the mother’s emulsified ovum the living entity grows a particular type of a body. In this connection it is to be remembered that the mind of Kaśyapa Muni was not in order when he conceived the two sons, Hiraṇyākṣa and Hiraṇyakaśipu. Therefore the semen he discharged was simultaneously extremely powerful and mixed with the quality of anger. It is to be concluded that while conceiving a child one’s mind must be very sober and devotional. For this purpose the Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is recommended in the Vedic scriptures. If the mind of the father is not sober, the semen discharged will not be very good. Thus the living entity, wrapped in the matter produced from the father and mother, will be demoniac like Hiraṇyākṣa and Hiraṇyakaśipu. The conditions of conception are to be carefully studied. This is a very great science.”

Krishna states in the Bhagavad-gita that He is that sex life which is not contrary to religious principles:

balaṁ balavatāṁ cāhaṁ
dharmāviruddho bhūteṣu
kāmo ‘smi bharatarṣabha

“I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am that sex life which is not contrary to religious principles, O lord of the Bhāratas [Arjuna].”—BG 7.11

In other words when one has sex in accordance with the Vedic injunctions that sex is sacred because it is Krishna Himself. This sort of divine sex life attracts children with divine qualities to take birth, and is therefore very desirable..

So how is the householder to execute this purification of seed-giving in a practical way in the present day? Even though Srila Prabhupada is a sannyasi as our loving father he has guided his householder disciples precisely on what they should do to purify the act of sex for begetting saintly children. Srila Prabhupada’s order is that the householders should each chant at least fifty rounds of Hare Krishna mantra japa before combining for trying to produce a child. Srila Prabhupada states this in a letter to Syama dasi that he wrote to her from Los Angeles on 18 January 1969 as follows:

“You have asked me some questions about the functions of sex life in Krishna Consciousness, and the basic principle is that it should be avoided as far as possible. However, if it is unavoidable, then it should be utilized only for begetting Krishna Conscious children. In that case, the husband and wife should chant at least fifty rounds before going to sex.”

This instruction of Srila Prabhupada is divine. During the time when Srila Prabhupada was physically present on this earth the 50 rounds requirement was common knowledge understood and accepted by all ISKCON devotees. By following this instruction the husband and wife are elevated to a very high state of consciousness in which they will attract a spiritually advanced child to take birth. I remember many years ago when I was a brahmacari in Miami, Florida, USA a householder devotee told me how he and his wife had both chanted 50 rounds the night before for sanctifying their attempt to have a child. He told me that after they had both chanted 50 rounds of Hare Krishna japa that they were so much relishing the bliss of Krishna’s holy name that they decided not to come down to the bodily platform by having sex. Thus they decided that they would wait another month before trying to beget a child. This is a wonderful testimony to the sublime power of Krishna’s holy name. It elevates the sincere chanter to a plane of consciousness far, far beyond the sufferings and enjoyments of this material world.

Srila Prabhupada is very emphatic. The householder is to be just as disciplined and regulated as the brahmacaris and sannyasis. In fact he is not to engage in sex life at all unless he has gotten specific authorization from his spiritual master to do so. This is confirmed as follows in Srimad Bhagavatam 7.12.11

etat sarvaṁ gṛhasthasya
samāmnātaṁ yater api
guru-vṛttir vikalpena

“All the rules and regulations apply equally to the householder and the sannyāsī, the member of the renounced order of life. The gṛhastha, however, is given permission by the spiritual master to indulge in sex during the period favorable for procreation.”


It is sometimes misunderstood that a gṛhastha, a householder, is permitted to indulge in sex at any time. This is a wrong conception of gṛhastha life. In spiritual life, whether one is a gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsī or brahmacārī, everyone is under the control of the spiritual master. For brahmacārīs and sannyāsīs there are strong restrictions on sexual indulgence. Similarly, there are strong restrictions for gṛhasthas. Gṛhasthas should indulge in sex life only in accordance with the order of the guru. Therefore it is mentioned here that one must follow the orders of the spiritual master (guru-vṛttir vikalpena). When the spiritual master orders, the gṛhastha may accept sex life. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (7.11). Dharmāviruddho bhūteṣu kāmo ‘smi: indulgence in sex life without disobedience to the religious rules and regulations constitutes a religious principle. The gṛhastha is allowed to indulge in sex life during the period favorable for procreation and in accordance with the spiritual master’s order. If the spiritual master’s orders allow a gṛhastha to engage in sex life at a particular time, then the gṛhastha may do so; otherwise, if the spiritual master orders against it, the gṛhastha should abstain. The gṛhastha must obtain permission from the spiritual master to observe the ritualistic ceremony of garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. Then he may approach his wife to beget children, otherwise not. A brāhmaṇa generally remains a brahmacārī throughout his entire life, but although some brāhmaṇas become gṛhasthas and indulge in sex life, they do so under the complete control of the spiritual master. The kṣatriya is allowed to marry more than one wife, but this also must be in accordance with the instructions of the spiritual master. It is not that because one is a gṛhastha he may marry as many times as he likes and indulge in sex life as he likes. This is not spiritual life. In spiritual life, one must conduct one’s whole life under the guidance of the guru. Only one who executes his spiritual life under the direction of the spiritual master can achieve the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ **. If one desires to advance in spiritual life but he acts whimsically, not following the orders of the spiritual master, he has no shelter. Yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto ‘pi. Without the spiritual master’s order, even the gṛhastha should not indulge in sex life.”

After hearing the rules and regulations for grihasthas, Krishna conscious householders, a householder may think that this is not possible and that this will ruin his marriage. But we are wisely instructed in the Svetasvara Upanisad 6.23 to put our full faith in the words of the scriptures and the words of the spiritual master:

yasya deve parā bhaktir
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
prakāśante mahātmanaḥ

“One who has unflinching devotion for the Supreme Lord and is directed by the spiritual master, in whom he has similar unflinching faith, can see the Supreme Personality of Godhead by revelation.”

So if the householders will lay aside all of their doubts, putting full faith in sastra and guru, they will become fully qualified to see Krishna face to face and all the misgivings of material existence will be conspicuous only by their absence in their sublime Vaikuntha householder ashram spiritual existence in which the Supreme Personality of Godhead will be personally present.

Transcending Bodily Identification

In the spiritual world even though the men and women are inconceivably beautiful and regularly associate with each other, there is no feeling of sex attraction because their hearts are fully absorbed 24 hours a day in attraction to Sri Krishna. According to our taste we attain our next birth. So as long as the taste for sex pleasure remains within the heart we must take birth again in the material world to satisfy that taste. One who actually gets a taste for the topmost pleasure of Krishna consciousness will naturally consider sex pleasure to be nasty and abominable. This point is confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatam 7.9.45 as follows:

yan maithunādi-gṛhamedhi-sukhaṁ hi tuccham

“Sex pleasure, which is considered the topmost of all pleasures by the materialistic householders, is indeed tenth class at best.”

Srila Prabhupada elaborates on this in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 5.13.5:

“It is said that household attraction resides in the wife because sex is the center of household life: yan maithunādi-gṛhamedhi-sukhaṁ hi tuccham [SB 7.9.45]. A materialistic person, making his wife the center of attraction, works very hard day and night. His only enjoyment in material life is sexual intercourse. Therefore karmīs are attracted to women as friends or wives. Indeed, they cannot work without sex. Under the circumstances the wife is compared to a whirlwind, especially during her menstrual period. Those who strictly follow the rules and regulations of householder life engage in sex only once a month, at the end of the menstrual period. As one looks forward to this opportunity, his eyes are overwhelmed by the beauty of his wife. Thus it is said that the whirlwind covers the eyes with dust. Such a lusty person does not know that all his material activities are being observed by different demigods, especially the sun-god, and are being recorded for the karma of one’s next body. Astrological calculations are called jyoti-śāstra. Because the jyoti, or effulgence, in the material world comes from the different stars and planets, the science is called jyoti-śāstra, the science of the luminaries. By the calculations of jyoti, our future is indicated. In other words, all the luminaries—the stars, sun and moon—witness the activities of the conditioned soul. Thus he is awarded a particular type of body. A lusty person whose eyes are covered by the dust of the whirlwind or material existence does not at all consider that his activities are being observed by different stars and planets and are being recorded. Not knowing this, the conditioned soul commits all kinds of sinful activities for the satisfaction of his lusty desires.”

One who has actually tasted the pleasure of Krishna’s holy name is no longer attracted by any of the allurements of this material existence even all the way up to the topmost position in this material world of becoming Lord Brahma. The inferior position of even the topmost material enjoyment is confirmed as follows in the Bhagavad-gita:

ā-brahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ
punar āvartino ‘rjuna
mām upetya tu kaunteya
punar janma na vidyate

“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.”

Bhagavad-gita 8.16

In this material life sex is accepted as the topmost of all material pleasures. Actually this is nature’s arrangement to induce the human beings to propagate. There are so many distresses and anxieties that one has to go through in producing and raising children. So much burden of expense is there. Srila Prabhupada explains that in order to counteract the distresses of having children nature has given a pleasure coating on the genitals that when stimulated gives one an intense pleasure. Srila Prabhupada explains this in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 2.6.9 as follows:

“The genitals and the pleasure of begetting counteract the distresses of family encumbrances. One would cease to generate altogether if there were not, by the grace of the Lord, a coating, a pleasure-giving substance, on the surface of the generative organs. This substance gives a pleasure so intense that it counteracts fully the distress of family encumbrances. A person is so captivated by this pleasure-giving substance that he is not satisfied by begetting a single child, but increases the number of children, with great risk in regard to maintaining them, simply for this pleasure-giving substance. This pleasure-giving substance is not false, however, because it originates from the transcendental body of the Lord. In other words, the pleasure-giving substance is a reality, but it has taken on an aspect of pervertedness on account of material contamination. In the material world, sex life is the cause of many distresses on account of material contact. Therefore, the sex life in the material world should not be encouraged beyond the necessity. There is a necessity for generating progeny even in the material world, but such generation of children must be carried out with full responsibility for spiritual values. The spiritual values of life can be realized in the human form of material existence, and the human being must adopt family planning with reference to the context of spiritual values, and not otherwise. The degraded form of family restriction by use of contraceptives, etc., is the grossest type of material contamination. Materialists who use these devices want to fully utilize the pleasure potency of the coating on the genitals by artificial means, without knowing the spiritual importance. And without knowledge of spiritual values, the less intelligent man tries to utilize only the material sense pleasure of the genitals.”

So the householder has a choice. He can follow the path of the great mahajanas by utilizing sex pleasure only for procreation. Or he can follow the pathway of those who are going down to the animal kingdom in their next birth by utilizing sex pleasure for recreation. One may feel that with all the anxieties of material life that sex pleasure is the only relief that he can get from the stress. But such a person is ignorant of the fact that recreational sex does nothing except increase the stress of material existence because it tightens the hrdaya-granthi, the hard knot of bodily identification within the heart. All of our anxieties are simply due to the fact that we misidentify with our material bodies. One who realizes his transcendental nature becomes fully blissful. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita 18.54 as follows:

brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām

“One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.”

All one has to do to become fully joyful is fully establish himself on the transcendental platform as an eternal servant of God, a spiritual being, full of bliss and full of knowledge. This is accomplished by surrendering fully unto Lord Sri Krishna under the guidance the bona fide, expert spiritual master. How to do this is described by Srila Prabhupada in his purport to Bhagavad-gita 4.34 as follows:

“The path of spiritual realization is undoubtedly difficult. The Lord therefore advises us to approach a bona fide spiritual master in the line of disciplic succession from the Lord Himself. No one can be a bona fide spiritual master without following this principle of disciplic succession. The Lord is the original spiritual master, and a person in the disciplic succession can convey the message of the Lord as it is to his disciple. No one can be spiritually realized by manufacturing his own process, as is the fashion of the foolish pretenders. The Bhāgavatam (6.3.19) says, dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam: the path of religion is directly enunciated by the Lord. Therefore, mental speculation or dry arguments cannot help lead one to the right path. Nor by independent study of books of knowledge can one progress in spiritual life. One has to approach a bona fide spiritual master to receive the knowledge. Such a spiritual master should be accepted in full surrender, and one should serve the spiritual master like a menial servant, without false prestige. Satisfaction of the self-realized spiritual master is the secret of advancement in spiritual life. Inquiries and submission constitute the proper combination for spiritual understanding. Unless there is submission and service, inquiries from the learned spiritual master will not be effective. One must be able to pass the test of the spiritual master, and when he sees the genuine desire of the disciple, he automatically blesses the disciple with genuine spiritual understanding. In this verse, both blind following and absurd inquiries are condemned. Not only should one hear submissively from the spiritual master, but one must also get a clear understanding from him, in submission and service and inquiries. A bona fide spiritual master is by nature very kind toward the disciple. Therefore when the student is submissive and is always ready to render service, the reciprocation of knowledge and inquiries becomes perfect.”

In this way, if the householder couple takes complete shelter of the bona fide spiritual master by becoming his initiated disciples and firmly adheres to the initiation vows, they are guaranteed to be successful in attaining the spiritual world in this lifetime. Regarding sex pleasure, the disciples vow to strictly avoid illicit sex. This means that they will only have sex when trying to bring a child into this world and that they will only indulge in such sanctified sex once in a month after the wife’s menstrual cycle and after they have both chanted at least 50 rounds of the Hare Krishna mahamantra on japa mala beads. Such sex life will bring a new generation of great devotees into the Krishna consciousness movement for delivering the entire world from chaos.

Reproduced from ISKCON