In conversation with His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Indian man (1): It is really marvelous, how the (Hare Krishna) movement has spread.
Prabhupāda: This is marvelous. You give the real thing, and it will act. If you give false things… but if it is spoiled, it will create disease. Our leaders, our politicians, our swamis and yogis, they have spoiled Bhagavad-gitā by misinterpretation. Then what benefit he’ll derive? They are spoiling, and they are followers. Now whatever is done is done. You can reform it and again it will be all right. Now call, if there is any question.
Tamāla Krishna: Does anyone have any questions they would like to ask Srila Prabhupada?
Indian man (2): Can one be a householder, I mean, with his normal worldly life, and at the same time be a…
Prabhupāda: First of all, what do you mean by householder?
Indian man (2): I mean continue the normal, occupation of one’s…
Prabhupāda: Tell me. Explain what is householder?
Indian man (2): Looking after one’s business, after one’s…
Prabhupāda: So that is… Dog is also doing that business.
Indian man (2): Pardon?
Prabhupāda: Dog is also doing that. Is he householder? Taking care of children, the dog is also doing that. So is he householder? First of all, you do not know what is meant by householder. “Taking care of children” – that is done by the birds. In the nest the small kiddies are there, and they are bringing food and pushing in the mouth, (makes bird noise:) “Tee, tee, tee, tee, tee” Are they householder? And if you think they are householder, you are also householder like the dogs and birds. You do not know what is householder. Therefore you have to consult śāstra. Who is a householder? Śāstra says, pitā na sa syāj jananī na sā syāt, na mocayed yah samupeta-mrtyum (SB 5.5.18): “You should not become a father and mother unless you take the responsibility for your children that ‘no more birth’.” Because this is the problem: janma-mrtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duhkha-dosānudarśanam (Birth, death, old age and disease – Ed.) [Bg. 13.9]. If you are so able father and mother that you can stop this miserable condition of your children, then you become householder. That is householder. Otherwise what is the use of becoming a householder like dogs and cats? There is no use. There are so many cats and dogs. What is use of increasing? Now government is forcing: “Do not produce cats and dogs…” because the whole world is fed up with these cats and dogs householders.
Real householder is, śāstra says, “Don’t become a father, don’t become a mother, if you cannot protect your children from death” Samupeta-mrtyum. And they (such householders) are required. If you can do that, then you are welcome. You can produce hundreds of children. But if you cannot protect yourself, how you’ll be able to protect your children? All bogus. Householder is allowed, as brahmacārī-āśrama, grhastha-āśrama. Big, big personalities were householders: Lord Rāmacandra was householder, Arjuna was householder, Prahlāda Mahārāja was a householder, Janaka Mahārāja was householder. But they were not cats and dogs. So be a householder. You do the duty of real householder. Don’t become cats and dogs.
What is the distinction between cats and dogs and human civilization if you do the same thing? Āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithuna. Then you are not even human being. What is the question of householder? … Householder does not mean to satisfy the itching sensation of the genitals. That is not householder. Here is householder – Protect your children from death. Can you do that?
[Room conversation May 8, 1977, Hrishikesh]