Life of A Grihastha, A Very Responsible Officer & Magistrate

Srila Prabhupada: Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a grihastha, a very responsible officer, magistrate. And he was so exalted that he would come from his office generally at five o’clock, then take his supper, and immediately go to bed. Immediately. Say at seven o’clock in the evening he went to bed and he woke up at twelve o’clock—it is sufficient sleep, five hours. One should not sleep more than five to six hours. Minimize as far as possible. The Gosvamis used to sleep not more than one and a half or two hours. Sleeping is not a very important thing. Even big politicians, they used to sleep for two hours. Especially in the spiritual line, one should minimize as far as possible eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. Minimize. And gradually it will come to nil. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was eating only a little piece of butter every alternate day, not even daily.

So, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, regularly he was coming from his office, and after taking his supper, immediately he would go to bed, and he would wake up at twelve o’clock and write books. He left behind about one hundred books. And he excavated the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya, organized how to develop that birth site, Mayapur. He had so many businesses. He used to go to preach about Chaitanya’s philosophy. He used to sell books to foreign countries. In 1896 he attempted to sell Life and Precepts of Chaitanya in McGill University in Montreal. So he was busy, acharya. One has to adjust things. Not that “Because I am grihastha, householder, I cannot become a preacher; it is the business of the sannyasi or brahmachari.” No. It is the business of everyone. The whole world is suffering for want of knowledge. The present civilization is animal civilization. They do not know anything beyond eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. That’s all. This is animal civilization. An animal does not know beyond these four principles of life: eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. That’s all. No, human life is meant for something else: “What I am? What is God? What is my relation with God? What is this material world? Why I am here? Where I have to go next?” So many things one has to learn. Athato brahma jijnasa. This is human life. Not to eat and sleep and have sex life and die someday like cats and dogs. Therefore there is need of acharyas, teachers, for propagating spiritual knowledge, Krishna consciousness. Although Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a grihastha, householder, a government officer, magistrate, still he was acharya. So from his dealings, from his life, we should learn how one can become a preacher in any stage of life. It doesn’t matter what one is.