Haṁsadūta: Swāmījī, did you say that householders should not associate with brahmacārīs?
Prabhupāda: Who says?
Haṁsadūta: Did you say that? Did you ever say that?
Prabhupāda: No. No.
Haṁsadūta: But brahmacārī should not associate with brahmacāriṇīs. But you did say that brahmacārīs should not associate with brahmacāriṇīs.
Prabhupāda: Actually, there is no . . . brahmacāriṇī is not allowed in the śāstra. Where is the question of brahmacāriṇī? Because according to Vedic system, as soon as a girl is fourteen years old or sixteen years old, she is at once married. According to Vedic system, no girl should be allowed remaining unmarried.
So there is no question of brahmacāriṇī. Every girl is supposed to be married. That is the Vedic system. A father's duty is that as soon as the girl is grown up, she must be married. She must be given in charge of a suitable boy. That is Vedic system.
Striyaḥ śūdrās tathā vaiśyāḥ (BG 9.32). A woman is meant for being protected. So long she is not young, she is under the protection of the father. And as soon as she is young, she is given in charge, in charity. Kanyā-dāna. Dāna means charity. He should find out some suitable boy and give in charity: "My dear boy, take charge of this girl. So long she was under my charge. Now it is under your charge."
So where is the brahmacāriṇī? There is no question of brahmacāriṇī. And when she is old enough, then the husband leaves the home and gives charge to the elderly son, "My dear boys, take charge of your mother." So she is always in charge of somebody.
So according to Vedic system, there is no independent life of woman. Na strī svātantryam arhati. Manu-saṁhitā, that "Strī"—strī means woman—"should not be allowed independence." They should be given all protection. That's a very nice system. Not . . . independence does not mean their position is very lower. No. Just like children.
Children has no independence. No independence means they are well protected. No independence does not meant that he has no independence to act. No. She has got. But under the protection. Just like there are some nation still now, protectorate. America is protecting. America is a big nation, and protecting another small nation. That does not mean they have no independence. They are also independent.
They are acting like that. But because weaker, they should be given protection. Similarly, woman, children, brāhmaṇa, cow, old men, diseased men, they are to be protected. That is the social order.
Haṁsadūta: Now, if someone is married, gṛhasthas, under the varṇāśrama-dharma, is it the duty of gṛhasthas to have children? Are there some qualifications of gṛhasthas, that gṛhasthas, they're required, like they are required to support the brahmiṇs, like that?
Prabhupāda: Gṛhastha? Gṛhastha means to live with wife. This is the meaning of gṛhastha. And a gṛhastha is supposed to support others who are not gṛhasthas, just like brahmacārī. Brahmacārī means student life. So gṛhasthas support them. Sannyāsīs . . .
(break) . . . other three classes. Because they are engaged in a different subject matter, they have no time to earn their livelihood, and therefore, those who are gṛhasthas, they take charge of him. This is the Vedic system.
But they should live also on the bare necessities of life. They should not be luxurious. A brahmacārī cannot be luxurious. A sannyāsī cannot be luxurious. A vānaprastha cannot be luxurious. Luxury is allowed only to the householder, because they are earning their own money. Others are dependent. So one cannot be luxurious at the expense of others. That is not allowed.
Devotee (3): Pertaining to the varṇāśrama-dharma system, a mother is . . . the wife of a husband is usually put in charge of the oldest son. If the oldest . . . if, say, the husband is not present, then the oldest son is supposed to be in charge, and he is a brahmacārī, in what way is the mother cared for?
Prabhupāda: Well, brahmacārī means he has gone out of home. Brahmacārī does not remain at home. He goes to the spiritual master's home. So there is no question of giving wife's charge to a brahmacārī. He is not at home. Do you follow? Yes.
The elderly children mean those who are married also, those who are in gṛhastha life, for him, not for the brahmacārī or sannyāsī. Just try to understand.
A brahmacārī and sannyāsī does not remain at home. The brahmacārī goes to the spiritual master's home, and the sannyāsī, he is a traveler from one country to another, preaching. So they are not at home. So if they are not at home, who is taking charge? To give charge means the elderly son who is a married man, who is living at home, the charge is given of the mother to him.
Is that all right?
Devotee (3): Yes, but I'm still wondering. Is it the nature of the Kali-yuga that mother and father always separate? Is it the nature of the Kali-yuga that this family separation is always happening?
Prabhupāda: (chuckles) Therefore I say, kalau śūdra-sambhavaḥ: "In the Kali-yuga there are only śūdras." There is no brahmacārī system, no . . . now we are introducing it, even collecting from the śūdras. But actually, these four divisions, scientific division of social order for spiritual uplift . . . that is already gone. It is not existing. Do you follow?
Kalau śūdra-sambhavaḥ. In the Kali-yuga, amongst the śūdras, there is no āśrama, simply earn, earn, get some money and eat. That's all. That is śūdras life. There is no question of Vedic culture, there is no question of knowledge. Simply labor, get some money and eat. Almost like animal.
So at the present moment, as you say, in the Kali-yuga, it is accepted that everyone, almost everyone is a śūdra. But in the pāṣcarātrika system, not Vedic system, Nārada Paṣcarātra, Narad . . . they are . . . otherwise, do you mean to say because everyone has become śūdra, the science of Kṛṣṇa, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, should be stopped? No. Even they are śūdras, they should be given that opportunity.
And that opportunity is given by Lord Caitanya very liberally: "Whatever you may be, come on, sit down, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, and you become more than a brahmiṇ." This is the highest gift of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. But if you take otherwise from the social conventional life, oh, there is no brahmiṇ, there is no gṛhastha, there is no brahmacārī. There is all gone, all finished.So those rules and regulation are not now applicable, because amongst the śūdras there is no such rules and regulation. It is meant for the brahmiṇ, kṣatriyas, and those are gone. They are finished. Now, even though the people are in the status of śūdra, they should be given opportunity for spiritual advancement, and that is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's special gift, and very easy, that "Whatever you may be, you may be a brahmiṇ, you may be a kṣatriya, vaiśya, that doesn't matter. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and gradually realize."