Business offices close at a fixed hour no matter what balance of work remains. Similarly, after the age of fifty one must retire from the active, external life and devote oneself to the introspective cultivation of the human spirit
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Light of the Bhagavata
With the inauguration of the autumn season the rough sea becomes calm and quiet, just like a philosopher after self-realization, who is no longer troubled by the modes of nature.
The result of self-realization is cessation of the storms of desire and lust, which are products of the modes of ignorance and passion. This cessation of the storm does not mean that the sea becomes inactive. When the storm subsides, the work of navigation can take place smoothly. According to the Indian system of navigation, there is a ceremony on the seashore known as the coconut day. On the coconut day the sea is offered a coconut because she has become peaceful, and from that day on the seagoing vessels sail to foreign countries.
The three modes of nature divide human activities into two different spheres, one external and the other introspective. As long as a man is dominated by the modes of ignorance and passion, he is active externally in desire and lust. Men absorbed in desire and lust are called asuras, and they are always chasing after women and money. For the sake of women and money the asuras exploit every source of economic development. As a result of this asuric civilization, the entire human society becomes like a stormy sea, with no trace of peace and prosperity.
Too much of an external view of the world gives rise to an overly large-scale and difficult type of industry and trade, known as ugra-karma. The word ugra means "hard" or "difficult," and karma means "task." The development of hard and difficult industrial undertakings always hinders the progressive cultivation of the human spirit. Asuric leaders of society never retire from such lustful undertakings unless killed by the laws of nature. For them there is no question of retirement or of cultivating the human spirit. But men in the mode of goodness have an introspective mind, and after a regulative struggle for existence they retire at a ripe old age and engage their time in cultivating the human spirit.
According to the varṇāśrama principle, it is compulsory that one retire after the age of fifty, without considering other circumstances. Business offices close at a fixed hour no matter what balance of work remains. Similarly, after the age of fifty one must retire from the active, external life and devote oneself to the introspective cultivation of the human spirit. This retirement must be compulsory, so that foolish old men will no longer disturb the peaceful progress of spiritual culture. In the modern democratic government, no one should be elected after the age of fifty. Otherwise the storm of the ocean of nescience cannot be stopped to allow the ships and boats to sail back to Godhead. The greatest enemies of progressive spiritual culture in human society are the old fossils of political parties who are blind themselves and who try to lead other blind men. They bring about disaster in a peaceful human society. The members of the younger generation are not as stupid as the old politicians, and therefore by state law the foolish old politicians must retire from active life at the age of fifty.