5: Narada Instructs Yudhisthira on Ashrama Dharma :
These days, nothing enters students’ heads. Even if they are told something a hundred times, they do not remember it. But in earlier days it was not like that. Even fifty or sixty years ago things were much better, and students were very sharp, eager to study, and even though they always wished to stand first in the examination, they would not adopt dishonest means to get a certificate. Cheating was unknown in those days, but that attitude is now diluted.
If we, as students of spiritual life, are to ignore these externalities of dissipation and attraction, we have to somehow prepare ourselves to wade through this ocean of distraction. We cannot complain that this world is very bad, because we have been born into it and we have to pass through it. For whatever reason, we have been born into this world of certain conditions—good or bad, necessary or otherwise—through which we have to wade. This is why, from an early age through adolescence, there should be no external contact whatsoever, only an aspiration to grow higher and higher.
As I mentioned, the system of dharma does not deny the necessary enjoyments of life. There is a fourfold picture placed before us of the way in which we have to live, which is called dharma, artha, kama, ending in moksha. Artha and kama are not denied; they are part of life. It is not that we deny ourselves everything in life. It is a denial for the purpose of accumulation. The more is the renunciation, the greater is the acquisition.
To be continued ....