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Bhagavad-gita 13.8 encourages " . . .freedom from entanglement with children, wife, home and the rest. . ." does this mean having nothing to do with family?

by Laxmimoni dasi

In the purport to the same verse you mention, (Bhagavad-gita 13.8), Srila Prabhupada says:

"As for detachment from children, wife and home, it is not meant that one should have no feeling for these. They are natural objects of affection. But when they are not favorable to spiritual progress, then one should not be attached to them. The best process for making the home pleasant is Krishna consciousness. If one is in full Krishna consciousness, he can make his home very happy, because this process of Krishna consciousness is very easy. One need only chant:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

. . . accept the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Krishna, have some discussion on books like Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, and engage oneself in Deity worship. These four things will make one happy. One should train the members of his family in this way. The family members can sit down morning and evening and chant together:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

If one can mold his family life in this way to develop Krishna consciousness, following these four principles, then there is no need to change from family life to renounced life. But if it is not congenial, not favorable for spiritual advancement, then family life should be abandoned."

So the ultimate point is that we should work within the family together in Krishna's service - chanting together, going to the temple together, worshiping the Deity together - and keeping the atmosphere nicely centered around spiritual elevation.

In material relationships the family members are each considering how to get some pleasure from the other members. As soon as the wife is not satisfying the desires of the husband then the man is searching for another woman, or vice versa - thus so many families are broken and the children are without proper family structure. Ultimately the family members are not serving each other but rather considering what service they can get from each other. A spiritual relationship in which all the family is working together to help each other make spiritual advancement has a deep spiritual purpose - it is very important for all the members.

So, to summarize, it does NOT mean "having nothing to do with the family." Rather, the family should be a source of spiritual strength and support. If it becomes a detriment to spiritual life then one should be detached enough to see it in the proper light.