(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 20 October 2015, Chowpatty, India, Srimad Bhagavatam 10.69.41)
Krsna engages in his external duties of paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām dharma-saṁsthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge (Bhagavad-gita 4.8) to establish the principles of religion and annihilate the demons. In Dwarka, Krsna teaches by example. He comes into this world to teach the conditioned souls and deliver them, yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas tat tad evetaro janaḥ (Bhagavad-gita 3.21), whatever a great man does, common man will follow. So in this way, Krsna, in his household life, is setting standards for all to follow.
It is described that Krsna, early in the morning upon awakening, would see auspicious things like statues of cows. Then he would glorify the brahmanas and he would also meditate on himself. Since everyone is meant to meditate on the Supreme Lord, Krsna also meditated on the Supreme Lord. In this way, Krsna showed that real household life is meant for making spiritual advancement.This is that what is being emphasized here. Narada Muni was witnessing how Krsna performed his duties in different palaces and these duties were spiritually exemplary.
Krsna was a householder who was showing that household life in itself need not be any distraction from Krsna consciousness. It is possible to fully walk the path of pure devotional service. There is no need to do anything else but simply serve Krsna. That can be done by both husband and wife who are committed to such standards of pure devotional service. At home, the deity can be worshipped, guests can be invited and offered prasadam and in this way, everything is done in the service of the Lord.
Even earning to maintain the household, karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadācana mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr mā te saṅgo ’stv akarmaṇi (Bhagavad-gita 2.47), when one is not attached to the fruits of one’s labour but uses it in the service of Krsna, then that labour is also not entangling. In this way, it is possible to live the life of a householder and to go back to the spiritual world and by no means become entangled by the material energy.
It is more difficult though. It is more difficult because in the grhasta ashram, sense enjoyment is very near and available and therefore it may be difficult to avoid. Still, it is the predominant ashram. We cannot expect a world of renunciants. That is not Lord Caitanya’s movement. Lord Caitanya’s movement is generally a movement of householders who somehow or other transcend their household life by chanting Hare Krsna and by dedicating all their activities to the worship of Krsna. Then, everything will be auspicious. As simple as that.
Whereas renunciation of sense gratification is in itself also not meaningful if we are not engaging in service to Krsna. Such renunciation can only bring one temporary fruits. It can certainly elevate one to higher positions in the planetary system. In the Brhad Bhagavatamrta, we basically see that according to how a person deals with lusty activities, he is placed in different positions within the universe.
When there is illicit sex, one is placed in lower planetary systems and there is suffering! If however, there is sexual activity according to religious principles, then one is elevated and such grhastas may attain heavenly planets, so it is said. The brahmacaris, they may go even beyond, and still beyond that the sannyasis can go to Brahmaloka. But all these are speaking simply about the followers of varnasrama. These are not speaking about the vaisnavas who are engaging in the service of the Lord. When we engage in the service of the Lord, then from any position of life, we can go back to Godhead. That is our aim, so therefore devotional service is our saving grace and that is our interest.