(Excerpt from message of Shri Datta Swami)
In the Yoga Vāsiṣṭham, Sage Vasiṣṭha has said that the surrounding atmosphere certainly influences a person’s mind and the mind in turn affects the body. Mind is energy and the body is matter and both matter and energy are inter-convertible. The influence of movies on the mind of a student is inevitable and it also leads to hormonal changes. Hence, in the ancient system of society, the education of a young student would be carried out in hermitages (gurukulas) in the forest, under the guidance of sages. The idea was to keep students away from worldly temptations. Detachment from the world, while staying amidst worldly temptations, is possible only for a Human Incarnation of God.
In the ancient system of society, the stages of a person’s life were classified into four stages called āṣramas. The first stage was brahmacarya, which was the stage of a bachelor-student. The second stage was gṛhastha the stage of a married householder. The third stage was vānaprastha, which is retirement in the forest with one’s married life-partner. During this stage, one learns spiritual knowledge, if one has not learnt it during childhood, and develops devotion for God. The fourth stage was saṃnyāsa, which is complete dedication to the divine service of propagating spiritual knowledge. This system should be followed in principle in all times.
During the stage of education of a child, at least sexually-arousing movies should certainly be avoided. That is why movies are classified into the U (Universal) and A (Adults) categories. But unfortunately, even in U-movies, some sexually-arousing scenes are shown. In fact, even in devotional movies they show sexually-arousing dances of heavenly prostitutes in the court of Indra or that of a king!
After completing one’s education and after getting a job, one should get married and enter the second stage of life called gṛhastha āśrama. If one is born in a rich family and already has enough money, there is no need for a job, of course. This classification of the stages of life or āśramas need not depend on age. It should depend on the psychological maturity of the person. But generally, learning is meant for a child, a married life is meant for an adult, a retired life is meant for a couple older than 60 years and finally, sainthood for propagating spiritual knowledge is meant for the last stage in life.
This is the general sequence of the āśramas (Śaiśavebhyasta vidyānāṃ, yauvane viṣayaiśināṃ, vārdhake munivṛttināṃ, yogenānte tanutyajām). But the condition of society today is very different from the above. For present times, the above verse should be modified to “Śaiśavebhyasta bhogānāṃ, yauvane vyasanaiśināṃ, vārdhake bakavṛttināṃ, rogenānte tanutyajām”. It means that today, people enjoy pleasures during childhood, follow vices during youth, cheat others like a crane in their old age and finally end their lives due to diseases! To avoid this unfortunate situation, one should strictly avoid movies in childhood and old age.