The pursuit for self-realisation is not for monks alone. The highest level of self-realisation can be attained by a householder as well and there is no need at all to adopt monkhood for the same.
One’s spiritual journey starts from where one is. Constant trials and tribulations of family life provide ample opportunities for self-purification, self-expansion, sacrifice, development of loving kindness and above all total surrender to the Almighty with inner renunciation. Most of our ancient sages were householders and they have set a very high standard for us to live a life of intense aspiration leading to ultimate fulfilment through inner renunciation.
Structured curriculum of family life with duties and responsibilities enables us to observe the inevitable flux of phenomena and our role in the same. It abolishes the sense of doership from the mind and cements our observation of life.
The institution of marriage based on instinctive physical attraction, socio-ethical necessity and above all love is a unique learning process for purification. God is love, the cosmic integrating principle which dissolves all pluralities into massive oneness casting aside the differences of divisive selves. Married life sets the learning process of this in motion with requisite lessons on self-expansion through empathy and love.
Bringing up of children is great educating in that it develops the spirit of loving sacrifice together with utter disregard for self-interests. We feel like exhausting our entire resources for the wellbeing and betterment of posterity as a matter of duty irrespective of anything in return.
When children grow up and enter their own life, they get automatically distanced from us. This provides us the sordid experiential learning that nothing and nobody really belong to us except God within us.
But spiritual learning takes place only when we are keen to take lessons and learn from the events. We have the choice either to be deluded by the externals of family life and suffer or to probe deeper within with non-attachment for ultimate realisation.