Generally, a saintly person lives in a remote place in the forest or in a humble cottage. However, we should note that the times have changed. It may be beneficial for a saintly person’s own interest to go to the forest and live in a cottage, but if one becomes a preacher, especially in Western countries, he has to invite many classes of men who are accustomed to living in comfortable apartments. Therefore in this age, a saintly person has to make proper arrangements to receive people and attract them to the message of Krishna consciousness. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, perhaps for the first time, introduced motorcars and palatial buildings for the residence of saintly persons just to attract the general public in big cities. The main fact is that one has to associate with a saintly person. In this age people are not going to search out a saint in the forest, so the saints and sages have to come to the big cities to make arrangements to receive the people in general, who are accustomed to the modern amenities of material life. Gradually such persons will learn that palatial buildings or comfortable apartments are not at all necessary. The real necessity is to become free from material bondage in whatever way possible. According to the orders of Srila Rupa Gosvami:

anasaktasya visayan yatharham upayunjatah
nirbandhah Krishna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam ucyate

“When one is not attached to anything, but at the same time accepts everything in relation to Krishna, one is rightly situated above possessiveness.” (Bhakti-rasamrta-Sindhu 1.2.255) One should not be attached to material opulence, but material opulence may be accepted in the Krishna consciousness movement to facilitate the propagation of the movement. In other words, material opulence may be accepted as yukta-vairagya, that is, for renunciation.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Fourth Canto, Chapter 29 – Text 55

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