Qualification for Karma or Bhakti?

Question: I read in Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākur’s commentary on SB 6.2.10 that the Lord himself will cause the continuance of sin in order that other philosophies (karma-kāṇḍa etc.) will not be completely uprooted.  Can you please explain why the Lord does not want the karma-kāṇḍa scriptures to get destroyed even while causing the devotee to continue to commit sin?

Answer: Kṛṣṇa says that he has propagated three types of yoga (SB 11.20.6): 

śrī-bhagavān uvāca

yogās trayo mayā proktā

nṝṇāṁ śreyo-vidhitsayā

jñānaṁ karma ca bhaktiś ca

nopāyo ‘nyo ‘sti kutracit

Śrī Bhagavān said: I have given three types of yoga by which I desire to bestow the highest perfection on human beings—the path of knowledge (jñāna), the path of work (karma) and the path of devotion (bhakti). Besides these three there is no other means of elevation whatsoever.

According to the three types of eligibility of people (adhikārī), those people who are not qualified for bhakti, but are qualified for karma may lose faith/interest in karma-kāṇḍa scriptures by seeing such an effect of the name. They will not perform bhakti with sincerity because they do not have śraddha in it, and they will lose interest in karma śāstra also. Thus, they will be lost from both. This will only create havoc in society. The Bhakti Marga will be polluted and the karma path will also be destroyed. Actually, this is what is happening at present. Satam marga stabdhena dusitah. Kṛṣṇa makes some interesting statements in Gītā 3.26, 18.47, 18.67 and in SB 11.21.2.  These are worth considering.

Question: Thank you, Mahārāja, for the reply. I still have a doubt. By seeing the immediate effects of chanting the holy name, will people not gain faith in the process of bhakti and thus become qualified to follow bhakti and lose interest in the paths they are following?

How can we say that one will not perform bhakti with sincerity and also lose interest in karma śāstra?

Answer: I see it happening all the time. This is the situation at present. 

People have no interest/faith in karma and are not sincere about bhakti also.

Come to Vrindavan and you will have first-hand experience of this. You will see millions of people visiting Vrindavan, seemingly following bhakti, and not interested in karma. On close inspection, however, they do not have much sincerity.

Do you remember the word kali-chela used by Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura?

2 thoughts on “Qualification for Karma or Bhakti?”

  1. Babaji,

    My pranams,

    Thanks a lot for the enlightening article.
    In my observation, some Indians visit temples, do pujas, perform pilgrimage in hope that doing so will increase piety, blessings, bring security and happiness in this and the next life. However among them, many may have no sincere interest in spiritual life. For example, one may hear that living in Vrindavana is auspicious and by dying here one goes to Vaikuntha, so they may purchase some property, but have no shraddha in bhakti.

    Some may say that even if they are insincere at least they are going to Vrindavana, hearing some kirtana, eating prasad, etc; At least they are not complete atheists.

    If I understand the article correctly this view is not correct and encouraging such mindset results in bigger problems. Simply doing random things because one has heard that it is auspicious, good or spiritual will only increase problems. This is because all three paths require shraddha in shastra and guidance from Shri Guru.

    Is my understanding correct? Is the current situation you describe also an example of what Shri Rupa Gosvamipada wrote in BRS 1.2.101 (utpatayaiva kalpate verse) from Bramha-Yamala?



    1. There is no shortcut to spirituality. There are descriptive statements, statements of praise and statements that give injunctions.
      When it is said that dying in Vrindavan leads to moksha or bhakti, it is not an injunction that one should die in Vrindavan and for rest of one’s
      life one can lead a non-devotional life. Such statements are not false but they also do not apply to everyone. They have to be understood together with
      other statements that prescribe that in places like Vrindavan one should not commit a sinful or an offensive act. By reading such statements describing the greatness of a spiritual object, one should develop reverence for them and not try to misuse them. It is like an Ayurvedic herb that has some curative power but there is also a prescription and inhibition that need to be followed to see the effect of that herb.

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