Karma kanda and bhakti

Sanil Kumar, Sep 14 2011

Dear devotees,

 Hare Krishna

Kindly accept my humble obeisances

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

 I am a little confused about Karma Kanda and bhakti.  In BG, Lord Krishna asks Arjuna to continue his occupational duty as a Kshatriya and fight with Kauravas for Krishna with mind fixed on Him.

In line with recent Thought of the Day by Srila Gurudeva, If we do our normal occupational duties (with detachment) for Krishna with targeting 100% perfection to please Krishna 100%, and spending the opulence thus obtained in Krishna conscious way, does it not a bhakti yoga?

Is doing occupational duty karma yoga?

Kindly guide me.

Your humble servant,

Sanil kumar

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, Sep 15 2011

Hare Krishna Sanil Kumar Prabhu,

 Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada and his glorious disciples.

 Thank you for your question Prabhu. You do bring up an important point, what is the difference between Bhakti and Karma Kanda.

Yes, we all must perform our occupational duties, for a Grihastha, of working, maintaining family, and supporting Krishna conscious projects. Even Srila Prabhupada himself did this. My spiritual master did this also. Ideally, this means to get sufficient money ethically to advance Krishna Consciousness in ourselves, our family, friends, and society at large, according to our capacity.

But Karma Kanda sections of the Vedic literature are not really an occupational duty for most of us. Karma Kanda means those Vedic sacrifices which result in elevated birth, life in heavenly planet, etc. There are thousands of them, and if you try to perform them, it will be impossible to perform them perfectly, the required circumstances just don’t exist on this planet currently. Yes, Krishna asked Arjuna to perform his duty, and fight. But in the present day and age, even the so-called Brahmanas by birth are actually Shudras and lower than Shudras. Why is this? What is the occupational duty of a Shudra “paricharyatmakam”, means service to others in exchange for money. Practically the whole world population is doing this, simply serving someone else, and that someone else is serving someone else, and so on. There are practically no Kshatriyas left. Yes, there are some Brahmanas left, they don’t depend on anyone but the Lord for their livelihood, and they don’t do anything for the sake of earning money, if money comes they accept but they don’t avoid something just because there is/is not money involved. They don’t treat a money-giver separate from a no-money-giver. There are also some Vaishyas left, especially those who engage in cow protection. But otherwise, 99.9999% of population is pursuing Shudra occupations. So, most people in general are not even qualified to follow or lead the Vedic Karma Kanda sections which are very elaborate.

Bhakti is the bonus for this day and age, thanks to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy upon us. Anyone can practice it. No qualifications needed, except the greed to serve the devotees Prabhu. Laulyam. Greed. Also for the Holy Name, for Krishna, to please the spiritual master.

The main difference between Karma Kanda and Bhakti, is that Karma Kanda is for the satisfaction of the material senses, whether present or future, even though there is some purification.

However, Bhakti is 100% for the pleasure of Krishna, and there is natural transcendental pleasure in it, but it is not obtained by trying to get pleasure, rather by trying to give pleasure to Krishna and the devotees.

So if we are engaging in the occupational duty solely with the desire to please Krishna, then it is Bhakti, otherwise, it is just Karma.

And if we are using the proceeds of the activities for Krishna Conscious activities, then it is Karma Yoga. In fact, the perfection of Karma Yoga is Bhakti Yoga… in other words if someone is completely pure, then there is no question of anything other than pure 100% Bhakti. But if there is a tinge of tendency to mentally speculate, then it if jnana-mishra bhakti, not pure, and if there is a tinge of desire to enjoy the results, then it is karma-mishra bhakti, not pure Bhakti.

I am not pure by any stretch of the imagination; all sorts of contaminations are there. But I am not disheartened, because I see that by following the process of chanting, following the regulative principles, and obeying the orders of the Guru, some more attraction for Krishna and the Holy Name and service to the devotees and service to all the living entities is developing, even if it is 0.00001%, it was 0.0% before, so the process is working.

Your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

 Premal, Sep 15 2011

Hare Krishna Prabhu

All glories to Swami Prabhupada

Please accept my humble obeisances

Prabhu what does tinge of mental speculation and material desires by example if you could kindly give?

Ys servant


Mahabhagavat Das SDA, Sep 15 2011

Hare Krishna Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 We must understand that pure bhakti is much higher than jnana which is higher than karma.

A pure devotee is very simple; they are not interested in philosophical speculation or any kind of opulence. They have a relationship with Krishna, and they will do whatever is needed in that relationship, but they are not interested in anything outside. Mother Yashoda is a pure devotee. If anyone tells her that her son is God, she will think they have lost their marbles. She thinks that Krishna will die if she does not feed Him milk sweets… their devotion is completely untinged. They want nothing from Krishna except to serve Him.

Example for the most advanced devotees with material desires, or “karma mishra Bhakta” are the “suras” or the demigods, like Indra, Chandra, Vivaswan (king of Sun planet), even Lord Brahma, etc. They are definitely devotees, but they have the desire to control, create, and enjoy, so therefore, according to their natures and according to their pious credits or “punya”, they are given the respective posts, a long life, etc. But after that life, if they have not become fully purified, then they must come back to material world in a lower position… this is an endless process of going up and down the ladder unless one regains pure devotional service.

Krishna says:

te tam bhuktva svarga-lokam visalam

ksine punye martya-lokam visanti

evam trayi-dharmam anuprapanna

gatagatam kama-kama labhante

“When they have thus enjoyed vast heavenly sense pleasure and the results of their pious activities are exhausted, they return to this mortal planet again. Thus those who seek sense enjoyment by adhering to the principles of the three Vedas achieve only repeated birth and death.” BG 9.21.

In a lecture dated Feb 5, 2010, His Holiness Bhanu Swami is explaining this very nicely.


Especially, see this section:

“The karmi goes to Svargaloka or Brahmaloka. So what does the karma misra bhakta get? He must get better than that. So yes he does. He can actually get sarupya, salokya, and sarsti in the spiritual world. That much he can get. What about the jnana misra bhakta? He is a little bit of jnana. Next to it is bhakti. Little bit of desire to escape from the material world and get peace and all that. He gets more than the jnani gets. The jnani has mostly jnana and a little bit bhakti. He gets liberation, impersonal liberation – merges in Brahman, sayuja. One who has bhakti with a little bit of jnana must go beyond that. So yes of course – spiritual world, develops a little relationship with the Lord, santa rasa.


Why santa rasa? Because he wants to be peaceful! That jnana mixture is there in his bhakti. So he wants peace. So he gets that in the spiritual world. This type of person will not appreciate the gopis. The gopis are not peaceful at all. They are always in anxiety. “Where is Krishna?” If they are separated from Krishna for one second they are disturbed. They pray that Brahma made a fault because he made eyelids. When we blink our eyelids we cannot see Krishna for a second so they curse Brahma because that one second when their eyelids close they cannot see Krishna causes separation. And they become very disturbed.


So the devotees of the spiritual world are subject to that especially when you go higher and higher in the rasas. So the people that want to be peaceful will not be very attracted to that. So they are very content with the santa rasa, a very peaceful relationship in the spiritual world. This is what happens when you get mixed bhakti. It is better than karma yoga, jnana yoga, astanga yoga with a little bhakti and of course if you do just without bhakti you get nothing.  If you do karma yoga and astanga yoga with bhakti you get a result. If you do this you get better. All bhakti and no mixture then we get these develop relationships with the Supreme Lord, which is very satisfying.”

 Your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

Author: Mahabhagavat Das SDA

I am a formally initiated disciple of His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari. My spiritual master was initiated by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1971. He is the author of the famous Ultimate Self Realization Course. Check it out at www.joincourse.com.

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