What is the difference between occupational duty and prescribed duty?

What is the duty of a human being? What is prescribed? What about our ability? How to ensure that we can do what’s most important, what’s most urgent, and what’s most urgent and important? How to prioritize?

Bhakta Sunil, 06th January 2016

Hare Krishna every one,

Please accept my humble respects
All Glories to Vaishnavas

Please enlighten about occupational duty and prescribed duty , are both same or different?

Thanks in anticipation,
sunil

Prasadj dube, 08th January 2016

Hare Krishna!

Occupational duty means to attend the works of his livelihood. Prescribed duty means doing the eternal service to the Supreme Lord by devotedly chanting his name hare krishna hare krishna .

Prasadj dube

Shyamapriya devi dasi, 08th January 2016

Hare Krishna,

Thank you for this question!

The English dictionary says ‘occupation’ means job or profession and the word ‘prescribed’ means advisable or authorized.

And as per vedic understanding-

Occupational duties or Varnasrama-dharma are duties related to the four divisions of material— (namely brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra) and and spiritual life (brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa).[SB 4.20.9] and

Prescribed duties or Sva-dharma mean duties enjoined according to one’s psychophysical condition, under the influence of three modes of material nature. [Bg 3.35]

Srila Prabhupada, explains more on prescribed duties as follows in the purport of Bg 3.35 :

“One should therefore discharge his prescribed duties in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness rather than those prescribed for others. Materially, prescribed duties are duties enjoined according to one’s psychophysical condition, under the spell of the modes of material nature. Spiritual duties are as ordered by the spiritual master for the transcendental service of Kṛṣṇa. But whether material or spiritual, one should stick to his prescribed duties even up to death, rather than imitate another’s prescribed duties. Duties on the spiritual platform and duties on the material platform may be different, but the principle of following the authorized direction is always good for the performer. When one is under the spell of the modes of material nature, one should follow the prescribed rules for his particular situation and should not imitate others. For example, a brāhmaṇa, who is in the mode of goodness, is nonviolent, whereas a kṣatriya, who is in the mode of passion, is allowed to be violent. As such, for a kṣatriya it is better to be vanquished following the rules of violence than to imitate a brāhmaṇa who follows the principles of nonviolence. Everyone has to cleanse his heart by a gradual process, not abruptly. However, when one transcends the modes of material nature and is fully situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can perform anything and everything under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master. In that complete stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the kṣatriya may act as a brāhmaṇa, or a brāhmaṇa may act as a kṣatriya. In the transcendental stage, the distinctions of the material world do not apply. For example, Viśvāmitra was originally a kṣatriya, but later on he acted as a brāhmaṇa, whereas Paraśurāma was a brāhmaṇa but later on he acted as a kṣatriya. Being transcendentally situated, they could do so; but as long as one is on the material platform, he must perform his duties according to the modes of material nature. At the same time, he must have a full sense of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” [ Purport Bg 3.35]

From the above reading we understand that, since every living entity (in human form) has acquired a particular nature (under the influence of three modes of nature -goodness, passion and ignorance), the vedic injunction accordingly prescribes one of his duty (through the institution of varna and asrama) by which one can gradually elevate oneself to the stage of transcendence, where one is free from the influence of these three modes.

Now, coming back to your question- both occupational and prescribed duties in vedic sense mean one and the same. i.e the vedic authorities prescribe a living entitiey to take up a certain profession or occupation (as a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra) based on one’s pscho-physical condition (a consequence of three modes of nature). Along with this, it also reminds us to perform such duties not with the motive of material gain but to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead ultimately, then only can one be happy and content.

In conclusion, whatever our occupational or prescribed duties may be, the essence remains the same Jivera svarupa haya krsnera nitya dasa. The real occupation duty or Santana-dharma of a spirit soul or a living entity as prescribed by the authorized sources/scriptures like Bhagavad-gita is ultimately to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna by eternally serving Him with love.

I would appreciate if others can fill in the lacunae in the above explanation.

Sincerely,
Shyamapriya devi dasi

Guru Vandana devi dasi, 09th January 2016

Hare Krishna!

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.6, Suta Goswami says, “The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.”

Here Srila Prabhupada purposefully translates the word ‘dharma’ as occupation and not as religion. He says the word religion is misunderstood. It is taken as faith which can change but dharma or occupation is which cannot change.

When one is on bodily platform he manufactures some occupation to earn his livelihood according to his body, mind and circumstances. As a medical doctor one may have a livelihood by medical practice, as a civil servant one may serve his country etc.. But these occupations are temporary. It is finished as soon as the body is finished.

The question asked here is to describe about occupational duty. We must now inquire and understand what is our real occupational duty?

In verse 1.2.6 it is mentioned as ‘paro dharma’. Para means transcendental . Suta Goswami explains ‘bhaktih adhoksaje’. Our real dharma is -loving devotional service.

Krishna came to teach us this real occupational duty. The merciful Lord says to just give up all bodily occupation, mental occupation, intellectual occupation and surrender unto Him. It doesn’t mean these occupational duties as an engineer, lawyer, doctor, householder, etc .are not of real consideration and to be given up thinking that devotional service is executed under whatever circumstances we may whimsically decide. Arjuna performed his occupational duty not as a material obligation but as a devotional service.

Prescribed duty- Just like animals if we are simply interested only in eating, sleeping, mating and defending then there are no prescribed duties. But who wants to rise above animal life for him prescribed duties are there. According to the modes of nature Krishna has given prescribed duties in verses BG 18.42, 18.43,18.44

Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness—these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work.

Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership are the natural qualities of work for the ksatriyas.

Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaisyas, and for the sudras there is labor and service to others.

When I asked Srila Gurudeva what my prescribed duty is , His Grace replied, “Your prescribed duties are what I give you.”

Are both same or different?

One’s occupational duties are prescribed in scriptures and by Guru and Vaishnavas. So for those who are interested in real occupation both occupational duties and prescribed duties are one and the same.

your servant
Guru Vandana devi dasi

Premananda das, 12th January 2016

Thank you for the wonderful question by Bhakta Sunil and beautiful answers by Mother Guruvandana and Mother ShyamaPriya.

your servant
Premananda Das

Premananda das, 13th January 2016

Hare Krishna

My apologies for the major and very careless typo error .I had written But Krishna was married to Draupati and Subhadara.
I was referring to Arjuna.
This is certainly my fault and only due to kindness and due diligence of Mahabhagavata prabhu I am glad to be corrected.Hare Krishna

Occupational duty is the external activities people are engaged for example a traveling monk,student ,businessman,housewife etc.
Prescibed duty means to make the purpose behind these responsibilities one with the purpose of loving God (Krishna).
This becomes natural when we are in association with saintly people who are already doing that.
It means to give up separate motives.
Lord Krishna told Arjuna .”You should surrender unto me .”But Arjuna was a married man.He was married to Draupadi and Subhadra and he had eight children and even grand children.He was a warrior.After hearing Bhagavat-Gita he did not become a sannyasi, a person in the renounced order.
He performed his duty of fighting because he was a military man and he continued to maintain his family.But he did all these in the spirit of service rather than spirit of greed and exploitation .He did it as an expression of love for God.
In this way he rightly oriented his occupation and domestic situation.He did not renounce it but renounced greed,envy pride and lust .
With a pure state of consciousness and a desire to serve he aspired for the ideal love of God through the situation he was in.
In conclusion as Srimati Gurumata and Srila Gurudeva always instructs that all actives should be dovetailed in Krishna consciousness.Krishna is the Centre of all our activities.Krishna is the Supreme enjoyer and we are His servants who are enjoyed by Him.Jivera swarupa Hoya Nitya Krishna Das. Our constitutional position is that we are all servants of Krishna.In this situation only we will be happy.

your servant
Premananda Das

Dra Varni, 15th January 2016

Hare Krsna, Thanks you for all the wonderful insight. For a contribution I would say to remember “you are not this body”

drv

Bhakta Sunil, 17th February 2016

A delayed but hearty Thank you very much! to prasadj dube Prabhu , Shyamapriya devi mataji , Guru Vandana Devi Mataji , Premananda Prabhu , Dra Varni ji and every one who contributed to enlighten on this nectar which at my stage , i could not dive deeply into , and relish as much as it actually is

All Glories to your replies!

your insignificant servant,
Bhakta Sunil

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How many corpses have you carried?How many more do you have?

If you are reading this, you are a spirit soul. As a spirit soul, you are alive and conscious, and actually eternal, knowledgeable, and blissful.

But chances are that the body you currently inhabit is not eternal, is a network prone to ignorance, and often far from blissful

So there you are, dear spirit soul, dear “Atma”, you are carrying around a dead body. It’s heavy.

स्वप्नायितं नृपसुखं परतन्त्रमीश
शश्वद्भ‍येन मृतकेन धुरं वहाम: ।
हित्वा तदात्मनि सुखं त्वदनीहलभ्यं
क्लिश्यामहेऽतिकृपणास्तव माययेह ॥ २८ ॥ svapnāyitaṁ nṛpa-sukhaṁ para-tantram īśa
śaśvad-bhayena mṛtakena dhuraṁ vahāmaḥ
hitvā tad ātmani sukhaṁ tvad-anīha-labhyaṁ
kliśyāmahe ’ti-kṛpaṇās tava māyayeha

O Lord, with this corpselike body, always full of fear, we bear the burden of the relative happiness of kings, which is just like a dream. Thus we have rejected the real happiness of the soul, which comes by rendering selfless service to You. Being so very wretched, we simply suffer in this life under the spell of Your illusory energy.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/10/70/28/

Why is the body called corpselike? Well, it has no value, no use after the soul leaves it! No matter how beautiful a man or woman may have been, while millions might desire that person while they were alive, no one wants to associate with a dead body (with exceptions, there are always exceptions).

Why is that? If it was the body we really wanted, we’d have no problems associating with corpses. What we really crave for is the association with the spirit souls that animates and enlivens that corpse.

Which brings us the point – how do we get a ‘corpselike’ material body?

Material desires! What are material desires? Desire to be #1, the desire to be Lord and Master of all I survey, Desire to be the Center of the Universe, the Desire to be this, that, and other, the Desire to be what we are not.

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown

William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part II, 1597

Well before Shakespeare, it was known that material desires create material bodies.

One material body per material desire, at least.

Influenced by the illusory material energy that is all around us, we’re creating our next millions and billions of material bodies right now. The desire for money, the desire for sex, the desire for fame, the desire to be powerful, the desire to have blue eyes or smooth skin or long hair, the desire to do this or that… all corpses in disguise, seductive but deadly.

But why do we want to create yet another corpse? How many have we carried already? How many do we have yet to carry?

Better to be free of this material bondage, repeated, birth, death, old age, and disease!

जन्ममृत्युजराव्याधिदु:खदोषानुदर्शनम्

janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-

duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam

the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/13/8-12/

A genuine spiritual practice, devoid of the trickery of material sense gratification disguised as religion leads to this perception of who I am, not this body, but a pure spirit soul, eternally part-and-parcel of God.

Not carrying a corpse in the material world, as a spirit soul, free to be me!

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How old is the Universe? When will it all end?

How old is the Universe? When will the Universe end? What transitions take place? Do we have a way beyond speculation?

There is a lot of speculation about the age of the Universe. Every little while, there is some new number, with language like “research suggests”, or “new evidence reveals”, etc. Numbers like 9 Billion years, 13.8 Billion years, etc., are thrown around. All speculative.

Then there’s the Biblican/Abrahamic version, which puts the age of the Universe to just a few thousand years.

There is authoritative information available, however, as to:

  • How old is the Universe presently
  • When will the Universe be dissolved
  • What transitions take place in the Universe
  • How big is the Universe
  • One Universe or more than one Universe

According to the Srimad Bhagavatam https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/3/11/advanced-view/, which gives information from the perspective of the Creator of the Universe, this particular universe has a total lifespan of approximately 311 Trillion Years. https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/8/17/

Of that lifespan, approximately 50% is completed. So the present age of the Universe is 155 Trillion Years. http://www.krishna.com/how-he-creates

This Universe is one of innumerable, just like bubbles in the foam of the waves of the ocean.

There is a partial dissolution of the Universe periodically, every 4.32 Billion Years.

No matter how long all this may seem to be, in the context of eternity, this is but a flash in the pan.

Our Universe, The Source of the Universe is practically Infinite. We are each an infinitesimal part of The Infinite. What does that make us then? Why should we be attached to one particular situation on one particular planet in one particular Universe in one particular iteration of the Creation?

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