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Danger of Deviation

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Nrisingha Palli, 29 November 2020, part 7

 

Question: Could you please explain the verse 34 from Chapter 3 of Srimad Bhagavad-gita?

Param Guru Maharaj (Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj) explains the purport of this verse and cites there a sloka from the beginning of Srimad Bhagavatam. The meaning of the sloka is that when you submit everything you have (your knowledge, body, mind, ego, intelligence, etc.) to the Lord, it is called bhakti, and that is the religion of the soul—and if you do anything contrary to that, it is dangerous.

Here in this sloka Krishna wants to tell Arjuna, "You are a ksatriya, and your religion is to fight, but as you refuse to fight, it is dangerous for you." This is the first explanation Krishna gives. When Arjuna heard it, he was not happy—he still did not want to fight. Only when Krishna later spoke about bhakti-yoga did Arjuna gradually start to understand it and eventually changed his mind. And here Krishna is telling about karma-yoga. There are four castes in this world—brahman, ksatriya, vaisya, and sudra, and as Arjuna was born in a ksatriya family, it was his duty to fight, and it was not good that he refused to fight, it was a dangerous path. So, it is said that it is better to do your own duty even if it is imperfect than to do another's well.

sreyan sva-dharmo vigunah, para-dharmat svanusthitat
sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah, para-dharmo bhayavahah

Even if it is imperfect, it is better to do one's duty according to one's own nature, than to do another's well. Even death in the discharge of one's own duty is better, for to perform another's is dangerous.

Commentary

The eternal, superexcellent, natural function (dharma) of the soul is pure devotion for Adhoksaja, the transcendental Lord. Therefore, even if this function is somewhat imperfectly attempted by one with external malpractices, such an attempt will be superior to the 'good' practices within the material modes of nature and worldly chain of actions and habits foreign to the soul's nature. Even if death occurs during the cultivation of such pure devotion in proper saintly association, it is the bestower of the ultimate good; but in the name of good practices to ignorantly follow 'another's path'—anything other than devotion for the Lord (dvitiyabhinivesa)—is bhayavah, endangering to the spiritual progress of the soul.*

*bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad isad apetasya viparyayo 'smrtih
tan mayayato budha abhajet tam bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma

"A person of fine intelligence will serve with single-minded devotion his Lord who is his teacher and dearmost friend. But those who have turned away from the Lord adopt the illusory ego of considering the perishable body to be the self, forgetting their true identities. Their consciousness absorbed in 'secondary pursuits', i.e., mundane objectives, they are always fearful on account of the body and its attachments." (Bhag. 11.2.37)]

This is the commentary to this verse. However, we think in another way. We think that everything in this world (ego, karma, jnana, everything) is meant for the satisfaction of the Lord—our religion is satisfaction of the Lord—and if you do anything other than that, it will be very dangerous.

We also tell sometimes about varnasrama dharma, we explain that it is necessary to be a brahmachari from one to twenty-five years old, then it is necessary to live in the grihastha ashram from twenty-five to fifty years old, etc. At the same time, Srimad Bhagavatam and other scriptures say that sannyas is prohibited in Kali-yuga, that killing cows is prohibited, etc. There are always people who come and say, "Oh, why do you all take sannyas? It is forbidden in Kali-yuga!" I tell them jokingly, "Yes, it is, but it is also forbidden to kill and eat cows! If they eat cows, then why will we stop giving sannyas? What for?!"

 

— : • : —

 

 

 

 

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