Srila Prabhupada on Fruitive acts or, karma
Pranams to All
All glories to Srila Prabhupada
What follows is a short inspection of fruitive activities. This could be much larger but the intent here is to show how most of us are still engaged in the consciousness of fruitive activity-despite our chanting Hare Krsna for many years. The statements given are all from Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam or Prabhupadas purports. The episode of Sanatana Goswami asking Lord Caitanya as to why he was still suffering from the three fold miseries (body and mind, others, and nature) even though people all considered him a very learned scholar, is relevent here. We too have been chanting for years, possibly lifetimes, so why do we, who are not scholars at all, still suffer in material life??
One start to understand it is to begin with karmic acts or fruitive activity.In other words the beginning of Bhagavad gita. It is also said in Prabhupadas purports that after thousands of lifetimes as karmis (those who know the goal of life is-Krsna- but they are attached to the results of their work), they gradually become jnanis, or those who are finished with fruitive work. And after thousands of lifetimes as jnanis-one may become a pure devotee of the Lord. (after many births-one who is wise surrenders to Me..sa mahatma sudurlabhah-BG 7.19)
The 10th and final offense to chanting Hare Krsna maha mantra is to maintain material attachments despite so many instructions on the matter. And, any devotee who considers him or herself a Vaisnava must carefully guard against this.
Anyway, some thoughts for us to consider....please read below...
your humble servant
Bg 5.26 T Karma-yoga--Action in Krsna Consciousness
Those who are free from anger and all material desires, who are
self-realized, self-disciplined and constantly endeavoring for
perfection, are assured of liberation in the Supreme in the very near
Purport… in this verse…
(SB 4.22.39) "Just try to worship, in devotional service, Vasudeva, the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. Even great sages are not able to control the
forces of the senses as effectively as those who are engaged in
transcendental bliss by serving the lotus feet of the Lord, uprooting
the deep grown desire for fruitive activities."
In the conditioned soul the desire to enjoy the fruitive results of
work is so deep-rooted that it is very difficult even for the great
sages to control such desires, despite great endeavors. A devotee of
the Lord, constantly engaged in devotional service in Krsna
consciousness, perfect in self-realization, very quickly attains
liberation in the Supreme. …
[What exactly is Karma or also known as fruitive activity? And how is it we become entangled in Karmic activity ?
Two very good questions—Here below, is what Srila Prabhupada says.......]
1) BG 2.41-Fruitive activities are the engagements of one's reactions from past good or bad deeds. When one is awake in Krsna consciousness, he need no longer endeavor for good results in his activities. When one is situated in Krsna
consciousness, all activities are on the absolute plane, for they are
no longer subject to dualities like good and bad.
2) Bg 8.3-- Action pertaining to the development
of these material bodies is called karma, or fruitive activities.
3) Bg 2.47-- One who is attached to the result of his work
is also the cause of the action. Thus he is the enjoyer or sufferer of
the result of such actions.
[This above is how we create our own rebirth, now let’s take a look at 4 verses from Srimad Bhagavatam and see what It says regarding as to how and why we entangle ourselves in this network of Karma bandhaha..]
SB 4.22.30 Prthu Maharaja' s Meeting with the Four Kuma 39148/530501
When one's mind and senses are attracted to sense objects for
enjoyment, the mind becomes agitated. As a result of continually
thinking of sense objects, one's real consciousness almost becomes
lost, like the water in a lake that is gradually sucked up by the big
grass straws on its bank.
In this verse it is very nicely explained how our original Krsna
consciousness becomes polluted and we gradually become almost
completely forgetful of our relationship with the Supreme Lord. In the
previous verse it is recommended that we should always keep in touch
with the devotional service of the Lord so that the blazing fire of
devotional service can gradually burn into ashes material desires and
we can become liberated from the repetition of birth and death. This
is also how we can indirectly keep our staunch faith in the lotus feet
of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the mind is allowed to
think of sense gratification continuously, it becomes the cause of our
material bondage. If our mind is simply filled with sense
gratification, even though we want Krsna consciousness, by continuous
practice we cannot forget the subject matter of sense gratification.
If one takes up the sannyasa order of life but is not able to control
the mind, he will think of objects of sense gratification--namely
family, society, expensive house, etc. Even though he goes to the
Himalayas or the forest, his mind will continue thinking of the
objects of sense gratification. In this way, gradually one's
intelligence will be affected. When intelligence is affected, one
loses his original taste for Krsna consciousness.
The example given here is very appropriate. If a big lake is
covered all around by long kusa grass, just like columns, the waters
dry up. Similarly, when the big columns of material desire increase,
the clear water of consciousness is dried up. Therefore these columns
of kusa grass should be cut or thrown away from the very beginning.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has instructed that if from the very beginning
we do not take care of unwanted grass in the paddy fields, the
fertilizing agents or water will be used by them, and the paddy plants
will dry up. [boy do I as a gardener know this to be true] The material desire for
sense enjoyment is the cause of our falldown in this material world, and thus we suffer the
threefold miseries and continuous birth, death, old age and disease. However, if we turn our
desires toward the transcendental loving service of the
Lord, our desires become purified. We cannot kill desires. We have to
purify them of different designations. If we constantly think of being
a member of a particular nation, society or family and continuously
think about them, we become very strongly entangled in the conditioned
life of birth and death. But if our desires are applied to the service
of the Lord, they become purified, and thus we become immediately
freed from material contamination.
When one deviates from his original consciousness, he loses the
capacity to remember his previous position or recognize his present
one. When remembrance is lost, all knowledge acquired is based on a
false foundation. When this occurs, learned scholars consider that the
soul is lost.
Our original consciousness is Krsna consciousness because we are part and parcel of Krsna.
When this consciousness is misguided and one is put into the material
atmosphere, which pollutes the original consciousness, one thinks that
he is a product of the material elements. Thus one loses his real
remembrance of his position as part and parcel of the Supreme
personality of Godhead, just as a man who sleeps forgets himself. In
this way, when the activities of proper consciousness are checked, all
the activities of the lost soul are performed on a false basis. At the
present moment, human civilization is acting on a false platform of
bodily identification; therefore it can be said that the people of the
present age have lost their souls, and in this respect they are no
better than animals.
[anything done without the sanction of the supersoul is fruitive activity, binding
and therefore sinful to the soul. On the other hand work done for Vishnu, is liberating]
There is no stronger obstruction to one's self-interest than
thinking other subject matters to be more pleasing than one's
Human life is especially meant for self-realization. "Self" refers
to the Superself and the individual self, the Supreme Personality of
Godhead and the living entity. When, however, one becomes more
interested in the body and bodily sense gratification, he creates for
himself obstructions on the path of self-realization. By the influence
of maya, one becomes more interested in sense gratification, which is
prohibited in this world for those interested in self-realization.
Instead of becoming interested in sense gratification, one should
divert his activities to satisfy the senses of the Supreme Soul.
Anything performed contrary to this principle is certainly against
["anything but the 9 forms of devotional service is unauthorized mental activity".
In other words when we give up Dharma, which is our eternal activity and original consciousness,
we create instead hundreds of adharmas or non eternal activity, which binds us to the wheel of birth and death]
For human society, constantly thinking of how to earn money and
apply it for sense gratification brings about the destruction of
everyone's interests. When one becomes devoid of knowledge and
devotional service, he enters into species of life like those of trees
Therefore activities directed toward sense gratification are condemned herein. One who is constantly
thinking of activities to earn money and gratify the senses is following a path which is suicidal.
Factually all human society is following this path. Some way or other, people are determined to earn
money or get money by begging, borrowing or stealing and applying that
for sense gratification. Such a civilization is the greatest obstacle
in the path of self-realization.
[As an aside-could for this very reason given above, be the reason why those interested in self realization prefer to live OUTSIDE the city atmosphere? ]
Those who strongly desire to cross the ocean of nescience must not
associate with the modes of ignorance, for hedonistic activities are
the greatest obstructions to realization of religious principles,
economic development, regulated sense gratification and, at last,
The four principles of life allow one to live according to
religious principles, to earn money according to one's position in
society, to allow the senses to enjoy the sense objects according to
regulations, and to progress along the path of liberation from this
material attachment. As long as the body is there, it is not possible
to become completely free from all these material interests. It is
not, however, recommended that one act only for sense gratification
and earn money for that purpose only, sacrificing all religious
principles. At the present moment, human civilization does not care
for religious principles. It is, however, greatly interested in
economic development without religious principles.
Srila Prabhupada does NOT teach us that to earn money is bad. What he does teach is that money can be earned and even in vast amounts if it is employed in the service of the Supreme Being.
Here is the proof …
1) BG 18.8- One who is in Krsna consciousness should not give up earning money
out of fear that he is performing fruitive activities. If by working
one can engage his money in Krsna consciousness, or if by rising early
in the morning one can advance his transcendental Krsna consciousness,
one should not desist out of fear or because such activities are
considered troublesome. Such renunciation is in the mode of passion.
2) Bg 18.9 P-Prescribed duties must be performed with this mentality. One should
act without attachment for the result; he should be disassociated from
the modes of work. A man working in Krsna consciousness in a factory
does not associate himself with the work of the factory, nor with the
workers of the factory. He simply works for Krsna. And when he gives
up the result for Krsna, he is acting transcendentally.
3) Bg 18.11 P-There are many members of the International Society for Krishna
Consciousness who work very hard in their office or in the factory or
some other place, and whatever they earn they give to the Society.
Such highly elevated souls are actually sannyasis and are situated in
the renounced order of life. It is clearly outlined here how to
renounce the fruits of work and for what purpose fruits should be
4) NBS 13 P Narada-bhakti-sutra
If a diseased person is being cured of the symptoms of his disease
but does not care for the principles of healthy living, there is every
possibility of a relapse. Similarly, the neophyte devotee serious
about advancing in devotional service must carefully follow the
principles of regulative devotional service; otherwise there is every
possibility of his falling down. Strictly speaking, if a devotee
ignores the regulative principles and acts according to his whims--if,
for example, he does not eat krsna-prasadam but eats anywhere and
everywhere, such as in restaurants--there is every possibility of his
falling down. If he accumulates money without spending it for
devotional service, there is every possibility of his falling down. If
he applies his energy not in the service of the Lord but in some
material activity, there is every possibility of his falling down. If
the devotee does not engage himself always in hearing and chanting the
topics of Krsna and His activities but instead indulges in idle talk,
there is every chance of his falling down. If a neophyte devotee does
not follow the orders of the spiritual master and simply officially
sticks to the principles, or if he does not strictly follow the
principles, there is every possibility of his falling down. To become
greedy is another cause of falldown. And to associate with persons who
are not in devotional service is the last word in maya's allurements
for causing a devotee to fall down.
In BG 5th chapter at the very end, Srila Prabhupada explains nicely how we should act---“Everything depends on one's practical performance of duties in an effort to control the senses and conquer the influence of desire and anger. And, attaining Krsna consciousness by controlling the above-mentioned passions, one remains factually in the transcendental stage, or brahma-nirvana…”
some closing remarks...
Prabhupada: ...grhastha life. Bhaktivinoda Thakura independently... Or
I was also grhastha. Our aim was different. But this neophyte, if they
remain aloof from temple connection without attending the function,
gradually they will be lost.
[here this means if one does not follow the daily routine of sadhana bhakti, even while living at home]
devotee: That was the reason that I suggested to Abhirama Prabhu
that he should make his business in Bombay. Actually the grhasthas
have no desire to live independent of the temples. Just like
Madhavananda, he's got an apartment now just near the temple so that
he can attend mangala-arati and the other functions.
Prabhupada: Yes. Unless these things are continued, the karmis' poison
will spoil them. He can do independent business; there is no harm. But
must be connected with the devotional service.
10th offense--to maintain material attachments despite so many instructions on the matter....