CC Madhya 19.147
- dharmācāri-madhye bahuta ‘karma-niṣṭha’
- koṭi-karma-niṣṭha-madhye eka ‘jñānī’ śreṣṭha
dharma-ācāri-madhye—among persons who actually follow the Vedic principles or religious system; bahuta—many of them; karma-niṣṭha—attracted to fruitive activities; koṭi-karma-niṣṭha-madhye—among millions of such performers of fruitive activities according to Vedic principles; eka—one; jñānī—wise man; śreṣṭha—the chief.
“Among the followers of Vedic knowledge, most are following the process of fruitive activity and distinguishing between good and bad work. Out of many such sincere fruitive actors, there may be one who is actually wise.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura states that the word karma-niṣṭha refers to one who aspires to enjoy the results of his good work and pious activity. Some followers of Vedic principles offer everything to the Absolute Truth and do not aspire to enjoy the results of their pious actions. These are also considered among the karma-niṣṭhas. Sometimes we see pious men earn money with great hardship and then spend the money for some pious cause by opening public charities, schools and hospitals. Whether one earns money for himself or for the public benefit, he is called a karma-niṣṭha. Out of millions of karma-niṣṭhas there may be one who is wise. Those who try to avoid fruitive activity and who become silent in order to merge into the spiritual existence of the Absolute Truth are generally known as jñānīs, wise men. They are not interested in fruitive activity but in merging into the Supreme. In either case, both the karma-niṣṭhas and the jñānīs are interested in personal benefit. The karmīs are directly interested in personal benefit within the material world, and the jñānīs are interested in merging into the existence of the Supreme. The jñānīs maintain that fruitive activity is imperfect. For them, perfection is the cessation of work and the merging into the supreme existence. That is their goal in life. The jñānī wants to extinguish the distinction between knowledge, the knower and the aim of knowledge. This philosophy is called monism, or oneness, and is characterized by spiritual silence.