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SB 11.10.4

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Please note: The synonyms, translation and purport of this verse were composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


nivṛttaṁ karma seveta
pravṛttaṁ mat-paras tyajet
jijñāsāyāṁ sampravṛtto
nādriyet karma-codanām


nivṛttam—regulative duties; karma—such work; seveta—one should perform; pravṛttam—activities for sense gratification; mat-paraḥ—one who is dedicated to Me; tyajet—should give up; jijñāsāyām—in searching for spiritual truth; sampravṛttaḥ—being perfectly engaged; na—not; ādriyet—one should accept; karma—any material activity; codanām—injunctions governing.

Translation and purport composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


One who has fixed Me within his mind as the goal of life should give up activities based on sense gratification and should instead execute work governed by the regulative principles for advancement. When, however, one is fully engaged in searching out the ultimate truth of the soul, one should not accept the scriptural injunctions governing fruitive activities.


Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura explains that the words jijñāsāyāṁ sampravṛttaḥ refer to one who is yoga-ārūḍha, or advanced in the yoga process. In Bhagavad-gītā (6.3-4) it is stated:

ārurukṣor muner yogaṁ
karma kāraṇam ucyate
yogārūḍhasya tasyaiva
śamaḥ kāraṇam ucyate
yadā hi nendriyārtheṣu
na karmasv anuṣajjate
yogārūḍhas tadocyate

"For one who is a neophyte in the eightfold yoga system, work is said to be the means; and for one who has already attained to yoga, cessation of all material activities is said to be the means. A person is said to have attained to yoga when, having renounced all material desires, he neither acts for sense gratification nor engages in fruitive activities." The example may be given that an ordinary man will try to enjoy the company of women for material sense pleasure. This is called pravṛtta-karma, or the path of sense gratification. A religious person will also enjoy the company of a woman, but under the regulative principles of the varṇāśrama system. However, one who is fully absorbed in spiritual advancement will ultimately give up all sense gratification derived from sexual association, either regulated or illicit. Similarly, in the stage of pravṛtta-karma, or ordinary sense gratification, one will eat whatever pleases his tongue. On the other hand, a materialistic devotee will sometimes cook sumptuous preparations and offer them to the Deity, not in order to satisfy the Lord but rather with the intention of satisfying his own tongue and belly. However, one who is sampravṛtta, or fully engaged in spiritual consciousness, is never interested in simply gratifying his tongue. He avoids ordinary foods prepared by materialistic persons, and just for the purpose of keeping his body fit for serving Kṛṣṇa he eats moderate quantities of food that has first been offered to the Deity for the Deity's pleasure.

The process of spiritual realization gradually brings a conditioned soul from the lowest point of materialistic consciousness to total absorption in loving service to the Personality of Godhead. In the beginning one is taught to dovetail one's enjoying propensities by first offering to the Lord the fruit of one's work. In the advanced stage, however, the impulse to execute fruitive activities (karma-codanām) is absent, and one simply engages in the loving service of the Lord without any selfish motive. For example, a renounced sannyāsī preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or even a renounced householder preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is not required to execute all of the injunctions governing sense gratification in family life. Ultimately, every human being should take to the transcendental duties of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Rather than working to fulfill one's own desires and then offering the results to Kṛṣṇa, one should fully engage in pleasing the Lord directly according to His own intimate desires.

According to Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, any attempt to enjoy the material world, either religiously or irreligiously, ultimately will be full of contradictions. One should come to the platform of desirelessness, pure love of Godhead, and thus solve all of the problems of life.

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