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SB 11.17.1-2

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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


śrī-uddhava uvāca
yas tvayābhihitaḥ pūrvaṁ
dharmas tvad-bhakti-lakṣaṇaḥ
sarveṣāṁ dvi-padām api
tvayi bhaktir nṛṇāṁ bhavet
tan mamākhyātum arhasi


śrī-uddhavaḥ uvāca—Śrī Uddhava said; yaḥ—which; tvayā—by You; abhihitaḥ—described; pūrvam—previously; dharmaḥ—religious principles; tvat-bhakti-lakṣaṇaḥ—characterized by devotional service to Your Lordship; varṇa-āśrama—of the varṇāśrama system; ācāravatām—of the faithful followers; sarveṣām—of all; dvi-padām—of ordinary human beings (who do not follow the varṇāśrama system); api—even; yathā—according to; anuṣṭhīyamānena—the process being executed; tvayi—in You; bhaktiḥ—loving service; nṛṇām—of human beings; bhavet—may be; sva-dharmeṇa—by one's own occupational duty; aravinda-akṣa—O lotus-eyed one; tat—that; mama—to me; ākhyātum—to explain; arhasi—You ought.

Translation and purport composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


Śrī Uddhava said: My dear Lord, previously You described the principles of devotional service that are to be practiced by followers of the varṇāśrama system and even ordinary, unregulated human beings. My dear lotus-eyed Lord, now please explain to me how all human beings can achieve loving service unto You by the execution of their prescribed duties.


Lord Kṛṣṇa has already elaborately explained the process of jñāna-yoga, bhakti-yoga and aṣṭāṅga-yoga. Now Uddhava inquires how those inclined toward karma-yoga can achieve the perfection of life, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In Bhagavad-gītā (BG 4.13) Lord Kṛṣṇa describes that He is personally the creator of the varṇāśrama system. Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ. Therefore the ultimate goal of the varṇāśrama system is to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, one should become a devotee of the Lord and learn the process of pure devotional service. The easiest method of achieving pure devotional service is by the association of pure devotees of the Lord. If one submissively and faithfully associates with pure devotees, one can immediately achieve the perfection of life. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person is not required to execute all the formalities of the varṇāśrama system, because a Kṛṣṇa conscious person, absorbed in love of Godhead, automatically gives up all sense gratification and mental speculation. Those human beings who do not follow the varṇāśrama system are here referred to as dvi-padām, or two-legged. In other words, one who does not follow the religious path of life is known to be human only by the possession of two legs. Even ordinary animals and insects are eagerly engaged in eating, sleeping, mating and defending; the human being, however, is distinguished from such lower forms of life by his capacity to become religious and, ultimately, to love God in pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

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