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SB 11.8.4

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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


bibhrad deham akarmakam
śayāno vīta-nidraś ca
nehetendriyavān api


ojaḥ—sensual strength; sahaḥ—mental strength; bala—physical strength; yutam—endowed with; bibhrat—maintaining; deham—the body; akarmakam—without endeavor; śayānaḥ—remaining peacefully; vīta—freed; nidraḥ—from nescience; ca—and; na—not; īheta—should endeavor; indriya-vān—possessing full bodily, mental and sensual strength; api—even though.

Translation and purport composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


A saintly person should remain peaceful and materially inactive, maintaining his body without much endeavor. Even though possessed of full sensual, mental and physical strength, a saintly person should not become active for material gain but rather should always remain alert to his actual self-interest.


The word vīta-nidraḥ in this verse is very significant. Nidrā means "sleep" or "ignorance," and vīta means "freed from." In other words, a transcendentalist should always be awake to his eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and should carefully cultivate Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Being confident of his relationship with the Lord, he should not endeavor for his personal maintenance, knowing that the Lord is protecting him in all respects. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura states that the example of the python is given so that one will not uselessly waste his time in bodily maintenance.

One should not think, however, that the purpose of life is to lie on the ground like a python or to make a show of starving the body. The example of the python should not encourage one to become completely inactive. One should rather become active in spiritual advancement and inactive in material sense gratification. If one becomes completely inactive, that is certainly nidrā, or the darkness of ignorance, in which one remains asleep to his identity as an eternal servant of the Personality of Godhead.

A transcendentalist is eager to execute his service to the Lord, and therefore he is grateful when the Lord provides material facilities for such service. Mere renunciation of the material world is phalgu-vairāgya, or an immature stage of spiritual understanding. One must come to the stage of yukta-vairāgya, engaging everything in the service of Lord Kṛṣṇa. It is our practical experience that a devotee absorbed in spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness automatically receives all facilities for his personal maintenance.

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