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1 Now we will discuss karma (action). Some actions have piety as their goal. Other actions have material pleasures as their goal. Some actions bring reactions that are dormant like seeds. In other actions the reaction have already begun to sprout. In Vedanta-sutra it is said:
“If someone says: before the material world was created there were no activities”, then I reply: ‘No. That is not true. Activities are eternal. They never had a beginning.”
Activities are of two kinds: auspicious and inauspicious. Inauspicious activities are activities forbidden in the Vedas. Those activities bring unwanted results. They lead the performed to hell. Auspicious activities are activities encouraged by the Vedas. These activities bring the fulfilment of specific desires. For example, if one desires to reside in Svargaloka one should perform a Jyotistome-yajna. Chanting the gayatri-mantra and performing agni-hotras are examples of auspicious activities that to be performed regularly. Performing a specific yajna to obtain a son is an example of an auspicious activity meant for a specific occasion. Performing a candrayana fast is an example of an auspicious activity meant as a penance to atone for a sin. In this way there are many kinds of auspicious activities. A person who desire to attain liberation should avoid the forbidden activities, for they will become stumbling blocks on the path to liberation. Auspicious activities should always be performed, for they purify the heart and mind.
2 Transcendental knowledge destroys the reactions of all auspicious and inauspicious deeds. In the Chandogya Upanisad it is said:
“Therefore a person situated in transcendental knowledge is never touched by karmic reactions. As a ball of cotton burns in a fire, so all his sins are burned to ashes.”
“As a lotus leaf us always untouched by water, so a person situated in transcendental knowledge is always untouched by sinful reactions.”
In this way both sinful and pious karmic reactions are destroyed. In Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad it is said:
“Crossing beyond both pious and sinful karmic reactions, one attains liberation.”
In this way a person situated in transcendental knowledge crosses beyond both pious and sinful karmic reactions. This means that all his karmic reactions are destroyed. He is freed of all past karmic reactions.
3 When by transcendental knowledge one becomes free of past karmic reactions, one attains the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. Enjoying eternal happiness, one eternally stays with Him in the spiritual world. One never returns to the material world. In the Sruti-sastra it is said:
“A person who knows the Supreme attains the spiritual world.”
In the Sruti-sastra (Svetasvatara Upanisad 3.8) it is said:
“I know that Supreme Personality of Godhead who is transcendental to all material conceptions of darkness. Only he who knows Him can transcend the bonds of birth and death. There is no way for liberation other than this knowledge of that Supreme Person.”*
In the Sruti-sastra it is said:
“One who goes to the spiritual world enjoys all spiritual pleasures there. He never returns to this material world.”
4 Knowledge is of two kinds: knowledge of the visible world and knowledge beyond the visible world. These two kinds of knowledge are called paroksa and aparoksa respectively. Aparoksa knowledge is full of transcendental bliss. That knowledge is the same as devotional service. In Gopala-tapani Upanisad it is said:
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is eternal and full of transcendental knowledge and bliss, is attained by devotional service.”
Many devotees have directly attained the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Associating with great devotees and performing the pure devotional activities that begin with hearing and chanting the Lord’s glories, they became purified at heart and attained shelter at Lord Krishna’s feet.
In Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.2.37) it is said:
“Those who drink through aural reception, fully filled with the nectarean message of Lord Krishna, the beloved of the devotees, purify the polluted aim of life know as material enjoyment and thus go back to Godhead, to the lotus feet of Him (the Personality of Godhead).”*
5 These five truths are described in the words of Shri Vishnu Purana:
“O brahmana, the material nature and the individual spirit souls are both different from the transcendental form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.The material world is created and destroyed by time. The living entities attain the results of their own actions. A person who knows these five truths, who is rich in the devotional activities described in the scriptures, and who is pure at heart attains Lord Krishna’s feet. At Lord Krishna’s feet he is eternally glorious and happy.”