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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava Part 2 and 3 > Vol 2 Abhidheya > Fruitive Activities

66  -Fruitive Activities 


1.What is karma?


Karma is nothing but selfish activity. Karmls do not exclusively search for Krsna's mercy. Although they respect Krsna, their main purpose is to attain some kind of happiness.

(Sajjana Tosanl 11/11)


2. Is there any direct spiritual cultivation in the performance of pious activities, even when those activities are aimed at Lord Visnu?


Even though pious activities, such as the performance of sacrifice, are executed while accepting Lord Visnu as the master of all sacrifices, yet there is no direct spiritual cultivation in the performance of such pious activities. (Harinama-cintamani)


3. What is the unseen result of one's previous deeds?


A jlva acquires his nature in accordance with the impressions created in previous births. Thus in this life his activities have a beginning. This is called "the unseen," or the result of one's previous deeds. His natural impulse is formed according to the nature of the deeds he performed in previous lives. (Sri Brahma-samhita 5/23) 


4. How is the contamination caused by karma and jnana purified?


When one offers the fruits of karma for the Lord's pleasure, one's performance of karma becomes purified. When one becomes attached to the Lord's service, then one's renunciation becomes purified. When one realizes himself as the servant of the Supreme Lord, then one's knowledge becomes purified. (Commentary on Brhat-Bhagavatamrta)


5. Is the fortune of theists undecided?


Like atheists, a theist's fortune is not undecided. The living entity's fortune is decided according to his or her respective karma. (Sri Manah Siksa, Chapter 8)


6. What is a person's responsibility in the performance of karma?


Whatever activity a living entity performs, he always remains the original doer. By supporting the performance of that activity, the material nature becomes the secondary doer. By awarding the fruit of such activities, the Supreme Lord becomes the associate doer. Since the living entity has fallen into nescience by his own will, his original doer-ship never ceases. Whatever activities the living entity performs after entering nescience are called "fortune" when those activities are about to bear fruit. (Sri Manah-Siksa, Chapter 8)


7. Why is karma considered beginningless?


To forget that I am Krsna's eternal servant is called nescience. This nescience did not start from within the material time factor. Rather, the root of the living entity's karma grew from the marginal juncture. Therefore, one cannot trace karma's origin within the material time factor. Therefore karma is said to be beginningless. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 16)


8. What is the difference between devotional service and activities averse to the Lord?


If anyone performs karma in order to achieve Krsna's mercy, then that karma is called bhakti. The karma that yields mundane results or mundane knowledge is averse to the Lord.

(Sajjana Tosani 11/11)


9. When does karma transform into devotional service?


Before changing its own form, karma goes through three different stages—the stage of desirelessness, the stage of offering the fruits of karma to the Lord, and the stage of performing karma on behalf of the Lord. When these three stages are surpassed, then karma transforms into devotional service. (Sri Manah-Siksa, Chapter 10)


10. Are karma and jndna pious acts that can award devotional service?


Karma leads the living entities up to the platform of devotional service and then ceases. Knowledge and renunciation mostly keep the living entities engrossed in the knowledge of undivided Brahman. The knowledge of impersonal Brahman often distracts the living entities from the Lord's lotus feet. That is why karma and jndna cannot be faithfully accepted as the kind of piety that awards devotional service. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 17)


11. What process has the Vedic literature ascertained as a safe practice for attaining the Supreme Lord? 


The Vedic literature and Puranas have mentioned various processes for attaining the Supreme Lord. In some places, the scripture describes karma-kanda with the example of a bumblebee and matter. In some places, it is recommended that we practice yoga imitating the behavior of a python. In other places, bhakti is described as the easy process by which one avails a pot of hidden treasure. Therefore, the Vedic literature has concluded that one can attain Krsna only by devotional service and not through karma, jndna, or yoga.

(Commentary on Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 20.135)


12. Is a karmi a servant of the Supreme Lord?


Those who are entangled by karma with the aim to achieve happiness consider karma the all-in-all and the Supreme Lord as part of the karmic process. The fruit of such person's karma is certainly not eternal. Their regular practice is not faultless. Such persons have no inclination to cultivate Krsna consciousness. Rather, their dependence on the rules and regulations is the most prominent part of their lives. (Caitanya-siksdmrta Chapter 8)


13. Can karma be destroyed by karma? What is the perfection of karma?


It is not possible to use the cause of a disease to cure the same disease; such a disease will never be cured. The karma-kanda process is the cause of the living entities' material disease. It will never bear the fruit of destroying the living entities' material existence, whether the karmic activities are performed without material desire or the fruits of such activities are offered to the Lord. If one first accepts karma as the only means of his livelihood, then later dovetails karma with devotional service, then it may be possible to destroy karma. If one accepts only those karmic activities that can please the Lord, then all one's activities transform into bhakti-yoga. It is the intention of all sastras to induce everyone to engage in devotional service to Krsna, and according to the teachings of the Lord, to constantly sing and remember the Lord's holy names, forms, qualities, and pastimes. (Sri Manah-Siksd, Chapter 10)


14. What is the difference between a karmi's worship of Krsna and a devotee's worship of Krsna?


The sadhana-bhakti practiced by the Vaisnavas is meant to awaken prema. However, when nondevotees practice sadhana-bhakti, their goal is either material enjoyment or liberation. There may be no difference in the actual practices of the two, but their intentions are certainly different. By worshiping Krsna, the karmis may eventually purify their hearts of the desire for liberation and become free from the desire for material enjoyment. By worshiping Krsna the devotees become attached to Krsna's holy names. By observing the vow of Ekadasi, the karmis counteract their sinful reactions. The devotees, however, increase their devotion to Lord Hari when they observe Ekadasi vows. Just see the difference between the two.

(Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 5)


15. What is the difference between a godless family and a Vaisnava family?


The only difference between a godless family and a Vaisnava family is its motivation; there is no difference in appearance. The godless persons marry, earn money, build houses, beget children, and perform their activities in the name of justice; but their motivation in performing all these activities is simply to increase their own happiness and the happiness of this world. Even though Vaisnavas perform the same activities as godless people, they do not grab the fruits of their activities. Rather, they engage in the Supreme Lord's service. Ultimately, the Vaisnavas attain satisfaction. The godless become controlled by lust and anger, and, desiring only material enjoyment and liberation, lose their peace of mind.

(Caitanya-siksdmrta 3/2) 


16. When does one commit the ndmdparddha of blaspheming devotees?


Offenses at the feet of sddhus are committed when we are proud of our karma and jndna. The first offense in chanting— blaspheming devotees—enters the heart of the nondevotees and takes up residence there. (Sajjana Tosani 11/11)


17. Are sin and piety constitutional activities of the soul?


Both sin and piety are relative, not constitutional. The activity or desire that relatively helps a soul attain his constitutional position is called piety. The opposite is called sin.

(Sri Krsna-sarhhita Chapter 10/2)


18. For whom is the system of marriage beneficial?


Those who are attached to material objects should associate with women through marriage, as this is pious for such persons.

(Sri Krsna-sarhhita Chapter 10/3)


19. What is the ultimate fruit of traveling to the holy places?


By visiting holy places, people become purified. Although associating with saintly persons is the ultimate goal of visiting holy places, people who visit holy places consider themselves purified, because by visiting holy places their sinful propensities are destroyed. (Caitanya-siksamrta 2/2)


20. What is constitutional piety? What is temporary piety?


Justice, compassion, truthfulness, purity, religiousness, and love are called constitutional piety. They are called so because they always remain with the living entity like an ornament. In the conditioned state, these pieties become somewhat gross and are called punya, pious activities. Apart from that, all other pieties are temporary, because they have arisen from the living entity's contact with matter. In the perfected  stage, however, both constitutional and temporary pieties have no existence. (Caitanya-siksamrta 2/23)


21. Do Krsna's devotees maintain a desire for sin or piety in their hearts?


Since devotional service to Krsna is one's constitutional position, when one cultivates this service, then nescience, the root cause of relative situations (sin and piety), is gradually fried and abolished. Although the desire to engage in sinful activity may suddenly manifest like a fried kai fish, it is quickly subdued by the process of devotional service.

(Sri Krsna-sarhhita Chapter 10/2)


22. How many types of atonement are there? What is the result of each type?


There are three types of atonement—atonement through karma, atonement through jndna, and atonement through bhakti. Remembering Krsna is the atonement through bhakti. Therefore, devotional service is atonement through bhakti. There is no need for devotees to practice some separate form of atonement. Atonement in jndna is done through repentance. By repentance, both one's sins and the seeds of one's sin (or desires) are destroyed. Still, nescience cannot be destroyed without practicing bhakti. If one atones through the practices of karma such as candrdyana (a kind of expiatory penance), one's sins are checked, but the seeds of sinful desire and nescience, the root cause of sin and the desire to sin, remains. One must understand this science of atonement with careful consideration. (Sri Krsna-sarhhita, Chapter 10/2) 


23. Why are whimsical persons, who give up the principles of varnasrama-dharma, fit to practice atonement?


By associating with mlechhas, those who give up the principles of varnasrama-dharma and act whimsically like the mlechhas with whom they associate, fall down. This is because i      they oppose the proper scientific code of conduct. {Caitanya-siksamrta 2/5)


24. Why are some people born outcastes?


The cause of an outcaste birth is one's fructified karma. Such karma can be destroyed by chanting the holy names of the Lord. {Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 6)


25. How do the seeds of sinful activity become destroyed?


Among the methods of purifying the mind, remembering Lord Visnu is principal. Atonement is designed to purify the sinful mind. By undergoing atonements such as cdndrayana, which fall under the category of karma-kanda, the sinful activities leave the sinner but the root of sinful activities—the desire to commit sin—does not. When one repents, a jnana-kanda atonement, the desire to commit sinful activities—the root of sin—is destroyed. However, the seed of sinful activities in the form of aversion toward Lord is destroyed only by practicing remembrance of Lord Hari. {Caitanya-siksamrta 2/2)


26. How many types of impurities are there and what are the differences between them?


Impurity is of two types; mental and physical. Mental and physical impurities are further divided into three categories, namely, impurities born of place, impurities born of time, and impurities born of person. If one goes to an impure country, one becomes affected. The impurity of place is caused by the sinful activities committed by the local inhabitants. That is

why the religious scriptures describe that if one goes or lives in a mleccha country, one becomes affected by the impurities of that country. However, there is no prohibition about going to a mleccha country to acquire knowledge about those countries, deliver those countries from the hands of miscreants by war or any other means, or to preach religious principles. Going to the mleccha countries to acquire insignificant education, learn religious teachings, or simply to live with the inhabitants certainly hampers Aryan prestige. Those who go for these reasons should practice atonement. {Caitanya-siksamrta 2/5)


27. What is mental impurity?

Illusion and envy make the mind impure. It is extremely necessary to remove them. {Caitanya-siksamrta 2/5)