Chapter 5: Hymn to the Absolute Truth

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrī Brahma-saḿhitā 5.61

dharmān anyān parityajya

mām ekaḿ bhaja viśvasan

yādṛśī yādṛśī śraddhā

siddhir bhavati tādṛśī

kurvan nirantaraḿ karma

loko 'yam anuvartate

tenaiva karmaṇā dhyāyan

māḿ parāḿ bhaktim icchati


dharmān — meritorious performances; anyān — other; parityajya — abandoning; māmMe; ekam — alone; bhaja — serve; viśvasan — having faith; yādṛśī yādṛśī — just as; śraddhā — faith; siddhiḥ — realization; bhavati — arises; tādṛśī — corresponding; kurvan — performing; nirantaram — ceaselessly; karma — activities; lokaḥ ayam — the people of this world; anuvartate — pursue; tena — by those; eva — indeed; karmaṇā — deeds; dhyāyan — meditating; mām — upon Me; parām — supreme; bhaktim — devotion; icchati — one obtains.


Abandoning all meritorious performances serve Me with faith. The realization will correspond to the nature of one's faith. The people of the world act ceaselessly in pursuance of some ideal. By meditating on Me by means of those deeds one will obtain devotion characterized by love in the shape of the supreme service.


The function characterized by unalloyed devotion is the real function of all individual souls (jīvas). All other varieties of function are activities of the external cases. These exoteric and esoteric dharmas (functions) are manifold, e.g., nondifferential knowledge of the Brahman aiming at extinction of individuality. the aṣṭāńga-yoga-dharma having as its goal attainment of the state of exclusive existence (kaivalya), atheistical fruitive ritualism aiming at material enjoyment, jñāna-yoga-dharma seeking to combine knowledge with fruitive activity and the practice of the function of barren asceticism. Getting rid of all these, serve Me by pure devotion rooted in faith. Exclusive faith in Me is trust. Faith in the form of trust by the process of gradual purification tends to become a constant engagement (niṣṭhā), an object of liking (ruci), of attachment (āsakti) and a real sentiment (bhāva). The more transparent the faith, the greater the degree of realization. If you ask — How will the preservation and conduct of worldly affairs be feasible if one is continuously engaged in the endeavor for the realization of bhakti? What also will be the nature of the endeavor for the realization of bhakti when the body will perish consequent on the cessation of the function of the body and of society?

In order to strike at the root of this misgiving the Supreme Lord says, "This world subsists by the constant performance of certain activities. Fill all these activities with meditation of Me. This will destroy the quality that makes those activities appear as acts done by you. They will then be of the nature of My service (bhakti).

"Mankind live by the threefold activities of body. mind and society. Eating, seating, walking, resting, sleeping, cleansing the body. covering the body. etc., are the various bodily activities; thinking, recollecting, retaining an impression, becoming aware of an entity. feeling pleasure and pain, etc., are the mental feats; marrying, practicing reciprocal relationship between the king and subject, practicing brotherhood, attending at sacrificial meetings, offering oblations, digging wells, tanks, etc., for the benefit of the people, maintaining one's relations, practicing hospitality. observing proper civic conduct, showing due respect to others are the various social activities. When these acts are performed for one's selfish enjoyment, they are called karma-kāṇḍa; when the desire for attainment of freedom from activity by knowledge underlies these actions, they are termed jñāna-yoga or karma-yoga. And when these activities are managed to be performed in this way that is conducive to our endeavor for attainment of bhakti they are called jñāna-bhakta-yoga, i.e., the subsidiary devotional practices. But only those activities that are characterized by the principle of pure worship are called bhakti proper. My meditation is practiced in every act when bhakti proper is practiced in due time while performing the subsidiary devotional activities in one's intercourse with the ungodly people of this world. In such position, a jīva does not become apathetic to Godhead even by performing those worldly activities. This constitutes the practice of looking inwards, i.e., turning towards one's real self, vide Īśopaniṣad —

īśāvāsyam idaḿ sarvaḿ

yat kiñca jagatyāḿ jagat

tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā

gṛdhaḥ kasya svid dhanam

The commentator says in regards to this, tena īśa-tyaktena visṛṣṭena. The real significance being that if whatever is accepted be received as favor vouchsafed by the Supreme Lord, the worldly activity will cease to be such and will turn into service of Godhead (bhakti). So Īśāvāsya says kurvann eveha karmāṇi... karma lipyate nare.

If the worldly acts are performed in the above manner one does not get entangled in karma even in hundreds of years of worldly life. The meaning of these two mantras from the jñāna point of view is renouncement of the fruits of one's worldly actions; but from the bhakti point of view they mean the attainment of Kṛṣṇa's favor (prasādam) by their transfer to His account. In this method, which is the path of arcana, you should do your duties of the world by the meditation of worshiping Godhead thereby. Brahmā cherishes the desire for creation in his heart. If that creative desire is practiced by conjoining the same with the meditation of obeying therein the command of the Supreme Lord, then it will be a subsidiary spiritual function (gauṇa-dharma) being helpful for the growth of the disposition for the service of the Divinity by reason of its characteristic of seeking the protection of Godhead. It was certainly proper to instruct Brahmā in this manner. There is no occasion for such instruction in the case of a jīva in whom the spontaneous aversion for entities other than Kṛṣṇa manifests itself on his attainment of the substantive entity of spiritual devotion (bhāva).

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness