Chapter 4: Pure and Mixed Devotion

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Nārada Bhakti Sūtra 61

loka-hānau cintā na kāryā niveditātma-loka-vedatvāt


loka — of the world; hānau — about loss; cintā — worry; na kāryā — should not be done; nivedita — because of having surrendered; ātma — one's own; loka — mundane affairs; vedatvāt — and Vedic duties.


After consigning to the Lord all one's mundane and Vedic duties, one no longer need worry about worldly loss.


This sūtra holds various meanings. First, the devotee should not worry about his worldly situation. Having surrendered to Lord Kṛṣṇa, he is on the most auspicious path, going back to Godhead. Even if he suffers financial loss or ill health, he realizes that Lord Kṛṣṇa is giving him token punishment for his past sinful activities. And so he converts the losses into spiritual assets by remaining steadfast in devotional service, despite the disturbances (see Bhāgavatam 10.14.8).

In the beginning of his commitment, a devotee may fear that he is somehow jeopardizing his future by fully surrendering to Lord Kṛṣṇa. Arjuna worried that if he took up the meditative yoga process Kṛṣṇa outlined in the Sixth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā he might become an "unsuccessful transcendentalist, who in the beginning takes to the process of self-realization with faith but who later desists due to worldly-mindedness" (Bg. 6.37). If that were to happen, Arjuna reasoned, he would have "no position in any sphere" and could thus enjoy neither material success nor spiritual profit. But Lord Kṛṣṇa assured His disciple, "A transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My friend, is never overcome by evil" (Bg. 6.40). Even if a devotee does fall short in his attempt at full surrender, whatever devotional service he performs is eternally counted in his favor. At the time of death, one's material success is taken away, but whatever devotional service one has performed, even if "unsuccessfully," is a profit for the next life. As Nārada Muni himself states in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.5.17),

tyaktvā sva-dharmaḿ caraṇāmbujaḿ harer

bhajann apakvo 'tha patet tato yadi

yatra kva vābhadram abhūd amuṣya kiḿ

ko vārtha āpto 'bhajatāḿ sva-dharmataḥ

"One who has forsaken his material occupation to engage in the devotional service of the Lord may sometimes fall down while in an immature stage, yet there is no danger of his being unsuccessful. On the other hand, a nondevotee, though fully engaged in occupational duties, does not gain anything" (Bhāg. 1.5.17).

Not only should a devotee reject the idea that he is somehow missing out on material happiness, but he should also be free of worry that he is neglecting his worldly responsibilities. It is a fact that everyone born into the material world has many obligations and moral debts. But a life of dedication to the Supreme Lord frees one — at least from the Lord's point of view — from all other duties:

devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāḿ pitṝṇāḿ

na kińkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan

sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaḿ śaraṇyaḿ

gato mukundaḿ parihṛtya kartam

"Anyone who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, the giver of liberation, giving up all other obligations, and has taken to the path in all seriousness, owes neither duties nor obligations to the demigods, sages, general living entities, family members, humankind, or fore-fathers" (Bhāg. 11.5.41).

If a sincere devotee is accused of being irresponsible, or if his life is endangered and it seems as though the cause is his attempt to surrender to Lord Kṛṣṇa, he has no recourse but to pray for the mercy of the Lord. The devotee has surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he cannot take back that surrender in a misguided effort to "save" himself. As Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura sings,

mārabi rākhabi — yo icchā tohārā

nitya-dāsa prati tuā adhikārā

"Now if You like You can kill me, or if You like You can give me protection. Whatever You like You can do. I am Your eternal servitor. You have every right to deal with me in any way You please."

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