Canto 11: General HistoryChapter 10: The Nature of Fruitive Activity

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.10 Summary

In this chapter Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa refutes the philosophy of the followers of Jaimini and describes to Uddhava how the spirit soul bound within the material body can develop pure transcendental knowledge.

The Vaiṣṇava, or one who has taken shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, should observe the rules and regulations found in the Pañcarātra and other revealed scriptures. According to his own natural qualities and work, he should follow the code of varṇāśrama in a spirit free from motivation. The so-called knowledge received through one's material senses, mind and intelligence is as useless as the dreams experienced by a sleeping person attached to sense gratification. Therefore, one should give up work performed for sense gratification and accept work as a matter of duty. When one has come to understand something of the truth of the self, he should give up material work performed out of duty and simply engage himself in the service of the bona fide spiritual master, who is the manifest representative of the Personality of Godhead. The servant of the spiritual master should have very firm affection for his guru, should be anxious to receive from him knowledge of the Absolute Truth, and should be devoid of envy and the tendency to talk nonsense. The soul is distinct from the gross and subtle material bodies. The spirit soul who has entered into the material body accepts bodily functions according to the reactions of his own past activities. Therefore, only the bona fide, transcendental spiritual master is capable of demonstrating pure knowledge of the self.

The followers of Jaimini and other atheistic philosophers accept regulated material work as the purpose of life. But Kṛṣṇa refutes this by explaining that the embodied soul who has come into contact with segmented material time takes upon himself a perpetual chain of births and deaths and is therefore forced to suffer the consequent happiness and distress. In this way there is no possibility that one who is attached to the fruits of his material work can achieve any substantial goal in life. The pleasures of heaven and other destinations, which are achieved by sacrificial rituals, can be experienced for only a short time. After one's enjoyment is finished, one must return to this mortal sphere to partake of lamentation and suffering. On the path of materialism there is certainly no uninterrupted or natural happiness.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
His Holiness Hrdayananda dasa Goswami
Gopiparanadhana dasa Adhikari
Dravida dasa Brahmacari