Canto 11: General HistoryChapter 20: Pure Devotional Service Surpasses Knowledge and Detachment

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.20.1

śrī-uddhava uvāca

vidhiś ca pratiṣedhaś ca

nigamo hīśvarasya te

avekṣate 'raviṇḍākṣa

guṇaḿ doṣaḿ ca karmaṇām


śrī-uddhavaḥ uvācaŚrī Uddhava said; vidhiḥ — positive injunction; ca — also; pratiṣedhaḥ — prohibitive injunction; ca — and; nigamaḥ — the Vedic literature; hi — indeed; īśvarasya — of the Lord; te — of You; avekṣate — focuses upon; araviṇḍa-akṣaO lotus-eyed one; guṇam — good or pious qualities; doṣam — bad or sinful qualities; ca — also; karmaṇām — of activities.


Śrī Uddhava said: My dear lotus-eyed Kṛṣṇa, You are the Supreme Lord, and thus the Vedic literatures, consisting of positive and negative injunctions, constitute Your order. Such literatures focus upon the good and bad qualities of work.


At the end of the previous chapter, Lord Kṛṣṇa stated, guṇa-doṣa-dṛśir doṣo guṇas tūbhaya-varjitaḥ: "Focusing upon material piety and sin is itself a discrepancy, since actual piety means to transcend both of them." Śrī Uddhava now pursues this point so that Lord Kṛṣṇa will give a more elaborate explanation of this difficult subject matter. Śrī Uddhava here states that the Vedic literatures, which constitute the laws of God, deal with piety and sin; therefore, it must be clarified how one transcends activities recommended in the Vedas. According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, Uddhava suddenly understood Lord Kṛṣṇa's purpose in the words He had just spoken, and to induce the Lord to elaborate upon this interesting point Uddhava outwardly challenged the Lord's statement.

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