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

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.20.7

nirviṇṇānāḿ jñāna-yogo

nyāsinām iha karmasu

teṣv anirviṇṇa-cittānāḿ

karma-yogas tu kāminām


nirviṇṇānām — for those who are disgusted; jñāna-yogaḥ — the path of philosophical speculation; nyāsinām — for those who are renounced; iha — among these three paths; karmasuin ordinary material activities; teṣuin those activities; anirviṇṇa — not disgusted; cittānām — for those who have consciousness; karma-yogaḥ — the path of karma-yoga; tu — indeed; kāminām — for those who still desire material happiness.


Among these three paths, jñāna-yoga, the path of philosophical speculation, is recommended for those who are disgusted with material life and are thus detached from ordinary, fruitive activities. Those who are not disgusted with material life, having many desires yet to fulfill, should seek perfection through the path of karma-yoga.


In this verse the Lord reveals the different propensities that lead human beings to adopt different processes of perfection. Those who are frustrated in the ordinary material life of society, friendship and love, and who understand that promotion to heaven simply brings further domestic miseries, take directly to the path of knowledge. Through authorized philosophical discrimination they transcend the bonds of material existence. Those who are still desirous of enjoying material society, friendship and love, and who are excited by the prospect of going with their relatives to material heavenly planets, cannot take directly to the path of rigorous philosophical advancement, which requires great austerity. Such persons are advised to remain in family life and offer the fruits of their work to the Supreme. In this way, they also can become perfect and gradually learn detachment from material life.

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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