|Canto 2: The Cosmic Manifestation||Chapter 4: The Process of Creation|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.4.3-4
papraccha cemam evārthaḿ
yan māḿ pṛcchatha sattamāḥ
saḿsthāḿ vijñāya sannyasya
karma trai-vargikaḿ ca yat
ātma-bhāvaḿ dṛḍhaḿ gataḥ
papraccha — asked; ca — also; imam — this; eva — exactly like; artham — purpose; yat — that; mām — unto me; pṛcchatha — you are asking; sattamāḥ — O great sages; kṛṣṇa-anubhāva — rapt in thought of Kṛṣṇa; śravaṇe — in hearing; śraddadhānaḥ — full of faith; mahā-manāḥ — the great soul; saḿsthām — death; vijñāya — being informed; sannyasya — renouncing; karma — fruitive activities; trai-vargikam — the three principles religion, economic development and sense gratification; ca — also; yat — what it may be; vāsudeve — unto Lord Kṛṣṇa; bhagavati — the Personality of Godhead; ātma-bhāvam — attraction of love; dṛḍham — firmly fixed; gataḥ — achieved.
O great sages, the great soul Mahārāja Parīkṣit, constantly rapt in thought of Lord Kṛṣṇa, knowing well of his imminent death, renounced all sorts of fruitive activities, namely acts of religion, economic development and sense gratification, and thus fixed himself firmly in his natural love for Kṛṣṇa and asked all these questions, exactly as you are asking me.
The three activities of religion, economic development and sense gratification are generally attractive for conditioned souls struggling for existence in the material world. Such regulated activities prescribed in the Vedas are called the karma-kāṇḍīya conception of life, and householders are generally recommended to follow the rules just to enjoy material prosperity both in this life and in the next. Most people are attracted by such activities. Even in the activities of their modern godless civilization, people are more concerned with economic development and sense gratification without any religious sentiments. As a great emperor of the world, Mahārāja Parīkṣit had to observe such regulations of the Vedic karma-kāṇḍīya section, but by his slight association with Śukadeva Gosvāmī he could perfectly understand that Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Absolute Personality of Godhead (Vāsudeva), for whom he had a natural love since his birth, is everything, and thus he fixed his mind firmly upon Him, renouncing all modes of Vedic karma-kāṇḍīya activities. This perfectional stage is attained by a jñānī after many, many births. The jñānīs, or the empiric philosophers endeavoring for liberation, are thousands of times better than the fruitive workers, and out of hundreds of thousands of such jñānīs one is liberated factually. And out of hundreds of thousands of such liberated persons, even one person is rarely found who can firmly fix his mind unto the lotus feet of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, as declared by the Lord Himself in the Bhagavad-gītā (7.19). Mahārāja Parīkṣit is specially qualified with the word mahā-manāḥ, which puts him on an equal level with the mahātmās described in the Bhagavad-gītā. In the later age also there have been many mahātmās of this type, and they also gave up all karma-kāṇḍīya conceptions of life' solely and wholly depending on the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa. Lord Caitanya, who is Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself, taught us in His Śikṣāṣṭaka (8):
āśliṣya vā pāda-ratāḿ pinaṣṭu mām
adarśanān marma-hatāḿ karotu vā
yathā tathā vā vidadhātu lampaṭo
mat-prāṇa-nāthas tu sa eva nāparaḥ
"Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is the lover of many devotees (women), may embrace this fully surrendered maidservant or may trample me with His feet, or He may render me brokenhearted by not being present before me for a long duration of time, but still He is nothing less than the Absolute Lord of my heart."
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī spoke thus:
viracaya mayi daṇḍaḿ dīna-bandho dayāmī vā
gatir iha na bhavattaḥ kācid anyā mamāsti
nipatatu śata-koṭi-nirbharaḿ vā navāmbhaḥ
tad api kila-payodaḥ stūyate cātakena
"O Lord of the poor, do what you like with me, give me either mercy or punishment, but in this world I have none to look to except Your Lordship. The cātaka bird always prays for the cloud, regardless of whether it showers rains or throws a thunderbolt."
Śrīla Mādhavendra Purī, the grand-spiritual master of Lord Caitanya, took leave of all karma-kāṇḍīya obligations in the following words:
sandhyā-vandana bhadram astu bhavato bhoḥ snāna tubhyaḿ namo
bho devāḥ pitaraś ca tarpaṇa-vidhau nāhaḿ kṣamaḥ kṣamyatām
yatra kvāpi niṣadya yādava-kulottamasya kaḿsa-dviṣaḥ
smāraḿ smāram aghaḿ harāmi tad alaḿ manye kim anyena me
"O my evening prayer, all good unto you. O my morning bath, I bid you good-bye. O demigods and forefathers, please excuse me. I am unable to perform any more offerings for your pleasure. Now I have decided to free myself from all reactions to sins simply by remembering anywhere and everywhere the great descendant of Yadu and the great enemy of Kaḿsa [Lord Kṛṣṇa]. I think that this is sufficient for me. So what is the use of further endeavors?"
Śrīla Mādhavendra Purī said further:
mugdhaḿ māḿ nigadantu nīti-nipuṇā bhrāntaḿ muhur vaidikāḥ
mandaḿ bāndhava-sañcayā jaḍa-dhiyaḿ muktādarāḥ sodarāḥ
unmattaḿ dhanino viveka-caturāḥ kāmam mahā-dāmbhikam
moktuḿ na kṣāmate manāg api mano govinda-pāda-spṛhām
"Let the sharp moralist accuse me of being illusioned; I do not mind. Experts in Vedic activities may slander me as being misled, friends and relatives may call me frustrated, my brothers may call me a fool, the wealthy mammonites may point me out as mad, and the learned philosophers may assert that I am much too proud; still my mind does not budge an inch from the determination to serve the lotus feet of Govinda, though I be unable to do it."
And also Prahlāda Mahārāja said:
dharmārtha-kāma iti yo 'bhihitas trivarga
īkṣā trayī naya-damau vividhā ca vārtā
manye tad etad akhilaḿ nigamasya satyaḿ
svātmārpaṇaḿ sva-suhṛdaḥ paramasya puḿsaḥ
"Religion, economic development and sense gratification are celebrated as three means of attaining the path of salvation. Of these, īkṣā trayī especially, i.e., knowledge of the self, knowledge of fruitive acts and logic and also politics and economics, are different means of livelihood. All these are different subjects of Vedic education, and therefore I consider them temporary engagements. On the other hand, surrendering unto the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu is a factual gain in life, and I consider it the ultimate truth." (Bhāg. 7.6.26)
The whole matter is concluded in the Bhagavad-gītā (2.41) as vyavasāyātmikā buddhiḥ, or the absolute path of perfection. Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, a great Vaiṣṇava scholar, defines this as bhagavad-arcanā-rūpaika-niṣkāma-karmabhir viśuddha-cittaḥ — accepting transcendental loving service to the Lord as the prime duty, free from fruitive reaction.
So Mahārāja Parīkṣit was perfectly right when he firmly accepted the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa, renouncing all karma-kāṇḍīya conceptions of life.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness