Canto 4: Creation of the Fourth OrderChapter 4: Satī Quits Her Body

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 4.4.20

karma pravṛttaḿ ca nivṛttam apy ṛtaḿ

vede vivicyobhaya-lińgam āśritam

virodhi tad yaugapadaika-kartari

dvayaḿ tathā brahmaṇi karma narcchati


karma — activities; pravṛttam — attached to material enjoyment; ca — and; nivṛttam — materially detached; api — certainly; ṛtam — true; vedein the Vedas; vivicya — distinguished; ubhaya-lińgam — symptoms of both; āśritam — directed; virodhi — contradictory; tat — that; yaugapada-eka-kartari — both activities in one person; dvayam — two; tathāso; brahmaṇiin one who is transcendentally situated; karma — activities; na ṛcchatiare neglected.


In the Vedas there are directions for two kinds of activities — activities for those who are attached to material enjoyment and activities for those who are materially detached. In consideration of these two kinds of activities, there are two kinds of people, who have different symptoms. If one wants to see two kinds of activities in one person, that is contradictory. But both kinds of activities may be neglected by a person who is transcendentally situated.


The Vedic activities are so designed that the conditioned soul who has come to enjoy the material world may do so under direction so that at the end he becomes detached from such material enjoyment and is eligible to enter into the transcendental position. The four different social orders — brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa — gradually train a person to come to the platform of transcendental life. The activities and dress of a gṛhastha, or householder, are different from those of a sannyāsī, one in the renounced order of life. lt is impossible for one person to adopt both orders. A sannyāsī cannot act like a householder, nor can a householder act like a sannyāsī, but above these two kinds of persons, one who engages in material activities and one who has renounced material activities, there is the person who is transcendental to both. Lord Śiva is in the transcendental position because, as stated before, he is always absorbed in the thought of Lord Vāsudeva within himself. Therefore neither the activities of the gṛhastha nor those of the sannyāsī in the renounced order can be applicable for him. He is in the paramahaḿsa stage, the highest perfectional stage of life. The transcendental position of Lord Śiva is also explained in Bhagavad-gītā (2.52-53). It is stated there that when one fully engages in the transcendental service of the Lord by performing activities without fruitive results, one is elevated to the transcendental position. At that time he has no obligation to follow the Vedic injunctions or the different rules and regulations of the Vedas. When one is above the directions of the Vedic ritualistic injunctions for attaining different allurements and is fully absorbed in transcendental thought, which means thought of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in devotional service, one is in the position called buddhi-yoga, or samādhi, ecstasy. For a person who has attained this stage, neither the Vedic activities for realizing material enjoyment nor those for renunciation are applicable.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness