Canto 6: Prescribed Duties for MankindChapter 10: The Battle Between the Demigods and Vṛtrāsura

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 6.10.10

aho dainyam aho kaṣṭaḿ

pārakyaiḥ kṣaṇa-bhańguraiḥ

yan nopakuryād asvārthair

martyaḥ sva-jñāti-vigrahaiḥ


aho — alas; dainyama miserable condition; aho — alas; kaṣṭam — simply tribulation; pārakyaiḥ — which after death are eatable by dogs and jackals; kṣaṇa-bhańguraiḥ — perishable at any moment; yat — because; na — not; upakuryāt — would help; a-sva-arthaiḥ — not meant for self-interest; martyaḥa living entity destined to die; sva — with his wealth; jñāti — relatives and friends; vigrahaiḥ — and his body.


This body, which is eatable by jackals and dogs after death, does not actually do any good for me, the spirit soul. It is usable only for a short time and may perish at any moment. The body and its possessions, its riches and relatives, must all be engaged for the benefit of others, or else they will be sources of tribulation and misery.


Similar advice is also given in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.22.35):

etāvaj janma-sāphalyaḿ

dehinām iha dehiṣu

prāṇair arthair dhiyā vācā

śreya-ācaraṇaḿ sadā

"It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words." This is the mission of life. One's own body and the bodies of his friends and relatives, as well as one's own riches and everything else one has, should be engaged for the benefit of others. This is the mission of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. As stated in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi 9.41):

bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya-janma yāra

janma sārthaka kari' kara para-upakāra

"One who has taken birth as a human being in the land of India [Bhārata-varṣa] should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people.

The word upakuryāt means para-upakāra, helping others. Of course, in human society there are many institutions to help others, but because philanthropists do not know how to help others, their propensity for philanthropy is ineffectual. They do not know the ultimate goal of life (śreya ācaraṇam), which is to please the Supreme Lord. If all philanthropic and humanitarian activities were directed toward achieving the ultimate goal of life — to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead — they would all be perfect. Humanitarian work without Kṛṣṇa is nothing. Kṛṣṇa must be brought to the center of all our activities; otherwise no activity will have value.

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