Bhagavad-gītā 4.18 , Bombay , 1974-04-07

Prabhupāda: [Chants jaya rādhā-mādhava] [break]


Pradyumna: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. [Prabhupāda and devotees repeat] [leads chanting of verse] [Prabhupāda has brief exchange in Hindi with Indian man while chanting is going on]

karmaṇy akarma yaḥ paśyed
akarmaṇi ca karma yaḥ
sa buddhimān manuṣyeṣu
sa yuktaḥ kṛtsna-karma-kṛt

[break] [04:36]

Translation = "One who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities."


karmaṇy akarma yaḥ paśyed
akarmaṇi ca karma yaḥ
sa buddhimān manuṣyeṣu
sa yuktaḥ kṛtsna-karma-kṛt

I have been requested to simply translate this verse, Hindi. So... [Hindi] Intelligent, buddhimān [Hindi]. The subject matter it very easy and difficult also. The example is given, just like a boy flying kite, and with that, what is called, reel, he is doing like that. But in one way the kite is coming down, and in the other way the kite is going up. And one who is seeing from outside, he sees only the boy is moving the reel, that's all. Similarly, unless one is very intelligent, he cannot understand what is karma and akarma. That is the whole subject matter of Bhagavad-gītā. Arjuna was thinking that "I am going to commit some sinful activities by killing my kinsmen, the other side---my brothers, my nephews, my master, my grandfather, my so many relatives." So he was seeing sinful activity in that fight.

So long there is deliberation of sinful and pious activities, that is called karma. Karma has got two results = either suffering or enjoying. Of course, in this material world there is no enjoyment. But with the hope of enjoyment, we agree to suffer. And that is called enjoyment. Just like a businessman, he is working very hard whole day and night, and he gets some profit, say lakhs, some two lakhs; he thinks that he is very happy, he is enjoying. But actually, he is working very hard. But because he has no knowledge, he is thinking that "I am profiting. I am making profit. This is my happiness." But in the śāstras, those who are working so hard simply for some sense gratification... Especially in Western countries we have seen, this is very factual. Even very old man, he is working very hard, very big business magnate, very big politician, working very hard, and at night he goes to the nightclubs, pays $50 for entrance fee, and then he spends for wine and women lots of money. So this is his happiness. Even old man, eighty years old, he is also going to the club, because in the material world the happiness means wine and women, that's all.

Yan maithunādi-gṛhamedhi-sukhaṁ hi tucchaṁ kaṇḍūyanena karayor iva duḥkha-duḥkham [SB 7.9.45]. Prahlāda Mahārāja said that the gṛhamedhi attached to this material life, gṛhamedhi... Gṛha means compact in a room. So I am the living entity, spirit soul; I am compact within this body, encaged, or I am encaged within this universe. This is also compact. So one who is attached to this compact position, packed up in the body or within this universe, they are called gṛhamedhi. Apaśyatām ātma-tattvaṁ gṛheṣu gṛha-medhinām [SB 2.1.2]. They cannot see what is ātma-tattva, self-realization. Apaśyatām ātma-tattvaṁ gṛheṣu gṛha-medhinām.

So we are working very hard to become very happy, but that is not possible. That is not possible. We are making deliberation, "This is pious activities; this is impious." That is also good. Doing things blindly, that is another thing. But if one has this deliberation, "This is sinful activity and this is sinful activity," he is better than that. But there is another position, which is beyond this sinful activity and pious activities. That is called akarma. Akarma. Akarma means there is no result, either sinful or pious. That is called akarma. And karma means there is result, either pious result or impious result. That is called karma. So we have already discussed in the Second Chapter that Kṛṣṇa says how karma should be done in summarizing. Yajñārthāt karmaṇo 'nyatra loko 'yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ [Bg. 3.9]. If you work for yajña... Yajña means to satisfy the Lord. That is yajña. Yajña... The human society is required to perform yajña. That is described in the Second Chapter. Yajñārthāt karmaṇo 'nyatra loko 'yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ [Bg. 3.9].

yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo
mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ
bhuñjate te tv aghaṁ pāpā
ye pacanty ātma-kāraṇāt

Therefore our life should be trained up, educated in such a way that all the activities should be conducted for yajña. Yajña means to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yajñārthe, for His satisfaction. This is Vedic civilization.

That Vedic civilization, the whole Vedic civilization, aim is to satisfy the Supreme. That is Vedic civ... Brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, the division is there, but the whole aim is to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But at the present moment, we are so educated, we do not know what is the meaning of Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is our position. We do not know even the meaning. We do not know what is Viṣṇu and how to satisfy Him, what is the meaning of yajña. All forgotten. That is not Vedic civilization. Vedic civilization begins by performing yajña for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu.

That is prescribed in the varṇāśrama. We are recognized outside the world as "Hindus." The "Hindu" word is a foreign word. Actually, India's position, or bhāratīya-kristi[?], bhāratīya civilization, is varṇāśrama-dharma. This question was put by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu when He was talking with Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya. This Rāmānanda Rāya was governor of Madras under the region of Mahārāja Pratāparudra of Orissa, and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was a sannyāsī. Rāmānanda Rāya belonged to the second class. He was not a brāhmaṇa. In Orissa, the Karan, they are accepted as śūdras. So he belonged to that community, Karan community. But he was so learned in spiritual education that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu agreed to talk with him about spiritual advancement of life.

So the first question was that "What is the method of progress in human life?" Sādhya-sādhana. So Rāmānanda Rāya gave Him the information,

puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
viṣṇur ārādhyate pumsā
nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam

[Cc. Madhya 8.58]

Because human life is meant for understanding position of Viṣṇu, and his position, what is the relationship with Viṣṇu, and how to achieve the highest success of life. Sambandha, abhidheya, prayojana [Cc. Ādi 7.146]. These things are there. The whole subject matter of Vedas are these three things = what is our relationship with God... First of all we must know what is God. Then we must know what is our relationship with God. And if we act according to that relationship, then our aim of life is fulfilled. Sambandha, abhidheya, prayojana. Sambandha means relationship, and abhidheya means the activities, and prayojana means the ultimate goal of life.

So the ultimate goal of life is to understand Viṣṇu. Na te viduḥ [Bg. 10.14]. Not... Nowadays, even in... Formerly there were persons, they did not know what is the goal of life. Because it is the material world. In the material world the sense gratification program is very prominent. But we do not know that by the program, karma, of sense gratification, we become entangled. Therefore that sense gratification process is regulated. In the Vedas that is regulated. Just like our sense gratification program is loke vyavāya āmiṣa madya-sevāḥ [SB 11.5.11]. These are the very prominent program for sense gratification. What is that? Vyavāya. Vyavāya means sex life. Āmiṣa. Āmiṣa means eating fish and meat. Āmiṣa. And madya-sevā, intoxication. This is the general tendency of anyone who is in the material world. And in the Western world it is very prominent. In our country it was not prominent, but now the program is, "Make it prominent. Eat more meat, drink wine and work very hard." This is the program, going on. The leaders are recommending.

So actual, there is tendency already, āmiṣa madya-sevā, vyavāyāmiṣa-madya-sevā, and if we encourage them more, then they become entangled more and more. The Manu-saṁhitā says, pravṛttir eṣā bhūtānāṁ nivṛttis tu mahā-phalām. That is general tendency. But it has to be minimized, because in the spiritual position there is no such thing. Even ordinary students who are trying to make progress in spiritual life, they are not interested, āmiṣa-madya-sevā. They are not interested. This is practical. Even these European, American boys, they were accustomed to vyavāyāmiṣa-madya-sevā---keeping boyfriend, girlfriend, and drinking, and intoxication, and gambling, and meat-eating---everything. They were accustomed from the childhood. But they have given up. Pravṛttir eṣā bhūtānāṁ nivṛttis tu mahā-phalā [Manu-saṁhitā]. That is general tendency.

The Vedic civilization tries to control. You have got tendency for sex life---make it regulated by marriage ceremony. This is Vedic civilization, not that like cats and dogs you meet together and have sex life. No. That is recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā. Dharmāviruddhaḥ kāmaḥ, which is not against religious principles, that kind of sex life, Kṛṣṇa says, "I am that sex life." So nothing is denied. Nothing is denied, but everything should be regulated. That is human form of life. And that regulative principle begins from the varṇāśrama-dharma, four kinds of varṇas and four kinds of āśramas. Brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, these are varṇas. Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭam [Bg. 4.13]. This is... This program is chalked out by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You cannot neglect it. Then the karmas will topsy-turvy.

Therefore here it is said, karmaṇy akarma yaḥ paśyet. If we regulate this system---brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra---then although they are engaged as a śūdra or as a brāhmaṇa or as a kṣatriya or as a vaiśya, still, they are not becoming entangled in such karma. That is called karmaṇy akarma. Karmaṇi... Karmaṇi means there must be result, but you have to make it akarma, no result. No result. And that is bhakti-yoga. This is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā:

yas tv indra-gopam athavendram aho sva-karma-
bandhānurūpa-phala-bhājanam ātanoti
karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājāṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

[Bs. 5.54]

The very vivid example is Arjuna. Arjuna acted as a kṣatriya, but he was not entangled in the result of activities by a kṣatriya, because he was doing everything under the instruction of Kṛṣṇa. This is called akarma. If you act... The same thing = you may be a brāhmaṇa, you may be a kṣatriya, you may be a śūdra, it doesn't matter; if you act according to the order of Kṛṣṇa, by the order of Kṛṣṇa, then your karma will not entangle you. Because... Or you are doing according to the order of Kṛṣṇa, therefore you are performing yajña. By your occupational duties, you are performing yajña. Because yajña means to satisfy the Supreme Lord. Varṇāśrama... This varṇāśrama program is there to satisfy the Supreme according to one's quality and karma. That is called varṇāśrama.

So ultimate goal is to satisfy the Supreme. That they do not know. This is stated by Prahlāda Mahārāja. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum [SB 7.5.31]. They do not... Everyone is self-interested, but they do not know what is self-interest. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatim. Everyone must be self-interested. That is natural. But they do not know what is self-interest. The self-interest is to approach Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa, and satisfy Him. That is self-interest. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ durāśayā [SB 7.5.31]. Durāśayā means by hoping something which is impossible to fulfill. Durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ. The modern civilization, they are trying to adjust things by material activities. Just like the greatest example is the United Nation. The United Nation is trying to adjust things, the whole worldly affairs, by a United Nation Organization, UNO. But they could not do anything, because they do not know that how the nation should be united. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum. They do not know. All their activities are without God, without God consciousness. Therefore they have failed. Everyone will fail, because they do not know what is the aim of life. That is the mistake.

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to teach people that the ultimate goal of life is to satisfy Kṛṣṇa, either you... Kṛṣṇa or God. Kṛṣṇa is the most explicit explanation of God. If God can have any name, the "Kṛṣṇa" name is the most perfect name, because Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. I have explained many times. Unless God is all-attractive, how He can be God? If God is attractive for a certain limited person or limited area, then he is not God. Then you will say "our God," "your God," "his God," "that God." But if Kṛṣṇa is all-attractive, that is real God. And that is Kṛṣṇa. That is being proved. Now Kṛṣṇa is all-attractive all over the world. Otherwise, how in America, in Russia, in China, in Europe, all countries? Recently I have got several literatures printed in Swedish language. We are printing Kṛṣṇa literature almost in all languages of Europe---in English language, in Spanish language, in French language, in Swedish language, in Dutch language and German language, and then Italian language we are publishing, and it is being sold like hotcakes, anything. Because this idea, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness idea, is very, very new to them. Kṛṣṇa, God, can be talked with personally. One can go to God personally. These ideas were unknown in the Western countries. But that is possible. That is a fact. We can understand from Vedic literature. But they do not know.

na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ
durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ
andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās
te 'pīśa-tantryām uru-dāmni-baddhāḥ

The blind rascal leaders, they do not know, and they are becoming leader. So what kind of leader? Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānāḥ: one blind man is leading several other blind men. So what will be the result? The result must be disaster. That is being done.

Therefore the program is, as it is stated, karmaṇy akarma yaḥ paśyed akarmaṇi ca karma yaḥ. This is intelligence, how we have to work, but without reaping any good or bad result. That means working for Kṛṣṇa. That is called akarma, I have already explained. In this way, sa buddhimān manuṣyeṣu [Bg. 4.18], if you work for Kṛṣṇa as... The vivid example is Arjuna. He is working for Kṛṣṇa. So you can do also. Simply by fighting... Arjuna was not chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, because... Nowadays, in the Kali-yuga, because people are... [break] ...because they knew the duty, but at the present moment... [break] ...kalau śūdra-sambhavaḥ [Skanda Purāṇa]. In the Kali-yuga, because there is no such division, so everyone is śūdra or less than śūdra, under the circumstances, the only remedy is to chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. This is their yajña. This is also yajña. That is stated in the Śrīmad-Bha... Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ [SB 11.5.32]. Everything is there in the śāstra. Therefore we have to follow the śāstra. At the present moment... Kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam, yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyaiḥ. This is the recommendation for this age, how to worship God. So this is the method. Kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇam. Tviṣā, by complexion, akṛṣṇa, yellowish color, akṛṣṇa. How it is akṛṣṇa means yellowish? That is a big explanation. This is indicating to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Kṛṣṇa-varṇam. Kṛṣṇaṁ varṇayati. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu simply was chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare... Here is the picture. So we are trying to follow Him. That was kṛṣṇaṁ varṇayati. This is the statement of śāstra.

So whom we shall worship in this age of Kali? Because according to different ages there are different prescription. So because this Kali-yuga is very, very fallen, everyone is a śūdra, there is no brāhmaṇa, no kṣatriya, no vaiśya, therefore, the one prescription is given that, that harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam, kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva... [Cc. Ādi 17.21]. It is very difficult to bring one to the brahminical culture, to the kṣatriya culture, to the vaiśya culture, because everything is finished, and it will be finished more and more. Therefore the only saving platform is this harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam. Then everyone will be saved. Therefore we are pushing on this movement = chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra anywhere.

And it has become practical. Even in Africa, in the village, where they have got so big, big earrings, they are also chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. They are also chanting. Therefore the African government is a little afraid of this movement. Yes. Anyway, that's a big story. So anywhere we don't find any difficulty. Either you go in the interior of Africa or Europe... Europe, America, we have gone into. We are sending our buses and devotees with books in the village, in the interior village, because Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted it.

pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma
sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma

[CB Antya-khaṇḍa 4.126]

We are trying our bit, send devotees. And they are helping. These European, American boys, they are helping me very much. Even the girls, they are also helping. So it is very good opportunity. So to push this movement... And we are trying our best.

So by chanting this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and by engaging yourself in the devotional service, although it looks like karma... Just like people say, "These people are also collecting money. They are going to sell books. And they are also eating. And simply because they are dancing and chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, they have become so great?" Yes. This is the process. And actually, they have become great. Although it looks like similar activities, that they are also using motorcar, they are also using microphone and typewriter and Dictaphone and aeroplane... "So everything he is using. So how they have become so great or so advanced?" This is the intelligence. Here it is said that karmaṇy akarma yaḥ paśyet. Although they are acting just like ordinary human being---they are using everything, they are also fighting for the land, for Kṛṣṇa, and everything looks like that---but akarmaṇi, that is akarma; they are not producing any result, because it is being done for Kṛṣṇa. This is the secret.

Karmaṇi yaḥ akarma. Akarma means which does not have... I have already explained. So if you work the same thing, sva-karmaṇā, never mind you are doing the śūdra's business or brāhmaṇa's business---it doesn't matter---whether you are acting for Kṛṣṇa? That is wanted. If you are acting for Kṛṣṇa, then you are not becoming entangled by the resultant action, pious or impious. It is above. Pious and impious, they are consideration of this material platform. In the spiritual platform there is no such thing. Absolute. Whatever you are doing, it is all-good, all-spiritual. That is called absolute. In the absolute there is no such distinction, "This is pious, this is impious." Everything is spiritual.

So we have to act like that. If you act spiritually for satisfying Kṛṣṇa, varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ... Svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam [SB 1.2.13]. If you can satisfy Kṛṣṇa by your activities---it doesn't matter whether it is śūdra activity or brāhmaṇa activity---but the aim is whether you are satisfying Kṛṣṇa. Then it is akarma. Just like in this institution, somebody is washing the dishes and somebody is taking care of dressing Deity. It does not mean that one who is taking care of dressing the Deity, he is higher than the man who is washing the dishes. No. They are not karma. By washing dishes he is executing devotional service, and by dressing the Deity he is also executing. Real point is devotional service. That is called akarma.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Hari... [break] [end]