Srimad Bhagavatam 11.04.06 - Cessation of material work is possible only by the devotional service of the Lord (download mp3)
by Bhakti Gaurava Narayan Swami at ISKCON Chowpatty
dharmasya daksa-duhitary ajanista murtyam
narayano nara rsi-pravarah prasantah
naiskarmya-laksanam uvaca cacara karma
yo ’dyapi casta rsi-varya-nisevitanghrih
Nara-Narayana Rsi, who is perfectly peaceful and is the best of sages, was born as the son of Dharma and his wife Murti, the daughter of Daksa. Nara-Narayana Rsi taught the devotional service of the Lord, by which material work ceases, and He Himself perfectly practiced this knowledge. He is living even today, His lotus feet served by the greatest of saintly persons.
It is understood that Nara-Narayana Rsi spoke transcendental knowledge to great saintly persons such as Narada Muni. On the basis of these teachings, Narada was able to describe naiskarmyam, or the devotional service of the Lord, which eradicates material work, as mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.8): tantram satvatam acasta naiskarmyam karmanam yatah. The atma-svarupa, or eternal form of the living entity, is devotional service to the Personality of Godhead. But our perception of our eternal form is covered by a material concept of life, just as our normal understanding of our life is covered by a dream. Naiskarmyam, or the cessation of material work, is possible only by the devotional service of the Lord, as stated by Narada Muni himself: naiskarmyam apy acyuta-bhava-varjitam na sobhate jñanam alam nirañjanam (Bhag. 1.5.12). The process of transforming ordinary karma into naiskarmya, or transcendental work, is summarized by Srila Prabhupada in his commentary on this verse spoken by Narada Muni. “Fruitive work, in which almost all people in general are engaged, is always painful either in the beginning or at the end. It can be fruitful only when made subservient to the devotional service of the Lord. In the Bhagavad-gita also it is confirmed that the result of such fruitive work may be offered for the service of the Lord, otherwise it leads to material bondage. The bona fide enjoyer of the fruitive work is the Personality of Godhead, and thus when it is engaged for the sense gratification of the living beings, it becomes an acute source of trouble.” According to the Matsya Purana (3.10), Dharma, the father of Nara-Narayana Rsi, was born from the right breast of Brahma and later married thirteen of the daughters of Prajapati Daksa. The Lord Himself appeared from the womb of Murtidevi.