Futility of Karma Kand

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.64.23-25 - Futility of Karma Kand (download mp3) and (download mp4)
by Shrinathji Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 10.64.23
purvam tvam asubham bhunksa
 utaho nrpate subham
nantam danasya dharmasya
 pasye lokasya bhasvatah

[Yamaraja said:] My dear King, do you wish to experience the results of your sins first, or those of your piety? Indeed, I see no end to the dutiful charity you have performed, or to your consequent enjoyment in the radiant heavenly planets.

SB 10.64.24
purvam devasubham bhuñja
 iti praha pateti sah
tavad adraksam atmanam
 krkalasam patan prabho

I replied, “First, my lord, let me suffer my sinful reactions,” and Yamaraja said, “Then fall!” At once I fell, and while falling I saw myself becoming a lizard, O master.

SB 10.64.25
brahmanyasya vadanyasya
 tava dasasya kesava
smrtir nadyapi vidhvasta

O Kesava, as Your servant I was devoted to the brahmanas and generous to them, and I always hankered for Your audience. Therefore even till now I have never forgotten [my past life].

Srila Jiva Gosvami comments on this verse as follows: “Since King Nrga openly declared that he had two outstanding qualities — namely devotion to the brahmanas, and generosity — it is clear that he possessed these qualities only partially, since someone who is truly pure would not boast about them. It is also clear that King Nrga considered such piety to be a separate goal, desirable for its own sake. Thus he did not fully appreciate pure devotional service to Lord Krsna. Krsna had not been the only goal of Nrga’s life, as He was for Ambarisa Maharaja, even in the stage of regulative practice. Nor do we find that King Nrga overcame obstacles like those Ambarisa did when Durvasa Muni became angry at him. Still, we can conclude that since Nrga was able to see the Lord for some reason or another, he must have had the good quality of sincerely desiring the Lord’s association.”

Srila Prabhupada confirms the above analysis in Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead: “On the whole, [Nrga] had not developed Krsna consciousness. The Krsna conscious person develops love of God, Krsna, not love for pious or impious activities; therefore he is not subjected to the results of such action. As stated in the Brahma-samhita, a devotee, by the grace of the Lord, does not become subjected to the resultant reactions of fruitive activities.”

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti offers the following commentary: “When Nrga mentioned ‘one who hankered to have Your audience,’ he was referring to an incident concerning a certain great devotee King Nrga had once met. This devotee was very eager to acquire a temple for a most beautiful Deity of the Supreme Lord, and he also wanted copies of such scriptures as the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. Being very generous, Nrga arranged for these things, and the devotee was so satisfied that he blessed the King: ‘My dear King, may you have the audience of the Supreme Lord.’ From that time on, Nrga desired to see the Lord.”