Process of Karma Versus Personality of Krishna

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.10.14-16(B) - Process of Karma Versus Personality of Krishna (download mp3)
by Satyananda Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

 SB 11.10.14-16
athaisam karma-kartrnam
 bhoktrnam sukha-duhkhayoh
nanatvam atha nityatvam
manyase sarva-bhavanam
 samstha hy autpattiki yatha
 jayate bhidyate ca dhih
evam apy anga sarvesam
 dehinam deha-yogatah
kalavayavatah santi
 bhava janmadayo ’sakrt

My dear Uddhava, I have thus explained to you perfect knowledge. There are philosophers, however, who challenge My conclusion. They state that the natural position of the living entity is to engage in fruitive activities, and they see him as the enjoyer of the happiness and unhappiness that accrue from his own work. According to this materialistic philosophy, the world, time, the revealed scriptures and the self are all variegated and eternal, existing as a perpetual flow of transformations. Knowledge, moreover, cannot be one or eternal, because it arises from the different and changing forms of objects; thus knowledge itself is always subject to change. Even if you accept such a philosophy, My dear Uddhava, there will still be perpetual birth, death, old age and disease, since all living entities must accept a material body subject to the influence of time.

In this verse, according to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Lord Krsna speaks the following to Uddhava. “My dear Uddhava, I have clearly established the actual goal of life in the instructions I have just imparted to you. There are those, however, who challenge My conclusion, especially the followers of Jaimini Kavi. If you are favorable to their understanding and thus do not accept My instructions, then kindly hear the following explanation.

“According to the followers of Jaimini, the living entity is originally and naturally a performer of fruitive activities, and his happiness and distress are derived from the fruits of his own work. The world in which the living entities find their enjoyment, the time during which they enjoy, the revealed scriptures that explain the means for achieving enjoyment, and the subtle bodies through which the living entities experience enjoyment all exist not only in manifold variety but also eternally.

“The living entity need not develop detachment from material sense gratification, either by seeing the temporariness of individual material objects and situations or by seeing the material world as an illusory creation (maya). According to such materialistic philosophy, material objects such as garlands, sandalwood or beautiful women are temporary in specific manifestations but perpetually exist through the natural flow of creation and destruction. In other words, although a particular woman’s form is temporary, there will eternally be beautiful women within the material world. Thus, by carefully executing fruitive rituals according to religious scriptures, one can maintain enjoyable contact with women and wealth life after life. In this way one’s sense gratification will be eternal.

“The Jaimini philosophers further say that there never was a time when the world did not exist as it does today, which implies that there is no supreme controller who has created it. They claim that the arrangement of this world is real and appropriate and thus is not illusory. Moreover, they say that there is no eternal knowledge of an original perpetual form of the soul. In fact, they say, knowledge arises not from some absolute truth but from the differences among material objects. Knowledge therefore is not eternal and is subject to change. The assumption hidden in this statement is that there is no spirit soul who possesses eternal, constant knowledge of a single, unchanging reality. Rather, the nature of consciousness or knowledge is that it undergoes constant transformation. They state, however, that eternality is not refuted by the perpetually transforming nature of consciousness. Consciousness perpetually exists, they say, but not in the same form.

“Thus, the followers of Jaimini conclude that the transformation of knowledge does not negate its eternality; rather, they state that knowledge eternally exists within the perpetual nature of its transformation. They therefore naturally come to the path of regulated sense gratification rather than the path of renunciation, for in the state of mukti, or liberation, the living entity would not have any material senses, and thus the transformation of material understanding would not be possible. Such philosophers consider that the achievement of an unchanging state of mukti would stunt or paralyze the natural activity of the living entity and thus would not be in his self-interest. The path of nivrtti (aiming toward renunciation and transcendence of the material world) is naturally not interesting to such materialistic philosophers. Accepting for argument’s sake the validity of such materialistic philosophy, one can easily demonstrate that the path of regulated sense gratification brings many unwanted and miserable results to the living entity. Therefore even from a materialistic viewpoint, detachment is desirable. Material time is divided into different sections such as days, weeks, months and years, and by material time the living entity is repeatedly forced to undergo the miseries of birth, death, old age and disease. That such real miseries occur everywhere throughout the universe is well known.” In this way, states Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Lord Krsna has pointed out the defect of materialistic philosophy to Uddhava.

We may further elaborate that if one falsely accepts the atheistic philosophy of Jaimini and his innumerable modern followers. then the living entity perpetually remains entangled in the anguish of birth, death, old age and disease. This bogus, atheistic philosophy encourages material gratification as the only logical goal of life, but the living entity will inevitably commit mistakes in the execution of regulated sense gratification and eventually go to hell. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna, personally tells Uddhava that this materialistic philosophy is false and irrelevant to the actual self-interest of the living entity.

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