How does a man find out what his duty is?

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Expressions researched:
"How does a man find out what his duty is"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

Duty is... The śāstra is there. Bhagavad-gītā is there. The Bible is there. So follow... Bhagavad-gītā is there, the four divisions of human society, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. So each one's duty is prescribed. Brāhmaṇa's duty, kṣatriya's duty, vaiśya's duty, śūdra's duty, brahmacārī's duty, everything is there.
Evening Darsana -- July 8, 1976, Washington, D.C.:

Guest (3): Your Grace, may I ask a question? Before I asked about a man not knowing what his duty was, and you spoke of the highest duty of giving up all to Kṛṣṇa and becoming detached from the fruits of your action. But suppose the question is What shall I become—a shopkeeper, a teacher, a carpenter?

Prabhupāda: In any condition, you can surrender yourself to Kṛṣṇa. Svakarmaṇā tam abhyarcya.

Guest (3): Yes, but it sounds like it doesn't matter what I do as long as I dedicate my action to Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Therefore you require spiritual master to guide you.

Guest (3): So I cannot know myself.

Prabhupāda: That is not possible.

Guest (3): And intuition does not help.

Prabhupāda: Intuition is wrong. It is a practice. A thief thinks "I should steal." His intuition says. He's practiced to steal and intuition says "You steal." That is not guide. Intuition means that things which you are practiced, that's all. You are accustomed, that's all.

Guest (3): How does a man find out what his duty is?

Prabhupāda: Duty is... The śāstra is there. Bhagavad-gītā is there. The Bible is there. So follow.

Guest (3): Whether a man should be a shopkeeper or a teacher or a carpenter, the Bible won't tell me that, and the Bhagavad-gītā won't tell me that.

Prabhupāda: Bhagavad-gītā is there, the four divisions of human society, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. So each one's duty is prescribed. Brāhmaṇa's duty, kṣatriya's duty, vaiśya's duty, śūdra's duty, brahmacārī's duty, everything is there.

Guest (3): But then you said before that if I think I'm brahmacārī, then I should be a brahmacārī. If I become a śūdra, I act as a śūdra.

Prabhupāda: Yes, you act as a brahmacārī, do your brahmacārī work, you'll be successful.

Guest (3): But how do I know that I am thinking properly?

Prabhupāda: Therefore I say it is mentioned in the śāstra, brahmacārī guru-kule vasan dānto guror hitam (SB 7.12.1). If you want to be a lawyer, you must know the law. Without knowing the law, how you become a lawyer? Without knowing the engineering art, how you become engineer? So either you become a brahmacārī, gṛhastha or vānaprastha, sannyāsī, or anything, you must know what you are meant for. Without knowing, how you can become brahmacārī?

Guest (3): I must know what I am meant for.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Guest (3): But that's what my question is, how does one know.

Prabhupāda: Then you have to go to the... Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). Just like we were discussing Sanātana Gosvāmī, he has gone to Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he said, "Sir, You have brought me from the entanglement of family life. Now tell me what is my duty." So that discussion is going on. So you should approach guru and take instruction from him what is, how to act. If you want to act as a brahmacārī, he'll give you direction, "You do this." If you want to act as a gṛhastha, he'll give you direction, "You do like this." That is wanted. The guru, the parents, the government, they should guide.

Guest (3): But it says that if I follow another person's occupation, even if I do it better than my own occupation, that is not as good as following what I ought to be doing.

Prabhupāda: If you are unfit for that occupation, why should you imitate, waste your time? If you are, you are fit for becoming a carpenter, why should you imitate a brāhmaṇa? Better be expert carpenter and serve Kṛṣṇa with the result of carpentry work. Then there is perfection. Saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam.

ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā
varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ
svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya
saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam
(SB 1.2.13)

So suppose you are a carpenter. You earn something. So out of that your income, you offer something to Kṛṣṇa. If, even you are poor man, you can bring some fruit or flower to Kṛṣṇa. "Kṛṣṇa, I am poor man, I can't give You anything more. But I have secured this fruit and flower. Kindly accept it." Kṛṣṇa says, "Yes." Patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati tad aham aśnāmi (BG 9.26). So where is the difficulty? Svakarmaṇā tam abhyarcya. You remain a carpenter, but you worship Kṛṣṇa. That is not a very difficult job, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam.

Guest (3): But here in this country we have choices.

Prabhupāda: In this country or that country, there is no such distinction. This patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam, any country you can get it. You cannot say in America there is no patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam, in India only. No. Everywhere it is available. Therefore this general prescription is there. Even Kṛṣṇa does not say Gaṅgā-jala. Because Gaṅgā, if you say Gaṅgā-jala, that is available in India. He says toyam, any jala, any water. Because any water, as soon as touches the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, it becomes Gaṅgā. Why Gaṅgā is so adored? Because it is coming from the toes of Kṛṣṇa. So any water touching Kṛṣṇa's toes, that becomes Gaṅgā.

Vipina: Śrīla Prabhupāda, if we're born each with a qualification, how is this qualification developed in our early years?

Prabhupāda: There is no question of developing any particular qualification. Whatever qualification you are, if you agree to surrender to Kṛṣṇa, that is the best qualification. It doesn't matter what material qualification you have. It doesn't matter. You simply acquire this qualification, that "From this day I fully surrender to Kṛṣṇa." That everyone can do. Is there any difficulty? Simply he must agree, this qualification. That depends on him, agree or not agree. If you agree, then you become qualified. If you don't agree, you remain disqualified. So that is intelligence. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate (BG 7.19). After many, many births of struggle, one who is fully in knowledge, he surrenders to Kṛṣṇa. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān. Not the foolish. Foolish person cannot. But vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ (BG 7.19). You can become immediately mahātmā by surrendering to Kṛṣṇa. That is intelligence. Why shall I wait for many many births to become a mahātmā? Let me surrender immediately and become a mahātmā. Mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ bhajanty ananya-manasaḥ (BG 9.13)—chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, become a mahātmā. It is not very difficult. You can become mahātmā immediately, within a second. But the disease is that you'll not agree to Kṛṣṇa. That is the dangerous disease.

Dr. Sharma: When you say surrender, it means surrender of fruits of the action?

Prabhupāda: No, surrender your life. That includes surrender of fruits and everything. Surrender your life.

Dr. Sharma: Surrender He uses many places, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam (BG 9.26), karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadācana.

Prabhupāda: Yes, but that is not surrender. When you keep yourself in your so-called duty, that recommendation is there. But when you fully surrender, there is no more karma, everything is bhakti. And because you do not surrender, therefore He is recommending that you do your karma like this. But as soon as you surrender, you are above karma. Sa guṇān sama-tītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya, you are brahma-bhūtaḥ. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati (BG 18.54). So long you do not surrender, He is linking your activities with Kṛṣṇa consciousness, "You do like this." Then one day you'll be able to surrender. Just like Dhruva Mahārāja, he wanted the kingdom better than his father, grandfather. So he had to undergo so much severe austerities. He got Kṛṣṇa. But when he got Kṛṣṇa, he said svāmin kṛtārtho 'smi varam, "I don't want any benediction." So this position you can attain any moment, "My Lord, I surrender unto You. I don't want anything from You. Kindly give me shelter at Your lotus feet." This is the result of greatest tapasya. And Kṛṣṇa gives you protection. Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati (BG 9.31). So that is the highest perfection of life, to surrender to God without any reservations. Then life is perfect.

Vipina: Prabhupāda, even if a person is not willing to hear spiritual knowledge, when you come and speak, a person, you know, can develop faith in Kṛṣṇa or God. So why doesn't Kṛṣṇa come and make it easy?

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa has already come. What I am speaking? Kṛṣṇa is there. But you have no eyes to see.

Vipina: All right, but we don't have any eyes, someone may not have eyes to see who you are, may not be willing, but when you come...

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa's word are not different. If you find it different, then you have no eyes to see. Kṛṣṇa is absolute. When I quote Kṛṣṇa's word, that means Kṛṣṇa.

Vipina: But everyone sees it as different.

Prabhupāda: Because he is a rascal. He has to become a sane man, then he will see. It requires tapasya. It is not so easy. That is called sahajiyā. Why you want such exalted things so easily? Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa's words, they are the same. Vāco vācaḥ.(?) The same thing. Why you are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa? If Kṛṣṇa's name and Kṛṣṇa is not the same, then what is the use of wasting time? Hm? What is that? Abhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś?

Prabhupāda: Ah,

nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś
caitanya-rasa-vigrahaḥ
pūrṇaḥ śuddho nitya-mukto
'bhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ
(CC Madhya 17.133)

This is the realization of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, when you understand that nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaḥ, this name, Kṛṣṇa, is Kṛṣṇa. That is the perfection of chanting. Nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś caitanya-rasa-vigrahaḥ. Full representation or full Kṛṣṇa. Pūrṇaḥ śuddho nitya-mukto 'bhinnatvāt, Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa's anything. Just like we are worshiping Kṛṣṇa. If you think this is a statue of Kṛṣṇa, it is different from Kṛṣṇa, then you are not worshiping properly. He is Kṛṣṇa. Arcye viṣṇau śilā-dhīr guruṣu nara-mati, these are instructions. So anyway, we may be in the imperfect stage of devotional service, but if you follow the instruction, then gradually you come to the perfectional stage. There is no hopelessness. Continue. It is not that immediately one becomes perfect. But if you continue with the process, then you'll become perfect.

Compiled byMadhuGopaldas + and Rishab +
Completed sectionsALL +
Date of first entryAugust 7, 0011 JL +
Date of last entryJuly 4, 0012 JL +
Total quotes1 +
Total quotes by sectionBG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 0 +, Conv: 1 + and Let: 0 +