One cannot be elevated to the highest platform of devotional service by karma-kanda or jnana-kanda. Pure devotional service can be understood and attained only through the association of pure devotees
“In every revealed scripture there is condemnation of fruitive activities. It is advised everywhere to give up engagement in fruitive activities, for no one can attain the highest goal of life, love of Godhead, by executing them.
In the Vedas there are three kāṇḍas, or divisions: karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa and upāsanā-kāṇḍa. The karma-kāṇḍa portion stresses the execution of fruitive activities. But ultimately it is advised that one abandon both karma-kāṇḍa and jñāna-kāṇḍa (speculative knowledge) and accept only upāsanā-kāṇḍa, or bhakti-kāṇḍa. One cannot attain love of Godhead by executing karma-kāṇḍa or jñāna-kāṇḍa. But by dedicating one's karma, or fruitive activities, to the Supreme Lord, one may be relieved from the polluted mind, and becoming free from mental pollution helps elevate one to the spiritual platform. Then, however, one needs the association of a pure devotee, for only by a pure devotee's association can one become a pure devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. When one comes to the stage of pure devotional service, the process of śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam is very essential. By executing the nine items of devotional service, beginning with śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam, one is completely purified. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11). Only then is one able to execute Kṛṣṇa's orders in the Bhagavad-gītā (18.65):
- man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
- mām evaiṣyasi satyam te pratijāne priyo ’si me
- sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaranaṁ vraja
- ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
- (BG 18.66)
"Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend. Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear." In this way one develops his original constitutional position of rendering loving service to the Lord.
One cannot be elevated to the highest platform of devotional service by karma-kāṇḍa or jñāna-kāṇḍa. Pure devotional service can be understood and attained only through the association of pure devotees. In this regard, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura states that there are two types of karma-kāṇḍa activities—pious and impious. Pious activities are certainly better than impious activities, but even pious activities cannot bring about ecstatic love of God, Kṛṣṇa. Pious and impious activities can bring about material happiness and distress, but there is no possibility of one's becoming a pure devotee simply by acting piously or impiously. Bhakti, devotional service, means satisfying Kṛṣṇa. In every revealed scripture, whether stressing jñāna-kāṇḍa or karma-kāṇḍa, the principle of renunciation is always praised. The ripened fruit of Vedic knowledge, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, is the supreme Vedic evidence. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.5.12) it is said: