The Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as Puruṣottama, or the best of all living entities. He is a person like all other living entities, but He is the leader or the best of all living beings. That is stated in the Vedas also. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). He is the chief of all eternals, the chief of all living entities, and He is complete and full. He has no need to derive benefit by interfering with the affairs of other living entities, but because He is the maintainer of all, He has the right to bring them to the proper standard so that all living entities may become happy. A father wants all of his children to become happy under his direction. Similarly, God, or Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has the right to see that all living entities are happy. There is no possibility of becoming happy within this material world. The father and the sons are eternal, but if a living entity does not come to the platform of his eternal life of bliss and knowledge, there is no question of happiness. Although Puruṣottama, the best of all living entities, has no benefit to derive from the common living entities, He does have the right to discriminate between their right and wrong ways. The right way is the path of activities meant to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as we have already discussed (svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam (SB 1.2.13)). A living entity may engage in any occupational duty, but if he wants to have perfection in his duties, he must satisfy the Supreme Lord. As such, one who pleases Him gets better facilities for living, but one who displeases Him gets involved in undesirable situations.
It is therefore concluded that there are two kinds of duties—mundane duty and duty performed for the sake of yajña, or sacrifice (yajñārthāt karma). Any karma (activity) one performs which is not for the purpose of yajña is a cause of bondage. Yajñārthāt karmaṇo'nyatra loko'yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ: "Work done as a sacrifice for Viṣṇu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world." (BG 3.9) Karma-bandhanaḥ, or the bondage of karma, is administered under the regulations of the stringent laws of material nature. Material existence is a struggle to conquer the impediments put forth by material nature. The asuras are always fighting to overcome these impediments, and by the illusory power of material nature the foolish living entities work very hard within this material world and take this to be happiness. This is called māyā. In that hard struggle for existence, they deny the existence of the supreme authority, Puruṣottama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In order to regulate the activities of the living entities, God has given us codes, just as a king gives codes of law in a state, and whoever breaks the law is punished. Similarly, the Lord has given the infallible knowledge of the Vedas, which are not contaminated by the four defects of human life—namely the tendency to commit mistakes, to be illusioned, to cheat and to have imperfect senses. If we do not take direction from the Vedas but act whimsically according to our own choice, we are sure to be punished by the laws of the Lord, who offers different types of bodies in the 8,400,000 species of forms. Material existence, or the sense gratification process, is conducted according to the type of body we are given by prakṛti, or material nature. As such, there must be divisions of pious and impious activities (puṇya and pāpa). In Bhagavad-gītā (BG 7.28) it is clearly stated:
- yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
- janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām
- te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā
- bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
"One who has completely surpassed the resultant activities of the impious path of life [this is possible only when one engages exclusively in pious activities] can understand his eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus one engages in the Lord's transcendental loving service." This life of engaging always in the loving service of the Lord is called adhokṣaja-dhiyaḥ, or a life of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which King Pṛthu meant his citizens to follow.
The different varieties of life and of material existence do not come about by chance and necessity; they are different arrangements made by the Supreme Lord in terms of the pious and impious activities of the living entities. By performing pious activities one can take birth in a good family in a good nation, one can get a beautiful body or can become very well educated or very rich. We see, therefore, that in different places and in different planets there are different standards of life, bodily features and educational statuses, all awarded by the Supreme Personality of Godhead according to pious or impious activities. Varieties of life, therefore, develop not by chance but by prearrangement. There is a plan, which is already outlined in the Vedic knowledge. One has to take advantage of this knowledge and mold his life in such a way that at the end, especially in the human form of life, he may go back home, back to Godhead, by practicing Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
The theory of chance can best be explained in the Vedic literature by the words ajñāta-sukṛti, which refer to pious activities performed without the actor's knowledge. But these are also planned. For example, Kṛṣṇa comes like an ordinary human being, He comes as a devotee like Lord Caitanya, or He sends His representative, the spiritual master, or pure devotee. This is also the planned activity of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They come to canvass and educate, and thus a person in the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord gets a chance to mix with them, talk with them and take lessons from them, and somehow or other if a conditioned soul surrenders to such personalities and by intimate association with them chances to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, he is saved from the material conditions of life. Kṛṣṇa therefore instructs:
- sarva-dharmān parityajya
- mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
- ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
- mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear." (BG 18.66) The word sarva-pāpebhyaḥ means "from all sinful activities." A person who surrenders unto Him by utilizing the chance to associate with the pure devotee, spiritual master or other authorized incarnations of Godhead, like Pṛthu Mahārāja, is saved by Kṛṣṇa. Then his life becomes successful.