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Why there are three words, karma, vikarma, akarma? There are three

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Expressions researched:
"But then why there are three words, karma, vikarma, akarma? There are three"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1973 Conversations and Morning Walks

That... Vikarma means..., karma means you act according to the injunction of the śāstra. That is karma. And vikarma means when you violate the injunction of the śāstra... Violate... Yes. "You should not do this." Just like in the śāstra it is said that you should not indulge in sinful activities... That is vikarma. If you act sinfully, against the injunctions of the śāstra, then it is sinful, that is vikarma. And akarma means which does not produce any other result. That is akarma.
Room Conversation with Reporter from Researchers Magazine -- July 24, 1973, London:

Prabhupāda: Dharma means karma. Dharma does not mean inactivity. Because it is said, brahma-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.42).

Reporter: Yes.

Prabhupāda: It is karma. So brāhmaṇa's activity means brāhmaṇa. So that activity is karma. Ah? Yajana yājana paṭhana pāṭhana dāna pratigraha, these are brāhmaṇas.

Reporter: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Kṣatriyas, to become king, to fight for the protection of the citizens, to become charitably disposed. Everything is described there. These are the kṣatriya's karma. These the brāhmaṇa's karma. These are the, eh, vaiśya's karma. These are the śūdra's karma. So sva-dharma means to execute the prescribed karma. That is sva-dharma. Dharma karma. Dharma means karma, but prescribed. You are brāhmaṇa, you have to act as a brāhmaṇa.

Reporter: Yes, yes.

Prabhupāda: You are kṣatriya, you have to act as a kṣatriya. So acting means karma. How you can avoid karma? Bhakti is also karma. Bhakti is also karma. Bhakti, what is this bhakti? Just like we are engaged in devotional service. That service means karma. So they're also rising early in the morning at four 'o clock offering maṅgala-ārati, and then reading books, then chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, then taking the class and taking prasādam, then going to outside for performing saṅkīrtana, to distributing books. All day, twenty-four hours karma. So therefore outsiders, they can not understand, that "They're also working like us, they're also selling books, they're going to the press, they're also eating, they're riding motorcar, they're typing, what kind of bhakti it is?" They cannot understand what is bhakti. They think bhakti means, just like "Close your eyes and make some murmuring sound, that is good." Bhakti is not like that.

Reporter: Bhakti is the quality...

Prabhupāda: Yes, quality of karma. Just like Arjuna, Arjuna was fighting. So he was giving the certificate-bhakto 'si. Bhakto 'si: "You are My devotee." So everything is karma, whatever you do. It is activity. But we have to see the quality of that activity. What is the quality of it. Yes, how you can live without being active? You are living being. That's not possible. Simply we have to see the quality of our activity. That makes one karma-yogī, jñāna-yogī, dhyāna-yogī, bhakti-yogī. Everywhere there is karma. Without karma there is nothing.

Reporter: Hm. Can I ask you another...

Prabhupāda: Therefore it is called karma-miśra-bhakti. It is not unalloyed bhakti.

Reporter: No, no.

Prabhupāda: Unalloyed bhakti, there is no karma.

Reporter: There's no karma.

Prabhupāda: There's no karma. That is very high state. But originally...

Reporter: Akarma, then it comes akarma.

Reporter: Yes.

Prabhupāda: That is very high state. But originally...

Reporter: Akarma, then it comes akarma.

Prabhupāda: Ah, akarma.

Reporter: Sannyāsa.

Prabhupāda: No, more than akarma.

Reporter: Sannyāsa?

Prabhupāda: More than a... Sannyāsī is akarma, yes. Sannyāsī is also not akarma. Sannyāsa means... That is also described in Bhagavad-gītā. Anāśritaḥ karma-phalaṁ kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ (BG 6.1). That is also karma. Kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ sa sannyāsī. "It is my duty"—on this principle when one works, he is sannyāsī. He does not work for himself, he works for Kṛṣṇa. And that is sannyāsī. Anāśritaḥ karma-phalam. Because if you are doing something, there must be some result. But you do not take the result. Anāśritaḥ karma-phalam. Kāryam: it is my duty. Kāryam. Karma karot... Karma karoti yaḥ. That is karma. Sa sannyāsī. So how you can say in sannyāsa there is no karma? Karma is always there. But you have to see for what for this karma is being done The end justify the means. What is the end of this karma? So when the end is Kṛṣṇa, to satisfy Kṛṣṇa, ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā (CC Madhya 19.167).

Reporter: Yeah. But what is the meaning of akarma?

Prabhupāda: Akarma means that does not produce another karma. Or sometimes akarma means laziness.

Reporter: No, no, (laughs), in the sense of Gītā.

Prabhupāda: Karmaṇo hy api boddhavyam. So akarma means, that is bhaktyā. Akarma means, just like yajñārthāt karmaṇo 'nyatra karma-bandhanaḥ. Anyatra karma-bandhanaḥ: when you become bound by the result, the action of the karma, that is karma. And when you act yajñārthe, for Viṣṇu, for Kṛṣṇa, that is not karma, that is akarma. It does not produce, karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājām (Bs. 5.54). In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is said, "Those who are engaged in devotional service, they're not producing any more karma.

Reporter: Hm. Hm. But then why there are three words, karma, vikarma, akarma? There are three.

Prabhupāda: That... Vikarma means..., karma means you act according to the injunction of the śāstra. That is karma. And vikarma means when you violate the injunction of the śāstra.

Devotee: Violate.

Prabhupāda: Violate.

Reporter: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Yes. "You should not do this." Just like in the śāstra it is said that you should not indulge in sinful activities.

Reporter: Hm. That's the vikarma.

Prabhupāda: That is vikarma. If you act sinfully, against the injunctions of the śāstra, then it is sinful, that is vikarma. And akarma means which does not produce any other result. That is akarma. Karma, akarma, vikarma. Yes. But generally we act, we indulge in karma to get some result. And that is karma. That is not vikarma. Vikarma, when you act against the principles of sinful activities, no, no, when you act as sinful activity, just like striyaḥ sūnā (Sanskrit). Four kinds of sinful activities are described in the śāstras: illicit sex life. You can not indulge in sex life without marriage, that is illicit, that is sinful. So killing animals unnecessarily, that is sinful. Then intoxication, that is sinful. And gambling. These are sinful activities. So when you do not obey the orders of the śāstra and engage yourself in sinful activities, that is vikarma, you're becoming bound up being entangled. Therefore bhakti is the safest platform, because you do not produce any more karma. Whatever karma you have to act, it is finished in this life. Karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājām (Bs. 5.54). Otherwise, beginning from ant, up to the Brahmā, everyone is bound up by the reaction of karma.

Reporter: Hm. Vi... But is it not like vasiṣṭhaṁ jñānaṁ vijñānam. (?)

Prabhupāda: Ah?

Reporter: Vasiṣṭhān karmān vikarmān? "Vi—" is generally used as to... a sort of bhaktyā.(?) To give the quality of the karma, quality of the action. Like vijñānam, jñānaṁ vijñānam. Karmān vikarmān. So this a little, what is the root of the language? I don't...

Prabhupāda: Jñānam means you must know things theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge. That is, jñānam means theoretical knowledge. And vijñānam means practical knowledge. Jñānaṁ vijñānam. When your knowledge is applied practically in life, just like yajñārthāt karmaṇo 'nyatra. This knowledge is theoretical, that one has to work only for yajña. Yajñād bhavati (indistinct). This things are there. So everyone should act for yajña. Yajñeśa. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa it is said, varṇāśramācāravatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān, viṣṇur ārādhyate (CC Madhya 8.58). If you act according to varṇāśrama, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, never mind, whatever you are. Everything is meant for pleasing the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu. Viṣṇur ārādhyate.

Reporter: Hm.

Prabhupāda: Nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam. So in order to satisfy Him, there is no other way than to act according to the tenets of varṇāśrama. This is the beginning of civilization. Without accepting this division of varṇāśrama, that is animal society, everything is chaos. (some people talking aside)

MadhuGopaldas +  and Rishab +
July 24, 0011 JL +
September 18, 0012 JL +
BG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 0 +, Conv: 1 +  and Let: 0 +