Prescribed Duty

Hare Krsna,


In Bhagavad Gita the Lord says that it is better for one to perform his own occupation imperfectly rather than to perform another's occupation perfectly. For the last few years I have been struggling with finding a career that allows me to perform my dharma as I see it. I feel that I belong in the military and that is how I can serve the Lord with my life and what comes natural to me. I am currently unemployed and am getting in shape before I apply to another possible job opportunity. My question is should I focus all my efforts on preparing for this job that allows me to happily serve Krsna with my life and trust that Krsna will provide? Or should I play it safe and just get any job so long as I am working? I am trying to follow what I believe in but I am constantly having doubts that I am just being irresponsible and living in a fantasy. I want to grow into the most responsible and devoted servant that I can be but I am wondering if maybe I am taking some of Krsna words too literally and I am actually behaving to my detriment. I just know that the career I am chasing is exactly what I need to help me with discipline and many other areas that I need much improvement in. So if I am being completely honest I know this is the best thing for me I am just worried that if it doesn't work out I won't be able to support myself. Which is more irresponsible? To risk financial security in an effort to grow spiritually or to risk spiritual growth in an attempt to be financially responsible. I know that even in an extreme situation such as homelessness Krsna will always be with me but I guess if I am being honest I am worried about what plan Krsna has for my life. Thank you for any advice.


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  • Sri guru gaurangau jayatah

    There are many instructions in the scriptures for various levels of practitioners, all meant to gradually lead them to the final according to ones qualification (inclination), one must follow their particular sadana - there is karma adhikar, jnana adhikar, yoga adhikar, bhakti adhikar.

    Although krsna has told so much instruction ,in the end he says give up all dharmas and surrender unto me, dont fear about the sins for not following them because ill protect you.
    Surrender is the door way to bhakti.
    Although krsna gave so many paths to reach the goal , he at last gave a quick route ie, bhakti. Other paths take long time and are risky.

    So following the other things are not as important as following bhakti. And even in bhakti there is classification, so many process are there like archana, vandana, smarana etc.. but without kirtan it wont be effective. So even if one doesnt follow other limbs of bhakti properly, but does full sankirtan ,he will achieve all success.

    The important question is have you really understood what is your goal (sadhya). What you want to achieve in your life. If one has not fixed his sadhya first, how can he do sadhana(process to achieve that goal).
    If i go to ticket counter and ask for ticket, the issuer will ask where u want to go. Oh , u cant say , first give me the ticket then ill think about where to go on the way!
    This cant make sense.
    Krti sadya bhavet sadya bhav sa sadhanabida... that engagements by which ones goal (sadya bhav ) is manifested is called sadhana, otherwise it is sadhana abhas.

    Therefore it is first necessary to understand all this philosophical conclusions. We must discuss with devotees and learn. Then whatever is favorable for our goal we accept and what doesnt help we reject - anukulyasya sankalpa pratikulasya varjanam.

    Chaitanya mahaprabhu discuss this subject with ramanand rai - what is sadhya. And he considered varnasram dharma to be external - because it is not atma anubandhi related to eternal function of soul, the varnasram dharma is based on body and mind , it changes .it can remove ones avidya and lead to realising we are not this body. Even if one perfectly performs prescribed duties for 100 lifetimes, it can make him brahma, but cant give entry to spiritual world.

    Another example, raghunath das goswami has said in his manah siksha - na dharmam naadharmam sruti gana niruktam kila kuru
    - dont bother about dharma or adharma told in the vedas, instead

    Vraje radha krsna pracura paricaryam iha tanu
    - engage in profuse service to radha krsna with one pointed focus.

    Oh even more specifically for those greedy to serve krsna, the son of nanda in vraja , he has told
    Api tyaktva laksmi pati ratim ito vyoma nayanim
    Even give up attachment for narayan , it will lead you to vaikuntha.

    Vraje radha krsnau sva rati mani dau tvam bhaja mana
    Insted do bhajan of radha krsna who will give you the gem of love for them.

    These instruction are for those greedy for raganuga bhakti.

    So if u have the desire to directly serve radha krsna as their associate, u must be one pointed. Whatever is necesarry for maintaining urself and family u must do, then give the rest of ur time and energy to achieve this goal.

    Although i have told all this, u still must take guidance from your siksa guru. That will help u.

    Hare krsna
    • My explainations were to direct the focus from varasram to krsna bhakti (sankirtan) because that is important.

      Now consider these verses,

      # SB 11.17.23 — The brahmacārī should regularly dress with a belt of straw and deerskin garments. He should wear matted hair, carry a rod and waterpot and be decorated with akṣa beads and a sacred thread. He should not unnecessarily polish his teeth, nor should he bleach and iron his clothes.
      Now have u seen any brahmacaris following this instruction in this age, even within iskcon?
      If u wear deerskin, wont u be arrested by police. Have u seen brahmacaris keeping matted hair, did prabhupad tell so ?
      SB 11.17.43 — A brāhmaṇa householder should remain satisfied in mind by gleaning rejected grains from agricultural fields and marketplaces.
      Is this practised in this age ?
      SB 11.18.15 — If the sannyāsī desires to wear something besides a mere kaupīna, he may use another cloth around his waist and hips to cover the kaupīna. Otherwise, if there is no emergency, he should not accept anything besides his daṇḍa and waterpot.

      - have u seen the sannyasis with mere loincloth? Its not practical in this age.
      So we must hear the actual purport of sastra from guru. They understand our capablity and give us guidance accordingly.

      For example, saraswati thakura recomended to chant 64 rounds daily.
      But prabhupad understood the ability of his disciples so he told min 16 rounds daily.

      In this way they can guide us according to time, place and circumstances.

      Chaitanya mahaprabhu has told, " I am not a brahmana , kshatriya , vaisya or sudra. Nor am I brahmacari, grhasta , vanaprasta or sanyasi, I am the servant of the servant of the servant of gopinath."
      Although He accepted sanyas order , he gave importance to being the servant of krsna.

      So that was my focus.
      One day, Srivasa Pandita said to Mahaprabhu, clapping his hands, "One, two, three." Mahaprabhu asked, "What are you doing?" Again Srivasa Pandita said, "One, two, three." Mahaprabhu inquired, "Why are you doing that?" Then Srivasa Pandit explained, "We are chanting and remembering Krsna throughout the day, and doing nothing for our maintenance. If there is nothing to eat in my house today, then I will wait. On the second day I will also wait. If nothing comes on the third day, no harm; but if nothing comes on the fourth day, I will jump in the Ganges. I will not do anything but chant and remember." Mahaprabhu told him, "This can never happen to a devotee like you. The Goddess of Fortune, Laksmi-devi, may have to beg anywhere, but not My devotees or Krsna's devotees."

      In this way if we simply perform kirtan, we will have all succuss. Even the final instruction of bhagavatam is this , nama sankirtanam yasya ......
    • SB 11.17.47  If a brāhmaṇa cannot support himself through his regular duties and is thus suffering, he may adopt the occupation of a merchant and overcome his destitute condition by buying and selling material things. If he continues to suffer extreme poverty even as a merchant, then he may adopt the occupation of a kṣatriya, taking sword in hand. But he cannot in any circumstances become like a dog, accepting an ordinary master.
      SB 11.17.48  A king or other member of the royal order who cannot maintain himself by his normal occupation may act as a vaiśya, may live by hunting or may act as a brāhmaṇa by teaching others Vedic knowledge. But he may not under any circumstances adopt the profession of a śūdra.
      SB 11.17.49  A vaiśya, or mercantile man, who cannot maintain himself may adopt the occupation of a śūdra, and a śūdra who cannot find a master can engage in simple activities like making baskets and mats of straw. However, all members of society who have adopted inferior occupations in emergency situations must give up those substitute occupations when the difficulties have passed.
      SB 11.17.47
      Śva-vṛttyā, or “a dog’s profession,” refers to the śūdras, who cannot live without accepting a master. A destitute brāhmaṇa who is suffering intolera…
  • I try to perform Bhakti yoga to the best of my ability. I believe I too am a Kshatriya and that is why I am trying to live my life in a way that will allow me to perform my duties and focus on God.

    Hare Krsna

    • Well Arjuna was a Kshetriya. That is his swadharma.  I don't know now.  You want to work and become a Karma Yogi to serve Lord. Right? 

      You cannot live a lie or not I donno but u said u will be financially down if you don"t take up other job. In that situation taking up another job is not a bad option.

      Money is important for keeping things going.  Until you get a job matching your skill set you can do whatever job comes to you.

      I  think one can serve Lord thru any job.!!!!!!!!!!!!! When you do any job without expecting much and do sincerely without having pride of ownership or doership. It becomes Nishkaam karma yoga and Lord is pleased with it any job if u do like this.

      It is upto you anyways. Hare Krishna..!!!

  • Arjuna did not become a warrior just so he could have money to eat. He did it as selfless service. To serve God and protect all living creatures. If our work didn't matter then Krsna would not have told Arjuna to fight. We all have our own path and duty that resonates with who we are. Mine is the military arts. It is not just something I want it is who I am. I can not be anybody else or I will be living a lie. Our life's work is how we serve God. This is how I get back to Godhead. Arjuna could not have been anything else and neither can I. Thank you for your reply.

    Hare Krsna

  • well if you're interested to join military then you should try for it if it's your natural inclination, & maybe at same time keep an eye on other options too - maybe you can set time limit - like 3 months or 6 months or whatever ( u know best ) --  that if you're not able to join within that time then join elsewhere 

    money is important & so is satisfaction of the heart. also there are other similar jobs like police, firefighting (of course i'm not expert enough to tell you). you have to keep trying one thing after another

    if you just play safe then you may regret it later - you can take risks within a time limit. 

    Bg 3.10 — In the beginning of creation, the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of men and demigods, along with sacrifices for Viṣṇu, and blessed them by saying, “Be thou happy by this yajña [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you everything desirable for living happily and achieving liberation.”

    Bg 3.11  The demigods, being pleased by sacrifices, will also please you, and thus, by cooperation between men and demigods, prosperity will reign for all.
    Bg 3.12 — In charge of the various necessities of life, the demigods, being satisfied by the performance of yajña [sacrifice], will supply all necessities to you. But he who enjoys such gifts without offering them to the demigods in return is certainly a thief.

    Bg 9.22 — Those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form – to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have.

    if the intention is good & actions are skillful, it leads to right action & success.

    if actions are skillful but intention is not correct, it leads to mistakes. - words of a great person. 

    to risk finances for spiritual growth is not such a bad idea. but the whole thing must be under the guidance of an experienced devotee with whom you can share your heart completely - if you pray to the Lord, he will make arrangements

    i am also in a similar situation, although i have some financial stability. i have also faced similar dilemnas. i feel if you're sincere Lord helps you. 

    here's an example of a person who's integrated their spiritual & material life quite nicely :

    please listen fully - he shared some nice points

    Bg 3.10
    The material creation by the Lord of creatures (Viṣṇu) is a chance offered to the conditioned souls to come back home – back to Godhead. All living e…
    • In Bhagavad Gita the Lord says that it is better for one to perform his own occupation imperfectly rather than to perform another's occupation perfectly.

      श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुणः परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात्।

      स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेयः परधर्मो भयावहः।।3.35।।

      This verse is being told to Arjuna by Sri Krishna --situation is when Arjuna wanted to take up Sanyasa and renounce everything and stop fighting. 

      If Arjuna wants to withdraw from the war, out of cowardliness/affection towards friends and relatives, what will be the fate of the war. Kauravas will win the war within no time.

      So Sri Krishna reminded Arjuna his duty as a kshetriyA. Either he should win the war or die in the war discharging his duty as a kshetriyA.

      He cannot run away from his duty of a Kshetriya. 

      How is this stanza related to you?

      '' I feel that I belong in the military''.

       This is your choice not you Swadharma. You want to work as a military official. It is your liking. Right?

      All that education ( academics) tell me why did you do? I guess everyone does mundane studies only for one reason.. that is  to earn a living. feed one's tummy. Right? Or you studied only to become some military official?

      then why is there so much problem? 

      You are a soul and what is the soul's main destination? Is it to get military job and make a comfortable stay on planet earth?

      or go back to Godhead?

      Why are you sent to this planet? 

      Becoz you had some unfinished karma left out.. you have to do it go back to Godhead Right?

      We are not here for getting  a good job., having a good successful career and make a great comfortable living. We came to complete our unfinished karma with people and places and go back to Godhead desireless.

      IN MY OPINION-- 

      Don't get attached to the job you do.  Take up whatever job comes to you.  Ultimately all work we do is only to earn a 2 meal. 

      But our real job is something different.. Our job is to find our the way back Home to Godhead. 

      You may do lower end job or demotivating job..but that is not ur goal right .. you do only for feeding your tummy. 

      Until you get a job matching your skill set you can do whatever job comes to you.

      You can make every job entertaining and motivating .....if you are in Krishna Consciousness.  Job satisfaction and dignity of labor doesn't matter much..

      Any necessary work that pays an honest wage carries its own honor and dignity.-- as said by some great person. donno name now heehhehe. cheer up!!!!

      Again it is my opinion. It is upto your ur choice.

      How is military life so good to serve Lord? I donno.

      No job is called low end job.. being jobless is most low end job.

      Moreover we are not here for doing jobs. We are here to maintain our tummy ( 2 meal) and finish off our unfinished karma and go back to Godhead. Our ultimate goal is different. ( Krishna is our ultimate goal) not some job.

      Read the purport.

      'Everyone is at liberty to desire as he likes, but the desire is fulfilled by the Supreme Lord. Everyone is independent to think or desire, but the fulfillment of one’s desire depends on the supreme will. This law is expressed as “Man proposes, God disposes.” 

      You plan to get a military job but God's plan for you maybe different.  ~smiles~  

      Take life as it comes.

      Hare Krishna.

      SB 3.4.11
      Uddhava is one of the eternal associates of the Lord, and a plenary portion of Uddhava was one of the eight Vasus in the days of yore. The eight Vasu…
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