Prescribed Duty

Hare Krishna dear devotees....this is an important question....When Krishna says to Arjuna to do his prescribed duties.....what does that means to us....How can we find our prescribed duty someone is engineer, doctor, cobbler, fisherman....does each and every work constitute one's prescribed duty....or does it refer only to varnashram how can we say that an engineer's duty of advancing technological items is his prescribed duties or a cricketer playing cricket is his prescribed duty bcoz cricket and technology are not mentioned in the scriptures...How can we see that what we do is in accordance with the scriptures don't talk about using is using laptop our prescribed duty??

You need to be a member of ISKCON Desire Tree | IDT to add comments!

Join ISKCON Desire Tree | IDT

Email me when people reply –


    • yes prabhu....thatz very clear...but when i read bhagwatha gita....and gita talks about prescribed i get confused and m unable to relate with my plz give me a framework how should i look at it and read prescribed duties in bhagwata according to your explanation...we are not even shudras as we are serving the what should be my perspective towards my career...isnt it my prescribed duty now?? can i develop a sense of worth for my work or should i do it half-heartedly???So don't we have any duty in this age except sankirtan?? that means only brhamchari ashram is pure and grihastha ashram is of no use in today's society??So earning money is also not our duty prabhu in kaliyuga???

      • So is studying university subjects my prescribed duty or is it whimsical duty (just like any other profession) 

        as they say?? Does krsna wants me to do it??How can i see various things in my life then prabhu..are scriptures donot talk about present day duties???plz guide

        • how do i decide what is my duty and what is not my krsna says in bhagwata gita that work done in disregard of scriptural injunctions is work in the mode of we are working today just like that by using technological is what we are doing our prescribed duties or whimsical to decide??

  • sri guru gauranga jayatu

    I wish to add to what mataji has said. Since the topic deals with varnasrama and its prescribed duties ,ill share this from the writings of bhaktivinod thakur .

    Ill first list out some questions so that it will be easy to understand and arrive to the topic.

    -- *human nature towards religious pursuits - vaidi & raganuga tendencies, *what are they? ,*material raga vs spiritual raga, their inverse relationship,*how spiritual raga is rare,* bhagavan's arrangement for baddha jivas to obtain this spiritual raga - how & why vaidi marga manifested? * varnasrama is basis of vaidi jivana.--
    Human nature has 2 tendencies in regard to religious pursuits :-
    1)vaidi tendency :- human nature must be regulated by rules & prohibitions as long as the intelligence is in control of maya
    2)raganuga tendency:- when the intelligence is liberated from bondage of maya,human nature no longer needs to be governed by rules & prohibitions. It is prompted by spontaneous love.
    *what is spiritual raga(cit raga),ragatmika & raganuga?

    # Pure spiritual jiva's relationship with material world is completely terminated (vastutah jada mukti) when krsna wills.
    # until this time ,the jivas relationship with material world can tend toward gradual cessation(ksayonmukha ).
    # when one attains vastutah jada mukti (he no more has a material body), the ragatmika vrtti is awakened in the pure jiva both in terms of internal spiritual identity
    (svarupa) & constitutional state(vastu). This RAGATMIKA tendency is the nature of vrajavasis.
    # jivas who in the ksayonmukha stage follows in the wake of such ragatmika nature is known as RAGANUGA tendency(one who follows the way of raga).

    {{this condition of raganuga should be sought after by jivas}}
    *what is material raga?

    # conceptions of "I" & "mine" ars 2 typss of egoism whose influence is prominant in mundane sphere, which lead to thinking "I am this body" & "all things related to this body is mine".
    # due to these conceptions ,one naturally feels attracted to people & things that bring pleasure to material body & one is averse to things & people that impede material pleasure.
    # when the bewildered jiva falls under the sway of such attachment( material raga/jada raga) & aversion(dvesa),he considers others to be friends or enemies & displays love & hatred for them in relation to material body & its acquisitions, society & social ideas, morality & ethics. Thus he is in samsara.
    # raganuga tendency is pure,transcendental nature of jiva. It is the perfected state of the self (svabhava). It is free from bondage to dull matter( jada mukta).
    # but when jiva falls in maya his cid raga becomes perverted into jada raga. He acquires false natures ie I & Mine.
    # in this state he mistakenly conciders attachment to mundane objects to be his natural spiritual attachment(svabhavika anuraga). # at that time cit raga is absent. And as long as it is absent ,human intelligence remains spontaneously attached to mundane objects.
    # the false attachment for kanaka ,kamini etc keeps one under the control temporary happiness & distress.
    # in this bound state the jivas cant understand spiritual attachment ( cit anuraga) nor can they realise or experience it.
    # althogh cid raga is jiva's true eternal nature, in his bound condition he is wholly unacquainted with raganuga nature, to say nothing of ragatmika nature. Thus it is very rare & difficult for baddha jivas to obtain.
    # all knowing bhagavan considered how maya baddha jiva's being cheated of their spiritual inclination attain good fortune. How will they remember krsna?
    # thus sastras manifested from this merciful consideration of bhagavan. It was issued forth by His mercy.
    # thus the dharma that vedas prescribe is called vaidi dharma.
    **those lacking in tendency to follow rules of sastra are avaida,opposed to sastra.they live sinful life defying sastra.such people are excluded from vaidi or varnasrama dharma.
    # according to nature & traits of human beings,this varnasram dharma (prescribed duties for social caste & spiritual orders) are established.
    # varnasram is the basis of vaidi jivana ,life that is carried out in arrordance with religious rules & regulations.

    Conclusion :- so we now understand the purpose of varnasrama duties is to purify the baddha jiva's perverted nature and gradually awaken his true nature ie, rati for krsna. And if by performing one's prescribed duty one is not able to awaken attachment to krsna then his following such duties is useless labour(na utpadayet yadi ratim srama eva hi kevalam). So only vaisnava's activities (suddha bhakti/nitya dharma) are superior to the activities of brahmanas( naimittika karma) or any other divisions.
    so we must judge what is our prescribed duty based on understanding of the purpose of such duties and its capablity of fulfilling its purpose.

    i have written this much although the topic is very elaborate. i hope i have made myself useful if u have benefitted from this post. if u have any doubts further within this u are welcome to ask.

    hare krsna,
    • hare krsna prabhu...very nice question is whether the rules and regulations to elevate oneself can be applied today on an individual basis even if the society doesnt follow them...can we practice them individually prabhu in our professions....plz tell in reference to my profession(m an engineer and a chess player)

  • So even the fisherman's work cannot be his prescribed duty or can it fit into varnashram duties??

    • E-Counselor

      No, fisherman is outside varnas.

      Regarding engineer (vaishya) creating pollution to the environment - it is mentioned in the Gita that doing one's own prescribed duty, even with faults, is better than doing another's duty perfectly.

      Every prescribed duty will have some or the other fault. 

      I hope I have been able to explain.

  • Yes mataji..So these are the prescribed duties within if suppose there is a butcher, bar waiter, egg are these prescribed duties...this is my last query??
    • E-Counselor

      Hare Krsna Prabhuji,


      Bar waiter, egg seller, butcher - these are actually condemned activities - maybe below varnas altogether. This cannot be prescribed duty. 

      Therefore it is said - vedic culture begins with varnashram dharma. Most societies do not fit into this basic of vedic culture at all in today's world. Thats why Kaliyuga is the yuga of the sudras (at best).

      Dont worry about asking questions. We are here to answer them only. If you have any further questions, even if I cant answer, there are enough devotees here who can answer to your satisfaction.


      Your servant,

      Radha Rasamayi DD

  • E-Counselor

    Hare Krsna Prabhuji,


    What you have asked is very relevant. To answer, we have to understand the varnas. 

    Brahman class - studies scriptures, does pujari service, does various pujas for people like you and me on various ocassions. This is their livelihood - no other income.

    Kshatriya class - they are in the defence forces of the country.

    Vaishya class - krishi, go rakshya & vanijyam - farming, cow protection and business - this is waht they do. So all our farmers and businessmen will come in this category.

    Sudra class - the class that serves the above 3, mainly does menial work.

    The confusion you have is between vaishya and sudra - if all the professions mentioned by you - engineer, doctor, cobbler, fisherman - if they are doing it for themselves, as in own professional business, then they are vaishyas, else they are sudras. It is said that Kaliyuga is the age of sudras - therefore there is so much advancement in different fields of specialisation whihc will help us get jobs. All jobs are sudra class prabhuji. Cricketer - now in earlier times, there were no professions which was sportsmen. The wrestlers that Kamsa had were on his payroll - sudras. So the same wiht the sportsmen of today - they are sudra class, unless they are independent. Then they are vaishya class.

    Whatever work one is doing is one's prescribed duty, very much within varnashram, as explained above. Scriptures may not have mentioned engineers or sportsmen, but the basic principle has been given and we can understand based on that.

    Regarding using laptops, it could be an act of sanyas, an act of brahman or kshatriya or vaishya or sudra, depending on what use the laptop is being put to. Scriptures are not nit picking prabhuji - they have given the brad guidelines and we have to function within them.

    I hope I have been able to explain. If you have any further queries, pls ask.


    Your servant,

    Radha Rasamayi DD

This reply was deleted.