Bhakti Sandarbha 224 : Three Motives Behind the Offering of Karma

This is the final anuccheda dealing with āropa-siddhā bhakti and the process of offering karmas to Bhagavān. Sri Jiva is leading up to pure bhakti, and offering up activities for Krishna's pleasure is the most fruitful way of doing so.

Remember, these are not the final version of the Bhakti Sandarbha, which will go through several more

Anuccheda 224

Three Motives Behind the Offering of Karma

तदेतत् कर्मार्पणं द्विविधम्—भगवत्प्रीणनरूपं, तस्मिंस्तत्त्यागरूपं चेति। यथोक्तं कौर्मे 
(कू.पु. १.३.१७-१८) 

Karma can be offered in two ways: in order to give pleasure to Bhagavān, or simply renouncing [the results] for Bhagavān. These two methods are described successively in the following two verses from the Kūrma Purāṇa:

प्रीणातु भगवान् ईशः कर्मणानेन शाश्वतः।
करोति सततं बुद्ध्या ब्रह्मार्पणमिदं परम्॥
यद्वा फलानां सन्न्यासं प्रकुर्यात् परमेश्वरे।
कर्मणामेतदप्याहुर्ब्रह्मार्पणमनुत्तमम्॥ इति।

"May Bhagavān, who is the Supreme Ruler, be eternally pleased by this act." When every act is carried out with such consciousness, it is known as the best way to offer karma. Alternatively, one may offer the results of one’s actions to Bhagavān. This is known as an unexcelled way to offer karma. (Pūrva-khaṇḍa 3.17-18)

अत्र निमित्तानि च त्रीणि—कामना, नैष्कर्म्यं, भक्तिमात्रं चेति। निष्कामत्वं तु केवलं न सम्भवति, "यद्यद्धि कुरुते जन्तुस्तत् तत् कामस्य चेष्टितम्" (मनु २.४) इत्युक्तेः।

There are three motives behind the offering of karma—material desire, liberation or freedom from karma, and pure devotion. Offering without desire, however, is not strictly possible, as indicated in this statement (Manu-smṛti 2.4), “Whatever a living being does is performed under the sway of desire.” (
yad yad dhi kurute jantus tat tat kāmasya ceṣṭitam)

अत्र कामनानैष्कर्म्ययोः प्रायः कर्मत्यागः। प्रीणनं तु तदाभास एव, स्वार्थपरत्वात्। भक्तौ पुनः प्रीणनमेव, भक्तेस्तु तदेकजीवनत्वात्।

So the offering of karma with desire or with the motivation to become free from karma generally amounts to giving up the fruits of karma. In these two cases, there is a mere pretense of satisfying Bhagavān because both are selfishly motivated. In the offering of karma with a desire for bhakti, however, satisfaction of Bhagavān is all that exists, because that is the very life breath of devotion.

कामनाप्राप्तिर्यथा—"क्लेशभूर्यल्पसाराणि" (भा. ८.५.४७) इत्यादि। यथा चाङ्गस्य राज्ञः पुरुषार्थके यज्ञे।

Offering actions with the goal of fulfilling desires is described in this verse:

The activities of those who are attached to their bodies and who are thus tormented by desire for sense objects, yield little or no result, in spite of tremendous exertion. But such is not the case with karma offered to You. (SB 8.5.47, See Anuccheda 218)

This statement proved true in the case of King Aṅga, who in spite of performing a sacrifice to obtain a good son, wound up with a godless, tyrannical one instead.


वेदोक्तमेव कुर्वाणो निःसङ्गोऽर्पितमीश्वरे।
नैष्कर्म्यां लभते सिद्धिं (भा. ११.३.४६) इत्यत्र।

Offering actions with the goal of attaining liberation [the state of action without desire] is described in this verse:

One who executes only those actions prescribed by the Vedas without attachment to the fruit, and who offers the results to the Supreme Bhagavān attains the perfection of being freed from bondage to karma. The Vedic statements proclaiming the benefits of such actions are merely to entice people. (SB 11.3.46)

यदत्र क्रियते कर्म भगवत्परितोषणम्।
ज्ञानं यत् तदधीनं हि भक्तियोगसमन्वितम्॥ (भा. १.५.३५) इत्यत्र च।

Action performed in this world for the pleasure of Bhagavān bestows knowledge along with devotion. (SB 1.5.35)

भक्तियोगसहचरत्वाज्ज्ञानमत्र भगवज्ज्ञानम्।

The knowledge mentioned here pertains to Bhagavān because it arises along with devotion.

परमभक्तास्तु भगवत्परितोषणं प्रीणनमेव प्रार्थयन्ते (भा. ४.३०.३९-४०)—

The supreme devotees pray only to be able to give pleasure to Bhagavān, as the Pracetas prayed to the eight-armed form of Bhagavān:

यन्नः स्वधीतं गुरवः प्रसादिता विप्राश्च वृद्धाश्च सदानुवृत्त्या।
आर्या नताः सुहृदो भ्रातरश्च सर्वाणि भूतान्यनसूययैव॥
यन् नः सुतप्तं तप एतदीश निरन्धसां कालमदभ्रमप्सु।
सर्वं तदेतत् पुरुषस्य भूम्नो वृणीमहे ते परितोषणाय॥
अदभ्रं बहुकालं ते तव परितोषणाय भवत्विति वृणीमहे॥
Whatever studies we have undergone with controlled minds, whatever regular service we have done to please our teachers, the brāhmaṇas, and elders, whatever humility we have displayed towards saintly people, relatives, friends, and all other living beings, after giving up envy, and the penance we performed for a long time while standing in water without any food, O all-pervading Bhagavān, let all this be for Your satisfaction. This is the only boon we desire. (SB 4.30.39-40)
The word adabhram, describing the penance of the Pracetas, means for a long time. The Pracetas requested the boon that all their actions would be a source of pleasure for Bhagavān.

॥४.३०॥ प्रचेतसः श्रीमदष्टभुजं पुरुषम्॥२२४॥

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaja

There are two ways of offering of karma. The first is to perform it thinking that this will please Bhagavān because it is His order in the form of the Vedic injunctions. In this type of karma offering there is constant awareness of Bhagavān. Therefore every act become āropa-siddhā bhakti because every action of karma is superimposed with the awareness of Bhagavān.

The second type of offering is when one performs the action and when it is completed then one recites mentally or verbally, “I offer this to Kṛṣṇa” – kṛṣṇārpaṇam astu. In this offering one is aware of Bhagavān only at the end and not while executing the karma. This is the inferior type of karma offering.

These two types can have three further divisions based upon the motive behind the karma. The three motives can be some material boon, liberation or bhakti. The second is called niṣkāma or naiṣkarmyam, literally no desire or freedom from karma. But truly speaking every action is performed with some intention or desire. When some does service with a fixed motive then he is satisfied when he gets what he wanted. When someone is niṣkāma then it is very difficult to satisfy such a person. So niṣkāma is more demanding than sa-kāma. The word naiṣkarmya also means liberation.

The intention of all this discussion is that karmārpaṇam should be done only for the pleasure of Bhagavān and only with the intention of attaining pure bhakti.

Bhakti Sandarbha 222-223: The Result Of Karma is Under the Control of Bhagavān
Bhakti Sandarbha 218-221: Karma Offered To Bhagavān Destroys Karma
Bhakti Sandarbha 217: Three Divisions of Bhakti (Āropa siddhā bhakti)
Bhakti Sandarbha 216 : Ahaṅgrahopāsanā and Sādhanā Bhakti Defined
Bhakti Sandarbha 214-215 : The Process of Brahman Realization
Bhakti Sandarbha 212-213 : The Spiritual Guru is the Manifestation of Bhagavān
Bhakti Sandarbha 210-211: The Mantra Guru is Also Compulsory
Bhakti Sandarbha 209 : The bhajana-śikṣā guru is also necessary
Bhakti Sandarbha 208 : There is No Possibility of Knowledge Without Guru
Bhakti Sandarbha 207 : Dīkṣā Guru is Only One


Anonymous said…

Be mindful to:

प्र (prá):

चेतस् (cetas):

√ चित् (cit):

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