The activities of the Vaisnavas consist of Sravanam, Kirtanam, Smaranam, Pada-sevanam, Arcanam, Vandanam, Dasyam, Sakhyam, and Atma-nivedanam, and they are significantly connected with matter; so, why are not they also referred to as temporary, Naimittika? It appears that there is some partiality in these activities, such as the service of the Deity, easting, and worship with material ingredients, which are all connected with gross matter; so, how can they be Eternal?
There are two types of human beings:
- Those whose interests are connected with this material world;
- Those who aspire for superior attainments in the future.
Those in the first category, only strive for material happiness, reputation and material prosperity.
Those in the second category, are of three types:
- Those who are devoted to the Krishna,
- Those who are fixed in the pursuit of monistic knowledge aiming at liberation,
- Those who covet mystic powers.
The siddhi-kamis, are attached to the fruits of karma-kanda, and they desire to obtain supernatural powers by their performance of karma. The methods which they adopt to obtain such unearthly powers are yaga (offering oblations), yajna (performing sacrifices), and astanga-yoga (the eightfold yoga system). They accept the existence of Krishna, but they believe that He is subordinate to the laws of karma.
This category includes the material scientists.
The jnana-nisthas, try to awaken their identity with brahma, by cultivating impersonal monistic knowledge. They do not know, or care whether Krishna exists or not, but they fabricate an imaginary form of Krishna anyway, for the purpose of practicing sadhana.
The fruit of monistic knowledge is realizing one’s identity with brahma, and the monists aspire to attain this eventually by constantly engaging in the practices of bhakti directed towards their imaginary form of Krishna. When they obtain the result of jnana, they have no more use for the Krishna that they have merely imagined as a means to achieve their end. When their bhakti towards Krishna bears its desired fruit, it is converted into jnana. According to this doctrine, neither Bhagavan nor bhakti to Bhagavan is eternal.
Those who are devoted to Krishna are the third category of those who seek higher attainments in the future. Factually speaking, they are the only ones who strive for the highest goal of life. In their opinion, there is only one Krishna, who is without beginning or end, and who manifests the jivas and the material world by His own potencies. The jivas are His eternal servants, and remain so, even after liberation.
The eternal dharma of the jiva is to remain eternally under the guidance of Krishna, for he can do nothing by his own strength. The jiva cannot obtain any eternal benefit by the performance of karma; however, when he submits himself to Sri Krishna’s shelter, he obtains all perfection by His grace.
Those who covet mystic powers follow karma-kanda, and those who cultivate monistic knowledge follow jnana-kanda. The jnana-kandis and karma-kandis pride themselves on being interested in higher attainment, but in reality, they are not pursuing the highest goal, but seeking temporary material gain; and whatever they say about dharma is temporary and circumstantial.
The present-day worshipers of Siva, Durga, Ganesa, and Surya are known respectively as Saivas, Saktas, Ganapatyas, and Sauras, and they all follow jnana-kanda. They adopt the divisions of Bhakti such as sravana and kirtana, only to attain liberation, and ultimately the undifferentiated, impersonal, and featureless brahma. Those who engage in sravana and kirtana, without any desire for material enjoyment or liberation, are engaged in the service of Sri Visnu. Among these five deities, the sri-murti of Bhagavan Sri Visnu is eternal, transcendental, and full of all potencies. Those who do not accept Bhagavan as the object of worship are merely worshiping temporary objects. In other words if one renders service to the Deity of Bhagavan Sri Visnu, and does not accept the eternality of Bhagavan’s form; they cannot be considered as being amongst the Vaisnavas. Those who do not accept the eternality of Bhagavan’s form are not Vaisnavas.