What is The Eternal & Constitutional Function of The Jiva/Soul?
Extracted From Jaiva-dharma, By Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur
Chapter “Three”
The Circumstantial Function, Duty, Religion of a Conscious Being is to be Relinquished
“Click” : Here for “Links” to Other “What is the Eternal & Constitutional Function of the Jiva/Soul : Chapter Menus & Audio Playlists

Chapters 9 – 25 are Work In Progress

Previous       Next

Segment 22

What Does It Mean to Adopt the Path of Karma?

Part 2

The system of Varna and asrama is the basis of life, that is carried out in accordance with religious rules and regulations.

 The prominence of impiety in a country is measured by the extent to which the varnasrama system is absent there. 

There is no society on Earth, which does not have its social structures resembling varnasrama.  The problems arise because of the incorrect determination of the varnas and asramas.

Now let us consider in what sense the words nitya, (eternal), and naimittika, (circumstantial), have been used in relation to the word karma.  If we consider the profound purport of the scriptures, we can see that these two words have not been used to refer to karma in a sense that which relates to the supreme spiritual truth or ultimate reality; real, essential, true; that which relates to a higher object.  Rather, they have been used in a routine or figurative sense.

Properly speaking, words like nitya-dharma, nitya-karma, and nitya-tattva can only be used to describe the pure spiritual condition of the jiva.  Therefore, in the general use of the word nitya-karma, the word nitya is applied to the word karma only in a figurative[1], or attributive[2] sense, because karma in this world is a means to an end, and only remotely indicates eternal truth.  Actually, karma is never eternal, because it has no beginning, however it can have an end. 

Karma and knowledge, may only be thought of as eternal, in an indirect sense, when karma is directed towards knowledge, by means of karma-yoga, and when knowledge is directed toward devotional service.  The brahmanas’ chanting of the mantra, is sometimes described as nitya-karma

This is valid in the sense that practices that are remotely directed toward devotional service, through physical activities, may be termed nitya; however, only because they aim at nitya-dharma.  In reality, they are not nitya.  This usage is known as a figurative expression.

Actually, the only true nitya-karma for the jivas is Krishna-prema, pure love of Krishna.  In ontological[3] terms, this true nitya-karma is referred to as unalloyed spiritual cultivation, or activities directed towards reinstating one’s pure, transcendental consciousness. 

The physical activities that one will naturally have to adopt, to attain this spiritual practice or cultivation, and the culture of pure spiritual reality; are assistants to daily obligatory religious duties, so there is no fault in referring to them as daily obligatory religious duties as well.  From the absolute perspective, though, it would be better to refer to such activities as naimittika, circumstantial, rather than nitya.  The divisions of karma into nitya and naimittika are only from a relative viewpoint, and not from the absolute spiritual perspective.


[1] figurative (departing from a literal use of words; metaphorical)

[2] Attributive: Modifying a noun and part of the same noun phrase, in English generally preceding the noun

[3] Ontological:  relating to the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.

       Previous            Next


“Click” : Here for “Links” to Other “What is the Eternal & Constitutional Function of the Jiva/Soul : Chapter Menus & Audio Playlists

Chapters 9 – 25 are Work In Progress

"Hare Krishna" Your Comment(s), will be Appreciated! "Thank You"

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x