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From the Point of View of the Essential Nature of Things, the Nitya-dharma of the Jivas is Unalloyed Spiritual Practice, and all Other Types of Dharma are Naimittika.
This applies to the following:
- Varnasrama-dharma (duties prescribed for the classes and orders of human civilization).
- Astanga-yoga (the eightfold yoga system).
- Sankhya-jnana (the path of knowledge involving analytical research into the nature of spirit and matter.
- Tapasya (asceticism).
These are all naimittika-dharma, because the jiva would not need these dharma s if the jiva were not bound by the three modes of material nature. The conditioned state of being bewildered by maya, is itself a circumstantial cause, and the function or duty that is impelled by a circumstantial cause (nimitta), is known as naimittika-dharma. Therefore, from the absolute spiritual perspective they are all naimittika-dharma.
Naimittika-dharma includes the superiority of the brahmanas, their chanting of Vedic mantras such as at dawn, noon, and sunset, and their acceptance of sannyasa after emancipation of all karma. All these activities are highly recommended in the dharma -scriptures, and they are beneficial in consideration of appropriate eligibility, but they still have no standing in relation to nitya-karma.
“If a brahmana has all twelve of the brahminical qualifications [as they are stated in the book called Sanat-sujata] but is not a devotee and is averse to the lotus feet of the Lord, he is certainly lower than a devotee who is a dog-eater but who has dedicated everything—mind, words, activities, wealth and life—to the Supreme Lord.
Such a devotee is better than such a brahmana because the devotee can purify his whole family, whereas the so-called brahmana in a position of false prestige cannot purify even himself.”
The qualities of brahmanas are:
· Control of the senses.
· Freedom from malice
· Freedom from envy,
· Religious faith.
· Studying the Vedas.
 Asceticism; severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons.