KARMA, AKARMA AND VIKARMA – DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM!
A Girl devotee asked like this:
“Hare krishna prabhuji. I want to knw what is karm, akarm and vikarm and how they are diferent with each other. Just becoz i saw in akarm there is also “a karm” and in vikam there is “vi karm “. Vikarm is a kind of adharm or a karm which is against shastra. Thn what is the difference between karm and akarm. Plz clear my doubt. Hare krishna.”
Let me explain this using the writings and speeches of Srila Prabhupada because they need no more further explanations:
(1) In Sri Isopanisad 2, Purport, Srila Prabhupada says:
Karma, akarma and vikarma are very clearly described in the Bhagavad-gita.
(A) Actions that are performed in terms of one’s prescribed duties, as mentioned in the revealed scriptures, are called karma. (My Note: In brief, performing our prescribed duties).
(B) Actions that free one from the cycle of birth and death are called akarma. (My Note: All activities that are performed without material expectations but just to please Krishna, we have no reactions and hence akarma)
(C) And actions that are performed through the misuse of one’s freedom and that direct one to the lower life forms are called vikarma. (My Note: Prohibited or sinful activities)
Of these three types of action, that which frees one from the bondage to karma is preferred by intelligent men. Ordinary men wish to perform good work in order to be recognized and achieve some higher status of life in this world or in heaven, but more advanced men want to be free altogether from the actions and reactions of work.
In the Bhagavad-gita (3.9-16) the Personality of Godhead says that one cannot attain the state of akarma, without executing the prescribed duties mentioned in the Vedic literature.
(2) In a lecture on BG 3.11-19 — Los Angeles, December 27, 1968:
Tamala Krishna: “Anything performed without the direction of the Vedas is called vikarma.”
Tamala Krishna: “Vikarma or unauthorized work or sinful work. Therefore one should always take direction from the Vedas…”
Prabhupada: Yes. The same example as I always cite, that your direction is “Keep to the right.” Then if you don’t keep to the right, if you go to the left, then it is vikarma, your driving is unlawful. You are immediately… Similarly, as soon as you perform vikarma… Karma, vikarma, akarma, there are three kinds of work. So vikarma means against the rules. So as soon as we act against the rules, immediately we are bound up by the criminal codes. Therefore if we work for the supreme government, Krishna, simply for His satisfaction, there is no vikarma, there is no criminality. There is no criminality. Because ultimately the Supreme Lord is to be satisfied. So if you work for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord you are not subjected to any criminal law. You are free. That is liberation. One should understand what is actually karma and what is akarma and what is vikarma.
(3) In a Lecture on BG 4.14-19 — New York, August 3, 1966:
The path of karma, is very intricate. Therefore one should understand what is actually karma and what is akarma and what is vikarma. And knowing this, one should perform karma. But one thing is that if we simply engage ourself in Krishna consciousness, then everything becomes clear. Otherwise, we have to make discrimination, “What I should do, what I should not do so that I may not be entangled.”
Karma means prescribed duties. That is called karma. And vikarma means doing against the prescribed duties. That is called vikarma. And akarma means something doing which has no reaction.
(4) Lecture on BG 4.14-19 — New York, August 3, 1966:
Karma, akarma and vikarma. There are three things. Karma means prescribed duties, prescribed duties. That is called karma. And akarma, vikarma means doing against the prescribed duties. That is called vikarma. And akarma means something doing which has no reaction.
When the state orders, itself, that “You go and fight. Kill the enemy,” that is neither karma nor vikarma. So similarly, when we act under the direction of Krishna, that is akarma.
(5) Lecture on BG 4.14-19 — New York, August 3, 1966:
The state has got some laws. Now, suppose if you commit murder, it will be hang, you will be hanged. That is the state law. So if you again, against the state law you commit some murder, you will be hanged. This is vikarma, and I should be cautious. But when the state orders, itself, that “You go and fight. Kill the enemy,” that is neither karma nor vikarma. So similarly, when we act under the direction of Krishna, that is akarma. That means that karma, that kind of activities, has no reaction. Otherwise, we shall have to act very cautiously so that I may not be entangled with the reaction of my karma.
Karma and vikarma, prescribed duties according to qualification, position, occupation, that is called karma. And just opposite, it is called vikarma. Karma akarma vikarma. That Krishna will explain.
(6) Lecture on BG 4.16 — Bombay, April 5, 1974:
That is very essential, the varnasrama-dharma. Because we must have the aim of life. At the present moment there is no aim of life. The aim of life is sense gratification. That’s all. Indriya-trpti. That is forbidden in the sastras. ……………..vikarmeti will be described. So karma and vikarma, prescribed duties according to qualification, position, occupation, that is called karma. And just opposite, it is called vikarma. Karma akarma vikarma. That Krishna will explain.
(7) Lecture on BG 7.4 — Bombay, February 19, 1974:
There are karma, vikarma and akarma. So one should know. Vikarma means criminal activities.
Karma vikarma akarma. These things are to be understood.
(8) Lecture on BG 13.3 — Bombay, December 30, 1972:
All these living entities, they have become mad, mad. We can see very easily. Whole world, wherever we… Big, big cities. They are working just like madmen. So many cars, so many flyways, so many under-subways and always busy. But kurute vikarma. They are not working very nicely. Vikarma. Karma vikarma akarma. These things are to be understood. Karma does not mean that anything you like, it becomes karma. Just like monkey. Monkey, whatever he does, it is simply mischievous. Therefore sometimes we accuse: “You are an ass. You are monkey.” There is activity, but there is no meaning. There is no meaning, jumping. Monkey wherever he’ll sit, (makes noise:) katak katak katak. So this kind of activities are not karma. Foolishly, rascaldomly. That is not karma.
…………………………..Vikarma means against the laws of nature. That is vikarma. Karma means prescribed duties. And akarma means doing something which will have no effect.
(9) Lecture on BG 13.3 — Bombay, December 30, 1972:
All these foolish rascals, being mad, they’re acting against the laws of nature. Vikarma. Vikarma means against the laws of nature. That is vikarma. Karma means prescribed duties. And akarma means doing something which will have no effect. Three things are there. Karma, vikarma, akarma. Karma means prescribed duties.
What else I can say more? Srila Prabhupada has said everything.