Should a devotee work as karma yoga as he is a Bhakti Yogi?
Question in detail:
Hare Krishna! Prabhuji, a question always comes up in my mind, why we come to this world? If we follow regulative principles and rules for attaining Krishna conscious then why we engage in other activities essential to lead life. Do we have a single aim i.e. Hari Naam and Seva?
Karma yoga is not different from Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti Yoga includes karma yoga also as devotees too work for Krishna.
If you do not work, but, follow only devotion, you will be violating the preaching of Krishna in Bhagavad Gita.
And, you can’t live in this world if you do not work.
A devotee too is working, but for Krishna. So, his works become service.
Sitting without doing is not possible at all. Eating, guiding the disciples, expanding his services, etc., are also works, but, they become services as they are done for Krishna.
So, even the renounced sanyasis are also working for Krishna. Since they do everything for Krishna, their works do not bind him with the material world. This is the difference.
Krishna clearly answers this question of Should a devotee work, throughout Bhagavad Gita, particularly the chapter -3 that one can’t even take care of himself if he does not work.
He also says that He Himself is working because others too should follow Him and work. What else can be explained to the question of should a devotee work.
When Krishna says this much clearly, how can you remain without working?
See, some selected brahmacharis and the renounced sanyasis involve in full time service to Krishna.
The full time service to Krishna may not be required in large numbers in the temples. They need some limited number of candidates only. If most of the people stop working and come for deity service, temple service, there will be deficiency of grahasthas who should work and support these brahmacharis and sanyasis who are serving the Lord all the time.
This will maintain the equation of brahmacharis – sanyasis – grahasthas properly.
In any society,the number of grahasthas will be the majority more than 95%. It may even be 97-98%. Only 2-3 % of the persons take up full time service.
If these 97% of the grahasthas support 2-3% of the brahmacharis, sanyasis and full time servants, then, there will be right equation.
Just imagine the state of the world if there are 97% of brahmacharis, sanyasis and full time servants, but only 2-3 % of the grahasthas.
Who will produce grains and milk? Who will produce milk? Who will sell the grains and everything? Who will protect the country?
So, this world can not function properly.
As we have already read Srila Rupa Gosvami saying that Pure devotional service is RARE. It is not possible for all to get pure devotional service. It is not a localized aspect of human life. It is achievable only through hard efforts and penances.
Being a grahastha following the grahastha rules is no way inferior to the renounced sanyasa life.
The sanyasis are not created as wished by us, but, arranged by Krishna Himself to regulate the society.
If a devotee is always depending on others even for his basic needs, it may not be possible. The devotees too should manage himself. If they do not take care of their own needs, others may think that one will have to depend on others if they become devotees.
This will create an imbalance in the society and the devotee community.
Instead, if the devotees to perform their duties without attachment to results and use the earnings for the benefit of the Lord and His devotees, it will encourage others too to work and also follow devotion.
There are many business people and working people who are supporting the devotees through their earnings. Only because they earn, they are able to support others.
Therefore, it is good to work, earn and support others.
In another angle, abandoning work is the life style of sanyasis. They have renounced all their responsibilities and hence they need not work hard. They too need the support from the grahasthas (family people) to have their food and some basic needs.
Even those sanyasis have their basic duties such as cleaning their place of living, bathing, sleeping, etc.
Most importantly, a sanyasi should enlighten others in self and god realization. This is the important duty as a sanyasi. He should accept food from others and eat. He should not involve in worldly affairs.
In the present world, remaining away from all the worldly affairs will be very difficult and it needs tough penances. A few may come to that stage through evolution of their devotion Therefore, working and using the resources in the service of the Lord will be the best way of life.
Therefore, WORK without the desire to benefits is the recommended way of our life as confirmed by Krishna Himself. No one can escape from duties.
If there is no sufficient grahasthas who are earning, no sanyasi can live. Therefore, unless you become a full time sanyasi / devotee and live with the biksha (donation) from others, you will have to work and earn.
There are some guys who do not have initiative to work, think of stopping work and involve only in devotion. But, when their life becomes miserable when they have to depend on others for their every need, they feel later.
Even if you go and settle in temple as a full time service, you will have to work in temples. You can not remain idle even in temples.
However, the temples can’t accommodate all the people to stay and live without earning. They too have limits.
Considering all these points, we can understand that working and taking care of our needs and also helping others will be the safe and the best option. Just avoid attachments to the fruits of actions.
Now Start to think , Should a devotee work as karma yoga or not and work as said by Krishna.