Bhagavad-Gita 18_46.

“yataù pravåttir bhütänäà

yena sarvam idaà tatam

sva-karmaëä tam abhyarcya

siddhià vindati mänavaù”



By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings and who is all-pervading, a man can in the performance of his own duty attain perfection.



As stated in the Fifteenth Chapter, all living beings are fragmental parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord. Thus the Supreme Lord is the beginning of all living entities. This is confirmed in the Vedänta-sütra-janmädy asya yataù [SB 1.1.1]. The Supreme Lord is therefore the beginning of life of every living entity. And as stated in the Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gétä, the Supreme Lord, by His two energies, His external energy and internal energy, is all-pervading. Therefore one should worship the Supreme Lord with His energies. Generally the Vaiñëava devotees worship the Supreme Lord with His internal energy. His external energy is a perverted reflection of the internal energy. The external energy is a background, but the Supreme Lord by the expansion of His plenary portion as Paramätmä is situated everywhere. He is the Supersoul of all demigods, all human beings, all animals, everywhere. One should therefore know that as part and parcel of the Supreme Lord one has his duty to render service unto the Supreme. Everyone should be engaged in devotional service to the Lord in full Kåñëa consciousness. That is recommended in this verse.

Everyone should think that he is engaged in a particular type of occupation by Håñékeça, the master of the senses. And by the result of the work in which one is engaged, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Çré Kåñëa, should be worshiped. If one thinks always in this way, in full Kåñëa consciousness, then, by the grace of the Lord, he becomes fully aware of everything. That is the perfection of life. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gétä (12.7), teñäm ahaà samuddhartä. The Supreme Lord Himself takes charge of delivering such a devotee. That is the highest perfection of life. In whatever occupation one may be engaged, if he serves the Supreme Lord he will achieve the highest perfection.


Perfection of renunciation – In Bhagwad Gita

We are reading from the 18th chapter of Bhagavad-Gita, which is entitled “The Perfection of Renunciation”. Here Krishna is describing the perfection of renunciation. Many people are under the conception that vairagya or renunciation means to renounce or give up all activities, to consider any action within the fold of a materialistic society, to be illusion and therefore to become inactive, in the sense of going exclusively to a holy place or to be a seclusion and as they say to just let the world go on its own way. That of course is a sense of renunciation. But Krishna in 18th chapter is describing the perfection of renunciation. The perfection of renunciation is to work as Krishna wants you to work. After all, the Bhagavad-Gita is being spoken to Arjuna to convince him to perform his duty of fighting a battle, where as Arjuna was in the mood of just renouncing everything and going to a holy place and chanting Hare Krishna. But Krishna was telling him that is a kind of renunciation, But real renunciation is I have given you so many gifts, to use everything I have given you in my service is the perfection of renunciation. Everything is spiritual, if it is use in the service of the spiritual source of everything.

The difference between material and spiritual is the consciousness in which something is used. When we use the thing for our sense gratification that is material, when we use that same thing in the service of Lord Hari that is the perfection of renunciation.


Perfection of renunciation – Nectar of Devotion

Srila Rupa goswami has taught us

“präpaïcikatayä buddhyä


mumukñubhiù parityägo

vairägyaà phalgu kathyate”

Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu 1.2.126

That if you have something that can be used in God’s service and in the name of renunciation you give that up, that is called incomplete renunciation. Complete renunciation is to utilize everything, what ever intelligence you have, whatever energy you have, whatever wealth you have, whatever distinction within the society you have, whatever abilities you have, to be conscious that is all coming from the Krishna and to utilize everything for Him. So here Krishna is explaining, how the perfection of renunciation is to perform your duty that the all pervading supreme Lord, who is source of all living beings.

Perfection of renunciation – Srimad Bhagwatam

Or as described in Srimad Bhagavatam

“ataù pumbhir dvija-çreñöhä


svanuñöhitasya dharmasya

saàsiddhir hari-toñaëam”

(Srimad Bhagavatam_1.2.13)


That whatever your particular activity is within society, whether you are a Brahamana or Kstriya or Vaisya or Sudra, whether you are a Brahmacari, a grihasta, a vanaprasta, or sanyasi, whether you are a housewife or the prime minister, if you perform your duty for the sake of pleasing Krishna that is the perfection of your life.

Krishna says in the next verse. It is better to engage in one’s own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly then to accept another’s occupation and perform it perfectly. Prescribed duty is according to one’s nature are never affected by sinful reactions. Some people are under the misconception that all activities within this world are sinful. Anything that is not done in the service of god is sinful. But the highest dharma is to simply perform your duties in


How do we know what is the pleasure f Krishna ?

Krishna Consciousness for the pleasure of Krishna. But how do we know what is the pleasure of Krishna. For that we must have the guidance of Krishna’s representatives, the great sadhus. And factually, how Krishna’s best wants us to serve Him? A surrendered devotee allows Krishna to decide that. A neophyte devotee will perform his occupation, according to the way he wants to do it for Krishna. But an advanced soul, his desire is Krishna, how can I please you, whatever you want that is my duty. I would like to tell you a story. This narration explains the quality of such a surrendered soul, who is willing to do anything that Krishna so desire.

Example: – The story of Yamunacharya

Yamunacharya : Background

You know in South India there are many great Vaishnava temples. There is the Venkateswar temple in Tirumala, Tirupati. There is the temple in Sri Rangam of Sri Ranganath Swami. These two very famous temples are worshiped by the great descendent of Srila Ramanuja Acarya. Srila Ramanuja Acarya is one of the great founders of the four vaishnava sampradayas. There are four authentic unbroken lines of disciplic succession in which the pure message of God has come down through the ages. One of them is Sri Sampradaya, one of them is the Brahma Sampradaya, the Kumara Sampradaya, and the Rudra Sampradaya. Now Ramanuja Acarya, he was that great powerful spiritual master, who revived and spread the glories of the Sri Sampradaya through out all of India. Ramanuja Acarya was the disciple of a very very great saint, who had a very interesting life. His name was Yamunacharya. Do you know the story of Yamunacharya? Yamunacharya was a brähmana, but he was very famous within history as being a great king. So the question is, what this great brahmana is doing on the throne of a king. He was not a descendant of king. In fact he was born as a son of Natha Muni, who was basically a sadhu. They had no money, nothing. So how did he become king? I would like to tell you the story. When Yamunacarya was only five years old, he went to the Gurukula of his guru maharaja, whose name was Bhavasyacharya. Bhavasyacharya was very learned and very humble and saintly person. And he trained Yamunacarya in Sanskrit grammar,in the study of the scripture, and living a discipline and pure life in devotion to god. When Yamunacarya was 12 years old, he had grasped everything that his teacher had taught him. It was the fantastic thing, how he was just able to assimilate all his teachings immediately. Now it is described that one day, his spiritual master,


Yamunacharya faces the disciples of Kolahar

Bhavasyaacarya was away. And all of the other students his classmates, they all had left for vacation. And in the school he was the only one present. At that time some visitors came. In those days, to be a pandit was very prestigious within Indian society. And your name as a pandit would become famous to the degree you are able to defeat other pandits. So scholars would challenge others and if they would defeat, they would become victorious and become very famous. So there was one pandit at that time, his name was Kolahara. He was so incredibly learned that nobody could defeat him. His mind was so brilliant and his knowledge of the scriptures was so thorough and his pride was so mountain like. That he would just travel through out the kingdom and challenge everyone. And he would absolutely defeat everyone in logic and argument. Now because he was so expert in juggling words and defeating others, He became the favorite of the king. At this time that was the pandya dynasty. The king of the pandya’s really liked him very much. And therefore the king made a law that any pandit that is challenged by Kolahara must accept the challenge and must debate him. And if anyone looses to Kolahara, he must pay tax to the king every year. So this visitor that came to the ashram where Yamunacharya’s guru was teaching, happen to be one of the disciples of Kolahara and he came to collect tax and he was in a very angry mood. He said I want to speak to your spiritual master Bhavasyacarya. Yamunacharya was very mild, very sweet in his words, very gently by nature. He said that I am sorry my dear sir, My guru maharaja is not here. Can I ask who you are and why you want him so badly? He said because your spiritual master is a rascal, my guru maharaja who is the greatest of all learned scholars, who is undefeated in any argument, He completed defeated your spiritual master and your spiritual master must pay tax, and because he has not paid tax in two years, we are about to put him to death sentence. So we want him to pay. The 12 year old boy said to this person, he said, “you are so proud that any spiritual master that allows such a foolish disciple to be so proud, must also be a fool”. I think your guru is a great fool. And besides that if he is challenging everyone to a debate, he said, “I want to debate him”. This messenger of Kolahara became very angry and then went back to his spiritual master, Kolahara, and he said that you know this 12 year old student of bhavasyacarya he wants to challenge to a debate. Kolahara began to laugh haaa haaa, 12 year old boy challenge me! He said go tell the king about it.


Yamunacharya invited to debate with Kolahar

The king, he sent a message back to the child. Do you know, if you are defeated, you will be killed for the offence you have committed to the great Kolahara. Either you pay the taxes, or you debate him. But because of this offence, if you loose, you are dead. So Yamunacharya sent the message back, I will be very glad to debate with him. But if you want me to debate with him, you have to sent a royal palanquin to pick me up. At this time Bhavasyacaraya had returned and he was thinking, O my god, what of you gone yourself into. Do you know, who this man is? He has completed defeated me. How are you going to do anything against him? Jamanujacarya said do not worry about these things. Just that faith in lord Narayana, he will protect us. We are not the doers, if He wants me to win. I will win. If He wants to loose, who cares. So the word spread through out the city of Madurai. Madurai then was the kingdom of the king of the pandyas. And everyone was very much restless thinking “what a wonderful thing, a 12 years old boy is challenging Kolahara, the greatest of all scholars. Who is this boy, that can be possibly stand up against such a stalwart debater”. And this was the talk of the whole kingdom. And the Brahmans who are all defeated by Kolahara they all came to Yamunacharya and started offering their blessings, May the Lord be with you to defeat this rascal! He so puffed up. And so then what happened is, the royal palanquin was sent to him. And as he was being carried with the royal procession, this little 12 year old boy, the king and the queen were seating in the court waiting for the match to take place. And the king was bragging about his greatest pandit Kolahara. He said to his queen, he said this Koloahara, just like a cat plays and destroys the mouse that is how he is going to defeat this child. And the queen looked at him. She said, I have information that this is not an ordinary child. If you want to know my opinion, just like a little tiny spark can burn to ashes an entire mountain of cloth. In this way this child will destroy your pride and joy, Kolahara. He will be “allabandara” which means the “conqueror”. The king, he said, how can you speak like this? What chance, this child have against the greatest pandit in all the world. He said to the queen, if you are saying this seriously, make a wager. I want to bet with you. The queen said alright. If your Kolahara wins this debate, I vow that I’ll become the servant of your maid servant. And then the King said, ahha, I vow that if this 12 year old little child defeats the great scholar Kolahara, then I will give half of my kingdom to that boy. So they decided alright. Let it be.


Yamucharya debates with Kolahar

At that time the child came in the palanquin, very humble, very gentle, offering obeisance to everyone. The great Kolahara was sitting there. They began the debate. Kolahara began to challenge Yamunacharya with simple questions about the Sanskrit grammar. And Yamunacharya was answering them. He said what do you think, I am so stupid that you have to ask me such an elementary questions. Give me something hard, this is a debate. So then he began to ask him very very sophisticated, difficulty and challenging philosophical questions and without the slightest effort Yamunacharya was just answering everything. Through all the prowess of Kolahara, he could not question anything to Yamunacharya that he could not answer with ease. So Yamunacharya with very gentle and humble voice, he said my dear sir, you are asking me such easy questions. Why don’t you give me some challenge. If you can not ask me any hard questions, then let me ask you three questions. And if you cannot refute, if you cannot defeat, my three questions. If you cannot prove that I am wrong, then you have to accept defeat. He said alright. Now, of course great scholars, they could juggle words in so many ways, that anything you tell him that they can refute that’s it’s wrong. So Kolahara, he could know this science. He said, alright no problem. So Yamunacharya said my first challenge to you is to defeat this. “Your mother was not a barren woman”. Kolahara began to think, what kind of question is this? If I defeat him, then I have to prove that my mother was a barren woman. If, she was a barren woman that I would not have taken birth. He was thinking like this and began to perspire. It was the first question in the history. He could not defeat. If turned fail, he could not say anything. And everyone in the king’s court was just silent, as they saw him without any words in his mouth. And then Yamunacharya said, let me present my second challenge to you, try to defeat this. That the king is the supremely righteous man in all the kingdom. Kolahara was thinking my god, if I prove that he is not a righteous man, he will kill me. So he remained silent. So then Yamunacharya, he said my third challenge to you is to defeat this, that the queen who is sitting right in front of you that “she is chaste and faithful only to her husband”. He was thinking my god if I try to refute that the queen will be very angry and then I’ll be finished. So then Kolahara he became very angry, he just lost his temper like anything and he got up and he started to scream. He said these are nonsense questions. That cannot be possibly defeated. Not only that, it’s blaspheming against the king and queen.

Yamuacharya asks Kolahar to refute his statements

I challenge you, you refute these questions. And if you cannot then you should be killed for slandering and blaspheming the king and the queen. At that time everybody stood up from Kolahara’s camp of disciples, they also yes this child should be killed, what nonsense questions? Then everybody else stood up and said no, no, this child he is putting forth good questions. The pandit Kolahara could not defeat them. The condition was not that he had to answer them. He must step down from the position and accept defeat. In this way there became a huge argument among both sides. Yamunacharya he stood up and he raised his hand, and he said, silence. And everyone was silent. and 12 year old child said, I’ll now completely defeat and refute all of three challenges and everyone was on hush. Kolahara said it is impossible, how can you do without offending. He said first of all Kolahara, according to the manu sahmita if a woman only has one child, she is considered to be a barren woman and you are the only son of your mother therefore according to sashtra she is a barren woman. Everyone was very silent. And my second challenge is to refute the argument that the king is supremely righteous man. Kolahara said how you are going to defeat that without offending the king. He said according to sashtra the king takes 1/6th of the pious and impious acts of the whole kingdom, all the citizens. And because it is Kaliyuga naturally there are more impious acts than pious acts. So although the king personally is the most righteous, most pious, most noble, and most honorable religious man. 1/6th of all unrighteousness of all the citizens are burden on his back. So in this way he is not supremely righteous. And the king smiled. He felt very glorified to hear this. And Kolahara began to become very worried. My god! He could not say a thing. Then Kolahara said what about the queen. He said yah, my third challenge to you was to defeat the fact that the queen is faithful and chaste only to her husband. The queen was very attentive and the king was very attentive. And all the guards with their swords were also very attentive. Everyone was very attentive to this. There was a hush of utter silence. Then Yamunacharya spoke, this beautiful 12 year old boy, he said according to shastra my dear kolahara you should know these things. Within the king are eight principal demigods. varuna, Chandra, vayu, indra, yama, kubera, surya, and agni. All these great demigods are always present within the king. The king is the representative of these great demigods. So although the queen is the most faithful and most chaste of all women in her service to her husband, At the same time she is serving eight other husbands. So she is not exclusively chaste and faithful only to him. At that time the king was so happy that he leap from his throne and he embraced Yamunacharya, this child, he put the garment of victory around him. And he said my dear boy, never I have seen anyone like this. He said, today I award you half of my kingdom. He was coronated on that day. Although he was just a poor little poverty stricken Brahman boy, he was made a king of half of the pandya dynasty. And he was a very great king. And he ruled the citizens perfectly according to the highest spiritual principles. And he himself became the spiritual master of Ramanujacarya, one of the greatest proponents of Vaisnava philosophy in history.


Yamucharya accepted kingship as he could see it was arrangement of God

Now Yamunacharya although total inexperienced in this line of life, he accepted it. Because he could see that it was the arrangement of god. And with the blessings of his spiritual master he became king. And he became a perfect king. Why? Because whatever he did, he did it simply for the purpose of pleasing Lord Hari. Whether he was a little Brahman boy pleasing his spiritual master by studying Sanskrit or begging arms door to door or carrying water or collecting fire wood, the most menial services He was rendering as a brahmacari. And the next day he was put on the throne to rule armies, to organize the entire kingdom. As far as he was concerned there is no difference between begging arms door to door, collecting wood, or ruling the kingdom. If this is what Krishna wants me to do, I’ll do it to please him. This is the consciousness of a Krishna Conscious person. This is the real quality of a surrendered soul. What ever Krishna wants, that is what I want? And whatever we do, if we do it exclusively for the purpose of pleasing Krishna that is the perfection of renunciation.

We should not be attached to anythingexcept pleasing Krishna. We should not be attached to any occupation, to any prestige, to any position in society. These things are all in illusion. Unless we are accepting them in the service of god. If we accept them in the service of the lord it becomes sanatana dharma, the highest perfection of life. So whether you are a business man, a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, an architect, a stock consultant, a student, or house wife. Whatever your position you may be in society, whether you are a brahmacari, grishasta, or a king. These things are not very important. The important thing is why you do it? Or who you do it for? Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed us.

“nähaà vipro na ca nara-patir näpi vaiçyo na çüdro

nähaà varëé na ca gåha-patir no vanastho yatir vä

kintu prodyan-nikhila-paramänanda-pürnämåtäbdher

gopé-bhartuù pada-kamalayor däsa-däsänudäsaù”.

I am not a brahman, ksetriya, vaisya, sudra. I am not attached to the position of being a sannyasi, vanaprasta, girhasta, or brahmacari. My only aspiration on and the only position I will identified within life is that I am the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord. If the lord wants to be to king, I’ll king for Him, depending on his mercy, if the lord wants to be a beggar, begging arms for my guru, then I’ll be a beggar. This is the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita. This is the perfection of renunciation. Whatever is our occupation, according to the arrangement of god to perform it for His pleasure.


How is the consciousness of servant of servant of Go achieved?

  1. And this consciousness, this divine spiritual consciousness, which creates this quality within our life is most rarely awakened through the process of associating with persons who are surrendering to Krishna.

“’sädhu-saìga’, ‘sädhu-saìga’—sarva-çästre kaya

lava-mätra sädhu-saìge sarva-siddhi haya”


By associating with sadhu’s the path to liberation and all the doors to the highest perfection of life are open wide. And what is that the sadhu’s will teach us? They will teach us to perform our duty in the service of Lord Hari.

  1. And they will teach us that love, that divine realization which is required to offer our services in God’s service can be realized the process of chanting His holy names. “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”. By chanting this sweet sound of Krishna’s name with the attention and devotion our natural propensity to serve and to love the Lord will awaken within our heart. And through this process we can perform our everyday duties of life in the spirit of the perfection of renunciation.


Importance of the Holy name

Actually, the importance of the holy names of the lord was also disseminated by Yamunacharya. Yamunacharya told Ramanuja, His disciple, that I have a mantra and this mantra is so powerful that any one who chant it who attain the supreme perfection of prema bhakti, love of god. He said that but I will only initiate you in this mantra, when I am convinced that you are very serious and surrender soul. Because it is not a cheap thing. So Ramanujacarya for many many months he was going to his guru walking a long long distance and his guru would always tell him why he was not ready. then after seeing that his disciple who is so anxious just to serve, without expecting anything in return, except more service, He was completely unconditional. Then Yamunacharya thought now you are fit for initiation, for diksha. But this is a secrete mantra and you should not let anyone else hear it. You must keep it for your self. And then Yamunacharya whisper the mantra in Ramanujacaraya’s ear. This took place in srirangam. Then Ramanuja went to the top of the gopuram and he called for everyone in Srirangam to come, a special meeting. And everyone came and he said I have a mantra that so powerful, that anyone who chants will get liberated from all disease, from all sufferings of birth, old age, disease, and death. And they will attain the supreme perfection, of prema, love of God. So everyone repeat after me. “Om namo Narayanah”. And tumultuously everyone was chanting “Om namo Narayanah”. And Yamunacharya heard this. My god, what is this? the secret, the whole town is chanting it. So he called Ramanuja. Ramanuja you are supposed to be such a obedient disciple, I told you this is a secret, why are you telling everybody. He said guru maharaja, I know by disobeying your order, I am going to hell. But anyone who chants this mantra is going to go back to godhead, then let everyone else go back to godhead and I’ll go to hell. I do not mind. And then Yamunacharya was so happy, tears flowed from his eyes and he embraced his disciple, and said you have captured the essence of my mood. The essence of compassion, you should be willing to go to hell to uplift others with the holy name of god. There was no greater up lifter, there is no more auspicious element within entire existence than the name of god. It is the essence of auspiciousness. It is the essence of religion. It is the essence of life to chant “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare” and by chanting with this faith, with this devotion, then whatever we do will naturally be an expression of our unlimited love for Krishna.

Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.


Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.