Different Kinds of Bhakti and Karma

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Question: Could you specify the difference between āropa-siddhā-bhakti and karma-miśrā-bhakti as defined by Srīla Jīva Gosvami in Bhakti Sandarbha?

Answer: Āropa-siddhā-bhakti consists of activities that are not devotional in themselves but become part of devotion because of their contact with bhakti. Primarily it includes offering your actions to Kṛṣṇa, karmārpaṇam. These actions themselves are not devotional but by offering them to Kṛṣṇa, they become part of bhakti.  

Karma-miśra-bhakti is when you perform bhakti activities along with karma, or prescribed duties, while desiring the result of the karma. In other words, you mix the two. You perform agnihotra because you are a dvija, and you also engage in bhakti. In āropa-siddhā there is no bhakti activity except the offering of results.

Question: Also what is the difference between dharma, vaidika-karma and laukika-karma?

Answer: Dharma is one’s prescribed duties, e.g., the dharma of a student is to study and serve the guru. Vaidika-karma are of three types: nitya-karma such as agnihotra, kāmya-karma—done for a specific desire such as putreṣti yajña to get a son, and naimittika-karma, those done on special occasions such as birth of a child or death of a relative. Vaidika karmas are dharma. Thers is no difference between them.

Laukika-karma comprises of secular activities like taking bath etc.  

Question: Thank you for your answer Babaji, but could you clarify the following: In karma-miśra-bhakti, the word karma indicates dharma (i.e. āśrama dharma and varṇa dharma) but Srīla Jīva Gosvami also defines karma in the same section as “devatoddeśena dravya tyāgaḥ” (which seems to be dravya-yajña, a nitya-karma). So how to reconcile these two definitions of karma?

Answer: This is no contradiction. Karma also means dharma, and dharma according to Mīmāṁsā means doing yajña, which is “devatoddeśena dravya tyāgaḥ.

Question: And does it also mean that gṛhasthas always have to engage in karma-miśra-bhakti? 

Answer: No.

Question: Because they have to perform varṇa-dharma to maintain their families and as devotees they would like to offer those activities to the Lord?

Answer: If they take shelter of Kṛṣṇa, then their performance of varṇāśrama duties are done only out of social convention and not to get some gain. So they are not mixing karma with bhakti. They do not perform varṇāśrama duties out of obligation to dharma.

Question: In Sārārtha Darśinī, Śrīla Viśvanātha Chakravartī talks about vaidika, laukika and daihika karma. Could you define them by giving pramānas?

Answer: Vaidika means action injuncted by the Vedas, such as ahar ahar sandhyam upāsīta—one should do sandhyā-vandanam every day.

Laukika means activities such as farming or cow protection by a vaiśya, or giving protection to people by a kṣatriya. Manu-smṛti describes such duties.

Daihika means action to take care of one’s body, such as bathing, eating and sleeping.

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