How to ascertain one’s duty.

By Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

vidvadbhih sevitah sadbhir nityam advesa-ragibhih
hrdayenabhyanujnato yo dharmas tam nibodhata
(Manu-samhita: 2.1)

Vidvadbhih means Vedavidbhih, those who are well-versed in the Vedic knowledge, vidvan, scholars. Sevitah means what they accept in their life as practicable, what they themselves are practising, that is dharma. Sadbhir: dharma is not only practised by the scholars but also by the sadhus, those who have not only mere intellectual realisation and understanding but who have clear affinity and attraction for the guidance of the revealed truth (sabde pare cha nisnatam). Nityam advesa-ragibhih: they are indifferent to any gain and loss of this world. They are perfect spiritualists; they have no faith in mundane loss and gain. No dvesa and no raga: neither preference for nor the spirit of rejection towards mundane things or wealth. The fourth sign is hrdayenabhyanujnato: one must get one’s heart’s approval, internal approval. One’s heart will say, “Yes. It is this. I am satisfied.” These four signs must be present in the conception of one’s duty (dharma): approval by the Vedas, approval by the realised souls, no affinity for the loss and gain of the mundane world, and the approval by one’s own conscience, one’s inner feeling. These four signs should be found in one‘s duty.

In Bhagavat (11.2.42) we hear: bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra. Vidvadbhih sevitah sadbhir means Paresanubhavo. Advesa-ragibhih means viraktir anyatra. And bhaktih means approval from the heart (hrdayenabhyanujnato).

Who will be a bona fide preacher? Swami Maharaj said, “Everyone who sincerely came to me and appreciated my cause, my truth, is a bona fide agent to distribute, to extend, my call to the public.” But one must be indifferent to the loss and gain of this mundane world, one must be true to one’s own principle and the principle of Swami Maharaj, and one will have to have some sort of knowledge of the scripture: Nam-bhajan and other things. Also, of course, the heart’s approval must be with them. They must be sincere; they must feel some urge within, “This is the wealth of my Guru Maharaj. I should distribute it all around and dispel the darkness of the people at large. This is the blessing of the Lord.”


Spoken on 24 November 1981.


vidvadbhih sevitah sadbhir nityam advesa-ragibhih
hrdayenabhyanujnato yo dharmas tam nibodhata
(Manu-samhita: 2.1)

nibodhata–Know dharmah–dharma [to be] tam–that yah–which [is] abhyanujnatah–approved hrdayena–by the heart [and] sevitah–practised vidvadbhih–by the knowledgeable sadbhih–sadhus (those who are adherent to truth) [who are] nityam–always advesa–free from aversion [and] ragibhih–attachment.

“Know dharma to be that which is approved by the heart and practised by the sadhus who are versed in the Vedas and always free from attachment and aversion (to the mundane).”

bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir
anyatra chaisa trika eka-kalah
prapadyamanasya yathasnatah syus
tustih pustih ksud-apayo ’nughasam
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 11.2.42)

“As one who eats feels satisfaction, nourishment, and relief from hunger with each mouthful, so a surrendered soul simultaneously develops devotion (bhaktih), realisation of the Supreme Lord (Paresanubhavah), and detachment from all else (viraktih anyatra).”