Chapter 3: Karma-yoga
na hi kascit ksanam api
jatu tisthaty akarma-krt
karyate hy avasah karma
sarvah prakrti-jair gunaih
na—nor; hi—certainly; kaçcit—anyone; kñaëam—even a moment; api—also; jätu—even; tiñöhati—stands; akarma-kåt—without doing something; käryate—is forced to do; hi—certainly; avaçaù—helplessly; karma—work; sarvaù—everything; prakåti-jaiù—out of the modes of material nature; guëaiù—by the qualities.
All men are forced to act helplessly according to the impulses born of the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.
It is not a question of embodied life, but it is the nature of the soul to be always active. Without the presence of the spirit soul, the material body cannot move. The body is only a dead vehicle to be worked by the spirit soul, which is always active and cannot stop even for a moment. As such, the spirit soul has to be engaged in the good work of Kåñëa consciousness, otherwise it will be engaged in occupations dictated by illusory energy. In contact with material energy, the spirit soul acquires material modes, and to purify the soul from such affinities it is necessary to engage in the prescribed duties enjoined in the çästras. But if the soul is engaged in his natural function of Kåñëa consciousness, whatever he is able to do is good for him. The Çrémad-Bhägavatam affirms this:
tyaktvä sva-dharmaà caraëämbujaà harer
bhajann apakvo 'tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva väbhadram abhüd amuñya kià
ko värtha äpto 'bhajatäà sva-dharmataù.
"If someone takes to Kåñëa consciousness, even though he may not follow the prescribed duties in the çästras
nor execute the devotional service properly, and even though he may fall down from the standard, there is no loss or evil for him. But if he carries out all the injunctions for purification in the çästras,
what does it avail him if he is not Kåñëa conscious?" (Bhäg. 1.5.17
) So the purificatory process is necessary for reaching this point of Kåñëa consciousness. Therefore, sannyäsa,
or any purificatory process, is to help reach the ultimate goal of becoming Kåñëa conscious, without which everything is considered a failure.