Question:

Some are saying that Lord Krishna said in the Bhagavad-Gita: sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam Vraja. But without sanctioning by the Lord even a leaf doesn’t move. So how we are all doing different activities. Can we think that all these are sanctioning by the Lord. We don’t have anything of our own. So parityajya means what can we leave? Sarva dharma means exactly what? Sva dharma, varnasrama dharma, or para dharma? what is exactly given here? Please enlighten Prabhuji.

Answer:

Devotees follow the instruction of Bhagavan. Others act independently, therefore they suffer from the reactions of their karma. The Lord therefore teaches to give up all independence, including independent interpretation and application of scripture—therefore He says—sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. Just surrender to Me and follow Me. In the beginning of the Bhagavad-Gita, Arjuna spoke so many things based on his own understanding of dharma and scripture. Only when he fully surrendered to Krsna as His disciple, stating: sisyas te ham sadhi mam tam prapanna—did the Lord begin to teach him how to act properly. Most people will try to use dharma for their own benefit, but real dharma is to endeavor to please Lord. And to please the Lord, where should follow His direct instructions.

Various scriptures give varying instructions on dharma according to the eligibility of differing people. There are tamasika, rajasika, sattvika, and nirguna instructions. Krsna teaches Arjuna and through him, everyone, to surrender to Guru and follow scripture and real sva-dharma or jaiva-dharma, the true constitutional dharma of the soul, under proper guidance of an enlightened soul. The Bhagavatam (1.1.2) teaches to give up cheating religiosity or dharma meant for material development. Krsna’s concluding teaching in the Gita is preluding these teachings of the Srimad-Bhagavatam about pancama-purusartha-krsna-prema, or the ultimate attainment of divine love for Sri Krsna.

The Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 1/90, states:

ajñāna-tamera nāma kahiye ‘kaitava’
dharma-artha-kāma-mokṣa-vāñchā ādi saba

The darkness of ignorance is called kaitava, the way of cheating, which begins with mundane religiosity (dharma), economic development (artha), sense gratification (kama) and liberation (moksa).

When Krsna says: sarva-dharman parityajya, the dharma He is referring to is samaj-dharma, laukiki-dharma, mano-dharma, sarira-dharma, and so forth.

Secondly, it is true that nothing moves without the will of the Lord. But by the will of the Lord, the living entities have been given limited free will. So our scriptures do not teach a determinist viewpoint. The Lord gives free will and we are responsible for our choices and actions. This is the law of karma. For those who surrender to the Lord, the Lord however promises to protect them and that there is no need to fear the reactions of karma.

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