Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Should a Devotee Give Up His Duty?
By Purushottam Nitai Das   |  Sep 28, 2018

When Arjuna wanted to run away from the battlefield of Kurushetra, Krishna told him not to do so.

When Arjuna wanted to leave everything and go and beg, Krishna told him not to give up his prescribed duties. 

When Arjuna, overwhelmed with emotion, was trembling and was not able to lift his Gandiva weapon Krishna wasn’t pleased. 


Because Krishna wanted Arjuna to do his duty with all seriousness and sincerity. 

Like Arjuna many times those of us who are practicing (or at least trying to practice) Krishna Consciousness try to run away from the field of action and justify it by saying that the action will entangle us in this material world. But how can we be sure that our non-action will not entangle us in this material world? 

Scriptures never asks us to give up our prescribed duties, which is not against the religious principles. If we study the lives of great devotees we would find that they were extremely hardworking and expert in their professional fields. Whether one is a monk or a householder, men or women one has to work. Materialists also work hard and devotees also work hard. The difference is that materialist work to gratify their senses, their aim is name, fame, money, power and positions. But a devotee works hard to satisfy the senses of Krishna, whatever he achieves he offers it to Krishna. A devotee tries to put in his best efforts and does not bother about success or failure. He knows that his sincere efforts will please Krishna and not its outcome. Whereas for materialists if the endeavor does not bring desired result he becomes miserable and he gets more entangled in this world. 

Bhaktivinod Thakura was a high court judge and he was so expert in his work that when he wanted to take retirement the government pleaded him not to do so. In fact, when the authorities found that it was becoming difficult for him to go to office because his house was far from the court they constructed a railway line from his home to his office because they did not want to lose such an expert professional.  

And while doing his duty he practiced and preached the teachings of Lord Chaitanya. He has set a standard, which we all should try to follow. 

But many times I have observed that in the garb of devotional life we become less enthusiastic in our occupational duties and family responsibilities. This creates a negative impression not just about us, but about the entire Krishna-conscious movement. And since this is not what Krishna wants us to do so eventually it starts affecting our devotional life, too. 

So as a devotee it is imperative that while practicing our devotion, while diligently following the principles of devotional life we should also sincerely execute our responsibilities in this world. This will help us to become stable in our devotional life and will also help in building a happy and productive Krishna-conscious society.  

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(Purushottam Nitai Das is a member of congregation at Iskcon Kolkata. He works in IBM as an Advisory Consultant. He writes at

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