TEXT 147
dharmacari-madhye bahuta 'karma-nistha'
koti-karma-nistha-madhye eka jnani' srestha
SYNONYMS
dharma-acari-madhye—among persons who actually follow the Vedic principles or religious system; bahuta—many of them; karma-nistha—attracted to fruitive activities; koti-karma-nistha-madhye—among millions of such performers of fruitive activities according to Vedic principles; eka—one; jnani—wise man; srestha—the chief.
TRANSLATION
"Among the followers of Vedic knowledge, most are following the process of fruitive activity and distinguishing between good and bad work. Out of many such sincere fruitive actors, there may be one who is actually wise.
PURPORT
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura states that the word karma-nistha refers to one who aspires to enjoy the results of his good work and pious activity. Some followers of Vedic principles offer everything to the Absolute Truth and do not aspire to enjoy the results of their pious actions. These are also considered among the karma-nisthas. Sometimes we see pious men earn money with great hardship and then spend the money for some pious cause by opening public charities, schools and hospitals. Whether one earns money for himself or for the public benefit, he is called a karma-nistha. Out of millions of karma-nisthas there may be one who is wise. Those who try to avoid fruitive activity and who become silent in order to merge into the spiritual existence of the Absolute Truth are generally known as jnanis, wise men. They are not interested in fruitive activity but in merging into the Supreme. In either case, both are interested in personal benefit. The karmis are directly interested in personal benefit within the material world, and the jnanis are interested in merging into the existence of the Supreme. The jnanis maintain that fruitive activity is imperfect. For them, perfection is the cessation of work and the merging into the supreme existence. That is their goal in life. The jnani wants to extinguish the distinction between knowledge, the knower and the aim of knowledge. This philosophy is called monism, or oneness, and is characterized by spiritual silence.

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