saṁskāraiḥ saṁskṛto dvijaḥ
niṣeka-ādi—the beginning of life (the purificatory process of garbhādhāna, performed when the father begets a child by discharging semen into the womb of the mother); śmaśāna-antaiḥ—and at death, when the body is put into a crematorium and burnt to ashes; saṁskāraiḥ—by such purificatory processes; saṁskṛtaḥ—purified; dvijaḥ—a twice-born brāhmaṇa; indriyeṣu—into the senses; kriyā-yajñān—activities and sacrifices (which elevate one to a higher planetary system); jñāna-dīpeṣu—by enlightenment in real knowledge; juhvati—offers.
A twice-born brāhmaṇa [dvija] gains his life by the grace of his parents through the process of purification known as garbhādhāna. There are also other processes of purification, until the end of life, when the funeral ceremony [antyeṣṭi-kriyā] is performed. Thus in due course a qualified brāhmaṇa becomes uninterested in materialistic activities and sacrifices, but he offers the sensual sacrifices, in full knowledge, into the working senses, which are illuminated by the fire of knowledge.
Those interested in materialistic activities remain in the cycle of birth and death. Pravṛtti-mārga, or the inclination to stay in the material world to enjoy varieties of sense gratification, has been explained in the previous verse. Now, in this verse, it is explained that one who has perfect brahminical knowledge rejects the process of elevation to higher planets and accepts nivṛtti-mārga; in other words, he prepares himself to go back home, back to Godhead. Those who are not brāhmaṇas but atheists do not know what is pravṛtti-mārga or nivṛtti-mārga; they simply want to obtain pleasure at any cost. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore training devotees to give up the pravṛtti-mārga and accept the nivṛtti-mārga in order to return home, back to Godhead. This is a little difficult to understand, but it is very easy if one takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness seriously and tries to understand Kṛṣṇa. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person can understand that performing yajña according to the karma-kāṇḍa system is a useless waste of time and that merely giving up the karma-kāṇḍa and accepting the process of speculation is also unfruitful. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has sung in his prema-bhakti-candrikā:
karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa, kevala viṣera bhāṇḍa
’amṛta’ baliyā yebā khāya
nānā yoni sadā phire, kadarya bhakṣaṇa kare,
tāra janma adhaḥ-pāte yāya
A life of karma-kāṇḍa or jñāna-kāṇḍa is like a poison pot, and one who takes to such a life is doomed. In the karma-kāṇḍa system, one is destined to accept birth and death again and again. Similarly, with jñāna-kāṇḍa one falls down again to this material world. Only worship of the Supreme Person offers one the safety of going back home, back to Godhead.
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