SB 1.2 - Our occupation should lead to attraction for Kṛṣṇa
The occupational activities a man performs are only useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead. There are different occupational activities in terms of man’s different conceptions of life. To the gross materialist there is nothing beyond his senses. Thus his occupation activities are limited to concentrated selfishness – personal body, and extended selfishness – centers around family, society, nation and world. Above the gross materialists are the mental speculators whose occupational duties involve making poetry and philosophy or propagating some ism with the same aim of selfishness limited to the body and mind. But above the body and mind is the spirit soul.
Here love for hearing and speaking kṛṣṇa-kathā is glorified above all other forms of bhakti. Bhakti is independent of karma and jñāna, both of which depend on bhakti to be successful. Although people seek pleasure to satisfy the body (by karma) or mind (by jñāna), both attempts lead only to final dissatisfaction, because they neglect the needs of the soul, which is satisfied only by the culture of bhakti. Even if one properly engages in religion, his worship is useless if it does not evoke love for Kṛṣṇa because only love for God is permanent.
Kṛṣṇa says in SB 11.20.11 that one who does his prescribed duties attains transcendental knowledge or, by fortune, devotional service unto Him. Does this mean karma is the cause of bhakti? Karma gives rise to jñāna, but does not directly produce bhakti. That is understood from the use of yadṛcchaya (by itself) in the verse. If by good fortune bhakti happens to appear in a person, then he attains attraction for the Lord’s topics.
It is said that from varṇāśrama sometimes attraction for the topics of the Lord does arise. Because one cannot attain the results of dharma without such affection for the Lord’s topics, that affection is present but that is an appearance only, not genuine. If activities of varṇāśrama dharma whether kāmya or nitya do not produce affection for the Lord’s topics, they are a waste of labor (for no material results will come). For farmers, agriculture must generate affection for the king; otherwise they cannot attain its results. Intelligent people seeing that there will be no results without attraction for the topics of the Lord perform dharma that produces such affection. Bhāgavatam (1.5.12) confirms that even the stage of jñāna without the bondage of karma is not glorious because it is devoid of bhakti to the Supreme Lord.
The self is the potent active principle of the body and mind. The foolish people have no information of the soul and thus their occupational duties do not give them satisfaction. The body and mind are the outer coverings of the soul and simply satisfying them without fulfilling the needs of the soul proper is no use. The soul needs to get out of the limited sphere of material bondage and fulfill his desire for complete freedom. He wants to see the free light and the spirit. The complete freedom is achieved when he meets the complete spirit, the Personality of Godhead. There is a dormant affection for God within everyone; spiritual existence if manifested thru the gross body and mind in the form of perverted affection for gross and subtle matter. Therefore we have to engage in occupational acts that will evoke our divine consciousness. This is possible by hearing and chanting the divine activities of the Lord. Other activities cannot give liberation to the soul. Even the activities of the salvationists are considered to be useless because of their failure to pick up the fountainhead of all liberties. The hankering soul cannot be satisfied with material gains limited to time and space even if he goes to Svargaloka.