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SB 1.5 - Spiritualizing our activities

A thing applied therapeutically cures a disease which was caused by that very same thing. For example, when milk preparations cause bowel disorders, the same milk converted into curd and mixed with other remedial ingredients cures such disorders. Similarly, the three fold miseries of material existence cannot be mitigated by material activities. Such activities have to be spiritualized, and the material conception of life is at once changed when it is put into the service of the Lord. Everything is an emanation from the Supreme Spirit, and by His inconceivable power He can convert spirit into matter and matter into spirit. Thus everything should be used in relation to the Supreme Being. That is the way to treat our material diseases and elevate ourselves to the spiritual plane where there is no misery, lamentation or fear. When everything is thus employed in the service of the Lord, we can experience that there is nothing except the Supreme Brahman.

Nārada says that when all activities are dedicated to the service of the Lord, those very activities which caused his bondage become the destroyer of the tree of work. Fruitive work which perpetually engages a living being is compared to the banyan tree, which is deep rooted. This causes bondage. The propensity to enjoy may be turned into the desire for serving the mission of the Lord. By doing so, one’s activity is changed into karma yoga. When the result of all work is dovetailed with the service of the Lord, it will cease to generate further karma and will gradually develop into devotional service, which will not only cut off completely the root of the banyan tree of work but will also carry the performer to the lotus feet of the Lord.

From Nārada’s life we can understand that one has to first seek the association of pure devotees, and render service. This service attitude will induce the great souls to bestow mercy, which injects the neophyte with all the transcendental qualities of the pure devotees. This develops gradually into a strong attachment to hearing the pastimes of the Lord. Then one develops knowledge of the self and his eternal relation with the Personality of Godhead. After that pure devotional service to the Lord begins gradually developing into perfect knowledge of the Lord beyond the purview of impersonal Brahman and localized Paramātmā. Thus one becomes perfect even during one’s present lifetime.