Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 20 Nov 2020


Is it possible to get divine fruit for practical worship (karma) in the absence of knowledge (jnaanam)?

[An online spiritual discussion was conducted on November 01, 2020, in which several devotees participated. Some of the questions of devotees answered by Swāmi are given below.]

[Śrī Bharat Krishna asked: If Maṇḍana Miśra was following the path of action alone (karma mārga) without knowledge (jñānam), he should not have got any fruit?. Even though he was not getting any fruit, why was he so greatly attracted to that path? Or, was he getting some divine fruit, even for the path of action (karma mārga) he was following? How could he have developed so much faith in that path, without practically experiencing some divine fruit or benefit?

Śrī Surya asked: Why did Maṇḍana Miśra not follow his Guru, Kumārila Bhaṭṭa, who was following both jñānam and karma?]

Swāmi replied: Maṇḍana Miśra believed that he would get divine fruit for following the path of karma, which is performing sacrifice without knowing the meaning of the recited Veda during the ritual sacrifice. People following this path perform sacrifices in order to attain heaven after death. Such experience is obviously not possible during one’s lifetime. So, they continue on their path, even without the practical experience of the fruit, while they are still on earth. Of course, there are some sacrifices done, which yield fruits in this world. God grants such fruits also, because every devotee inevitably has some defect or the other, in the intial stage, just as a newly-lit fire is covered in a lot of smoke. The aim of God is that, in the course of time, after doing such sacrifices, the person will develop the desire to know the meaning of the Veda recited by him. Thus, the person will slowly turn to the path of jñāna or knowledge, then develop attraction for God (devotion) and finally, he will perform the rituals with knowledge and with devotion to God. The path of karma alone does not make any direct reference to God. So, people practicing such rituals blindly became atheists, in due course of time (Nānyadastīti vādinaḥ…—Gītā, Devo na kaścit…Pūrva Mīmāṃsā).