As

long as one remains in the bodily concept of life, he may act
according to the duties of social convention, but if one is elevated to
the spiritual platform, he must simply serve the Supreme Lord;
that is the real execution of sva-dharma.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: Canto 3: “The Status Quo”

translation and purport

by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

TEXT 2

sva-dharmācaraṇaṁ śaktyā

vidharmāc ca nivartanam

daivāl labdhena santoṣa

ātmavic-caraṇārcanam

SYNONYMS

sva-dharma-ācaraṇam—executing one’s prescribed duties; śaktyā—
to the best of one’s ability; vidharmāt—unauthorized duties;
ca—and; nivartanam—avoiding; daivāt—by the grace of the Lord;
labdhena—with what is achieved; santoṣaḥ—satisfied; ātma-vit—of
the self-realized soul; caraṇa—the feet; arcanam—worshiping.

TRANSLATION

One should execute his prescribed duties to the best of his ability
and avoid performing duties not allotted to him. One should be
satisfied with as much gain as he achieves by the grace of the Lord,
and one should worship the lotus feet of a spiritual master.

PURPORT

In this verse there are many important words which could be very
elaborately explained, but we shall briefly discuss the important
aspects of each. The final statement is ātmavic-caraṇārcanam. Ātma-
vit means a self-realized soul or bona fide spiritual master. Unless
one is self-realized and knows what his relationship with the
Supersoul is, he cannot be a bona fide spiritual master. Here it is
recommended that one should seek out a bona fide spiritual master
and surrender unto him (arcanam), for by inquiring from and
worshiping him one can learn spiritual activities.

The first recommendation is sva-dharmācaraṇam. As long as we
have this material body there are various duties prescribed for us.
Such duties are divided by a system of four social orders: brāhmaṇa,
kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra. These particular duties are mentioned in
the śāstra, and particularly in Bhagavad-gītā. Sva-dharmācaraṇam
means that one must discharge the prescribed duties of
his particular division of society faithfully and to the best of his
ability. One should not accept another’s duty. If one is born in a
particular society or community, he should perform the prescribed
duties for that particular division. If, however, one is fortunate
enough to transcend the designation of birth in a particular society
or community by being elevated to the standard of spiritual identity,
then his sva-dharma, or duty, is solely that of serving the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. The actual duty of one who is advanced in
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is to serve the Lord. As long as one remains in
the bodily concept of life, he may act according to the duties
of social convention, but if one is elevated to the spiritual platform,
he must simply serve the Supreme Lord; that is the real execution of
sva-dharma

. . .
. .
The Final Statement