Nowadays people evolved more and more. These people when they perform punya karya like dhaana they gain punya,but people who don't have bhakthi on god ,too perform punya karya for gaining punya for their generation or themselves. This is a type of selfishness while worshipping god .Do they actually gain punya or not?

To make it clearly; Do selfishness while worshipping actually gain punya or not?

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    Yeah every good act results in an equal reward. Whether you're doing it selfishly or not, you get it back. However there is a difference. If you do it with desires (called Sakamya Bhakti) then your main focus is World, not God. However if you have no desires, then your main focus is God (Nishkamya Bhakti). Such bhaktas are pure, and always happy. They are liberated and they enjoy everything as God's Sweet play. Such bhaktas will not be affected by the ups and downs of Samsara, they are jivan muktas. Whereas the Sakamya Bhaktas will have to let go of their attachment eventually. All the best.
    – Sai
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 17:00

3 Answers 3


Jaya Nitai!

I will try and give an answer from a Vaishnav (Gaudiya) point of view. In Bhagavad Gita 7.16, Sri Krsna tells us that 4 types of people will approach the Lord (in the mood of Bhakti):

catur-vidhā bhajante māḿ janāḥ su-kṛtino ’rjuna ārto jijñāsur arthārthī jñānī ca bharatarṣabha

O best among the Bharatas, four kinds of pious men begin to render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desire of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.

As you can see, even those who have selfish desires can perform Bhakti, and get immense pious credits (punya) from the action. In fact, performing Bhakti of the Lord is even more powerful then many normal Punya Karya (like giving charity etc). In Skanda Purana (quoted in Hari Bhakti Vilasa) it is said:

go-koti-danam grahane khagasya prayaga-gangodaka-kalpa-vasah yajnayutam meru-suvarna-danam govinda-kirter na samam shatamshaih

"Neither giving millions of cows in charity, nor residing at Prayaga by the Ganges for a kalpa, nor performing millions of yajnas, nor giving a Mount Meru of gold in charity brings a benefit equal to one-hundredth part of the benefit obtained by chanting the holy names of Lord Govinda."

dana-vrata-tapas-tirtha- kshetradinam ca yah sthitah shaktayo deva-mahatam sarva-papa-harah shubhah

rajasuyashvamedhanam jnana-sadhyatma-vastunah akrishya harina sarvah sthapita sveshu namasu

"Lord Hari has gathered from charity, vows, austerities, pilgrimages, the demigods, the great saints, the rajasuya and ashvamedha yajnas, and the study of transcendental knowledge all their powers to bring auspiciousness and remove sins, and placed these powers in His holy names."

pratar utthaya yo vishnum satatam paripujayet agnishtoma-sahasrasya labhate phalam uttamam

"A person who regularly rises early and worships Lord Vishnu attains a pious result better than that obtained by performing a thousand agnishtoma-yajnas.

Shastra is filled with literally hundreds of these statements (especially in Srimad Bhagavatam, which says that Bhakti can easily grant Mukti, what to speak of artha, kama etc). Srila Sanatana Goswami has compiled a list of various verses from Scripture confirming this in the 11th Chapter of Hari Bhakti Vilasa .

Srimad Bhagavatam says:

*na niskrtair uditair brahma-vadibhis tatha visuddhyaty aghavan vratadibhih yatha harer nama-padair udahrtais tad uttamasloka-gunopalambhakam *

"By following the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies or undergoing atonement, sinful men do not become as purified as by chanting once the holy name of Lord Hari. although ritualistic atonement may free one from sinful reactions, it does not awaken devotional service, unlike the chanting of the Lord's names, which reminds one of the Lord. Bhag. 6.2.11

You can also read in Srimad Bhagavatam, the story of Ajamila, who out of selfish reasons called out "Narayana" at the time of his death, yet attained Mukti.

However, when such Bhakti is done for selfish reasons (i.e for Bhukti or pleasure of body) then such Bhakti is called Karma-Mishra Bhakti (Bhakti that is contaminated with Karmic activity). Similarly, when Bhakti is performed with the desire for liberation, it is called Jnana Mishra Bhakti. Bhakti reaches its purest form (called Suddha Bhakti) when it is performed out of no other desire than to please the senses of the Lord. Such Bhakti can be called "selfless". Srila Rupa Goswami writes in his Bhaktirasamrta Sindhu the following definition of Bhakti:

anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmadyanavrtam anukulyena krsnanusilanam bhaktir-uttama

"Perpetual, ardent endeavor meant exclusively for Sri Krsna and performed out of genuine kindness* to Him, when neither prone to any selfish, ulterior desires nor eclipsed by impersonal knowledge, fruitive work, or any other occupation, is known as uttama-bhakti (highest Bhakti)"-Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.1.11)

So in conclusion, selfishness in Bhakti does give immense pious credit (punya) and even Mukti, but these are simply fractions of the power of Bhakti. The true fruit of Bhakti (and Nama Sankirtan) is the manifestation of Bhagavata Prema (Love for God) which is intrinsically selfless and causeless for it is the eternal nature of the soul. This mood is encapsulated so beautifully by Bhagavan Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the 4rd Shloka of His Sikshastakam:

na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagad-isha kamaye mama janmani janmanishvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki twayi

O almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I only want Your causeless devotional service birth after birth.

I hope this helped,

Daso'mi Nitai das


The word Bhakti (devotion) taken from the sanskrit word 'Bhaj', meaning 'to be attached to God' .Bhakti is a sacred, higher emotion with sublime sentiments that unites the devotees with the Lord.

चतुर्विधा भजन्ते मां जना: सुकृतिनोऽर्जुन | आर्तो जिज्ञासुरर्थार्थी ज्ञानी च भरतर्षभ || 7.16 Geeta

chatur-vidhā bhajante māṁ janāḥ sukṛitino ’rjuna ārto jijñāsur arthārthī jñānī cha bharatarṣhabha

O best among the Bharatas, four kinds of pious men begin to render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.

Their are various kind of bhakties , told in Hinduism One classification Sakamya (सकाम)**and Nishkamya **(निष्काम)Bhakti. Sakamya Bhakti is devotion with desire for material gains. Another kind is of Nishkamya Bhakti, where one dose not wish any material gain, but offers pure devotion to god.

Another classification-  "Apara-Bhakti"(अपरा) and "Para"(परा) bhakti. Apara-Bhakti is for beginners in Yoga. The beginner decorates an image with flowers and garlands, rings the bell, offers Naivedya (food-offerings) etc. The Bhakta here regards the Lord as a Supreme Person, who is immanent in that image and who can be propitiated through that form only.

Para-Bhakti, the highest form of Bhakti. He sees the Lord and Lord alone everywhere and feels His Power manifest as the entire universe. There are five kinds of Bhava in Bhakti. They are Shanta, (संत)Dasya, (दास)Sakhya,(सख्ख्या )Vatsalyaand  (वासल्या)Madhurya(मधुर) Bhavas. These Bhavas or feelings are natural to human beings and so these are easy to practice.

In the Srimad-Bhagavata and the Vishnu Purana it is told that the nine forms of Bhakti are

Sravana (श्रवण) (hearing of God's Lilas and stories),Kirtana (कीर्तन)(singing of His glories),Smarana (समरण)(remembrance of His name and presence),Padasevana (पादसेवन)(service of His feet),Archana (अर्चना)(worship of God),Vandana (वंदना)(prostration to Lord),Dasya (दास्या)(cultivating the Bhava of a servant with God),Sakhya (सख्य)( (cultivation of the friend-Bhava) andAtmanivedana**(आत्मनिवेदन)** (complete surrender of the self).

Comming to your question. The answer according to Shree krishna in "Bhagvad Geeta" In selfish bhakti **although you will get material gain ,Punya (as you have asked) But you will not get supreme satisfaction, immortality and Moksha through Sakamya Bhakti.(selfish bhakti). Aspire for Nishkamya Bhakti. Your heart will be purified and the Divine Grace will descend upon you. Be in communion with the Lord, you will become one with the Lord.

So yes even devotion with selfish cause could gain you punya.

Source - http://sivanandaonline.org/


Law of karma is universal law. It doesn't just apply to bhaktas. It applies to atheists also. Same way atheists earn pApam if they do something bad, atheists also earn punyam if they do something good like dAna.

One never has to enjoy or endure the good and bad acts of another. Indeed, one enjoys and endures the fruits of only those acts that one does oneself.

— Mahabharata, xii.291


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