Devotee: What distinguishes bhakti-yoga from karma-yoga?
Prabhupāda: Karma-yoga means karma mixed with bhakti. And bhakti-yoga means pure bhakti. Somebody is attached to some kind of work, so he is advised karma-yoga. Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said,
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsiyaj juhoṣi dadāsi yatyat tapasyasi
kaunteyakuruṣva tat mad-arpaṇam
"My dear Arjuna, whatever you do," yat karoṣi; yad aśnāsi, "whatever you eat," yat karoṣi yad aś..., yaj juhoṣi, "whatever you sacrifice," dadāsi yat, "whatever you give in charity," kuruṣva tat mad-arpaṇam, "do it for Me." This is called karma-yoga.
Somebody is very much fond of giving in charity. Just like in your country there are so many foundation for giving charity. But as soon as you go that "We are spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You give us some charity," they will immediately deny, "Oh, we are..., we have no concern with religious movement." You see? But Kṛṣṇa says, "If you are so much charitable, give Me something, at least portion of your charity, to Me." Dadāsi yat. Yad aśnāsi: "Whatever you eat, you offer Me." In this way, when people are not directly coming to the bhakti-yoga, so he's advised, "All right, you do like this. Whatever you eat, whatever you give in charity, whatever you make in sacrifice, do it for Me."
Then... Just like Arjuna's example is karma-yoga. Arjuna is a fighter, he's a warrior, military man. And he fought for Kṛṣṇa. This is called karma-yoga. You be whatever you may be. You may be a brāhmaṇa, you may be a kṣatriya, you may be a vaiśya, you may be intelligent man, you may be a military man, you may be a administrator, you may be a businessman or you may be ordinary worker, it doesn't matter. But if you offer the result of your work for the satisfaction of God, then you are perfect. This is the whole thing. That Bhāgavata says:
ataḥ puṁsāṁ dvija-śreṣṭhāvarṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥsvanuṣṭhitasya
There are different classes of men. Generally, they are divided into four classes: the intelligent class of men, the administrator class of men, the business class of men and the general worker, laborer class of men. So Bhāgavata says, "Whatever you may be, it doesn't matter. You just try to satisfy the Supreme Lord by your work. That's all."
If you are intelligent man, oh, write nice books to propagate God consciousness, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But if you write books that "God is dead. There is no God. It is all nonsense," then simply misusing your intelligence.
Guest: You say we should lose the designations. Now, would you consider the caste system as designations?
Guest: You would be, then, for abolishing the caste system.
Prabhupāda: Yes. For a devotee there is no caste, because he's servant of God. He does not belong to any material consciousness. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is transcendental. Sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate (BG 14.26). In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that one who is engaged in the service of the Lord, he is on the platform of becoming Brahman. Brahma-bhūyāya kalpate... sa guṇān samatītyaitān.... Guṇān means this world, this material world, is full of three qualities: the quality of goodness, the quality of passion, the quality of ignorance. Or mixed: three into three into nine; nine into nine equal to eighty-one. There are so many mixture of qualities and different kinds of men, because they are within the material qualities. But as soon as you engage yourself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, you are no more within these quality; therefore you are freed from designation.
Just like these boys, they are not thinking that they are American. I am not thinking, "I am not Indian...," "I am Indian." Actually, our platform is Kṛṣṇa. We are loving each other. So we have forgotten our designation. Otherwise, how they can work so nicely? Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam (CC Madhya 19.170). They are now thinking in terms of Kṛṣṇa, that's all. Similarly, if this consciousness is spread, so simple, then they will lose designation, there will be no more distinction, "Oh, I am Chinese," "I am Russian," "I am American," "I am Indian," "I am this," "I am that."
The fighting is on the platform of designation. But if you say that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is also a designation, but that is not designation, because in the Vedic literature it is said that ahaṁ brahmāsmi. This is pure consciousness. Asmi, my identification, shall continue, because I am an individual soul. That cannot be abolished. So when I am thinking that "I am God's," that is my designation-free stage. And when I think that I belong to this family, this country, this society, this group, so many things, then I am designated.
Guest: The basic concept that you are preaching and teaching is the same as the basic content of Christianity, of Buddhism. And if the people of the world would accept this basic principle, there would be no wars and there would be no fighting amongst one another and no disagreement. Because the basic and the fundamental is love.
Prabhupāda: But the thing is...
Guest: If we had that love we would then be united with God. That is our ultimate end.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Now, you are already united with God because your relationship cannot be rejected with God. Just like father and son. The son may forget his father. That does not mean the relationship of father and son is no more there. So our relationship is there with God, but we have forgotten. So we have to revive our consciousness. It is not that it has to be manufactured something new. The relationship is there. Just like a son, he has forgotten his father. He is very rich man's son, but he's loitering in the street, and he does not know. Just like there is a story of Tarzan. So we are all Tarzans. So we have forgotten, you see? So the whole process is to revive. That is called ahaṁ brahmāsmi. "Oh, I am the son of God. Then where is my distress?" So revival, Kṛṣṇa consciousness means to free, make free the consciousness from all contamination of material existence. You call it Kṛṣṇa consciousness or God consciousness, the same thing.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, December 4, 1968)