dharma-mÅ«laá¹ hi bhagavÄn
smá¹taá¹ ca tad-vidÄá¹ rÄjan
yena cÄtmÄ prasÄ«dati
dharma-mÅ«lam - the root of religious principles; hi - indeed; bhagavÄn - the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sarva-veda-mayaá¸¥ - the essence of all Vedic knowledge; hariá¸¥ - the Supreme Being; smá¹tam ca - and the scriptures; tat-vidÄm - of those who know the Supreme Lord; rÄjan - O King; yena - by which (religious principle); ca - also; ÄtmÄ - the soul, mind, body and everything; prasÄ«dati - become fully satisfied.
As stated by YamarÄja, dharmaá¹ tu sÄká¹£Äd bhagavat-praá¹Ä«tam. YamarÄja, the representative of the Lord who takes care of the living beings after their death, gives his verdict as to how and when the living being will change his body. He is the authority, and he says that the religious principles consist of the codes and laws given by God. No one can manufacture religion, and therefore manufactured religious systems are rejected by the followers of the Vedic principles. In Bhagavad-gÄ«tÄ (15.15) it is said, vedaiÅ ca sarvair aham eva vedyaá¸¥: Vedic knowledge means to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Ká¹á¹£á¹a. Therefore, whether one speaks of the Vedas, scriptures, religion or the principles of everyoneâs occupational duty, all of them must aim at understanding Ká¹á¹£á¹a, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. ÅrÄ«mad-BhÄgavatam (1.2.6) therefore concludes:
sa vai puá¹sÄá¹ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoká¹£aje
In other words, religious principles aim at learning how to render transcendental loving service to the Lord. That service must be unmotivated and unchecked by material conditions. Then human society will be happy in all respects.
The smá¹ti, the scriptures following the principles of Vedic knowledge, are considered the evidence of Vedic principles. There are twenty different types of scripture for following religious principles, and among them the scriptures of Manu and YÄjÃ±avalkya are considered to be all-pervading authorities. In the YÄjÃ±avalkya-smá¹ti it is said:
svasya ca priyam Ätmanaá¸¥
samyak saá¹ kalpajaá¸¥ kÄmo
dharma-mÅ«lam idaá¹ smá¹tam
One should learn human behavior from Åruti, the Vedas, and from smá¹ti, the scriptures following the Vedic principles. ÅrÄ«la RÅ«pa GosvÄmÄ« in his Bhakti-rasÄmá¹ta-sindhu says:
aikÄntikÄ« harer bhaktir
The purport is that to become a devotee one must follow the principles laid down in Åruti and smá¹ti. One must follow the codes of the PurÄá¹as and the pÄÃ±carÄtrikÄ«-vidhi. One cannot be a pure devotee without following the Åruti and smá¹ti, and the Åruti and smá¹ti without devotional service cannot lead one to the perfection of life.
Therefore, from all the evidence the conclusion is that without bhakti, devotional service, there is no question of religious principles. God is the central figure in the performance of religious principles. Almost everything going on in this world as religion is devoid of any idea of devotional service and is therefore condemned by the verdict of ÅrÄ«mad-BhÄgavatam. Without devotional service, so-called religious principles are only cheating.