(Reprinted from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust)
svalpam apy asya dharmasya
na--there is not; iha--in this world; abhikrama--endeavoring; nasah--loss; asti--there is; pratyavayah--diminution; na--never; vidyate--there is; svalpam--little; api--although; asya--of this; dharmasya--of this occupation; trayate--releases; mahatah--of very great; bhayat--danger.
In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.
Activity in Krsna consciousness, or acting for the benefit of Krsna without expectation of sense gratification, is the highest transcendental quality of work. Even a small beginning of such activity finds no impediment, nor can that small beginning be lost at any stage. Any work begun on the material plane has to be completed, otherwise the whole attempt becomes a failure. But any work begun in Krsna consciousness has a permanent effect, even though not finished. The performer of such work is therefore not at a loss even if his work in Krsna consciousness is incomplete. One percent done in Krsna consciousness bears permanent results, so that the next beginning is from the point of two percent; whereas, in material activity, without a hundred percent success, there is no profit. Ajamila performed his duty in some percentage of Krsna consciousness, but the result he enjoyed at the end was a hundred percent, by the grace of the Lord. There is a nice verse in this connection in Srimad-Bhagavatam:
tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam harer bhajann apakvo 'tha patet tato yadi yatra kva vabhadram abhud amusya kim ko vartha apto 'bhajatam sva-dharmatah
"If someone gives up self-gratificatory pursuits and works in Krsna consciousness and then falls down on account of not completing his work, what loss is there on his part? And, what can one gain if one performs his material activities perfectly?" (Bhag. 1.5.17) Or, as the Christians say, "What profiteth a man if he gain the whole world yet suffers the loss of his eternal soul?"
Material activities and their results end with the body. But work in Krsna consciousness carries a person again to Krsna consciousness, even after the loss of the body. At least one is sure to have a chance in the next life of being born again as a human being, either in the family of a great cultured brahmana or in a rich aristocratic family that will give one a further chance for elevation. That is the unique quality of work done in Krsna consciousness.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness