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Duty you sometimes may avoid, and you may be excused, but obligation we cannot. Obligation means you have to

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"Duty you sometimes may avoid, and you may be excused, but obligation we cannot. Obligation means you have to"

Lectures

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures

Duty you sometimes may avoid, and you may be excused, but obligation we cannot. Obligation means you have to. Because you are meant for that, if you do not do that, then you will be in difficulty.
Lecture on CC Madhya-lila 22.5 -- New York, January 7, 1967:

So even Kṛṣṇa's expansion, Viṣṇu, He is also subordinate to Kṛṣṇa. The greatest manifestation of Viṣṇu is the Mahā-Viṣṇu who is lying on the Causal Ocean of material creation, wherefrom the material universes are emanating by His breathing process. Such a gigantic and huge, I mean to say, form of Viṣṇu with four hands, He is also stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā,

yasyaika-niśvasita-kālam athāvalambya
jīvanti loma-vilajā jagad-aṇḍa-nāthāḥ
viṣṇur mahān sa iha yasya kalā-viśeṣo
govindam ādi-puruṣam tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
(Bs. 5.48)

"I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, whose plenary parts of the portion is Mahā-Viṣṇu." And what is that Mahā-Viṣṇu? "In whose breathing period all these universes are coming and being annihilated." That is the process of His breathing. Just like with our breathing we are extricating so many germs and again we are taking so many germs, similarly, the breathing period of Mahā-Viṣṇu is He is exhaling so many universes and again inhaling so many universes. That Mahā-Viṣṇu is also the plenary expansion of Kṛṣṇa.

So we are going to have our relationship with that Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then how that can be achieved? That is now being explained by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and that is called, the process of executing the service by which we can attain to that point, is called abhidheya. Abhidheya means execution of duties, execution of duties, or execution of obligation—not duty: obligation. Duty you sometimes may avoid, and you may be excused, but obligation we cannot. Obligation means you have to. Because you are meant for that, if you do not do that, then you will be in difficulty. Our obligation as living entities... We are part and parcel of the Supreme. Just like the hand. At once I feel some itching sensation here, so at once the hand comes without asking for it. It is so made psychologically and mechanically and whatever you may say. At once I feel some itching; at once the hand comes—obligation. It is obligation. Similarly, we are part and parcel of the Supreme. We have got obligation to serve Kṛṣṇa. If we are not doing that... That means if the hand is cut off from this body, there is no obligation. The hand which is cut off from this body, that hand will not come to cure my itching. That means it is fallen. His business is finished. Similarly, if we do not... Just like if the hand does not work the obligation which it has—to serve this body—then it is to be understood the paralyzed or diseased, infected. And doctor sometimes advise, "Cut it off. If you want to save your other parts of the body, then cut it off." Similarly, these conditioned souls, they are now conditioned, or in one way they are cut off from the original, I mean to say, relationship, forgetful. So if we want... If this hand wants to remain in healthy state, it is the duty of the hand to fulfill the obligation of the hand's duty, and then it remains very healthy condition.