Pious activity, nonviolence, sense control and regulation are not separate from devotional service in its pure form. If one engages in devotional service, all good qualities follow. One does not have to cultivate them separately. Spontaneous devotional service arises when one follows a pure devotee who is awakened to spontaneous love of God. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu describes the symptoms of devotees who are already situated in spontaneous love of God. He also describes the devotees who are trying to follow in the footsteps of the pure devotees.
Collaborate with us to invoke and fully manifest Srila Prabhupada's Vani-presence.
Pure devotee who is
- 1 Bhagavad-gita As It Is
- 2 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 3 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 4 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 5 Lectures
- 6 Conversations and Morning Walks
- 7 Correspondence
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 1 - 6
There are various kinds of avatāras, such as puruṣāvatāras, guṇāvatāras, līlāvatāras, śakty-āveśa avatāras, manvantara-avatāras and yugāvatāras—all appearing on schedule all over the universe. But Lord Kṛṣṇa is the primeval Lord, the fountainhead of all avatāras. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa descends for the specific purpose of mitigating the anxieties of the pure devotees, who are very anxious to see Him in His original Vṛndāvana pastimes. Therefore, the prime purpose of the Kṛṣṇa avatāra is to satisfy His unalloyed devotees.
BG Chapters 7 - 12
The illusory energy is manifested in the duality of desire and hate. Due to desire and hate, the ignorant person wants to become one with the Supreme Lord and envies Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Pure devotees, who are not deluded or contaminated by desire and hate, can understand that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa appears by His internal potencies, but those who are deluded by duality and nescience think that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is created by material energies. This is their misfortune.
Similarly, one can go to many ghostly planets and become a Yakṣa, Rakṣa or Piśāca. Piśāca worship is called "black arts" or "black magic." There are many men who practice this black art, and they think that it is spiritualism, but such activities are completely materialistic. Similarly, a pure devotee, who worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead only, achieves the planets of Vaikuṇṭha and Kṛṣṇaloka without a doubt. It is very easy to understand through this important verse that if by simply worshiping the demigods one can achieve the heavenly planets, or by worshiping the Pitās achieve the Pitā planets, or by practicing the black arts achieve the ghostly planets, why can the pure devotee not achieve the planet of Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu?
Such a person always thinks of himself as an eternal servant, dependent on the supreme will of the Lord. As such, whatever he does, he does it for the benefit of the Lord. Whatever action he performs, he performs it as service to the Lord. He does not give serious attention to the fruitive activities or prescribed duties mentioned in the Vedas. For ordinary persons it is obligatory to execute the prescribed duties mentioned in the Vedas, but although a pure devotee who is completely engaged in the service of the Lord may sometimes appear to go against the prescribed Vedic duties, actually it is not so.
The universal form is not attractive for pure devotees, who are in love with the Lord in different transcendental relationships. The Supreme Godhead exchanges transcendental love in His original form of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore to Arjuna, who was so intimately related with Kṛṣṇa in friendship, this form of the universal manifestation was not pleasing; rather, it was fearful.
SB Canto 1
In the Vedas, the above-mentioned four activities are prescribed in the regulative way so that there will not be any undue competition for sense gratification. But Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is transcendental to all these sense gratificatory activities. It is purely transcendental literature which can be understood only by the pure devotees of the Lord who are transcendental to competitive sense gratification. In the material world there is keen competition between animal and animal, man and man, community and community, nation and nation. But the devotees of the Lord rise above such competitions. They do not compete with the materialist because they are on the path back to Godhead where life is eternal and blissful.
Generally it is said that the bhakti cult is meant for the śūdras, vaiśyas and the less intelligent woman class. But that is not the actual fact. The bhakti cult is the topmost of all transcendental activities, and therefore it is simultaneously sublime and easy. It is sublime for the pure devotees who are serious about getting in contact with the Supreme Lord, and it is easy for the neophytes who are just on the threshold of the house of bhakti. To achieve the contact of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa is a great science, and it is open for all living beings, including the śūdras, vaiśyas, women and even those lower than the lowborn śūdras, so what to speak of the high-class men like the qualified brāhmaṇas and the great self-realized kings.
There are two types of Bhāgavatas, namely the book Bhāgavata and the devotee Bhāgavata. Both the Bhāgavatas are competent remedies, and both of them or either of them can be good enough to eliminate the obstacles. A devotee Bhāgavata is as good as the book Bhāgavata because the devotee Bhāgavata leads his life in terms of the book Bhāgavata and the book Bhāgavata is full of information about the Personality of Godhead and His pure devotees, who are also Bhāgavatas. Bhāgavata book and person are identical.
The summary is that one has to, first of all, seek the association of pure devotees who not only are learned in the Vedānta but are self-realized souls and unalloyed devotees of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead. In that association, the neophyte devotees must render loving service physically and mentally without reservation. This service attitude will induce the great souls to be more favorable in bestowing their mercy, which injects the neophyte with all the transcendental qualities of the pure devotees.
No one will disagree to partake in a function where good singing, dancing and refreshment are administered. Everyone will attend such a function, and everyone is sure to feel individually the transcendental presence of the Lord. This alone will help the attendant associate with the Lord and thereby purify himself in spiritual realization. The only condition for successfully executing such spiritual activities is that they must be conducted under the guidance of a pure devotee who is completely free from all mundane desires, fruitive activities and dry speculations about the nature of the Lord.
The Absolute Personality of Godhead is not different from His transcendental name, form, pastimes and the sound vibrations thereof. As soon as a pure devotee engages himself in the pure devotional service of hearing, chanting and remembering the name, fame and activities of the Lord, at once He becomes visible to the transcendental eyes of the pure devotee by reflecting Himself on the mirror of the heart by spiritual television. Therefore a pure devotee who is related with the Lord in loving transcendental service can experience the presence of the Lord at every moment.
Darkness and light are two opposite conceptions, but this does not mean that the sun is partial in distributing its rays. The sun rays are open to everyone, but the capacities of the receptacles differ. Foolish people think that devotional service is flattering the Lord to get special mercy. Factually the pure devotees who are engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord are not a mercantile community. A mercantile house renders service to someone in exchange for values. The pure devotee does not render service unto the Lord for such exchange, and therefore the full mercy of the Lord is open for him.
Pure devotees of the Lord are all budhas, or persons who know the glories of the Lord in different transcendental loving services. As the Lord has innumerable expansions of His plenary form, there are innumerable pure devotees of the Lord, who are engaged in the exchange of service of different humors. Ordinarily there are twelve great devotees of the Lord, namely Brahmā, Nārada, Śiva, Kumāra, Kapila, Manu, Prahlāda, Bhīṣma, Janaka, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Bali Mahārāja and Yamarāja.
The Lord is the chief amongst such sātvatas. Bhīṣmadeva, therefore, had no other desires. Unless one is purified from all sorts of material desires, the Lord does not become one's leader. Desires cannot be wiped out, but they have only to be purified. It is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā by the Lord Himself that He gives His instruction from within the heart of a pure devotee who is constantly engaged in the service of the Lord. Such instruction is given not for any material purpose but only for going back home, back to Godhead (BG 10.10).
The Lord's chest is the abode of the goddess of fortune. His moonlike face is the drinking vessel for eyes which hanker after all that is beautiful. His arms are the resting places for the administrative demigods. And His lotus feet are the refuge of pure devotees who never talk or sing of any subject except His Lordship."
Mahārāja Dhṛtarāṣṭra was tightly bound in a network of material affinities related to politics, economy and family attachment, and he did everything in his power to achieve so-called success in his planned projects, but he was frustrated from the beginning to the end so far as his material activities were concerned. And yet, despite his life of failure, he achieved the greatest of all success in self-realization by the forceful instructions of a pure devotee of the Lord, who is the typical emblem of a sādhu. The scriptures enjoin, therefore, that one should associate with sādhus only, rejecting all other kinds of association, and by doing so one will have ample opportunity to hear the sādhus, who can cut to pieces the bonds of illusory affection in the material world.
Generally the law of karma is that one is awarded the result of one's own actions, but in special cases, by the will of the Lord, such resultant actions are changed also. But this change can be affected by the will of the Lord only, and no other. Therefore, the example of the player cited in this verse is quite appropriate, for the Supreme Will is absolutely free to do whatever He likes, and because He is all-perfect, there is no mistake in any of His actions or reactions. These changes of resultant actions are especially rendered by the Lord when a pure devotee is involved. It is assured in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.30-31) that the Lord saves a pure devotee who has surrendered unto Him without reservation from all sorts of reactions of sins, and there is no doubt about this.
Lord Kṛṣṇa and His devotees are both on the transcendental plane; therefore the topics of Lord Kṛṣṇa and of His pure devotees are equally good. The Battle of Kurukṣetra is full of politics and diplomacy, but because the topics are related with Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Bhagavad-gītā is therefore adored all over the world. There is no need to eradicate politics, economics, sociology, etc., which are mundane to the mundaners. To a pure devotee, who is actually related with the Lord, such mundane things are transcendental if dovetailed with the Lord or with His pure devotees. We have heard and talked about the activities of the Pāṇḍavas, and we now are dealing with the topics of Mahārāja Parīkṣit, but because all these topics are related to the Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, they are all transcendental, and pure devotees have great interest in hearing them.
The only hope of suspending the cruel slaughtering process of Yamarāja is to call him to hear and chant the holy name of the Lord. Yamarāja is a great devotee of the Lord, and he likes to be invited to kīrtanas and sacrifices by the pure devotees, who are constantly engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. Thus the great sages, headed by Śaunaka and others, invited Yamarāja to attend the sacrifice performed at Naimiṣāraṇya. This was good for those who did not want to die.
SB Canto 2
By the speculation of empiric philosophy, which discerns matter from spirit, or by cultivation of mystic powers, which ultimately helps the performer to reach any planet of the universe or beyond the universe, or by discharge of religious duties, one can achieve the highest perfection, provided one is able to reach the stage of nārāyaṇa-smṛti, or constant remembrance of the Personality of Godhead. This is possible only by the association of a pure devotee, who can give a finishing touch to the transcendental activities of all jñānīs, yogīs, or karmīs, in terms of prescribed duties defined in the scriptures. There are many historical instances of the achievement of spiritual perfection, such as that of the Sanakādi Ṛṣis or the nine celebrated Yogendras, who attained perfection only after being situated in the devotional service of the Lord.
The transcendentalists desire to avoid everything godless, for they know that supreme situation in which everything is related with the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu. Therefore a pure devotee who is in absolute harmony with the Lord does not create perplexities, but worships the lotus feet of the Lord at every moment, taking them into his heart.
The word satām is very important in this verse. Satām means the pure devotees, who have no other desire than to serve the Lord. Only in the association of such devotees are the transcendental glories of Lord Kṛṣṇa properly discussed. It is said by the Lord that His topics are all full of spiritual significance, and once one properly hears about Him in the association of the satām, certainly one senses the great potency and so automatically attains to the devotional stage of life. As already described, Mahārāja Parīkṣit was a great devotee of the Lord from his very birth, and so was Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Both of them were on the same level, although it appeared that Mahārāja Parīkṣit was a great king accustomed to royal facilities whereas Śukadeva Gosvāmī was a typical renouncer of the world, so much so that he did not even put a cloth on his body.
In the impure state of a living being, the various senses are fully engaged in mundane affairs. If the ear is not engaged in the service of the Lord by hearing about Him from Bhagavad-gītā or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, certainly the holes of the ear will be filled with some rubbish. Therefore the messages of Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam should be preached all over the world very loudly. That is the duty of a pure devotee who has actually heard about them from the perfect sources. Many want to speak something to others, but because they are not trained to speak on the subject matter of Vedic wisdom they are all speaking nonsense, and people are receiving them with no sense.
The Lord never accepts any offering by such impure ghosts. There is a common saying that one should first love the dog of the beloved before one shows any loving sentiments for the beloved. The stage of pure devotion is attained by sincerely serving a pure devotee of the Lord. The first condition of devotional service to the Lord is therefore to be a servant of a pure devotee, and this condition is fulfilled by the statement "reception of the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee who has also served another pure devotee." That is the way of pure disciplic succession, or devotional paramparā.
In the Bhagavad-gītā (9.32) it is said by the Lord that there is no bar to becoming a devotee of the Lord (even for those who are lowborn, or women, śūdras or vaiśyas), and by becoming a devotee everyone is eligible to return home, back to Godhead. The only qualification is that one take shelter of a pure devotee of the Lord who has thorough knowledge in the transcendental science of Kṛṣṇa (Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam). Anyone from any part of the world who becomes well conversant in the science of Kṛṣṇa becomes a pure devotee and a spiritual master for the general mass of people and may reclaim them by purification of heart.
This humbleness of the pure devotee, who is one hundred percent engaged in His service, puts the devotee of the Lord in a trance by which to realize everything, because to the sincere devotee of the Lord, the Lord reveals Himself, as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (10.10). The Lord, being the Lord of intelligence in everyone (even in the nondevotee), favors His devotee with proper intelligence so that automatically the pure devotee is enlightened with the factual truth about the Lord and His different energies. the Lord is revealed not by one's speculative power or by one's verbal jugglery over the Absolute Truth.
His Lordship Kapila, the incarnation of the Lord, instructed His mother fully about the personal form of the Lord, and thereby she realized the personal form of the Lord and was able to achieve a place in the Vaikuṇṭhaloka where, Lord Kapila predominates. Every incarnation of the Lord has His own abode in the spiritual sky. Therefore Lord Kapila also has His separate Vaikuṇṭha planet. The spiritual sky is not void. There are innumerable Vaikuṇṭha planets, and in each of them the Lord, by His innumerable expansions, predominates, and the pure devotees who are there also live in the same style as the Lord and His eternal associates.
Factually the Lord is the father of all living entities, but out of transcendental affection and love between the Lord and His devotees, the Lord takes more pleasure in becoming the son of a devotee than in becoming one's father. The father actually serves the son, whereas the son only demands all sorts of services from the father; therefore a pure devotee who is always inclined to serve the Lord wants Him as the son, and not as the father. The Lord also accepts such service from the devotee, and thus the devotee becomes more than the Lord. The impersonalists desire to become one with the Supreme, but the devotee becomes more than the Lord, surpassing the desire of the greatest monist.
So the Lord incarnated Himself as Pṛśnigarbha just to satisfy a pure devotee of the Lord. And Prince Dhruva achieved this perfection simply by chanting the hymn mentioned above, after being initiated by another pure devotee, Nārada. A serious personality can thus achieve the highest perfection of meeting the Lord and attain his objective simply by being guided by a pure devotee, who automatically approaches by dint of one's serious determination to meet the Lord by all means.
A pure devotee of the Lord never commits any sinful acts, but because the whole world is full of the sinful atmosphere, even a pure devotee may commit a sin unconsciously, as a matter of course. One who commits sinful acts consciously cannot be worthy of being a devotee of the Lord, but a pure devotee who unconsciously does something sinful is certainly delivered by the Lord because a pure devotee remembers the Lord always.
Now the question is why the Lord, who is omnipotent, comes here to diminish the burden created upon the world by the unscrupulous kingly order. Certainly the Lord does not need to come here personally for such purposes, but He actually descends to exhibit His transcendental activities in order to encourage His pure devotees, who want to enjoy life by chanting the glories of the Lord. In the Bhagavad-gītā (9.13-14) it is stated that the mahātmās, great devotees of the Lord, take pleasure in chanting of the activities of the Lord.
The Bhagavad-gītā (10.10-11) confirms emphatically that the pure devotees, who are constantly engaged in the loving transcendental service of the Lord, are directly advised by the Lord, so much so that the devotee unwaveringly makes progress on the path home, back to Godhead. Pure devotees of the Lord are therefore not proud of their definite progress, whereas the nondevotee speculator is in the darkness of illusory energy and is very much proud of his misleading knowledge based on speculation without any definite path. Lord Brahmā wanted to be saved from that pitfall of pride, although he was posted in the most exalted position within the universe.
Neither of the above forms of the Lord, as just described unto you from the material angle of vision, is accepted by the pure devotees of the Lord who know Him well.
The impersonalists think of the Absolute Personality of Godhead in two different ways, as above mentioned. On the one hand they worship the Lord in His viśva-rūpa, or all-pervading universal form, and on the other they think of the Lord's unmanifested, indescribable, subtle form.
The impersonalist is satisfied simply by understanding the all-pervasive influence of the Lord. This is called Brahman realization. Greater than the impersonalist is the mystic who sees the Lord situated in his heart as Paramātmā, the partial representation of the Lord. But there are pure devotees who take part in the direct pleasure (ānanda) potency of the Lord by factual reciprocation of loving service. The Lord in His abode called the Vaikuṇṭha planets, which are eternal manifestations, always remains with His associates and enjoys transcendental loving services by His pure devotees in different transcendental humors.
SB Canto 3
For pure devotees of the Lord who are completely satisfied with the transcendental loving service of the Lord, there is hardly any necessity to visit the various places of pilgrimage. But those who are not so advanced have the prescribed duties of visiting pilgrimage sites and regularly performing the rituals. The part of the princely order of the Yadu dynasty who went to Prabhāsa performed all duties to be done in a place of pilgrimage and offered their pious actions to their forefathers and others.
As already explained in the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Absolute Truth is realized in three different phases—although they are one and the same—in terms of the knower's capacity to understand. The most capable transcendentalist is the pure devotee of the Lord, who is without any tinge of fruitive actions or philosophical speculation. By devotional service only does one's heart become completely purified from all material coverings like karma, jñāna and yoga.
This spirit of false lordship is called false ego. It is manifested in three modes of material nature, and it exists in mental speculation only. Those who are in the mode of goodness think that each and every person is God, and thus they laugh at the pure devotees, who try to engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Those who are puffed up by the mode of passion try to lord it over material nature in various ways. Some of them engage in altruistic activities as if they were agents appointed to do good to others by their mental speculative plans.
Persons whose austerity is meager can hardly obtain the service of the pure devotees who are progressing on the path back to the kingdom of Godhead, the Vaikuṇṭhas. Pure devotees engage one hundred percent in glorifying the Supreme Lord, who is the Lord of the demigods and the controller of all living entities.
The path of liberation, as recommended by all authorities, is to serve the mahātmā transcendentalists. As far as Bhagavad-gītā is concerned, the mahātmās are the pure devotees who are on the path to Vaikuṇṭha, the kingdom of God, and who always chant and hear the glories of the Lord rather than talk of dry, profitless philosophy.
The Lord is unmindful of the nondevotees, although He is sitting within everyone's heart as well-wisher and Supersoul. However, He also gives them the chance to receive His mercy through His pure devotees who are engaged in missionary activities. Sometimes the Lord Himself descends for missionary activities, as He did in the form of Lord Caitanya, but mostly He sends His bona fide representatives, and thus He shows His causeless mercy towards the nondevotees.
It is cited herein by the Lord that during his daytime Brahmā would see Him as Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He would appreciate how the Lord expanded Himself into all the calves during His childhood at Vṛndāvana, he would know how Yaśodāmayī saw all the universes and planetary systems within the mouth of Kṛṣṇa during His playful childhood pastimes, and he would also see that there are many millions of Brahmās during the appearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa in Brahmā's daytime. But all these manifestations of the Lord, appearing everywhere in His eternal, transcendental forms, cannot be understood by anyone but the pure devotees, who are always engaged in devotional service to the Lord and are fully absorbed in the Lord. The high qualifications of Brahmā are also indicated herein.
The power of speaking is called Sarasvatī, or the goddess of learning, and the birthplace of the goddess of learning is the mouth of Brahmā. Even if a man is endowed with the favor of the goddess of learning, it is quite possible for his heart to be full of lust and material desire and his eyebrows to display symptoms of anger. One may be very learned in the mundane estimation, but that does not mean that he is free from all low activities of lust and anger. Good qualifications can be expected only from a pure devotee, who is always engaged in the thought of the Lord, or in samādhi, with faith.
As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (10.10), the Lord gives intelligence to the pure devotees so that they may be elevated to the highest perfectional stage. It is confirmed herein that a pure devotee, who constantly engages in the loving service of the Lord, is awarded all knowledge necessary to reach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For such a devotee there is nothing valuable to be achieved but the Lord's service. If one serves faithfully, there is no possibility of frustration because the Lord Himself takes charge of the devotee's advancement.
Nor are they inclined to accept any of the other four kinds of liberation, namely to live on the same planet as the Lord, to live with Him side by side as an associate, to have the same opulence, and to attain the same bodily features. They are concerned only with glorifying the Supreme Lord and His auspicious activities. Pure devotional service is śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam (SB 7.5.23). Pure devotees, who take transcendental pleasure in hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord, do not care for any kind of liberation; even if they are offered the five liberations, they refuse to accept them, as stated in the Bhāgavatam in the Third Canto.
Our consciousness at the present moment is polluted because of association with the three modes of nature; therefore in Bhagavad-gītā the same principle is stated. It is advised, jita-saṅga-doṣāḥ: one should be freed from the contaminated association of the three modes of material nature. Here also, in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, this is confirmed: a pure devotee, who is preparing to transfer himself to the spiritual kingdom, is also freed from the association of the three modes of material nature. We have to seek the association of such devotees. For this reason we have begun the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
A pure devotee, who is attached to the activities of devotional service and who always engages in the service of My lotus feet, never desires to become one with Me. Such a devotee, who is unflinchingly engaged, always glorifies My pastimes and activities.
Ritualistic activities for economic development and sense gratification and, after frustration in sense gratification, the desire to become one with the Supreme Lord, are all completely rejected in the Bhāgavatam. The Bhāgavatam is especially meant for the pure devotees, who always engage in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, in the activities of the Lord, and always glorify these transcendental activities. Pure devotees worship the transcendental activities of the Lord in Vṛndāvana, Dvārakā and Mathurā as they are narrated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other purāṇas.
This gratitude and love for God is exhibited by a pure devotee, who knows that the Lord lives in every living entity. As such, temple worship necessarily includes distribution of prasāda. It is not that one should create a temple in his private apartment or private room, offer something to the Lord, and then eat. Of course, that is better than simply cooking foodstuffs and eating without understanding one's relationship with the Supreme Lord; people who act in this manner are just like animals.
Better than the brāhmaṇa who knows the purpose of the Vedas is he who can dissipate all doubts, and better than him is one who strictly follows the brahminical principles. Better than him is one who is liberated from all material contamination, and better than him is a pure devotee, who executes devotional service without expectation of reward.
SB Canto 4
Anyone who is fixed in the service of the lotus feet of Govinda is called tīrtha-pāda; he does not need to travel on various pilgrimages, for he can enjoy all the benefits of such travel simply by engaging in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord. Such a pure devotee, who has implicit faith in the lotus feet of the Lord, can create sacred places in any part of the world where he decides to remain. Tīrthī-kurvanti tīrthāni (SB 1.13.10). The places are sanctified due to the presence of pure devotees; any place automatically becomes a place of pilgrimage if either the Lord or His pure devotee remains or resides there. In other words, such a pure devotee, who is engaged one hundred percent in the service of the Lord, can remain anywhere in the universe, and that part of the universe immediately becomes a sacred place where he can peacefully render service to the Lord as the Lord desires.
Because a devotee knows that he is not the body, he is never affected by bodily happiness or distress. He is not interested in bodily relationships with wife, children, home, bank balance, etc., or in the distress and happiness which come from these things. This is the special advantage of being a devotee. This status of life is possible only when a person is interested in associating with a pure devotee, who always enjoys the fragrance of the lotus feet of the Lord.
Dhruva Mahārāja was a pure devotee and was accustomed to always thinking of the Lord. Reciprocally, the Lord always thinks of those pure devotees who think of Him only, twenty-four hours a day. As a pure devotee does not know anything beyond the Lord, so the Lord does not know anything beyond His pure devotee. Svāyambhuva Manu pointed out this fact to Dhruva Mahārāja: "Not only are you a pure devotee, but you are recognized by all pure devotees of the Lord. You should always act in such an exemplary way that others may learn from you. Under the circumstances, it is surprising that you have killed so many faultless Yakṣas."
The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, when thus asked to accept a benediction from Kuvera the Yakṣarāja (King of the Yakṣas), Dhruva Mahārāja, that most elevated pure devotee, who was an intelligent and thoughtful king, begged that he might have unflinching faith in and remembrance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for thus a person can cross over the ocean of nescience very easily, although it is very difficult for others to cross.
Ṭhākura Haridāsa also exhibited them, and there are many pure devotees who manifested such bodily symptoms. They are not to be imitated, but when one is actually advanced, these symptoms are exhibited. At that time it is to be understood that a devotee is materially free. Of course, from the beginning of devotional service the path of liberation immediately opens, just as the coconut taken from the tree immediately begins to dry; it simply takes some time for the shell and pulp to separate from one another.
The dīna-nāthas, or devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who preach the path of devotional service, become the favorites of the demigods. Generally people are interested in worshiping the demigods, especially Lord Śiva, in order to obtain material benefits, but a pure devotee, who engages in preaching the principles of devotional service, as prescribed in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, does not need to separately worship the demigods; the demigods are automatically pleased with him and offer all the blessings within their capacity.
In the previous verse Mahārāja Pṛthu addressed the Lord as kaivalya-pati, the master of the liberation of merging into His existence. This does not mean that he was anxious for kaivalya liberation. That is made clear in this verse: "My dear Lord, I do not want such a benediction." Mahārāja Pṛthu wanted to have a million ears to hear the glories of the lotus feet of the Lord. He specifically mentioned that the glories of the Lord should emanate from the mouths of pure devotees, who speak from the cores of their hearts. It is stated in the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.3), śuka-mukhād amṛta-drava-saṁyutam: the nectar of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam became more relishable because it emanated from the mouth of Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī.
For a conditioned soul, therefore, it is very important to hear from the mouth of a pure devotee, who is fully surrendered to the lotus feet of the Lord without any material desire, speculative knowledge or contamination of the modes of material nature. Every one of us is kuyogī because we have engaged in the service of this material world, forgetting our eternal relationship with the Lord as His eternal loving servants. It is our duty to rise from the kuyoga platform to become suyogīs, perfect mystics.
One should take shelter of a pure devotee, who has nothing to do with this material world but is simply engaged in devotional service. By serving him only, one can transcend the qualitative material condition. In this verse it is recommended (yogeśvara-upāsanayā) that one serve the lotus feet of the topmost yogī, or the devotee. To serve the topmost devotee means to hear from him about the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. To hear the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead from the mouth of a pure devotee is to acquire a pious life. In Bhagavad-gītā (7.28) it is also said that without being pious one cannot engage in devotional service.
Remaining fixed in devotional service gives one the utmost in self-satisfaction. Actually self-satisfaction can be achieved only by pure devotees, who have no desire other than to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since the Supreme Personality of Godhead has nothing to desire, He is fully satisfied with Himself. Similarly, a devotee who has no desire other than to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead is as self-satisfied as the Supreme Lord.
A pure devotee who is executing the different processes of devotional service may be situated in the transcendental position, being completely absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but even he, while discharging devotional service, must hear, read and induce others to hear about the character and life of Pṛthu Mahārāja.
One can find many great souls amongst yogīs and jñānīs, but a truly great soul, a pure devotee of the Lord, who is fully surrendered to the Lord, is very rarely found (sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ, Bg. 7.19). A devotee's mind is always calm, quiet and desireless because he is always anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam (CC Madhya 19.167), having no desire other than to serve Kṛṣṇa as His personal servant, friend, father, mother or conjugal lover.
Devotional service cannot be practiced by a mental speculator. Devotional service is a special attainment which can be acquired only by a person who has surrendered unto a pure devotee. As confirmed by Prahlāda Mahārāja, mahīyasāṁ pāda-rajo-'bhiṣekaṁ niṣkiñcanānāṁ na vṛṇīta yāvat: "Unless one accepts the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee, who is free from all material contamination, one cannot enter into the devotional service of the Lord." (SB 7.5.32)
The word pāṇḍya comes from the word paṇḍā, meaning "knowledge." Unless one is highly learned, he cannot conquer nondevotional conceptions. The word para means "transcendental," and pura means "city." The para-pura is Vaikuṇṭha, the kingdom of God, and the word jaya refers to one who can conquer. This means that a pure devotee, who is strong in devotional service and who has conquered all nondevotional conceptions, can also conquer the kingdom of God. In other words, one can conquer the kingdom of God, Vaikuṇṭha, only by rendering devotional service.
Although the Supersoul is in everyone's heart (īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61)), He talks only to the pure devotees who constantly engage in His service. In Caitanya-bhāgavata (CC Antya 3.45) it is said:
- tāhāre se bali vidyā, mantra, adhyayana
- kṛṣṇa-pāda-padme ye karaye sthira mana
"One who has fixed his mind on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa is to be understood as having the best education and as having studied all the Vedas."
"One who always engages in the spiritual activities of unalloyed devotional service at once transcends the modes of material nature and is elevated to the spiritual platform." The devotee is therefore above the three modes of material nature and is even transcendental to the brāhmaṇa platform. A brāhmaṇa may be infected by the two baser modes—namely rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa. A pure devotee, who is free from all material desires experienced on the mental platform and who is also free from empiric philosophical speculation or fruitive activity, is always above material conditioning and is always liberated.
"A pure devotee of Nārāyaṇa is never afraid of going anywhere and everywhere. For him heaven and hell are one and the same." (SB 6.17.28) Such devotees, wandering all over the world, deliver those who are actually afraid of this material existence. Some people are already disgusted with material existence, being confused and frustrated by material enjoyment, and some people, who are intelligent, are interested in understanding the Supreme Lord. Both may take advantage of the pure devotee who wanders throughout the world.
SB Canto 5
These sufferings and pains are sometimes mixed. Sometimes they are very severe, and sometimes they are not. These bodily conditions are acquired due to the conditioned soul's mental speculation. He uses his mind and five senses to acquire knowledge, and these bring about the different bodies and different conditions. Using the senses under the control of the external energy, māyā, the living entity suffers the miserable conditions of material existence. He is actually searching for relief, but he is generally baffled, although sometimes he is relieved after great difficulty. Struggling for existence in this way, he cannot get the shelter of pure devotees, who are like bumblebees engaged in loving service at the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu.
In Bhārata-varṣa one has the opportunity to visit many holy places, especially Lord Caitanya's birthsite and Lord Kṛṣṇa's birthsite-Navadvīpa and Vṛndāvana—where there are many pure devotees who have no desire other than to execute devotional service (anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam (CC Madhya 19.167)), and one may thus become free from the bondage of material conditions. Other paths, such as the path of jñāna and the path of karma, are not very profitable.
SB Canto 6
Saṁsṛti refers to continuing on the path of birth and death. Asaṁsṛti, on the contrary, refers to nivṛtti-mārga, or the path of liberation, by which one's birth and death cease and one gradually progresses to Brahmaloka, unless one is a pure devotee who does not care about going to the higher planetary systems, in which case one immediately returns home, back to Godhead, by executing devotional service (tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti (BG 4.9)). Parīkṣit Mahārāja, therefore, was very eager to hear from Śukadeva Gosvāmī about the path of liberation for the conditioned soul.
The path followed by pure devotees, who are well behaved and fully endowed with the best qualifications, is certainly the most auspicious path in this material world. It is free from fear, and it is authorized by the śāstras.
A pure devotee who is fully accomplished in the science of devotional service will never instruct a foolish person to engage in fruitive activities for material enjoyment, not to speak of helping him in such activities. Such a devotee is like an experienced physician, who never encourages a patient to eat food injurious to his health, even if the patient desires it.
SB Canto 7
"In one who has unflinching devotional faith in Kṛṣṇa, all the good qualities of Kṛṣṇa and the demigods are consistently manifest." (SB 5.18.12) Prahlāda Mahārāja is praised herein for having all good qualities because of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, a pure devotee, who has no motives, has all good qualities, material and spiritual. If one is spiritually advanced, being a staunch, liberal devotee of the Lord, all good qualities are manifest in his body. On the other hand, harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇāḥ: if one is not a devotee, even if he has some materially good qualities, they have no value. That is the verdict of the Vedas.
The Lord has innumerable forms and names, and devotees may meditate upon a particular form and chant the holy name according to his attraction. The best course is to hear of the holy name, form and so on from a pure devotee of the same standard as oneself. In other words, one who is attached to Kṛṣṇa should chant and hear from other pure devotees who are also attached to Lord Kṛṣṇa. The same principle applies for devotees attracted by Lord Rāma, Lord Nṛsiṁha and other forms of the Lord. Because Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate form of the Lord (kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam (SB 1.3.28)), it is best to hear about Lord Kṛṣṇa's name, form and pastimes from a realized devotee who is particularly attracted by the form of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
By devotional service, pure devotees who incessantly think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead receive bodies similar to His. This is known as sārūpya-mukti. Although Śiśupāla, Dantavakra and other kings thought of Kṛṣṇa as an enemy, they also achieved the same result.
Pauṇḍraka, Narakāsura, Sālva and Kaṁsa were all inimical toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but because all these kings constantly thought of Him, they achieved the same liberation—sārūpya-mukti. The jñāna-bhakta, the devotee who follows the path of jñāna, also attains the same destination. If even the enemies of the Lord achieve salvation by constantly thinking about the Lord, what is to be said of pure devotees who always engage in the Lord's service and who think of nothing but the Lord in every activity?
Any pure devotee who is constantly conscious of Kṛṣṇa is naturally very fortunate. The word nṛ-loke, meaning "within the material world," indicates that before the Pāṇḍavas there had been many, many devotees, such as the descendants of the Yadu dynasty and Vasiṣṭha, Marīci, Kaśyapa, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, who were all extremely fortunate. The Pāṇḍavas, however, were better than all of them because Kṛṣṇa Himself lived with them constantly. Nārada Muni therefore specifically mentioned that within this material world (nṛ-loke) the Pāṇḍavas were the most fortunate.
"Even though a person is a very learned scholar of the Sanskrit Vedic literatures, he is not accepted as My devotee unless he is pure in devotional service. However, even though a person is born in a family of dog-eaters, he is very dear to Me if he is a pure devotee who has no motive to enjoy fruitive activity or mental speculation. Indeed, all respect should be given to him, and whatever he offers should be accepted. Such devotees are as worshipable as I am." (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 10.127) Therefore, even if not born in a brāhmaṇa family, a devotee, because of his devotion to the Lord, is above all kinds of brāhmaṇas, whether they be karma-kāṇḍīs or jñāna-kāṇḍīs.
SB Canto 8
The fact is, however, that by the grace of Kṛṣṇa's omnipotence, the so-called stone statue of the Deity is directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the body of the spiritual master is directly spiritual. A pure devotee who is engaged in unalloyed devotional service should be understood to be situated on the transcendental platform (sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate (BG 14.26)). Let us therefore offer our obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by whose mercy so-called material things also become spiritual when they are engaged in spiritual activity.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is realized by pure devotees who act in the transcendental existence of bhakti-yoga. He is the bestower of uncontaminated happiness and is the master of the transcendental world. Therefore I offer my respect unto Him.
The spiritual activities of bhakti-mārga-śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam (SB 7.5.23)—lead one to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, as stated here, sattvena pratilabhyāya naiṣkarmyeṇa vipaścitā: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead is realized by pure devotees who act in the transcendental existence of bhakti-yoga."
SB Canto 9
A pure devotee who has been trained in the practice of chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord and His fame, qualities, form, paraphernalia and so on is never interested in elevation to the heavenly planets, even though such places are extremely dear even to the demigods.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is self-sufficient, but to enjoy His transcendental bliss He requires the cooperation of His devotees. In Vṛndāvana, for example, although Lord Kṛṣṇa is full in Himself, He wants the cooperation of His devotees like the cowherd boys and the gopīs to increase His transcendental bliss. Such pure devotees, who can increase the pleasure potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are certainly most dear to Him. Not only does the Supreme Personality of Godhead enjoy the company of His devotees, but because He is unlimited He wants to increase His devotees unlimitedly.
As chaste women bring their gentle husbands under control by service, the pure devotees, who are equal to everyone and completely attached to Me in the core of the heart, bring Me under their full control.
He said, svāmin kṛtārtho 'smi varaṁ na yāce: (CC Madhya 22.42) "My dear Lord, I am fully satisfied with whatever You have given me or not given me. I have nothing to ask from You, for I am fully satisfied to be engaged in Your service." This is the mentality of a pure devotee, who does not want anything, material or spiritual, from the Personality of Godhead. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore called kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta-saṅgha, the association of persons who are simply satisfied in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa. Being absorbed in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa is neither expensive nor troublesome.
SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13
What is painful for saintly persons who strictly adhere to the truth? How could there not be independence for pure devotees who know the Supreme Lord as the substance? What deeds are forbidden for persons of the lowest character? And what cannot be given up for the sake of Lord Kṛṣṇa by those who have fully surrendered at His lotus feet?
The pure devotees, who are always absorbed in the thought of the transcendental lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa and who are always engaged in devotional service in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, are never to be considered to be in the material world. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has explained that those who are always engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness by body, mind and activities are to be considered liberated even within this body. This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā: those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Lord have already transcended the material position.
Strictly avoiding such inauspicious association, we should simply hear from pure devotees. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī therefore recommends, śrī-guru-padāśrayaḥ: one must seek shelter at the lotus feet of a pure devotee who can be one's guru. Caitanya Mahāprabhu advises that a guru is one who strictly follows the instructions of Bhagavad-gītā: yare dekha, tare kaha, 'kṛṣṇa'-upadeśa (CC Madhya 7.128). A juggler, a magician or one who speaks nonsense as an academic career is not a guru. Rather, a guru is one who presents Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa's instructions, as it is. Śravaṇa is very important; one must hear from the Vaiṣṇava sādhu, guru and śāstra.
In other words, because Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are guṇa-avatāras and have exalted positions, they have some small sense of being like Kṛṣṇa. But the pure devotees who inhabit Vṛndāvana do not possess any bodily conception. They are fully dedicated to the service of the Lord in sublime affection, premā. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has therefore recommended, premā pum-artho mahān: the highest perfection of life is premā, pure love in relationship with Kṛṣṇa. And mother Yaśodā appears to be the topmost of devotees who have attained this perfection.
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
My dear King, seeing those pure devotees of the Lord, who rival the sun in brilliance, everyone present—the performer of the sacrifice, the brāhmaṇas and even the sacrificial fires—stood in respect.
For the conditioned souls, the human body is most difficult to achieve, and it can be lost at any moment. But I think that even those who have achieved human life rarely gain the association of pure devotees, who are dear to the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha.
With the dust of My devotees' lotus feet I desire to purify the material worlds, which are situated within Me. Thus, I always follow the footsteps of My pure devotees, who are free from all personal desire, rapt in thought of My pastimes, peaceful, without any feelings of enmity, and of equal disposition everywhere.
Lord Caitanya's movement of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is full of dancing and singing about the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa. It is compared herein to the pure waters of the Ganges, which are full of lotus flowers. The enjoyers of these lotus flowers are the pure devotees, who are like bees and swans. They chant like the flowing of the Ganges, the river of the celestial kingdom.
Unless a devotee actually develops transcendental love for the Lord, it is not possible for him to think always of the Lord within his heart. Such constant thought of the Lord is the sublime perfection of the yogic process, as the Bhagavad-gītā confirms in the Sixth Chapter (47), stating that anyone absorbed in such thought is the best of all yogīs. Such transcendental absorption is known as samādhi. A pure devotee who is always thinking of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the person qualified to see the Lord.
As stated by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the highest perfection in life is to develop one's love for Kṛṣṇa (premā pum-artho mahān śrī-caitanya-mahāprabhor matam idam). When we compare love of Godhead with religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation, we can understand that these achievements may be desirable objectives for bubhukṣus, or those who desire to enjoy this material world, and mumukṣus, or those who desire liberation from it, but they are very insignificant in the eyes of a pure devotee who has developed bhāva, the preliminary stage of love of Godhead.
According to Prahlāda Mahārāja, another authority on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, such a staunch and faithful devotee of the Lord must be understood to be a most learned scholar: tan manye ’dhītam uttamam (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.5.24). A pure devotee who has firm faith in the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is to be considered a most learned scholar, the topmost aristocrat and the richest man in the whole world. All godly qualities automatically exist in such a devotee. In the preaching work of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we, as the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, fully believe in the words of Kṛṣṇa and His servants, the disciplic succession (CC Madhya 13.80). In this way we are presenting the words of Kṛṣṇa throughout the world.
For a pure devotee who has realized Kṛṣṇa consciousness through Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the monistic philosophy by which one becomes one with the Supreme appears hellish. The mystic yoga practice, by which the mind is controlled and the senses are subjugated, also appears ludicrous to a pure devotee. The devotee's mind and senses are already engaged in the transcendental service of the Lord. In this way the poisonous effects of sensory activities are removed.
The word dāna, meaning "charity," is also significant in this verse. Whoever engages in the distribution of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is a charitable person. Professional men recite Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and discuss kṛṣṇa-bhakti for an exchange of money. They cannot distribute such exalted transcendental property to everyone and anyone. Only pure devotees, who have no motive other than serving Kṛṣṇa, can give such transcendentally valuable benedictions out of charity.
“(Lord Kṛṣṇa said:) ‘Even though a person is a very learned scholar of the Sanskrit Vedic literatures, he is not accepted as My devotee unless he is pure in devotional service. Even though a person is born in a family of dog-eaters, he is very dear to Me if he is a pure devotee who has no motive to enjoy fruitive activities or mental speculation. Indeed, all respects should be given to him, and whatever he offers should be accepted. Such devotees are as worshipable as I am.”’
“"In the spiritual world, there is neither the mode of passion, the mode of ignorance nor a mixture of both, nor is there adulterated goodness, the influence of time or māyā herself. Only the pure devotees of the Lord, who are worshiped both by demigods and by demons, reside in the spiritual world as the Lord"s associates.’
The space occupied by Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma is called mahākāśa, or "the greatest sky of all." Lord Indra said, “We asked Lord Brahmā about Your eternal planet, but we could not understand it. Those fruitive actors who have controlled their senses and mind with pious activities can be elevated to the heavenly planets. Pure devotees who are always engaged in Lord Nārāyaṇa's service are promoted to the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. However, my Lord Kṛṣṇa, Your Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma is very difficult to attain. Yet both You and that supreme planetary system have descended here upon this earth. Unfortunately, I have disturbed You by my misdeeds, and that was due to my foolishness. I am therefore trying to satisfy You by my prayers.”
A pure devotee is above a brāhmaṇa; therefore it is not incompatible to offer the sacred thread to devotees in Europe, America, Australia, Japan, Canada, and so on. Sometimes these pure devotees, who have been accepted by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, are not allowed to enter certain temples in India. Also, some high-caste brāhmaṇas and gosvāmīs refuse to take prasādam in the temples of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Actually this is against the instruction of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
In other words, such a devotee is free from all material bondage, but he engages in Kṛṣṇa conscious activities. Such expert devotional service is performed without hypocrisy. Humility, renunciation and learned scholarship were combined in Sanātana Gosvāmī, the ideal pure devotee, who was on the same level of understanding as Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya. Like Rāmānanda Rāya, Sanātana Gosvāmī was a fully cognizant expert in the conclusions of devotional service and was therefore able to describe such transcendental knowledge.
In this way, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the son of mother Śacī, performs His pastimes, which greatly satisfy the ears and minds of pure devotees who hear about them.
According to the direction of the Padma Purāṇa, arcye viṣṇau śilā-dhīḥ . . . yasya vā nārakī saḥ: "Anyone who considers the Deity in the temple to be made of stone or wood is a resident of hell." Thus one who thinks that the body of Lord Jagannātha is made of matter and who distinguishes between Lord Jagannātha's body and His soul is condemned, for he is an offender. A pure devotee who knows the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness makes no distinction between Lord Jagannātha and His body. He knows that they are identical, just as Lord Kṛṣṇa and His soul are one and the same.
“Gopīnātha Paṭṭanāyaka is a pure devotee who worships You only for Your satisfaction. He does not care about his personal happiness or distress, for that is the business of a materialist.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
Since all the inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi, Vṛndāvana, are very dear to Kṛṣṇa, a devotee selects one of the inhabitants and follows in his footsteps in order to be successful in his own devotional service. A pure devotee who is attached to the Lord always follows in the footsteps of a personality of Vrajabhūmi. It is advised in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.294) that a pure devotee attached to devotional service should always remember the activities of a particular inhabitant of Vraja, even though he is not able to live in Vrajabhūmi or Vṛndāvana. In this way he can always think of Vrajabhūmi and Vṛndāvana.
All these descriptions of the bhāva stage of devotional service were quoted by Lord Caitanya to Sanātana Gosvāmī. Lord Caitanya next proceeded to describe the symptoms of actual love for Kṛṣṇa. He informed Sanātana Gosvāmī that no one can understand the person who has developed love of Kṛṣṇa. No one can understand his words, his activities or his symptoms. Even if one is very learned, it is very difficult for him to understand a pure devotee who is in love with the Lord. This is also confirmed in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu.
Thus both internal devotees and confidential devotees are attracted by the conjugal love of the Supreme Absolute Truth. These are the most confidential devotees of Lord Caitanya. Other pure devotees, who are more or less attached to Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu, are attracted by other transcendental relationships, such as parental affection, friendship and servitorship. When such devotees are attached to the activities of Lord Caitanya, they at once become confidential devotees in conjugal love with the Supreme Lord.
As described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (9.5.16), Durvāsā Muni, a great mystic yogī who considered himself very elevated, envied Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, who was known as the greatest devotee of the time. In an attempt to harass Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, Durvāsā Muni met with a great catastrophe and was defeated by the sudarśana-cakra of the Lord. Durvāsā Muni admitted his fault and said, "For pure devotees who are always engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, nothing is considered impossible, for they are engaged in the service of the Supreme Lord, whose very name is sufficient for liberation."
Nor can so-called devotees who manufacture songs about Lord Caitanya, nor those who are professional priests or paid reciters, be accepted. One who does not follow the principles of pañcarātra, or one who is an impersonalist or addicted to sex life, cannot be compared with those who have dedicated their lives to the service of Kṛṣṇa. A pure devotee who is always engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can sacrifice everything for the service of the Lord. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Lord Caitanya, Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master, or a person who is following the principles of householder life, as well as one following the principles of the renounced life in the order of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, is a devotee and cannot be compared to professional men.
Nectar of Devotion
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is also confirmed by Prahlāda Mahārāja that merely by personal efforts or by the instructions of higher authorities one cannot attain to the stage of devotional service. One must become blessed by the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee, who is completely freed from the contamination of material desires.
That is the only solace. If the devotee passes his days in that spirit, it is certain that he is going to be promoted to the abode of the Lord. By such activities, he earns his claim to enter into the kingdom of God. The exact word used in this verse is dāya-bhāk. Dāya-bhāk refers to a son's becoming the lawful inheritor of the property of the father. In a similar way, a pure devotee who is prepared to undergo all kinds of tribulations in executing Kṛṣṇa conscious duties becomes lawfully qualified to enter into the transcendental abode.
These are practical examples of how one can develop to the stage of ecstatic love simply by the association of pure devotees. It is essential, therefore, that one constantly associate with pure devotees who are engaged morning and evening in chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. In this way one will get the chance to purify his heart and develop this ecstatic pure love for Kṛṣṇa.
Nectar of Instruction
One should mentally honor the devotee who chants the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa, one should offer humble obeisances to the devotee who has undergone spiritual initiation (dīkṣā) and is engaged in worshiping the Deity, and one should associate with and faithfully serve that pure devotee who is advanced in undeviated devotional service and whose heart is completely devoid of the propensity to criticize others.
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
The pure devotees, who are always absorbed in the thought of the transcendental lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa and who are always engaged in devotional service in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, are never to be considered to be in the material world. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has explained that those who are always engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness with body, mind and activities are to be considered liberated even within this body. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā: those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Lord have already transcended the material position.
On the Vaikuṇṭha planets all the inhabitants have the same bodily features as Nārāyaṇa. After his death, Kaṁsa attained liberation and was promoted to Vaikuṇṭhaloka. From this instance we can understand that even a person who thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as an enemy gets liberation or a place in a Vaikuṇṭha planet, so what to speak of the pure devotees, who are always absorbed in favorable thoughts of Kṛṣṇa? Even an enemy killed by Kṛṣṇa gets liberation and is placed in the impersonal brahmajyoti. Since the Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-good, anyone thinking of Him, either as an enemy or as a friend, gets liberation. But the liberation of the devotee and the liberation of the enemy are not the same. The enemy generally gets the liberation of sāyujya, and sometimes he gets sārūpya liberation.
“My dear Lord, I therefore pray that I may simply be engaged in rendering transcendental loving service unto Your lotus feet. This is the ambition of pure devotees, who are freed from all material contamination. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and You can offer me anything I want, including liberation. But who is such a fool that after pleasing You he would ask from You something which might cause entanglement in this material world? I do not think any sane man would ask such a benediction from You.
The sparks fall into different conditions and retain more or less of their original brilliance. Some sparks fall onto dry grass and thus ignite another big fire. This is a reference to the pure devotees who take compassion on the poor and innocent living entities. The pure devotee ignites Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the hearts of the conditioned souls, and thus the blazing fire of the spiritual world becomes manifest even within this material world. Some sparks fall onto water; they immediately lose their original brilliance and become extinct.
Renunciation Through Wisdom
The mental speculators and logicians, as well as the Māyāvādīs—who are neophytes depending on the empirical, inductive process—should properly understand the position of the pure devotees of the Lord, who have realized the Absolute truth.
Mukunda-mala-stotra (mantras 1 to 6 only)
As soon as a person agrees to surrender unto the Lord, the Lord takes complete charge of him. Satisfied with the activities of such a devotee, He gives him instruction from within, and thus the devotee becomes pure and advances on the path back to Godhead. The Lord is expert at guiding such a pure devotee, who is not at all anxious for material superiority. A pure devotee does not wish to possess material wealth, nor does he want to have a great following, nor does he desire a beautiful wife, for by the mercy of the Lord he knows the insignificance of material happiness.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
Therefore, a pure devotee, who does not say anything beyond which was spoken by Kṛṣṇa, therefore his statement is also without mistake. Common man within this material world, he commits mistake: "To err is human." Even big, big personalities, they commit mistake. But nārāyaṇa paraḥ. He is transcendental. Kṛṣṇa is transcendental. There cannot be any mistake; there cannot be any illusion. Those who are in this material world, they have got four defects: they commit mistake, they are illusioned, and their senses are imperfect, bhrama, pramāda, vipralipsā, and they're cheaters.
In the Vedas, the above-mentioned four activities are prescribed in the regulative way so that there will not be any undue competition for sense gratification. But Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is transcendental to all these sense gratificatory activities. It is purely transcendental literature which can be understood only by the pure devotees of the Lord who are transcendental to competitive sense gratification. In the material world there is keen competition between animal and animal, man and man, community and community, nation and nation. But the devotees of the Lord rise above such competition.
Both the Bhāgavatas are competent remedies, and both of them or either of them can be good enough to eliminate the obstacles. A devotee Bhāgavata is as good as the book Bhāgavata because the devotee Bhāgavata leads his life in terms of the book Bhāgavata and the book Bhāgavata is full of information about the Personality of Godhead and His pure devotees, who are also Bhāgavatas. Bhāgavata book and person are identical. The devotee Bhāgavata is a direct representative of Bhagavān, the Personality of Godhead, so by pleasing the devotee Bhāgavata one can receive the benefit of the book Bhāgavata.
Pāṇḍu-putrāṇām, the pāṇḍu-putras, or the Pāṇḍavas, son of Pāṇḍu, they're all devotees. Even their political affairs, because there is connection with Kṛṣṇa, it is kṛṣṇa-kathā. Those who are with poor fund of knowledge (break)
...directly taking shelter of Kṛṣṇa or to take shelter of a pure devotee who is under the shelter of Kṛṣṇa. Mad-āśrayaḥ. So if one takes shelter of a pure devotee... Just like electricity: the powerhouse is far away, but the power is coming. Suppose your body is electrified, and if I touch, then my body immediately becomes electrified. And if somebody touches me, then other's body. This is electric. Similarly, one who is pure devotee, he's authorized by Kṛṣṇa, he's electrified.
In the impure state of a living being, the various senses are fully engaged in mundane affairs. If the ear is not engaged in the service of the Lord by hearing about Him from Bhagavad-gītā or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, certainly the holes of the ear will be filled with some rubbish. Therefore the messages of Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam should be preached all over the world very loudly. That is the duty of a pure devotee who has actually heard about them from the perfect sources.
There is a common saying that one should first love the dog of the beloved before one shows any loving sentiments for the beloved. The stage of pure devotion is attained by sincerely serving a pure devotee of the Lord. The first condition of devotional service to the Lord is therefore to be a servant of a pure devotee, and this condition is fulfilled by the statement "reception of the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee who has also served another pure devotee." That is the way of pure disciplic succession, or devotional paramparā.
"The path followed by pure devotees, who are well behaved and fully endowed with the best qualifications, is certainly the most auspicious path in this material world. It is free from fear, and it is authorized by the śāstras."
So this is the summarization of our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, that the path followed by pure devotees. Pure devotees means who has no material desire. That is pure devotee. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam (Brs. 1.1.11). Śūnya means zero, one who has made all material desires zero. That is the way. In the Buddha philosophy it is called nirvāṇa.
Kāma, krodha. Krodha bhakta-dveṣi-jane. One should be very much angry upon a person who is envious of the devotees. Yes. A pure devotee, satāṁ nindā, a pure devotee who is trying to spread the holy name of God, if somebody becomes envious upon him, that person is a great offender. So another devotee should be very much angry upon such person. Krodha bhakta-dveṣi-jane. Bhakta-dveṣi means one who is envious of a pure devotee. And who is a pure devotee? Who is trying to spread the holy name of the Lord all over the world. Satāṁ nindā. This is offense. So a devotee can utilize all these elements—lustiness, anger, kāma, krodha, greediness, and moha.
The purification of chanting harer nāma (CC Adi 17.21) means as soon as you chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa immediately you will see the form of Kṛṣṇa, you will realize the qualities of Kṛṣṇa, you will immediately remember the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. That is pure chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. That is the commented by Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, that a pure devotee who chants Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, immediately all these—nāma, rūpa, guṇa, līlā, parikara, vasiṣṭha... Simply by chanting name you will feel the form of Kṛṣṇa: "Here is Kṛṣṇa." Nāma, rūpa, guṇa. "Here are the qualities. Oh, Kṛṣṇa is so qualified. He is so kind. He is so magnanimous."
Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has said, kīṭa janma hau, jathā tuā dāsa, bahir-mukha brahma-janme, nāhi mora āśa. Is not that? So a pure devotee does not try to become a Brahmā also, what to speak of other demigods, because anyone within this material world, he has got some material desire, anyone. Therefore he is not liberated. He is conditioned. Only the pure devotee who is trying to satisfy Kṛṣṇa by all his activities, he is liberated. What do you think, Rāmānanda? Eh? Is it clear or not? That's nice. Thank you.
Nectar of Devotion Lectures
He wants mukti, liberation, nirbheda-brahmānu-sandhana. And similarly, yogis also, they want personal benefit, some material power, aṣṭa-siddhi-yoga, aṇimā-laghimā-siddhi. Bhukti-mukti-siddhi-kāmī sakali aśānta. Caitanya-caritāmṛta Kaja says except pure devotee, who only wants to satisfy Kṛṣṇa, everyone is working for his personal benefit, karmī, jñānī, yogi. But Kṛṣṇa says, "Pure devotional service..." Not... Rūpa Gosvāmī says, "Pure devotional service is the only means to attract Kṛṣṇa." Now... But ignorance is no excuse. Go on reading. Next. "Generally, one commits sinful activities..."
Hmm. Dharmārtha-kāma, kāma-mokṣaḥ samaya-pratīkṣāḥ muktiḥ mukulitañjali sevate asmān. For a devotee, mukti is not a thing aspirable, because, as it is stated by Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, mukti is trying to serve the devotee with folded hands. Because a devotee is already liberated. Sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate (BG 14.26). A pure devotee, who is constantly engaged in devotional service, māyā cannot touch him. He's already liberated. So what he has got to ask from the liberty? He hasn't got to ask. Anywhere a devotee lives, he's liberated.
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures
If liberation is offered to a devotee, he does not want it. He'll refuse to accept it. He is satisfied only in the service of the Lord. That is the standard of satisfac... Or in other words, to a devotee, liberation is not very valuable thing. Just like our one devotee, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī... No, Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī. He says, kaivalyaṁ narakāyate tridaśa-pūr ākāśa-puṣpāyate. Like that. So devotee's position is very sublime. Devotee's position is the most exalted, transcendental position of a pure devotee who does not want anything except Kṛṣṇa.
God is always there. It is not that Caitanya is not present here. He's always present, and, whenever there is saṅkīrtana, there is this kīrtana by the devotees, sincere devotees, it is said that Lord Caitanya is there, present. Tatra tiṣṭhāmi nārada yatra gāyanti mad-bhaktāḥ. Śuddha-bhakta, those who are pure devotees. Pure devotees means without any material desire. Those who are pure devotees, those who are determined to go back to Godhead, to Kṛṣṇa, they are called pure devotees. They have lost all interest for any material enjoyment. They are now determined. They are called pure devotees. So this saṅkīrtana movement creates pure devotees, who gradually loses all interest in the material enjoyment.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1976 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: That is the special verse. It is not very easy thing. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate (BG 7.19). Don't take things very easily. Things are very serious. Therefore we have to go step by step. That is, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura said, tāṅdera saṅge. Aim should be how to serve Rūpa-Raghunātha. And bhakta-sane bās, to stay with pure devotee who has no other intention. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam (Brs. 1.1.11). This is the process. So do it carefully. That's all.
Krishna is so kind and liberal that everyone's service, when it is sincerely offered to Krishna, He accepts. This is the statement in the Bhagavad-gita. That He accepts a little bit of flower, fruit, and water, offered to Him in devotion and love. He wants our love and devotion, otherwise, he is the Proprietor of everything, what can we give Him? This position of our subordination should always be maintained and we should always give respect to our pure devotees who are engaged, in devotional service, that will make us able to make a progressive march in the devotional line.
Once surrendered to Krishna, karmic reaction is immediately gone, but if he acts again independently, then he is again in the clutches of maya. That marginal state is always there but for a pure devotee who has actually surrendered to Krishna, he has no karmic reaction. The same example of the fan switched off; it is still running some rounds, but that will be stopped very soon. That is his position. Therefore a pure devotee who is having some adverse reaction, he doesn't take ill of it. He knows that the karmic reaction is already stopped but what is happening is the residual turning of the fan, even after the switch is off.