In the Aparādha-bhañjana a pure devotee expresses his feelings: "My dear Lord, I am ashamed to admit before You that I have carried out the orders of my masters named lust, anger, avarice, illusion and envy. Sometimes I have carried out their orders in a way most abominable. Yet in spite of my serving them so faithfully, they are neither satisfied nor are they kind enough to give me relief from their service. They are not even ashamed of taking service from me in that way. My dear Lord, O head of the Yadu dynasty, now I have come to my senses, and I am taking shelter of Your lotus feet. Please engage me in Your service." This is another instance of surrendering and taking shelter of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.
There are many instances in the various Vedic writings of persons who were aspiring after liberation by speculative knowledge but gave up this process in order to take complete shelter under the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Examples of such persons are the brāhmaṇas headed by Śaunaka in the forest of Naimiṣāraṇya.* Learned scholars accept them as devotees having complete wisdom. There is a statement in the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya in which these great brāhmaṇas and sages, headed by Śaunaka Ṛṣi, told Sūta Gosvāmī: "My dear great soul, just see how wonderful it is! Although as human beings we are contaminated with so many taints of material existence, simply by our conversing with you about the Supreme Personality of Godhead we are now gradually decrying our desire for liberation."
- These are the brāhmaṇas to whom Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was spoken by Sūta Gosvāmī, as described in the author's Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Volume I, Chapter l.
In Padyāvalī a devotee says, "Persons who are attached to speculative knowledge for self realization, who have decided that the supreme truth is beyond meditation and who have thus become situated in the modes of goodness—let them peacefully execute their engagement. As for us, we are simply attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is by nature so pleasing, who possesses a complexion like a blackish cloud, who is dressed in yellow garments and who has beautiful lotus-like eyes. We wish only to meditate upon Him."
Those who are from the very beginning of their self realization attached to devotional service are called sevāniṣṭha. Sevāniṣṭha means simply attached to devotional service. The best examples of such devotees are Lord Śiva, King Indra, King Bahulāśva, King Ikṣvāku, Śrutadeva and Puṇḍarīka. One devotee says: "My dear Lord, Your transcendental qualities attract even the liberated souls and carry them to the assembly of devotees where Your glories are constantly chanted. Even great sages who are accustomed to live in solitary places are also attracted by the songs of Your glory. And, observing all Your transcendental qualities, I have also become attracted and have decided to dedicate my life to Your loving service."
In the city of Dvārakā the following devotees are known as Kṛṣṇa's close associates: Uddhava, Dāruka, Sātyaki, Śrutadeva, Śatrājit, Nanda, Upananda and Bhadra. All of these personalities remain with the Lord as His secretaries, but still they are sometimes engaged in His personal service. Among the Kuru dynasty, Bhīṣma, Mahārāj Parīkṣit and Vidura are also known as close associates of Lord Kṛṣṇa. It is said, "All the associates of Lord Kṛṣṇa have lustrous bodily features, and their eyes are just like lotus flowers. They have sufficient power to defeat the strength of the demigods, and the specific feature of their persons is that they are always decorated with valuable ornaments."
When Kṛṣṇa was in the capital of Indraprastha, someone addressed Him thus: "My dear Lord, Your personal associates, headed by Uddhava, are always awaiting Your order by standing at the entrance gate of Dvārakā. They are mostly looking on with tears in their eyes, and in the enthusiasm of their service they are not afraid even of the devastating fire generated by Lord Śiva. They are souls simply surrendered unto Your lotus feet."
Out of the many close associates of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Uddhava is considered the best. The following is a description of him: "His body is blackish like the color of the Yamunā River, and it is similarly as cool. He is always decorated with flower garlands first used by Lord Kṛṣṇa, and he is dressed with yellow silk clothing. His two arms are just like the bolts of a door, His eyes are just like lotus flowers, and he is the most important devotee amongst all the associates. Let us therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto Uddhava's lotus feet.