The word bhakti can be used in ten different ways. Out of these ten, there is sādhana-bhakti, or occupational devotional service. The other nine are called prema-bhakti, love of Godhead. Those who are situated in the neutral position attain perfection up to love of Godhead. Similarly, those who are situated in the relationship of master and servant attain love of Godhead to the stage of attachment. Those who are related in friendship attain love of God to the point of fraternity. Those who are in love with God as His parents are elevated to the point of transcendental emotion. But only those who are related with the Supreme in conjugal love can experience the highest of ecstasies. Thus there are different meanings for the word bhakti.
The Lord next explained the different meanings of ittham-bhūta-guṇa. Ittham bhūta indicates fully transcendental pleasure before which the transcendental pleasure known as brahmānanda becomes like straw. In the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya (14.36), a devotee says:
- viśuddhābdhisthitasya me
- sukhāni goṣpadāyante
- brāhmāṇy api jagad guro
"My Lord, O Supreme, simply by understanding You or seeing You, the pleasure which we derive is so great that the pleasure of brahmānanda becomes insignificant." In other words, the pleasure derived by understanding Kṛṣṇa as He is—as the all-attractive reservoir of all pleasures and the reservoir of all pleasure—giving tastes with all transcendental qualifications—attracts one to become His devotee. By virtue of such attraction, one can give up fruitive activities and all endeavors for liberation and can even abandon the intense desire to achieve success in yoga mystic power. The attraction of Kṛṣṇa is so intense that one can lose respect for all other means of self-realization and simply surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Lord also explained the word guṇa in all its different meanings. Guṇa indicates the unlimited transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa, primarily His sac-cid-ānanda form. In His transcendental blissful knowledge and eternity, He is fully perfect, and His perfection is increased when He is controlled by the attention of His devotee. God is so kind and merciful that He can give Himself in exchange for the devotional service of the devotee. His transcendental qualities are such that the perfection of His beauty, His perfect reciprocation of love between Himself and His devotees, and the flavor of His transcendental qualities attract different kinds of transcendentalists and liberated souls. For example, He attracted the mind of Sanaka Kumāra simply by the aroma emanating from the flowers offered to Him. The mind of Śukadeva Gosvāmī was attracted by the transcendental pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and the minds of the damsels of Vṛndāvana were attracted by His personal beauty. Rukmiṇī's attention was attracted by His bodily features and transcendental qualities, and the mind of the goddess of fortune was attracted by His flute playing and other transcendental features. Lord Kṛṣṇa attracts the minds of all young girls and elderly ladies by His childlike activities. He also attracts the minds of His friends by His friendly activities. When He appeared in Vṛndāvana, He even attracted the birds, beasts, trees and plants. Indeed, everyone became attracted in love and affection for Kṛṣṇa.
The word hari has different meanings, of which two are foremost. Hari means that He takes away all inauspicious things from the devotee's life and that He attracts the mind of the devotee by awarding him transcendental love of Godhead. Kṛṣṇa is so attractive that anyone who can remember Him in some way or another becomes freed from the four kinds of material miseries. The Lord gives special attention to His devotee and banishes the devotee's various sinful activities, which are stumbling blocks for the advancement of devotional service. This is called routing the influence of ignorance. Simply by hearing about Him, one develops love for Him. That is the gift of the Lord. On one side He takes away inauspicious things, and on the other side He awards the most auspicious things. That is the meaning of hari. When a person is developed in love of Godhead, his body, mind and everything else are attracted by the transcendental qualities of the Lord. Such is the power of Kṛṣṇa's merciful activities and transcendental qualities. He is so attractive that out of transcendental attachment, a devotee will abandon all four principles of spiritual life—religiosity, economic development, regulation of sense gratification and salvation.
The words api and ca are adverbs and can be used for virtually any purpose. The word ca, or "and," can render seven different readings to the whole construction.
The Lord thus established the import of the eleven words in the Ātmārāma verse, and then He began to explain the import of each item as follows. The word brahman indicates the greatest in all respects. The Lord is the greatest in all opulences. No one can excel Him in wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. Thus the word brahman indicates the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (1.12.57) the word brahman is given to indicate the greatest of all; the Supreme Lord is the greatest, and there is no limit to His expanding as the greatest. One may conceive of Brahman's greatness, yet this greatness grows in such a way that no one can estimate how great He actually is.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is realized in three aspects, but they are all one and the same. The Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality, Kṛṣṇa, is everlasting. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.9.33) it is said that He exists before the manifestation of this cosmic world, that He exists during its continuance, and that He continues to exist after its annihilation. Therefore He is the soul of everything great. He is all-pervading and all-witnessing, and He is the supreme form of everything.