|Madhya-līlā||Chapter 9: Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's Travels to the Holy Places|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 9.261
śravaṇa-kīrtana ha-ite kṛṣṇe haya 'premā'
sei pañcama puruṣārtha — puruṣārthera sīmā
śravaṇa-kīrtana — hearing and chanting; ha-ite — from; kṛṣṇe — unto Lord Kṛṣṇa; haya — there is; premā — transcendental love; sei — that; pañcama puruṣa-artha — the fifth platform of perfection of life; puruṣa-arthera sīmā — the limit of goals of life.
"When one comes to the platform of loving service to Lord Kṛṣṇa by executing these nine processes, beginning with hearing and chanting, he has attained the fifth platform of success and the limit of life's goals.
Everyone is after success in religion, economic development, sense gratification and ultimately merging into the existence of Brahman. These are the general practices of the common man, but according to the strict principles of the Vedas, the highest attainment is to rise to the platform of śravaṇaḿ kīrtanam, hearing and chanting about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.2):
dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo 'tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāḿ satāḿ
vedyaḿ vāstavam atra vastu śiva-daḿ tāpa-trayonmūlanam
śrīmad-bhāgavate mahā-muni-kṛte kiḿ vā parair īśvaraḥ
sadyo hṛdy avarudhyate 'tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhis tat-kṣaṇāt
"Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhāgavatam, compiled by the great sage Śrī Vyāsadeva, is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhāgavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart." This verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam rejects as cheating processes all religious activities that aim at achieving materialistic goals, including dharma, artha, kāma and even mokṣa, or liberation.
According to Śrīdhara Svāmī, the material conception of success (mokṣa, or liberation) is desired by those in material existence. Devotees, however, not being situated in material existence, have no desire for liberation.
A devotee is always liberated in all stages of life because he is always engaged in the nine items of devotional service (śravaṇam, kīrtanam, etc.). Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's philosophy holds that devotional service to Kṛṣṇa always exists in everyone's heart. It simply has to be awakened by the process of śravaṇaḿ kīrtanaḿ viṣṇoḥ [SB 7.5.23]. Śravaṇādi śuddha-citte karaye udaya (Cc. Madhya 22.107). When a person is actually engaged in devotional service, his eternal relationship with the Lord, the servant-master relationship, is awakened.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness