Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Mukunda-mālā-stotra 24
mā drākṣaḿ kṣīṇa-puṇyān kṣaṇam api bhavato bhakti-hīnān padābje
mā śrauṣaḿ śrāvya-bandhaḿ tava caritam apāsyānyad ākhyāna-jātam
mā smārṣaḿ mādhava tvām api bhuvana-pate cetasāpahnuvānān
mā bhūvaḿ tvat-saparyā-vyatikara-rahito janma-janmāntare 'pi
mā drākṣam — may I not look at; kṣīṇa — depleted; puṇyān — whose credit of piety; kṣaṇam — a moment; api — even; bhavataḥ — Your; bhakti — devotion; hīnān — devoid of; pada-abje — for the lotus feet; mā śrauṣam — may I not hear; śrāvya — worth hearing; bandham — compositions about which; tava — Your; caritam — pastimes; apāsya — putting aside; anyat — other; ākhyāna — of narrations; jātam — topics; mā śmārṣam — may I not remember; mādhava — O Mādhava; tvām — Your; api — indeed; bhuvana — of the world; pate — O master; cetasā — mentally; apahnuvānān — those who avoid; mā bhūvam — may I not become; tvat — Your; saparyā — for the personal service; vyatikara — the opportunity; rahitaḥ — devoid of; janma-janma-antare — in repeated rebirths; api — even.
O Mādhava, please do not let me even glance at those whose pious credits are so depleted that they have no devotion for Your lotus feet. Please do not let me be distracted from listening to the worthy narrations of Your pastimes and become interested in other topics. Please, O Lord of the universe, let me pay no attention to those who avoid thinking of You. And let me never be unable to serve You in some menial way, birth after birth.
Like other Vaiṣṇavas' prayers, King Kulaśekhara's are characterized by single-minded intensity. A critic might say his attitude doesn't embody the "golden mean" praised in Greek wisdom. The critic might ask, "What's wrong with sometimes serving Kṛṣṇa and sometimes enjoying yourself in sense gratification? Why be so fanatical as to avoid even glancing at impious persons? And why focus exclusively on the Deity of Lord Viṣṇu?" These questions are not to be answered by reason alone. The devotee's exclusive intensity is dictated by love. It is unreasonable to ask someone in love to be interested in something other than his beloved.
But kṛṣṇa-bhakti is not an ordinary lover's madness. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Absolute Truth, the source of supreme wisdom, and, as such, in the Bhagavad-gītā He teaches single-minded devotion to Himself:
bhaktyā tv ananyayā śakya aham evaḿ-vidho 'rjuna
jñātuḿ draṣṭuḿ ca tattvena praveṣṭuḿ ca parantapa
"My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding" (Bg. 11.54). Furthermore, unlike ordinary, materialistic "love," one-pointed devotion to Kṛṣṇa does not produce indifference to everyone else besides one's beloved. While in this verse King Kulaśekhara expresses his valid wish to avoid the association of nondevotees, out of compassion a pure devotee will "glance at" and "pay attention to" nondevotees for the sake of preaching. When a devotee actually becomes fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa, he sees the whole world as the Lord's creation and everything as part and parcel of His energies. Through his exclusive devotion to the Lord, the devotee becomes a mahātmā, a high-souled person who works for the benefit of all living beings by reminding them of their connection with Kṛṣṇa.
The stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness King Kulaśekhara desires is not artificial but is the original state of the living being. He is therefore calling out to the Lord to invoke His mercy so that he can return to his original, undistracted, blissful state of samādhi. In the conditioned state, souls are bewildered by innumerable distractions in the name of necessities, sufferings, and enjoyments, and so a devotee prays for the removal of these distractions. The language of devotion may seem extreme to the distracted materialist, but it is actually a prayer for a return to sanity and balance, a return to eternal servitude by the eternal servant of the supreme master.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
Gopiparanadhana dasa Adhikari