|Chapter 2: Defining Bhakti|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Nārada Bhakti Sūtra 33
asmāt saiva grāhyā mumukṣubhiḥ
asmāt — therefore; sā — it; eva — only; grāhyā — should be accepted; mumukṣubhiḥ — by persons desiring liberation.
Therefore seekers of liberation should take to devotional service alone.
As stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.2.32), those who pursue liberation but do not take shelter of the Supreme Lord in devotional service may think that they have attained the highest position and been liberated, but eventually they fall down to materialistic activities. Because the impersonalist meditator fails to develop his loving relationship with the Supreme Person, he must return from his sojourn in Brahman and come back into the material world to fulfill his personal desires. Therefore eternal liberation, freedom from repeated birth and death, is achieved only in the spiritual world, when one is fixed in one's eternal relationship of loving devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In previous sūtras Nārada mentioned that pure devotional service is not performed for any reward, including release from birth and death. Lord Caitanya also expressed this idea in His Śikṣāṣṭaka (4):
na dhanaḿ na janaḿ na sundarīḿ
kavitāḿ vā jagad-īśa kāmaye
mama janmani janmanīśvare
bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi
"O almighty Lord, I have no desire for accumulating wealth, nor do I have any desire to enjoy beautiful women, nor do I want many followers. All I want is Your causeless devotional service in my life, birth after birth." By saying "birth after birth," Lord Caitanya implies that He does not seek liberation, either. All He desires is continuous service and remembrance of the Lord, in any sphere of life.
And yet although a pure devotee never aspires for mukti, he automatically achieves it. By Kṛṣṇa's desire, he is promoted to Kṛṣṇaloka or to a Vaikuṇṭha planet, depending on his rasa with the Lord. Or, like Nārada, he may remain in the material world to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Śrīla Prabhupāda used to say that liberation doesn't mean one has to develop four arms and four heads. If one is purely Kṛṣṇa conscious one may continue to live in the material world and be fully liberated. As Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.187):
īhā yasya harer dāsye karmaṇā manasā girā
nikhilāsv apy avasthāsu jīvan-muktaḥ sa ucyate
"A person acting in the service of Kṛṣṇa with his body, mind, intelligence, and words is a liberated person even within the material world, although he may engage in many apparently material activities."
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
Gopiparanadhana dasa Adhikari