Chapter 3: The Means of Achievement

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Nārada Bhakti Sūtra 50

sa tarati sa tarati lokāḿs tārayati


saḥhe; tarati — crosses beyond; saḥhe; tarati — crosses beyond; lokān — the people of this world; tārayatihe makes cross beyond.


Such a person, indeed, is delivered, and he also delivers the rest of the world.


Nārada repeats "He crosses māyā" so that there will be no doubt. The skeptic questions, "Has anyone really crossed over māyā?" Don't doubt, Nārada says: The pure devotee crosses māyā, and he can deliver you, too.

Many disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda attest to the fact that he personally picked them up from māyā. When I first met Śrīla Prabhupāda, I asked him, "Is there a stage in spiritual advancement from which one won't fall back?" Prabhupāda replied, "Yes." And his answer convinced me. The perfect answer in a book would not have been enough for me. Although great souls are not self-assertive, they personally demonstrate that liberated persons do exist, and that they can help us. As the demigods stated in their prayers to Kṛṣṇa as He lay in the womb of Devakī, "When ācāryas completely take shelter under Your lotus feet in order to cross the fierce ocean of nescience, they leave behind on earth the method by which they cross, and because You are very merciful to Your other devotees, You accept this method to help them" (Bhāg. 10.2.31). Śrīla Prabhupāda writes,

If things are made easy, this affords facility for the person who has made them easy and also for others who follow the same principles. The process recommended for crossing the ocean of nescience is easy not only for the devotee but for common persons who follow the devotee (mahā-jano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ). [Bhāg. 10.2.30, purport]

Pure devotees help others in many ways. Sometimes they give lectures, and at other times they meet with both devotees and nondevotees. When persons come forward for more serious instruction, the pure devotee acts as spiritual master and trains disciples to render service to the Personality of Godhead. Sometimes pure devotees become authors. Śrīla Prabhupāda writes, "It is the duty of the ācārya to publish books that will help future candidates take up the method of service and become eligible to return home, back to Godhead, by the mercy of the Lord." Sometimes the liberated souls recruit disciples who then go out and preach, following the example of their spiritual master. Great souls sometimes begin movements or societies in which devotees can live and practice bhakti. And sometimes they construct temples where the public can come to see the Deity form of Lord Kṛṣṇa and taste His prasādam, the remnants of food offered to Him. Thus both by personal example and by precept, and even after their disappearance from the mortal world, the great souls help the conditioned souls who have forgotten their love for Kṛṣṇa. As Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura so eloquently put it:

He reasons ill who says that Vaiṣṇavas die,

When thou art living still in sound!

The Vaiṣṇavas die to live, and living try

To spread the holy name around.

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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