Chapter 4: Pure and Mixed Devotion

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Nārada Bhakti Sūtra 71

modante pitaro nṛtyanti devatāḥ sa-nāthā ceyaḿ bhūr bhavati


modante — become joyful; pitaraḥ — forefathers; nṛtyanti — dance; devatāḥ — demigods; sa-nāthā — having good masters; ca — and; iyam — this; bhūḥ — earth; bhavati — becomes.


Thus the pure devotees' forefathers become joyful, the demigods dance, and the world feels protected by good masters.


A great devotee is so dear to the Supreme Lord that his family members receive the Lord's blessings even though they may not appreciate their devotee relative. When Lord Nṛsiḿhadeva rescued His dearmost bhakta, Prahlāda, from his demonic father, Prahlāda Mahārāja asked that his father be excused and not punished in the next life for his heinous crimes. Lord Nṛsiḿhadeva replied, "My dear Prahlāda, most pure, O great saintly person, your father has been purified, along with twenty-one forefathers in your family. Because you were born in this family, the entire dynasty has been purified. Whenever and wherever there are peaceful, equipoised devotees who are well behaved and decorated with all good qualities, that place and the dynasties there, even if condemned, are purified" (Bhāg. 7.10.18-19).

Lord Caitanya also gave special mercy to His devotees' relatives. Amogha, the son-in-law of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, blasphemed Lord Caitanya and had to suffer cholera. But Lord Caitanya spared him and said, "You are the object of My affection because you are the son-in-law of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. Everyone in Sārvabhauma's house is very dear to Me, including his maids and servants and even his dog. And what to speak of his relatives?" (Cc. Madhya 15.283-4). A pure devotee identifies more with the family of all living entities than with his bodily relatives, and yet whoever is even remotely connected with a pure devotee, even a distant relative, receives benefit. The influence of the devotee is that great.

Next Nārada says nṛtyanti devatāḥ, "The demigods dance when they see a pure devotee appear." The devas are staunch devotees of Lord Viṣṇu, and they hate to see the demons gain control. Sometimes the demons capture the demigods' palaces, as during the rule of Hiraṇyakaśipu. But the pure devotee Prahlāda caused the appearance of Lord Nṛsiḿhadeva, who destroyed Hiraṇyakaśipu. Hiraṇyakaśipu was "like a fever of meningitis in the head of the three worlds." When he was killed by Lord Nṛsiḿhadeva, the demigods prayed, "When this demon was condemned by devotees because they were disgusted with him, then he was killed by You" (Bhāg. 7.8.53). Thus the pure devotee's work is so significant that it affects the whole universe and creates a shift in favor of godliness. The demigods' joy at the appearance of a Vaiṣṇava proves that the devas are also Vaiṣṇavas. They are more pleased with a pure devotee who renders service unto the Supreme Lord than they are with their own worshipers who seek material boons from them.

Finally Nārada states that with the appearance of a pure devotee, the earth gets a savior. Mother Earth is abused in Kali-yuga in many ways. When Kali-yuga began, Mahārāja Parīkṣit found a śūdra beating the earth personified, who appeared in the form of a cow. Nowadays the earth is drilled recklessly for oil, deforested, blown up, polluted by chemicals, stripped of fertile topsoil, and filled up with cheaters and liars who create an intolerable burden.

The earth is not a dead mass to be exploited by the human species; rather, she is a living entity meant to be protected. When the earth is protected, she gives ample space and a peaceful and prosperous residence for all living entities. But when human beings plunder the earth, she seeks protection from a magnanimous devotee. Though a devotee may appear to work as a humble mendicant without much power, higher beings and truly learned souls know that a savior has appeared.

The devotee is especially a savior for human beings, most of whom would surely fall down into lower species in their next lives without the devotee's efforts to reform them. According to time, place, and person, every pure-devotee savior teaches the same message: "Do not rot in this material world; follow the word of God and be saved." The world still worships saviors such as Jesus Christ, Lord Buddha, and Lord Caitanya. Many other pure devotees continue to appear, as the son of God or as śakty-āveśa avatāras, to save the human race. Considering the far-reaching auspicious effects of a pure devotee's presence, which are mostly beyond normal comprehension, we can appreciate better why Śrīla Prabhupāda said, "If only one man becomes a pure devotee of the Lord, we shall consider our attempt a success."

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