Canto 3: The Status QuoChapter 25: The Glories of Devotional Service

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.25.33

jarayaty āśu kośaḿ

nigīrṇam analo yathā

SYNONYMS

jarayati — dissolves; āśu — quickly; — which; kośam — the subtle body; nigīrṇam — things eaten; analaḥ — fire; yathāas.

TRANSLATION

Bhakti, devotional service, dissolves the subtle body of the living entity without separate effort, just as fire in the stomach digests all that we eat.

PURPORT

Bhakti is in a far higher position than mukti because a person's endeavor to get liberation from the material encagement is automatically served in devotional service. The example is given here that the fire in the stomach can digest whatever we eat. If the digestive power is sufficient, then whatever we can eat will be digested by the fire in the stomach. Similarly, a devotee does not have to try separately to attain liberation. That very service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the process of his liberation because to engage oneself in the service of the Lord is to liberate oneself from material entanglement. Śrī Bilvamańgala Ṭhākura explained this position very nicely. He said, "If I have unflinching devotion unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, then mukti, or liberation, serves me as my maidservant. Mukti, the maidservant, is always ready to do whatever I ask."

For a devotee, liberation is no problem at all. Liberation takes place without separate endeavor. Bhakti, therefore, is far better then mukti or the impersonalist position. The impersonalists undergo severe penances and austerities to attain mukti, but the bhakta, simply by engaging himself in the bhakti process, especially in chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, immediately develops control over the tongue by engaging it in chanting, and accepting the remnants of foodstuff offered to the Personality of Godhead. As soon as the tongue is controlled, naturally all other senses are controlled automatically. Sense control is the perfection of the yoga principle, and one's liberation begins immediately as soon as he engages himself in the service of the Lord. It is confirmed by Kapiladeva that bhakti, or devotional service, is garīyasī, more glorious than siddhi, liberation.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness