Canto 7: The Science of GodChapter 7: What Prahlāda Learned in the Womb

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.7.51-52

nālaḿ dvijatvaḿ devatvam

ṛṣitvaḿ vāsurātmajāḥ

prīṇanāya mukundasya

na vṛttaḿ na bahu-jñatā

na dānaḿ na tapo nejyā

na śaucaḿ na vratāni ca

prīyate 'malayā bhaktyā

harir anyad viḍambanam


na — not; alam — sufficient; dvijatvam — being a perfect, highly qualified brāhmaṇa; devatvam — being a demigod; ṛṣitvam — being a saintly person; — or; asura-ātma-jāḥO descendants of asuras; prīṇanāya — for pleasing; mukundasya — of Mukunda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; na vṛttam — not good conduct; na — not; bahu-jñatā — vast learning; na — neither; dānam — charity; na tapaḥno austerity; na — nor; ijyā — worship; na — nor; śaucam — cleanliness; na vratāni — nor execution of great vows; ca — also; prīyate — is satisfied; amalayā — by spotless; bhaktyā — devotional service; hariḥ — the Supreme Lord; anyat — other things; viḍambanam — only show.


My dear friends, O sons of the demons, you cannot please the Supreme Personality of Godhead by becoming perfect brāhmaṇas, demigods or great saints or by becoming perfectly good in etiquette or vast learning. None of these qualifications can awaken the pleasure of the Lord. Nor by charity, austerity, sacrifice, cleanliness or vows can one satisfy the Lord. The Lord is pleased only if one has unflinching, unalloyed devotion to Him. Without sincere devotional service, everything is simply a show.


Prahlāda Mahārāja concludes that one can become perfect by serving the Supreme Lord sincerely by all means. Material elevation to life as a brāhmaṇa, demigod, ṛṣi and so on are not causes for developing love of Godhead, but if one sincerely engages in the service of the Lord, his Kṛṣṇa consciousness is complete. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (9.30):

api cet su-durācāro

bhajate mām ananya-bhāk

sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ

samyag vyavasito hi saḥ

"Even if one commits the most abominable actions, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated." To develop unalloyed love for Kṛṣṇa is the perfection of life. Other processes may be helpful, but if one does not develop his love for Kṛṣṇa, these other processes are simply a waste of time.

dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puḿsāḿ

viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ

notpādayed yadi ratiḿ

śrama eva hi kevalam

"Duties [dharma] executed by men, regardless of occupation, are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Supreme Lord." (Bhāg. 1.2.8) The test of perfection is one's unalloyed devotion to the Lord.

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