jñānataḥ su-labhā muktir
bhuktir yajñādi-puṇyataḥ
seyaṁ sādhana-sāhasrair
hāri-bhaktiḥ su-durlabhā
jñānataḥ—by cultivation of knowledge; su-labhā—easily obtainable; muktiḥ—liberation; bhuktiḥ—sense enjoyment; yajña-ādi—performance of sacrifices, etc.; puṇyataḥ—and by performing pious activities; —that; iyam—this; sādhana-sāhasraiḥ—execution of thousands of sacrifices; hari-bhaktiḥ—devotional service; su-durlabhā—is very rare.
"By cultivating philosophical knowledge one can understand his spiritual position and thus be liberated, and by performing sacrifices and pious activities one can achieve sense gratification in a higher planetary system, but the devotional service of the Lord is so rare that even by executing hundreds and thousands of such sacrifices one cannot obtain it."
matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā
mitho 'bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām
(Bhāg. 7.5.30)
naiṣāṁ matis tāvad urukramāṅghriṁ
spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad-arthaḥ
mahīyasāṁ pāda-rajo-'bhiṣekaṁ
niṣkiñcanānāṁ na vṛṇīta yāvat
(Bhāg. 7.5.32)
These ślokas are to be discussed. Their purport is that one cannot obtain kṛṣṇa-bhakti, or the devotional service of the Lord, by official execution of the Vedic rituals. One has to approach a pure devotee. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura sings, chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava-sevā nistāra pāyeche kebā: "Who has been elevated without rendering service to a pure Vaiṣṇava?" It is the statement of Prahlāda Mahārāja that unless one is able to accept the dust from the lotus feet of a pure Vaiṣṇava there is no possibility of achieving the platform of devotional service. That is the secret. The above-mentioned tantra-vacana, quoted from the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.36), is our perfect guidance in this connection.

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