apana-prarabdhe vasi' varanasi-sthane
'maya', 'brahma' sabda vina nahi suni kane
apana-prarabdhebecause of my past deeds; vasi'-staying; varanasi-sthanein the place known as Varanasi; mayamaya; brahmaand brahma; sabdathe words; vinaexcept; nahi suniI do not hear; kanein the ear.
"Due to my past deeds, I am residing at Varanasi, but here I do not hear anything but the words maya and Brahman."
The word prarabdhe (past deeds) is important in this verse. Since Candrasekhara was a devotee, he was always eager to hear about Krsna and His transcendental pastimes. Most of the inhabitants of Benares were and are impersonalists, worshipers of Lord Siva and followers of the pancopasana method. The impersonalists imagine some form of the impersonal Brahman, and to facilitate meditation they concentrate upon the forms of Visnu, Siva, Ganesa, Surya and goddess Durga. Actually these pancopasakas are not devotees of anyone. As it is said, to be a servant of everyone is to be the servant of no one. Varanasi, or Kasi, is the chief holy place of pilgrimage for impersonalists, and it is not at all suitable for devotees. A Vaisnava likes to live in a visnu-tirtha, a place where Lord Visnu's temples are present. In Varanasi there are many hundreds and thousands of Lord Siva's temples, or pancopasaka temples. Consequently Candrasekhara expressed great unhappiness as he informed Lord Caitanya that he was obliged to live at Benares due to his past misdeeds. In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu it is also said, durjaty-arambhakam papam yat syat prarabdham eva tat. "According to one's past misdeeds, one takes birth on a lower platform." In the Brahma-samhita (5.54) it is said: karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam. There is no karma attached to the past deeds or misdeeds of one in devotional service. A devotee is not subjected to karma-phala, the effect of fruitive activity. Karma-phala is applicable to karmis, not bhaktas.
There are three kinds of devotees: those who are eternally on the transcendental platform (nitya-siddha), those elevated to the transcendental platform by the execution of devotional service (sadhana-siddha), and those who are neophytes advancing toward the perfectional platform (sadhaka). The sadhakas are gradually becoming free from fruitive reaction. Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.1.17) describes the symptoms of bhakti-yoga thus:
klesa-ghni subhada moksa-
laghutakrt sudurlabha
sri-krsnakarsini ca sa
Devotional service is klesa-ghni even for beginners. This means that it reduces or nullifies all kinds of suffering. The word subhada indicates that devotional service bestows all good fortune, and the words krsna-akarsini indicate that devotional service gradually attracts Krsna toward the devotee. Consequently a devotee is not subject to any sinful reaction. In Bhagavad-gita (18.66) Krsna says:
sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear."
Thus a fully surrendered, sincere devotee immediately receives relief from all kinds of sinful reaction. There are three stages of fructification for sinful activity. At one stage, one commits the sinful act. Before that, the seed of this act exists, and before that there is ignorance whereby one commits the sin. Suffering is involved in all three stages. However, Krsna is merciful to His devotee, and consequently He immediately nullifies all three stages-the sin, the seed of sin and the ignorance that leads one to sin. Padma Purana confirms this:
aprarabdha-phalam papam
kutam bijam phalonmukham
kramenaiva praliyeta
For a further explanation of this, The Nectar of Devotion should be consulted.

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