eka bandi chade yadi nija-dharma dekhiya
samsara ha-ite tare mukta karena gosana
eka bandi—one imprisoned person; chade—one releases; yadi—if; nija-dharma—one's own religion; dekhiya—consulting; samsara ha-ite—from material bondage; tare—him; mukta karena—releases; gosana—the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
"If one releases a conditioned soul or imprisoned person according to religious principles, he himself is also released from material bondage by the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
It appears from this statement that Sanatana Gosvami, who was formerly a minister of the Nawab, was trying to cheat the Mohammedan superintendent. A jail superintendent had only an ordinary education, or practically no education, and he was certainly not supposed to be very advanced in spiritual knowledge. However, just to satisfy him, Sanatana Gosvami praised him as a very learned scholar of the scriptures. The jailkeeper could not deny that he was a learned scholar because when one is elevated to an exalted position, one thinks oneself fit for that position. Sanatana Gosvami was correctly explaining the effects of spiritual activity, and the jailkeeper connected his statement with his release from jail. There are innumerable conditioned souls rotting in the material world, imprisoned by maya under the spell of sense gratification. The living entity is so entranced by the spell of maya that in conditioned life even a pig feels satisfied.
There are two kinds of covering powers exhibited by maya. One is called praksepatmika, and the other is called avaranatmika. When one is determined to get out of material bondage, the praksepatmika-sakti, the spell of diversion, impels one to remain in conditioned life fully satisfied by sense gratification. Due to the other power (avaranatmika), a conditioned soul feels satisfied even if he is rotting in the body of a pig or a worm in stool. To release a conditioned soul from material bondage is very difficult because the spell of maya is so strong. Even when the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself descends to deliver conditioned souls, asking them to surrender unto Him, the conditioned souls do not agree to the Lord's proposals. Therefore Sri Sanatana Gosvami said, "Somehow or other, if one helps another gain release from the bondage of maya, he is certainly recognized immediately by the Supreme Personality of Godhead." As stated in Bhagavad-gita (18.69):
na ca tasman manusyesu
kascin me priya-krttamah
bhavita na ca me tasmad
anyah priyataro bhuvi
The greatest service one can render to the Lord is to try to infuse devotional service into the heart of the conditioned soul so that the conditioned soul may be released from conditional life. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has said that a Vaisnava is recognized by his preaching work-that is, by convincing the conditioned soul about his eternal position, which is explained here as nija-dharma. It is the living entity's eternal position to serve the Lord; therefore to help one get release from material bondage is to awaken one to the dormant understanding that he is the eternal servant of Krsna. jivera 'svarupa' haya-krsnera 'nitya-dasa'. This will be further explained by the Lord Himself to Sanatana Gosvami.
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