TEXT 71
rati-prema-taratamye bhakta--tara-tama
ekadasa skandhe tara kariyache laksana
SYNONYMS
rati—of attachment; prema—and love; taratamye—by comparison; bhakta—devotee; tara-tama—superior and superlative; ekadasa skandhe—in the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam; tara—of him; kariyache—has made; laksana—symptoms.
TRANSLATION
"A devotee is considered superlative and superior according to his attachment and love. In the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the following symptoms have been ascertained.
PURPORT
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has stated that if one has developed faith in Krsna consciousness, he is to be considered an eligible candidate for further advancement in Krsna consciousness. Those who have faith are divided into three categories-uttama, madhyama and kanistha (first-class, second-class and neophyte). A first-class devotee has firm conviction in the revealed scriptures and is expert in arguing according to the sastras. He is firmly convinced of the science of Krsna consciousness. The madhyama-adhikari, or second-class devotee, has firm conviction in Krsna consciousness, but he cannot support his conviction by citing sastric references. The neophyte devotee does not yet have firm faith. In this way the devotees are typed.
The standard of devotion is also categorized in the same way. A neophyte believes that only love of Krsna or Krsna consciousness is very good, but he may not know the basis of pure Krsna consciousness or how one can become a perfect devotee. Sometimes in the heart of a neophyte there is attraction for karma, jnana or yoga. When he is free and transcendental to mixed devotional activity, he becomes a second-class devotee. When he becomes expert in logic and can refer to the sastras, he becomes a first-class devotee. The devotees are also described as positive, comparative and superlative, in terms of their love and attachment for Krsna.
It should be understood that a madhyama-adhikari, a second-class devotee, is fully convinced of Krsna consciousness but cannot support his convictions with sastric reference. A neophyte may fall down by associating with nondevotees because he is not firmly convinced and strongly situated. The second-class devotee, even though he cannot support his position with sastric reference, can gradually become a first-class devotee by studying the sastras and associating with a first-class devotee. However, if the second-class devotee does not advance himself by associating with a first-class devotee, he makes no progress. There is no possibility that a first-class devotee will fall down, even though he may mix with nondevotees to preach. Conviction and faith gradually increase to make one an uttama-adhikari, a first-class devotee.

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