catur-vidha bhajante mam
janah sukrtino 'rjuna
arto jijnasur artharthi
jnani ca bharatarsabha
catuh-vidhah—four kinds; bhajante—worship; mam—Me; janah—persons; sukrtinah—who have obeyed the principles of human life or the regulative principles of varna and asrama; arjuna—O Arjuna; artah—the distressed; jijnasuh—the inquisitive; artha-arthi—one in need of money; jnani—one pursuing knowledge; ca—also; bharata-rsabha—O best of the Bharata dynasty.
" 'O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me-the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.'
This is a quotation from Bhagavad-gita (7.16). The word sukrtinah is very important in this verse. Su means "auspicious," and krti means "meritorious" or "regulated." Unless one follows the regulative principles of religious life, human life is no different from animal life. Religious life means following the principles of varna and asrama. In the Visnu Purana it is said:
purusena parah puman
visnur aradhyate pantha
According to religious life, society is divided into four social divisions-brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra-and four spiritual divisions-brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa. One needs to be trained to become a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra, just as one is trained to become an engineer, doctor or lawyer. Those who are properly trained can be considered human beings; if one is not trained socially and spiritually-that is, if one is uneducated and unregulated-his life is on the animal platform. Among animals there is no question of spiritual advancement. Spiritual life can be attained by proper training-either by following the principles of varna and asrama or by being directly trained in the bhakti school by the methods of sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanamarcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam. Without being trained, one cannot be sukrti, auspicious. In this verse Krsna says that people approach Him when in distress, in need of money or when actually inquisitive to understand the Supreme Being or the original source of everything. Some people approach Him in the pursuit of knowledge of the Absolute Truth, and others approach Him when they are distressed, like the devotee Gajendra. Others are inquisitive, like the great sages headed by Sanaka, and others need money, like Dhruva Maharaja. Sukadeva Gosvami approached the Lord when he pursued knowledge. All these great personalities thus took to the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.
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