'kirti-gana-madhye jivera kon bada kirti?'
'krsna-bhakta baliya yanhara haya khyati'
kirti-gana-madhye—among glorious activities; jivera—of the living entity; kon—which; bada—greatest; kirti—glory; krsna-bhakta—a devotee of Lord Krsna; baliya—as; yanhara—of whom; haya—there is; khyati—the reputation.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then asked Ramananda Raya, "Out of all glorious activities, which is the most glorious?" Ramananda Raya replied, "That person who is reputed to be a devotee of Lord Krsna enjoys the utmost fame and glory."
The greatest reputation a living being can have is to be a devotee of Krsna and to act in Krsna consciousness. In the material world everyone is trying to be famous by accumulating a large bank balance or material opulence. There is a steady competition among karmis attempting to advance in a wealthy society. The whole world is turning in accordance with that competitive mood. But this kind of name and fame is temporary, for it lasts only as long as the temporary material body exists. One may become famous as a brahma-jnani, an impersonalist scholar, or one may become a materially opulent person. In either case, such reputations are inferior to the reputation of Krsna's devotee. In the Garuda Purana it is said:
kalau bhagavatam nama
durlabham naiva labhyate
guruna kathitam mama
yasya syad buddhir idrsi
daso 'ham vasudevasya
sarval lokan samuddharet
"After many, many births, when a person realizes that he is the eternal servant of Vasudeva, he can deliver all the worlds."
In the Adi Purana, in a conversation between Krsna and Arjuna, it is said, bhaktanam anugacchanti muktayah srutibhih saha: "The most exalted position of liberation is given by Vedic knowledge. Everyone follows in the footsteps of the devotee."
Similarly, in the Brhan-naradiya Purana, it is further stated, adyapi ca muni-srestha brahmadya api devatah: "Until now, even the great demigods like Brahma and Lord Siva did not know the influence of a devotee."
ekanty eko visisyate
"It is said that out of thousands of brahmanas, one is qualified to perform sacrifices, and out of many thousands of such qualified brahmanas expert in sacrificial offerings, one learned brahmana may have passed beyond all Vedic knowledge. He is considered the best among all these brahmanas. And yet, out of thousands of such brahmanas who have surpassed Vedic knowledge, one person may be a visnu-bhakta, and he is most famous. Out of many thousands of such Vaisnavas, one who is completely fixed in the service of Lord Krsna is most famous. Indeed, a person who is completely devoted to the service of the Lord certainly returns home, back to Godhead."
srutasya pumsam sucira-sramasya
nanv anjasa suribhir idito 'rthah
padaravindam hrdayesu yesam
"After much hard labor, a person highly learned in Vedic literature certainly becomes very famous. However, one who is always hearing and chanting the glories of the lotus feet of Mukunda within his heart is certainly superior."
naham brahmapi bhuyasam
tvayi bhaktas tu kito 'pi
There are many similar verses in Srimad-Bhagavatam, especially 3.25.38, 4.24.29, 4.31.22, 7.9.24, and 10.14.30.
It was Lord Siva who said: "I do not know the truth about Krsna, but a devotee of Lord Krsna knows all the truth. Out of all the devotees of Lord Krsna, Prahlada is the greatest."
Above Prahlada, the Pandavas are supposedly more advanced. Above the Pandavas are the members of the Yadu dynasty, who are even more advanced. In the Yadu dynasty, Uddhava is the furthest advanced, and above Uddhava are the damsels of Vraja-dhama, the gopis themselves.
maya taptam tapah pura
"I underwent meditation and austerities for sixty thousand years just to understand the dust of the lotus feet of the gopis. Still, I could not understand it. To say nothing of me, even Lord Siva, Lord Sesa and the goddess of fortune Laksmi could not understand it."
In the Adi Purana the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself says:
na tatha me priyatamo
brahma rudras ca parthiva
na ca laksmir na catma ca
yatha gopi-jano mama
"Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, the goddess of fortune and even My own self are not as dear to Me as the gopis." Of all the gopis, Srimati Radharani is the topmost. Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami are the most exalted servitors of Srimati Radharani and Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Those who adhere to their service are known as rupanuga devotees. Caitanya-candramrta (26) gives the following statement about Srila Rupa Gosvami:
astam vairagya-kotir bhavatu sama-dama-ksanti-maitry-adi-kotis
tattvanudhyana-kotir bhavatu bhavatu va vaisnavi bhakti-kotih
koty-amso 'py asya na syat tad api guna-gano yah svatah-siddha aste
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