atah prcchami samsiddhim
yoginam paramam gurum
purusasyeha yat karyam
atah—therefore; prcchami—beg to inquire; samsiddhim—the way of perfection; yoginam—of the saints; paramam—the supreme; gurum—the spiritual master; purusasya—of a person; iha—in this life; yat—whatever; karyam—duty; mriyamanasya—of one who is going to die; sarvatha—in every way.
You are the spiritual master of great saints and devotees. I am therefore begging you to show the way of perfection for all persons, and especially for one who is about to die.
Unless one is perfectly anxious to inquire about the way of perfection, there is no necessity of approaching a spiritual master. A spiritual master is not a kind of decoration for a householder. Generally a fashionable materialist engages a so-called spiritual master without any profit. The pseudo- spiritual master flatters the so-called disciple, and thereby both the master and his ward go to hell without a doubt. Maharaja Pariksit is the right type of disciple because he puts forward questions vital to the interest of all men, particularly for the dying men. The question put forward by Maharaja Pariksit is the basic principle of the complete thesis of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Now let us see how intelligently the great master replies.
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