tac chraddadhana munayo
pasyanty atmani catmanam
tat—that; sraddadhanah—seriously inquisitive; munayah—sages; jnana—knowledge; vairagya—detachment; yuktaya—well equipped with; pasyanti—see; atmani—within himself; ca—and; atmanam—the Paramatma; bhaktya—in devotional service; sruta—the Vedas; grhitaya—well received.
The seriously inquisitive student or sage, well equipped with knowledge and detachment, realizes that Absolute Truth by rendering devotional service in terms of what he has heard from the Vedanta-sruti.
The Absolute Truth is realized in full by the process of devotional service to the Lord, Vasudeva, or the Personality of Godhead, who is the full-fledged Absolute Truth. Brahman is His transcendental bodily effulgence, and Paramatma is His partial representation. As such, Brahman or Paramatma realization of the Absolute Truth is but a partial realization. There are four different types of human beings-the karmis, the jnanis, the yogis and the devotees. The karmis are materialistic, whereas the other three are transcendental. The first-class transcendentalists are the devotees who have realized the Supreme Person. The second-class transcendentalists are those who have partially realized the plenary portion of the absolute person. And the third-class transcendentalists are those who have barely realized the spiritual focus of the absolute person. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic literatures, the Supreme Person is realized by devotional service, which is backed by full knowledge and detachment from material association. We have already discussed the point that devotional service is followed by knowledge and detachment from material association. As Brahman and Paramatma realization are imperfect realizations of the Absolute Truth, so the means of realizing Brahman and Paramatma, i.e., the paths of jnana and yoga, are also imperfect means of realizing the Absolute Truth. Devotional service, which is based on the foreground of full knowledge combined with detachment from material association and which is fixed by the aural reception of the Vedanta-sruti, is the only perfect method by which the seriously inquisitive student can realize the Absolute Truth. Devotional service is not, therefore, meant for the less intelligent class of transcendentalist. There are three classes of devotees, namely first, second, and third class. The third-class devotees, or the neophytes, who have no knowledge and are not detached from material association, but who are simply attracted by the preliminary process of worshiping the Deity in the temple, are called material devotees. Material devotees are more attached to material benefit than transcendental profit. Therefore, one has to make definite progress from the position of material devotional service to the second-class devotional position. In the second-class position, the devotee can see four principles in the devotional line, namely the Personality of Godhead, His devotees, the ignorant and the envious. One has to raise himself at least to the stage of a second-class devotee and thus become eligible to know the Absolute Truth.
A third-class devotee, therefore, has to receive the instructions of devotional service from the authoritative sources of Bhagavata. The number one Bhagavata is the established personality of devotee, and the other Bhagavatam is the message of Godhead. The third-class devotee therefore has to go to the personality of devotee in order to learn the instructions of devotional service. Such a personality of devotee is not a professional man who earns his livelihood by the business of Bhagavatam. Such a devotee must be a representative of Sukadeva Gosvami, like Suta Gosvami, and must preach the cult of devotional service for the all-around benefit of all people. A neophyte devotee has very little taste for hearing from the authorities. Such a neophyte devotee makes a show of hearing from the professional man to satisfy his senses. This sort of hearing and chanting has spoiled the whole thing, so one should be very careful about the faulty process. The holy messages of Godhead, as inculcated in the Bhagavad-gita or in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, are undoubtedly transcendental subjects, but even though they are so, such transcendental matters are not to be received from the professional man, who spoils them as the serpent spoils milk simply by the touch of his tongue.
A sincere devotee must, therefore, be prepared to hear the Vedic literature like the Upanisads, Vedanta and other literatures left by the previous authorities or Gosvamis, for the benefit of his progress. Without hearing such literatures, one cannot make actual progress. And without hearing and following the instructions, the show of devotional service becomes worthless and therefore a sort of disturbance in the path of devotional service. Unless, therefore, devotional service is established on the principles of sruti, smrti, purana or pancaratra authorities, the make-show of devotional service should at once be rejected. An unauthorized devotee should never be recognized as a pure devotee. By assimilation of such messages from the Vedic literatures, one can see the all-pervading localized aspect of the Personality of Godhead within his own self constantly. This is called samadhi.
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