TEXT 20
durāpā hy alpa-tapasaḥ
sevā vaikuṇṭha-vartmasu
yatropagīyate nityaṁ
deva-devo janārdanaḥ
SYNONYMS
durāpā—rarely obtainable; hi—certainly; alpa-tapasaḥ—of one whose austerity is meager; sevā—service; vaikuṇṭha—the transcendental kingdom of God; vartmasu—on the path of; yatra—wherein; upagīyate—is glorified; nityam—always; deva—of the demigods; devaḥ—the Lord; jana-ardanaḥ—the controller of the living entities.
TRANSLATION
Persons whose austerity is meager can hardly obtain the service of the pure devotees who are progressing on the path back to the kingdom of Godhead, the Vaikuṇṭhas. Pure devotees engage one hundred percent in glorifying the Supreme Lord, who is the Lord of the demigods and the controller of all living entities.
PURPORT
The path of liberation, as recommended by all authorities, is to serve the mahātmā transcendentalists. As far as Bhagavad-gītā is concerned, the mahātmās are the pure devotees who are on the path to Vaikuṇṭha, the kingdom of God, and who always chant and hear the glories of the Lord rather than talk of dry, profitless philosophy. This system of association has been recommended since time immemorial, but in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy it is especially recommended by Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Even if one has no assets of favorable austerity, if he nevertheless takes shelter of the mahātmās, who are engaged in chanting and hearing the glories of the Lord, he is sure to make progress on the path back home, back to Godhead.

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