nakha-dyubhir no ’ntar-aghaṁ vidhunvatā
pradarśaya svīyam apāsta-sādhvasaṁ
padaṁ guro mārga-gurus tamo-juṣām
padā—by the lotus feet; śarat—autumn; padma—lotus flower; palāśa—petals; rociṣā—very pleasing; nakha—nails; dyubhiḥ—by the effulgence; naḥ—our; antaḥ-agham—dirty things; vidhunvatā—which can cleanse; pradarśaya—just show; svīyam—Your own; apāsta—diminishing; sādhvasam—the trouble of the material world; padam—lotus feet; guro—O supreme spiritual master; mārga—the path; guruḥ—spiritual master; tamaḥ-juṣām—of the persons suffering in ignorance.
My dear Lord, Your two lotus feet are so beautiful that they appear like two blossoming petals of the lotus flower which grows during the autumn season. Indeed, the nails of Your lotus feet emanate such a great effulgence that they immediately dissipate all the darkness in the heart of a conditioned soul. My dear Lord, kindly show me that form of Yours which always dissipates all kinds of darkness in the heart of a devotee. My dear Lord, You are the supreme spiritual master of everyone; therefore all conditioned souls covered with the darkness of ignorance can be enlightened by You as the spiritual master.
Lord Śiva has thus described the bodily features of the Lord authoritatively. Now he wants to see the lotus feet of the Lord. When a devotee wants to see the transcendental form of the Lord, he begins his meditation on the Lord’s body by first looking at the feet of the Lord. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is considered to be the transcendental sound form of the Lord, and the twelve cantos are divided in accordance with the transcendental form of the Lord. The First and Second Cantos of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are called the two lotus feet of the Lord. It is therefore suggested by Lord Śiva that one should first try to see the lotus feet of the Lord. This also means that if one is serious about reading Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, he must begin by seriously studying the First and Second Cantos.
The beauty of the lotus feet of the Lord is compared to the petals of a lotus flower which grows in the autumn season. By nature’s law, in autumn the dirty or muddy waters of rivers and lakes become very clean. At that time the lotus flowers growing in the lakes appear very bright and beautiful. The lotus flower itself is compared to the lotus feet of the Lord, and the petals are compared to the nails of the feet of the Lord. The nails of the feet of the Lord are very bright, as Brahma-saṁhitā testifies. Ānanda-cinmaya-sad-ujjvala-vigrahasya: [Bs 5.32] every limb of the transcendental body of the Lord is made of ānanda-cinmaya-sad-ujjvala. Thus every limb is eternally bright. As sunshine dissipates the darkness of this material world, the effulgence emanating from the body of the Lord immediately dries up the darkness in the heart of the conditioned soul. In other words, everyone serious about understanding the transcendental science and seeing the transcendental form of the Lord must first of all attempt to see the lotus feet of the Lord by studying the First and Second Cantos of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. When one sees the lotus feet of the Lord, all kinds of doubts and fears within the heart are vanquished.
In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that in order to make spiritual progress, one must become fearless. Abhayaṁ sattva-saṁśuddhiḥ (Bg. 16.1). Fearfulness is the result of material involvement. It is also said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.37), bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syāt: fearfulness is a creation of the bodily conception of life. As long as one is absorbed in the thought that he is this material body, he is fearful, and as soon as one is freed from this material conception, he becomes brahma-bhūta, or self-realized, and immediately becomes fearless. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā (Bg. 18.54). Without being fearless, one cannot be joyful. The bhaktas, the devotees, are fearless and always joyful because they are constantly engaged in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord. It is also said:
By practicing bhagavad-bhakti-yoga, one becomes fearless and joyful. Unless one becomes fearless and joyful, he cannot understand the science of God. Bhagavat-tattva-vijñānaṁ mukta-saṅgasya jāyate. This verse refers to those who are completely liberated from the fearfulness of this material world. When one is so liberated, he can really understand the transcendental features of the form of the Lord. Lord Śiva therefore advises everyone to practice bhagavad-bhakti-yoga. As will be clear in the following verses, by doing so one can become really liberated and enjoy spiritual bliss.
It is also stated:
The Lord is the supreme spiritual master, and the bona fide representative of the Supreme Lord is also a spiritual master. The Lord from within enlightens the devotees by the effulgence of the nails of His lotus feet, and His representative, the spiritual master, enlightens from without. Only by thinking of the lotus feet of the Lord and always taking the spiritual master’s advice can one advance in spiritual life and understand Vedic knowledge.
“Unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master, all the imports of Vedic knowledge are automatically revealed.” (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23)
“No one can understand Kṛṣṇa as He is by the blunt material senses. But He reveals Himself to the devotees, being pleased with them for their transcendental loving service unto Him.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.234)
“One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.” (Bg. 18.55)
These are Vedic instructions. One must have full faith in the words of the spiritual master and similar faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then the real knowledge of ātmā and Paramātmā and the distinction between matter and spirit will be automatically revealed. This ātma-tattva, or spiritual knowledge, will be revealed within the core of a devotee’s heart because of his having taken shelter of the lotus feet of a mahājana such as Prahlāda Mahārāja.
Thus the Vedas (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23) enjoin that for one who has unflinching faith in the lotus feet of the Lord, as well as in the spiritual master, the real import of Vedic knowledge can be revealed.
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