kiṁ vā yogena sāṅkhyena
kiṁ vā śreyobhir anyaiś ca
na yatrātma-prado hariḥ
kim—what is the use; vā—or; yogena—by mystic yoga practice; sāṅkhyena—by the study of Sāṅkhya philosophy; nyāsa—by accepting sannyāsa; svādhyāyayoḥ—and by study of Vedic literature; api—even; kim—what is the use; vā—or; śreyobhiḥ—by auspicious activities; anyaiḥ—other; ca—and; na—never; yatra—where; ātma-pradaḥ—full satisfaction of self; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Transcendental practices that do not ultimately help one realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead are useless, be they mystic yoga practices, the analytical study of matter, severe austerity, the acceptance of sannyāsa, or the study of Vedic literature. All these may be very important aspects of spiritual advancement, but unless one understands the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, all these processes are useless.
Impersonalists do not take to devotional service, but take to other practices, such as the analytical study of the material elements, the discrimination between matter and spirit, and the mystic yoga system. These are beneficial only insofar as they are complementary to devotional service. Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore told Sanātana Gosvāmī that without a touch of devotional service, jñāna, yoga and Sāṅkhya philosophy cannot give one the desired results. The impersonalists wish to merge into the Supreme Brahman; however, merging into the Supreme Brahman also requires a touch of devotional service. The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases—impersonal Brahman, Paramātmā and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All these require a touch of devotional service. Sometimes it is actually seen that these Māyāvādīs also chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, although their motive is to merge into the Brahman effulgence of the Absolute. The yogīs also at times take to chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, but their purpose is different from that of the bhaktas. In all processes—karma, jñāna or yoga—bhakti is required. That is the purport of this verse.
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