tatah sapta rsayas tat prabhavabhijna yam nanu tapasa atyantiki siddhir etavati bhagavati sarvatmani vasudeve ’nuparata-bhakti-yoga-labhenaivopeksitanyarthatma-gatayo muktim ivagatam mumuksava iva sabahu-manam adyapi jata-jutair udvahanti.
tatah—thereafter; sapta rsayah—the seven great sages (beginning with Marici); tat prabhava-abhijnah—who knew very well the influence of the Ganges River; yam—this Ganges water; nanu—indeed; tapasah—of our austerities; atyantiki—the ultimate; siddhih—perfection; etavati—this much; bhagavati—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sarva-atmani—in the all-pervading; vasudeve—Krsna; anuparata—continuous; bhakti-yoga—of the mystic process of devotional service; labhena—simply by achieving this platform; eva—certainly; upeksita—neglected; anya—other; artha-atma-gatayah—all other means of perfection (namely religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation); muktim—liberation from material bondage; iva—like; agatam—obtained; mumuksavah—persons desiring liberation; iva—like; sa-bahu-manam—with great honor; adya api—even now; jata-jutaih—with matted locks of hair; udvahanti—they carry.
The seven great sages [Marici, Vasistha, Atri and so on] reside on planets beneath Dhruvaloka. Well aware of the influence of the water of the Ganges, to this day they keep Ganges water on the tufts of hair on their heads. They have concluded that this is the ultimate wealth, the perfection of all austerities, and the best means of prosecuting transcendental life. Having obtained uninterrupted devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they neglect all other beneficial processes like religion, economic development, sense gratification and even merging into the Supreme. Just as jnanis think that merging into the existence of the Lord is the highest truth, these seven exalted personalities accept devotional service as the perfection of life.
Transcendentalists are divided into two primary groups: the nirvisesa-vadis, or impersonalists, and the bhaktas, or devotees. The impersonalists do not accept spiritual varieties of life. They want to merge into the existence of the Supreme Lord in His Brahman feature (the brahmajyoti). The devotees, however, desire to take part in the transcendental activities of the Supreme Lord. In the upper planetary system, the topmost planet is Dhruvaloka, and beneath Dhruvaloka are the seven planets occupied by the great sages, beginning with Marici, Vasistha and Atri. All these sages regard devotional service as the highest perfection of life. Therefore they all carry the holy water of the Ganges on their heads. This verse proves that for one who has achieved the platform of pure devotional service, nothing else is important, even so-called liberation (kaivalya). Srila Sridhara Svami states that only by achieving pure devotional service of the Lord can one give up all other engagements as insignificant. Prabodhananda Sarasvati confirms his statement as follows:
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has perfectly enunciated and broadcast the process of bhakti-yoga. Consequently, for one who has taken shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the highest perfection of the Mayavadis, kaivalya, or becoming one with the Supreme, is considered hellish, to say nothing of the karmis’ aspiration to be promoted to the heavenly planets. Devotees consider such goals to be worthless phantasmagoria. There are also yogis, who try to control their senses, but they can never succeed without coming to the stage of devotional service. The senses are compared to poisonous snakes, but the senses of a bhakta engaged in the service of the Lord are like snakes with their poisonous fangs removed. The yogi tries to suppress his senses, but even great mystics like Visvamitra fail in the attempt. Visvamitra was conquered by his senses when he was captivated by Menaka during his meditation. She later gave birth to Sakuntala. The wisest persons in the world, therefore, are the bhakti-yogis, as Lord Krsna confirms in Bhagavad-gita (6.47):
“Of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.”
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