yo ’sau bhagavati sarva-bhūtātmany anātmye ’nirukte ’nilayane paramātmani vāsudeve ’nanya-nimitta-bhakti-yoga-lakṣaṇo nānā-gati-nimittāvidyā-granthi-randhana-dvāreṇa yadā hi mahā-puruṣa-puruṣa-prasaṅgaḥ.
yaḥ—anyone who; asau—that; bhagavati—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sarva-bhūta-ātmani—the Supersoul of all living entities; anātmye—having no attachment; anirukte—who is beyond the mind and speech; anilayane—not dependent on anything else; parama-ātmani—unto the Supreme Soul; vāsudeve—Lord Vāsudeva, the son of Vasudeva; ananya—without any other; nimitta—cause; bhakti-yoga-lakṣaṇaḥ—having symptoms of pure devotional service; nānā-gati—of varied destinations; nimitta—the cause; avidyā-granthi—the bondage of ignorance; randhana—of cutting; dvāreṇa—by means; yadā—when; hi—indeed; mahā-puruṣa—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; puruṣa—with the devotee; prasaṅgaḥ—an intimate relationship.
After many, many births, when the results of one’s pious activities mature, one gets an opportunity to associate with pure devotees. Then one is able to cut the knot of bondage to ignorance, which bound him because of varied fruitive activities. As a result of associating with devotees, one gradually renders service to Lord Vāsudeva, who is transcendental, free from attachment to the material world, beyond the mind and words, and independent of everything else. That bhakti-yoga, devotional service to Lord Vāsudeva, is the real path of liberation.
Brahman realization is the beginning of liberation, and Paramātmā realization is still further advancement toward the realm of liberation, but one achieves real liberation when he understands his position as an eternal servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (muktir hitvānyathā rūpaṁ svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ). In the material world, in the bodily concept of life, everyone is working in the wrong direction. When one becomes brahma-bhūta, spiritually realized, one understands that he is not the body and that working in the bodily concept of life is useless and misdirected. Then his devotional service begins. As Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (18.54):
“One who is thus transcendentally situated realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” Devotional service is actual liberation. When one is attracted by the beauty of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and his mind is always engaged at the Lord’s lotus feet, he is no longer interested in subjects that do not help him in self-realization. In other words, he loses all attraction for material activities. In the Taittirīya Upaniṣad (2.7) it is said: eṣa hy evānandayati. yadā hy evaiṣa etasmin na dṛśye ’nātmye anirukte ’nilayane ’bhayaṁ pratiṣṭhāṁ vindate ’tha so ’bhayaṁ gato bhavati. A living entity becomes established in spiritual, blissful life when he fully understands that his happiness depends on spiritual self-realization, which is the basic principle of ānanda (bliss), and when he is eternally situated in the service of the Lord, who has no other lord above Him.
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