na janma nūnaṁ mahato na saubhagaṁ
na vāṅ na buddhir nākṛtis toṣa-hetuḥ
tair yad visṛṣṭān api no vanaukasaś
cakāra sakhye bata lakṣmaṇāgrajaḥ
na—not; janma—birth in a very polished, aristocratic family; nūnam—indeed; mahataḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; na—nor; saubhagam—great fortune; na—nor; vāk—an elegant manner of speaking; na—nor; buddhiḥ—sharpness of intelligence; na—not; ākṛtiḥ—features of the body; toṣa-hetuḥ—the cause of pleasure to the Lord; taiḥ—by all those above-mentioned qualities; yat—because; visṛṣṭān—rejected; api—although; naḥ—us; vana-okasaḥ—the inhabitants of the forest; cakāra—accepted; sakhye—in friendship; bata—alas; lakṣmaṇa-agra-jaḥ—Lord Śrī Rāmacandra, the elder brother of Lakṣmaṇa.
One cannot establish a friendship with the Supreme Lord Rāmacandra on the basis of material qualities such as one’s birth in an aristocratic family, one’s personal beauty, one’s eloquence, one’s sharp intelligence or one’s superior race or nation. None of these qualifications is actually a prerequisite for friendship with Lord Śrī Rāmacandra. Otherwise how is it possible that although we uncivilized inhabitants of the forest have not taken noble births, although we have no physical beauty and although we cannot speak like gentlemen, Lord Rāmacandra has nevertheless accepted us as friends?
In a prayer to Kṛṣṇa expressing her feelings, Śrīmatī Kuntīdevī called Him akiñcana-gocara. The prefix a means “not,” and kiñcana “something of this material world.” One may be very proud of his prestigious position, material wealth, beauty, education and so on, but although these are certainly good qualifications in material dealings, they are not necessary for achieving friendship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who possesses all these material qualities is expected to become a devotee, and when he actually does, the qualities are properly utilized. Those who are puffed up by a high birth, wealth, education and personal beauty (janmaiśvarya-śruta-śrī) unfortunately do not care for developing Kṛṣṇa consciousness, nor does the Supreme Personality of Godhead care about all these material qualifications. The Supreme Lord is achieved by devotion (bhaktyā mām abhijānāti [Bg. 18.55]). One’s devotion and sincere desire to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead are the only qualifications. Rūpa Gosvāmī has also said that the price for achieving God’s favor is simply one’s sincere eagerness to have it (laulyam ekaṁ mūlyam). In the Caitanya-bhāgavata it is said:
“Behold the great fortune of the devotee Kholāvecā. Lord Brahmā and Śiva shed tears upon seeing his greatness. One cannot attain Lord Kṛṣṇa by any amount of wealth, followers, or learning. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is controlled only by pure devotion. “Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had a very sincere devotee whose name was Kholāvecā Śrīdhara and whose only business was to sell pots made of the skin of banana trees. Whatever income he had, he used fifty percent for the worship of mother Ganges, and with the other fifty percent he provided for his necessities. On the whole, he was so very poor that he lived in a cottage that had a broken roof with many holes in it. He could not afford brass utensils, and therefore he drank water from an iron pot. Nevertheless, he was a great devotee of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He is a typical example of how a poor man with no material possessions can become a most exalted devotee of the Lord. The conclusion is that one cannot attain shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa or Śrī Caitanya Gosāñi through material opulence; that shelter is attainable only by pure devotional service.
“One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa favorably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service.”
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