āśāsāno na vai bhṛtyaḥ
svāminy āśiṣa ātmanaḥ
na svāmī bhṛtyataḥ svāmyam
icchan yo rāti cāśiṣaḥ
āśāsānaḥ—a person who desires (in exchange for service); na—not; vai—indeed; bhṛtyaḥ—a qualified servant or pure devotee of the Lord; svāmini—from the master; āśiṣaḥ—material benefit; ātmanaḥ—for personal sense gratification; na—nor; svāmī—the master; bhṛtyataḥ—from the servant; svāmyam—the prestigious position of being the master; icchan—desiring; yaḥ—any such master who; rāti—bestows; ca—also; āśiṣaḥ—material profit.
A servant who desires material profits from his master is certainly not a qualified servant or pure devotee. Similarly, a master who bestows benedictions upon his servant because of a desire to maintain a prestigious position as master is also not a pure master.
As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (7.20), kāmais tais tair hṛta jñānāḥ prapadyante ’nya-devatāḥ. “Those whose minds are distorted by material desires surrender unto demigods.” A demigod cannot become master, for the real master is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The demigods, to keep their prestigious positions, bestow upon their worshipers whatever benedictions the worshipers want. For example, once it was found that an asura took a benediction from Lord Śiva by which the asura would be able to kill someone simply by placing his hands on that person’s head. Such benedictions are possible to receive from the demigods. If one worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, the Lord will never offer him such condemned benedictions. On the contrary, it is said in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.88.8), yasyāham anugṛhnāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ. If one is too materialistic but at the same time wants to be a servant of the Supreme Lord, the Lord, because of His supreme compassion for the devotee, takes away all his material opulences and obliges him to be a pure devotee of the Lord. Prahlāda Mahārāja distinguishes between the pure devotee and the pure master. The Lord is the pure master, the supreme master, whereas an unalloyed devotee with no material motives is the pure servant. One who has materialistic motivations cannot become a servant, and one who unnecessarily bestows benedictions upon his servant to keep his own prestigious position is not a real master.
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