kavyany anantyam icchata
daive ca tad-abhave syad
jnana-nisthaya—to the impersonalist or the transcendentalist desiring to merge into the Supreme; deyani—to be given in charity; kavyani—ingredients offered to the forefathers as oblations; anantyam—liberation from material bondage; icchata—by a person desiring; daive—the ingredients to be offered to the demigods; ca—also; tat-abhave—in the absence of such advanced transcendentalists; syat—it should be done; itarebhyah—to others (namely, those addicted to fruitive activities); yatha-arhatah—comparatively or with discrimination.
A person desiring liberation for his forefathers or himself should give charity to a brahmana who adheres to impersonal monism [jnana-nistha]. In the absence of such an advanced brahmana, charity may be given to a brahmana addicted to fruitive activities [karma-kanda].
There are two processes by which to get free from material bondage. One involves jnana-kanda and karma-kanda, and the other involves upasana-kanda. Vaisnavas never want to merge into the existence of the Supreme; rather, they want to be everlastingly servants of the Lord to render loving service unto Him. In this verse the words anantyam icchata refer to persons who desire to achieve liberation from material bondage and merge into the existence of the Lord. Devotees, however, whose objective is to associate personally with the Lord, have no desire to accept the activities of karma-kanda or jnana-kanda, for pure devotional service is above both karma-kanda and jnana-kanda. Anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam [Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu
“One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Krsna favorably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service.” Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.1.11
Charity, therefore, should be given to the first-class transcendentalist, the devotee, because the sastras recommend:
“O great sage, among many millions who are liberated and perfect in knowledge of liberation, one may be a devotee of Lord Narayana, or Krsna. Such devotees, who are fully peaceful, are extremely rare.” (Bhag. 6.14.5) A Vaisnava is in a higher position than a jnani, and therefore Advaita Acarya selected Haridasa Thakura to be the person to accept His charity. The Supreme Lord also says:
“Even though a person is a very learned scholar of the Sanskrit Vedic literatures, he is not accepted as My devotee unless he is pure in devotional service. However, even though a person is born in a family of dog-eaters, he is very dear to Me if he is a pure devotee who has no motive to enjoy fruitive activity or mental speculation. Indeed, all respect should be given to him, and whatever he offers should be accepted. Such devotees are as worshipable as I am.” (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 10.127) Therefore, even if not born in a brahmana family, a devotee, because of his devotion to the Lord, is above all kinds of brahmanas, whether they be karma-kandis or jnana-kandis.
In this regard, it may be mentioned that brahmanas in Vrndavana who are karma-kandis and jnana-kandis sometimes decline to accept invitations to our temple because our temple is known as the angareji temple, or “Anglican temple.” But in accordance with the evidence given in the sastra and the example set by Advaita Acarya, we give prasada to devotees regardless of whether they come from India, Europe or America. It is the conclusion of the sastra that instead of feeding many jnana-kandi or karma-kandi brahmanas, it is better to feed a pure Vaisnava, regardless of where he comes from. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (9.30):
“Even if one commits the most abominable actions, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated.” Thus it doesn’t matter whether a devotee comes from a brahmana family or non-brahmana family; if he is fully devoted to Krsna, he is a sadhu.
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