nalam dvijatvam devatvam
na vrttam na bahu-jnata
na danam na tapo nejya
na saucam na vratani ca
priyate ’malaya bhaktya
harir anyad vidambanam
na—not; alam—sufficient; dvijatvam—being a perfect, highly qualified brahmana; devatvam—being a demigod; rsitvam—being a saintly person; va—or; asura-atma-jah—O descendants of asuras; prinanaya—for pleasing; mukundasya—of Mukunda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; na vrttam—not good conduct; na—not; bahu-jnata—vast learning; na—neither; danam—charity; na tapah—no austerity; na—nor; ijya—worship; na—nor; saucam—cleanliness; na vratani—nor execution of great vows; ca—also; priyate—is satisfied; amalaya—by spotless; bhaktya—devotional service; harih—the Supreme Lord; anyat—other things; vidambanam—only show.
My dear friends, O sons of the demons, you cannot please the Supreme Personality of Godhead by becoming perfect brahmanas, demigods or great saints or by becoming perfectly good in etiquette or vast learning. None of these qualifications can awaken the pleasure of the Lord. Nor by charity, austerity, sacrifice, cleanliness or vows can one satisfy the Lord. The Lord is pleased only if one has unflinching, unalloyed devotion to Him. Without sincere devotional service, everything is simply a show.
Prahlada Maharaja concludes that one can become perfect by serving the Supreme Lord sincerely by all means. Material elevation to life as a brahmana, demigod, rsi and so on are not causes for developing love of Godhead, but if one sincerely engages in the service of the Lord, his Krsna consciousness is complete. This is 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.” To develop unalloyed love for Krsna is the perfection of life. Other processes may be helpful, but if one does not develop his love for Krsna, these other processes are simply a waste of time.
“Duties [dharma] executed by men, regardless of occupation, are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Supreme Lord.” (Bhag. 1.2.8) The test of perfection is one’s unalloyed devotion to the Lord.
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