TEXTS 51–52
nālaṁ dvijatvaṁ devatvam
ṛṣitvaṁ vāsurātmajāḥ
prīṇanāya mukundasya
na vṛttaṁ na bahu-jñatā
na dānaṁ na tapo nejyā
na śaucaṁ na vratāni ca
prīyate ’malayā bhaktyā
harir anyad viḍambanam
SYNONYMS
na—not; alam—sufficient; dvijatvam—being a perfect, highly qualified brāhmaṇa; devatvam—being a demigod; ṛṣitvam—being a saintly person; —or; asura-ātma-jāḥ—O descendants of asuras; prīṇanāya—for pleasing; mukundasya—of Mukunda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; na vṛttam—not good conduct; na—not; bahu-jñatā—vast learning; na—neither; dānam—charity; na tapaḥ—no austerity; na—nor; ijyā—worship; na—nor; śaucam—cleanliness; na vratāni—nor execution of great vows; ca—also; prīyate—is satisfied; amalayā—by spotless; bhaktyā—devotional service; hariḥ—the Supreme Lord; anyat—other things; viḍambanam—only show.
TRANSLATION
My dear friends, O sons of the demons, you cannot please the Supreme Personality of Godhead by becoming perfect brāhmaṇas, 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.
PURPORT
Prahlāda Mahārāja concludes that one can become perfect by serving the Supreme Lord sincerely by all means. Material elevation to life as a brāhmaṇa, demigod, ṛṣi and so on are not causes for developing love of Godhead, but if one sincerely engages in the service of the Lord, his Kṛṣṇa consciousness is complete. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (9.30):
api cet su-durācāro
bhajate mām ananya-bhāk
sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ
samyag vyavasito hi saḥ
“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 Kṛṣṇa is the perfection of life. Other processes may be helpful, but if one does not develop his love for Kṛṣṇa, 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.” (Bhāg. 1.2.8) The test of perfection is one’s unalloyed devotion to the Lord.

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