TEXT 18
tat-prasanganubhavena
rantidevanuvartinah
abhavan yoginah sarve
narayana-parayanah
SYNONYMS
tat-prasanga-anubhavena—because of associating with King Rantideva (when talking with him about bhakti-yoga); rantideva-anuvartinah—the followers of King Rantideva (that is, his servants, his family members, his friends and others); abhavan—became; yoginah—first-class mystic yogis, or bhakti-yogis; sarve—all of them; narayana-parayanah—devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana.
TRANSLATION
All those who followed the principles of King Rantideva were totally favored by his mercy and became pure devotees, attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana. Thus they all became the best of yogis.
PURPORT
The best yogis or mystics are the devotees, as confirmed by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gita (6.47):
yoginam api sarvesam
mad-gatenantaratmana
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo matah
“Of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.” The best yogi is he who constantly thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within the core of the heart. Because Rantideva was the king, the chief executive in the state, all the residents of the state became devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, by the king’s transcendental association. This is the influence of a pure devotee. If there is one pure devotee, his association can create hundreds and thousands of pure devotees. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has said that a Vaisnava is meritorious in proportion to the number of devotees he has created. A Vaisnava becomes superior not simply by jugglery of words but by the number of devotees he has created for the Lord. Here the word rantidevanuvartinah indicates that Rantideva’s officers, friends, relatives and subjects all became first-class Vaisnavas by his association. In other words, Rantideva is confirmed herein to be a first-class devotee, or maha-bhagavata. Mahat-sevam dvaram ahur vimukteh: [SB 5.5.2] one should render service to such mahatmas, for then one will automatically achieve the goal of liberation. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has also said, chadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payeche keba: one cannot be liberated by his own effort, but if one becomes subordinate to a pure Vaisnava, the door to liberation is open.

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