Srimad Bhagavatam : 6.1.16.




na    tatha    hy    aghavan    rajan    puyeta     tapa-adibhih,

yatha    krishnarpita-pranas    tat-purusha-nisevaya.

na   =   not;

tatha   =   so much;

hi   =   certainly;

agha-van   =   a man full of sinful activities;

rajan   =   O King;

puyeta   =   can become purified;

tapah-adibhih   =   by executing the principles of austerity, penance, brahmacarya and other purifying processes;

yatha   =   as much as;

krishna-arpita-pranah   =   the devotee whose life is fully   conscious;

tat-purusha-nisevaya   =   by engaging his life in the service of Lord’s representative.

My dear King, if a sinful person engages in the service of a bona fide devotee of the Lord and thus learns how to dedicate his life unto the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, he can be completely purified. One cannot be purified merely by undergoing austerity, penance, brahmacarya and the other methods of atonement I have previously described.

Tat-puruṣa refers to a preacher of Lord's consciousness, such as the spiritual master.  : “Without serving a bona fide spiritual master, an ideal Vaishnava, who can be delivered from the clutches of maya?” This idea is also expressed in many other places. Srimad Bhagavatam (5.5.2) says, : if one desires liberation from the clutches of maya, one must associate with a pure devotee mahatma. A mahatma is one who engages twenty-four hours daily in the loving service of the Lord.

As Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita (9.13):

“O son of Prtha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.” Thus the symptom of a mahātmā is that he has no engagement other than service to Lord. One must render service to a Vaishnava in order to get freed from sinful reactions, revive one’s original  consciousness and be trained in how to love Krishna. This is the result of mahatma-seva. Of course, if one engages in the service of a pure devotee, the reactions of one’s sinful life are vanquished automatically. Devotional service is necessary not to drive away an insignificant stock of sins, but to awaken our dormant love for Lord. As fog is vanquished at the first glimpse of sunlight, one’s sinful reactions are automatically vanquished as soon as one begins serving a pure devotee; no separate endeavor is required.

The word krishna-rpita-pranah refers to a devotee who dedicates his life to serving Krishna, not to being saved from the path to hellish life. A devotee  of  Vasudeva, which means that the path of Vasudeva, or the devotional path, is his life and soul. Such a devotee is not afraid of going anywhere. There is a path toward liberation in the higher planetary systems and a path toward the hellish planets, but a narayana-para devotee is unafraid wherever he is sent; he simply wants to remember Krishna, wherever he may be. Such a devotee is unconcerned with hell and heaven; he is simply attached to rendering service to Kṛṣṇa. When a devotee is put into hellish conditions, he accepts them as Krishna’s mercy . He does not protest, “Oh, I am such a great devotee of Krishna. Why have I been put into this misery?” Instead he thinks, “This is Krishna’s mercy.” Such an attitude is possible for a devotee who engages in the service of Krishna’s representative. This is the secret of success.

To be continued ...