In later chapters we will be presenting quotes from Srila Prabhupada in which he stresses the importance of hearing Srimad Bhagavatam recited by a pure devotee and self realized soul.  In this chapter we have presented some quotes from Srila Prabhupada on the qualification of such a self realized soul.  We have also presented definitions of the mixed and pure devotees, and of devotional service performed in the modes of material nature and in pure devotion.




TRANSLATION. Devotional service executed by a person who is envious, proud, violent and angry, and who is a separatist, is considered to be in the mode of darkness.


PURPORT. It has already been stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, First Canto, Second Chapter, that the highest, most glorious religion is the attainment of causeless, unmotivated devotional service. In pure devotional service, the only motive should be to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is not actually a motive; that is the pure condition of the living entity. In the conditioned stage, when one engages in devotional service, he should follow the instruction of the bona fide spiritual master in full surrender. The spiritual master is the manifested representation of the Supreme Lord because he receives and presents the instructions of the Lord, as they are, by disciplic succession. It is described in Bhagavad-Gita that the teachings therein should be received by disciplic succession, otherwise there is adulteration. To act under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master with a motive to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead is pure devotional service. But if one has a motive for personal sense gratification, his devotional service is manifested differently. Such a man may be violent, proud, envious and angry, and his interests are separate from the Lord's.

One who approaches the Supreme Lord to render devotional service, but who is proud of his personality, envious of others or vengeful, is in the mode of anger. He thinks that he is the best devotee. Devotional service executed in this way is not pure; it is mixed and is of the lowest grade, tamasah. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura advises that a Vaisnava who is not of good character should be avoided. A Vaisnava is one who has taken the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the ultimate goal of life, but if one is not pure and still has motives, then he is not a Vaisnava of the first order of good character. One may offer his respects to such a Vaisnava because he has accepted the Supreme Lord as the ultimate goal of life, but one should not keep company with a Vaisnava who is in the mode of ignorance.

(S.B. 3.29.8)




TRANSLATION. The worship of Deities in the temple by a separatist, with a motive for material enjoyment, fame and opulence, is devotion in the mode of passion.


PURPORT. The word "separatist" must be understood carefully. The Sanskrit words in this connection are bhinna-drk and prthag-bhavah. A separatist is one who sees his interest as separate from that of the Supreme Lord. Mixed devotees, or devotees in the modes of passion and ignorance, think that the interest of the Supreme Lord is supplying the orders of the devotee; the interest of such devotees is to draw from the Lord as much as possible for their sense gratification. This is the separatist mentality. Actually, pure devotion is explained in the previous chapter: the mind of the Supreme Lord and the mind of the devotee should be dovetailed. A devotee should not wish anything but to execute the desire of the Supreme. That is oneness. When the devotee has an interest or will different from the interest of the Supreme Lord, his mentality is that of a separatist. When the so-called devotee desires material enjoyment, without reference to the interest of the Supreme Lord, or he wants to become famous or opulent by utilising the mercy or grace of the Supreme Lord, he is in the mode of passion.

Mayavadis, however, interpret this word "separatist" in a different way. They say that while worshipping the Lord, one should think himself one with the Supreme Lord. This is another adulterated form of devotion within the modes of material nature. The conception that the living entity is one with the Supreme is in the mode of ignorance. Oneness is actually based on oneness of interest. A pure devotee has no interest but to act on behalf of the Supreme Lord. When one has even a tinge of personal interest, his devotion is mixed with the three modes of material nature.

(S.B. 3.29.9)


Devotional service in goodness


TRANSLATION. When a devotee worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead and offers the results of his activities in order to free himself from the inebrieties of fruitive activities, his devotion is in the mode of goodness.


PURPORT. The brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras, along with the brahmacaris, grhasthas, vanaprasthas and sannyasis, are the members of the eight divisions of varnas and asramas, and they have their respective duties to perform for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When such activities are performed and the results are offered to the Supreme Lord, they are called karmarpanam, duties performed for the satisfaction of the Lord. If there is any inebriety or fault, it is atoned for by this offering process. But if this offering process is in the mode of goodness rather than in pure devotion, then the interest is different. The four asramas and the four varnas act for some benefit in accordance with their personal interests. Therefore such activities are in the mode of goodness; they cannot be counted in the category of pure devotion. Pure devotional service as described by Rupa Gosvami is free from all material desires. Anyabhilasita-sunyam. There can be no excuse for personal or material interest. Devotional activities should be transcendental to fruitive activities and empiric philosophical speculation. Pure devotional service is transcendental to all material qualities.

Devotional service in the modes of ignorance, passion and goodness can be divided into eighty-one categories. There are different devotional activities, such as hearing, chanting, remembering, worshipping, offering prayer, rendering service and surrendering everything, and each of them can be divided into three qualitative categories. There is hearing in the mode of passion, in the mode of ignorance and in the mode of goodness. Similarly, there is chanting in the mode of ignorance, passion and goodness, etc. Three multiplied by nine equals twenty-seven, and when again multiplied by three it becomes eighty-one. One has to transcend all such mixed materialistic devotional service in order to reach the standard of pure devotional service, as explained in the next verses.

(S.B. 3.29.10)


Pure devotional service


TRANSLATION. The manifestation of unadulterated devotional service is exhibited when one's mind is at once attracted to hearing the transcendental name and qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is residing in everyone's heart. Just as the water of the Ganges flows naturally down towards the ocean, such devotional ecstasy, uninterrupted by any material condition, flows towards the Supreme Lord.


PURPORT. The basic principle of this unadulterated, pure devotional service is love of Godhead. Mad-guna-sruti-matrena means "just after hearing about the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." These qualities are called nirguna. The Supreme Lord is uncontaminated by the modes of material nature; therefore He is attractive to the pure devotee. There is no need to practice meditation to attain such attraction; the pure devotee is already in the transcendental stage, and the affinity between him and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is natural and is compared to the Ganges water flowing towards the sea. The flow of the Ganges water cannot be stopped by any condition; similarly, a pure devotee's attraction for the transcendental name, form and pastimes of the Supreme Godhead cannot be stopped by any material condition. The word avicchinna, "without interruptions," is very important in this connection. No material condition can stop the flow of the devotional service of a pure devotee.

The word ahaituki means "without reason." A pure devotee does not render loving service to the Personality of Godhead for any cause or for any benefit, material or spiritual. This is the first symptom of unalloyed devotion. Anyabhilasita-sunyam: he has no desire to fulfil by rendering devotional service. Such devotional service is meant for the purusottama, the Supreme Personality, and not for anyone else. Sometimes pseudo devotees show devotion to many demigods, thinking the forms of the demigods to be the same as the Supreme Personality of Godhead's form. It is specifically mentioned herein, however, that bhakti, devotional service, is meant only for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, Visnu, or Krsna, not for anyone else.   Avyavahita means "without cessation." A pure devotee must engage in the service of the Lord twenty-four hours a day, without cessation; his life is so moulded that at every minute and every second he engages in some sort of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Another meaning of the word avyavahita is that the interest of the devotee and the interest of the Supreme Lord are on the same level. The devotee has no interest but to fulfil the transcendental desire of the Supreme Lord. Such spontaneous service unto the Supreme Lord is transcendental and is never contaminated by the material modes of nature. These are the symptoms of pure devotional service, which is free from all contamination of material nature. (S.B. 3.29.11)


The process of bhakti-yoga, devotional service, is the main river flowing down towards the sea of the Absolute Truth, and all other processes mentioned are just like tributaries. Lord Kapila is summarising the importance of the process of devotional service. Bhakti-yoga, as described before, is divided into four divisions, three in the material modes of nature and one in transcendence, which is untinged by the modes of material nature. Devotional service mixed with the modes of material nature is a means for material existence, whereas devotional service without desires for fruitive result and without attempts for empirical philosophical research is pure, transcendental devotional service.

(S.B. 3.32.37)


Mixed devotees and pure devotees


"O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me--the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute." (Bg. 7.16)

          When these four types of people amass righteous activities, they come to the devotional service of the Lord. Out of these four, those who are distressed and those who desire wealth are called devotees with desires, whereas the other two, the inquisitive and the searcher for wisdom, are seekers of liberation. Because they worship Krsna, they are all considered to be very fortunate. In due course of time, if they give up all desires and become pure devotees of the Supreme Lord, they can be considered most fortunate. Such fortunate beginners can develop only in the association of pure devotees of Lord Krsna. When one associates with pure devotees, he becomes a pure devotee himself.

(T.L.C. 161p)


On the whole, when the distressed, the inquisitive, the seekers of knowledge, and those who are in need of money are free from all material desires, and when they fully understand that material remuneration has nothing to do with spiritual improvement, they become pure devotees. As long as such a purified stage is not attained, devotees in transcendental service to the Lord are tainted with fruitive activities, the search for mundane knowledge, etc. So one has to transcend all this before one can come to the stage of pure devotional service.

(B.G. 7.16)


In the Skanda Purana it is said that those who are attached to ritualistic activities, the four orders of social life and the four orders of spiritual life, are considered devotees. But when devotees are actually engaged in offering service to the Lord directly, these must be bhagavatas, or pure devotees. Those who are engaged in fruitive activities, or prescribed duties according to the four orders of social and spiritual life, are not actually pure devotees. But still, because they are offering the result to the Lord, they are accepted as devotees. When one has no such desire, but acts spontaneously out of love of God, such a person must be accepted as a pure devotee.

(N.O.D Chapter 11)


The sun rays are open to everyone, but the capacities of the receptacles differ. Foolish people think that devotional service is flattering the Lord to get special mercy. Factually the pure devotees who are engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord are not a mercantile community. A mercantile house renders service to someone in exchange for values. The pure devotee does not render service unto the Lord for such exchange, and therefore the full mercy of the Lord is open for him. Suffering and needy men, inquisitive persons or philosophers make temporary connections with the Lord to serve a particular purpose. When the purpose is served, there is no more relation with the Lord. A suffering man, if he is pious at all, prays to the Lord for his recovery. But as soon as the recovery is over, in most cases the suffering man no longer cares to keep any connection with the Lord. The mercy of the Lord is open for him, but he is reluctant to receive it. That is the difference between a pure devotee and a mixed devotee.

Those who are completely against the service of the Lord are considered to be in abject darkness, those who ask for the Lord's favour only at the time of necessity are partial recipients of the mercy of the Lord, and those who are cent percent engaged in the service of the Lord are full recipients of the mercy of the Lord. Such partiality in receiving the Lord's mercy is relative to the recipient, and it is not due to the partiality of the all-merciful Lord.

(S.B. 1.8.29)


Anyone engaged in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as a devotee, but there is a distinction between pure devotees and mixed devotees. A mixed devotee engages in devotional service for the spiritual benefit of being eternally engaged in the transcendental abode of the Lord in full bliss and knowledge. In material existence, when a devotee is not completely purified, he expects material benefit from the Lord in the form of relief from material miseries, or he wants material gain, advancement in knowledge of the relationship between the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entity, or knowledge as to the real nature of the Supreme Lord. When a person is transcendental to these conditions, he is called a pure devotee. He does not engage himself in the service of the Lord for any material benefit or for understanding of the Supreme Lord. His one interest is that he loves the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he spontaneously engages in satisfying Him.

The highest example of pure devotional service is that of the gopis in Vrindavana. They are not interested in understanding Krsna, but only in loving Him. That platform of love is the pure state of devotional service. Unless one is advanced to this pure state of devotional service, there is a tendency to desire elevation to a higher material position. A mixed devotee may desire to enjoy a comfortable life on another planet with a greater span of life, such as on Brahmaloka. These are material desires, but because a mixed devotee engages in the service of the Lord, ultimately, after many, many lives of material enjoyment, he undoubtedly develops Krsna consciousness, and the symptom of this Krsna consciousness is that he is no longer interested in any sort of materially elevated life. He does not even aspire to become a personality like Lord Brahma.

(S.B. 3.27.27)


Prabhupada: No, for the human society. Not for the birds, beasts. But they follow nature's law. But this rascal violates nature's law and suffers.

Yadubara: What about for the devotees, Srila Prabhupada? Sometimes they are very sick, have so many...

Prabhupada: Devotees.... To become devotee is not so cheap thing. You don't think that because you have got a tilaka you have become devotee. Why do you think like that?

Pusta Krsna: Jaya Prabhupada.

Prabhupada: That Bhaktivinoda Thakura, eita eka kalira chela, nake tilaka, galaya mala:(?) "Here is another follower of Kali. He has got tilaka and mala." Sahaja bhajana kacen mamu, sanga laiya parera wala (?): "He is worshiping, bhajana, taking another's wife." Sahaja bhajana kacen mamu, sanga laiya parera wala, ei ta eka kalira chela: "Here is a servant of Kali. Simply he has changed his dress with tilaka and mala." Bhaktivinoda Thakura says. If you take tilaka and mala and do all nonsense things, then you are not a devotee. You are Kali-chela. To become a devotee is not so easy thing.

Atreya Rsi: Devotee means perfect.

Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Certainly. Devotee means sa gunan samatityaitan brahma-bhuyaya kalpate. He is above these material laws. That is devotee. Brahma-bhuyaya kalpate. He is in the Brahman stage. That is devotee. If you take.... That means sahajiya. "Because I have got a tilaka and mala, I have become devotee." This kind of cheating will not do.

(M.W.C. Delhi 25th March, 1976)


Prabhupada: (break) ...difference between animal and man. Therefore if one is not spiritually advanced or has no spiritual sense, he's animal. He is not human being. Sa eva go-kharah. The verdict is already there. Sa eva go-kharah. He is nothing, no better than the cows and asses.

Devotee (3): Often the devotee thinks that he's more unhappy than the karmis because he knows he's unhappy.

Prabhupada: Then that means he is not a devotee.

Devotee (3): He's not a devotee.

Prabhupada: Yes. He's not devotee. Devotee means the first sign will be happy, brahma-bhutah prasannatma. If he's not prasannatma, he's a rascal. He has not entered even devotional life. He's outside. That is the test. Just like Dhruva Maharaja. When he saw Visnu, he said, "Everything is all right. I don't want anything." Svamin krtartho 'smi. That is Vaisnava. And if he is still in want or unhappiness, that means he has no spiritual life at all. He is simply making a show.

(M.W.C. Melbourne 24th April, 1976)


The self realized soul


TRANSLATION. Because he has achieved his real identity, the perfectly realized soul has no conception of how the material body is moving or acting, just as an intoxicated person cannot understand whether or not he has clothing on his body.


PURPORT. This stage of life is explained by Rupa Gosvami in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. A person whose mind is completely dovetailed with the desire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and who engages one hundred percent in the service of the Lord, forgets his material bodily demands.

(S.B. 3.28.37)


Herein the word sva-drstavadbhih is very significant. One who has actually realized his self realizes the transcendental form of one's self. Impersonal realization of self and the Supreme is not complete, because it is just an opposite conception of material personalities. The Personality of Godhead and the personalities of devotees of the Lord are all transcendental; they do not have material bodies.

(S.B. 2.9.9)


In the Brahma-samhita (5.38) it is stated that when one's eyes are smeared with love of Krsna (premanjana-cchurita), he always sees Krsna, outside and inside. This is confirmed here; one should be freed from all other vision, and in that way he is freed from the false egoistic identification and sees himself as the eternal servitor of the Lord. Caksusevarkam: as we can see the sun without a doubt, one who is fully developed in Krsna consciousness sees Krsna and His energy. By this vision one becomes atma-drk, or self-realized. When the false ego of identifying the body with the self is removed, actual vision of life is perceivable. The senses, therefore, also become purified. Real service of the Lord begins when the senses are purified.

(S.B. 3.27.10)


There are five different rasas or humors, in which we are eternally related with the Supreme Lord. And when we are actually in the liberated stage of all knowledge, we can understand that "Our relationship with the Lord is in this way." That is called svarupa-siddhi. That is real self- realization. That is real self-realization. Everyone has an eternal relationship with the Lord, either in the conception of master and servant, or in the conception of friend and friend, or in the conception of parents and the child, or in the conception of husband and wife, or in the conception of paramour and lover, and the beloved. So these relationships are there eternally.

(B.G. Lecture 6.1-4, New York, 2nd September, 1966)


When one engages in the transcendental devotional service of the Lord one becomes aware that his constitutional position, as an individual soul, is to be eternally a servitor of the Supreme Lord, Vasudeva. Self-realization does not mean that because the Supreme Soul and the individual soul are both souls they are equal in every respect. The individual soul is prone to be conditioned, and the Supreme Soul is never conditioned. When the conditioned soul realizes that he is subordinate to the Supreme Soul, his position is called labdhatma, self-realization, or mukta-bandhana, freedom from material contamination. (S.B. 3.24.45)


This is God consciousness, Krsna consciousness, or self-realization. Self-realization means either you see yourself or see the Supreme Lord, either way. But without seeing the Supreme Lord, you cannot see yourself. Just like without seeing the sun in the darkness...Just like it is now night. There is no sun. So I cannot see also. In darkness I cannot see also myself. But when there is sun in the morning, I can see the sun and I can see myself also.

(B.G. Lecture 7.1, 27th April, 1974, Hyderabad)


Pure self-realization, as we have several times discussed, is the pure consciousness of admitting oneself to be the eternal servitor of the Lord. Thus one is reinstated in his original position of transcendental loving service to the Lord, as will be clearly explained in the following verse. This stage of rendering transcendental loving service to the Lord without any hopes of emolument from the Lord, or any other way, can be attained when the material senses are purified and the original pure state of the senses is revived.

(S.B. 2.2.30)

Actual self-realization means becoming a pure devotee of the Lord. The existence of a devotee implies the function of devotion and the object of devotion. Self-realization ultimately means to understand the Personality of Godhead and the living entities; to know the individual self and the reciprocal exchanges of loving service between the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entity is real self-realization. This cannot be attained by the impersonalists or other transcendentalists; they cannot understand the science of devotional service. Devotional service is revealed to the pure devotee by the unlimited causeless mercy of the Lord.

(S.B. 3.27-28-29)