CC Madhya 19.148
- koṭi-jñāni-madhye haya eka-jana ‘mukta’
- koṭi-mukta-madhye ‘durlabha’ eka kṛṣṇa-bhakta
koṭi-jñāni-madhye—out of many millions of such wise men; haya—there is; eka-jana—one person; mukta—actually liberated; koṭi-mukta-madhye—out of many millions of such liberated persons; durlabha—very rare; eka—one; kṛṣṇa-bhakta—pure devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
“Out of many millions of such wise men, one may actually become liberated [mukta], and out of many millions of such liberated persons, a pure devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa is very difficult to find.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (SB 10.2.32) it is said that due to their poor fund of knowledge, the jñānīs are not actually liberated. They simply think that they are liberated. The perfection of knowledge culminates when one comes to the platform of knowing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate (SB 1.2.11). The Absolute Truth (satya-vastu) is described as Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. Knowledge of impersonal Brahman and the Supersoul is imperfect until one comes to the platform of knowing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is therefore clearly said in this verse, koṭi-mukta-madhye ‘durlabha’ eka kṛṣṇa-bhakta. Those who search after the knowledge of impersonal Brahman or localized Paramātmā are certainly accepted as liberated, but due to their imperfect knowledge they are described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as vimukta-māninaḥ. Since their knowledge is imperfect, their conception of liberation is imperfect. Perfect knowledge is possible when one knows the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is supported by Lord Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā (BG 5.29):
- bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram
- suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
“A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.” Research is going on for the karmīs, jñānīs and yogīs, but until the search is complete, no one can attain peace. Therefore the Bhagavad-gītā says, jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati: one can actually attain peace when he knows Kṛṣṇa. This is described in the next verse.