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SB 11.20.31

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Please note: The synonyms, translation and purport of this verse were composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


tasmān mad-bhakti-yuktasya
yogino vai mad-ātmanaḥ
na jñānaṁ na ca vairāgyaṁ
prāyaḥ śreyo bhaved iha


tasmāt — therefore; mat-bhakti-yuktasya — of one who is engaged in My loving service; yoginaḥ — of a devotee; vai — certainly; mat-ātmanaḥ — whose mind is fixed in Me; na — not; jñānam — the cultivation of knowledge; na — nor; ca — also; vairāgyam — the cultivation of renunciation; prāyaḥ — generally; śreyaḥ — the means of achieving perfection; bhavet — may be; iha — in this world.

Translation and purport composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


Therefore, for a devotee engaged in My loving service, with mind fixed on Me, the cultivation of knowledge and renunciation is generally not the means of achieving the highest perfection within this world.


A surrendered devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa does not seek perfection through the cultivation of knowledge and renunciation outside the loving service of the Lord. Devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa, being itself the supreme transcendental process, never depends upon the secondary methods involving the cultivation of knowledge and renunciation. By chanting and hearing the glories of the Personality of Godhead a devotee automatically realizes all knowledge, and as the devotee's attachment to the Lord increases, he automatically gives up attachment for the inferior material nature. The Lord has explicitly declared in the previous verses that a devotee should not try to solve his lingering problems by means other than devotional service. Although a sincere devotee has surrendered heart and soul in loving service to the Lord, there may be lingering material attachments that prevent the devotee from perfectly realizing transcendental knowledge. Devotional service, however, will automatically eradicate such lingering attachments in due course of time. If the devotee tries to purify himself through cultivation of knowledge and renunciation, which fall outside the scope of devotional service, there is danger of his being deviated from the Lord's lotus feet and falling down completely from the transcendental path. One who endeavors for purification outside the loving service of the Lord has not actually understood the transcendental potency of bhakti-yoga and does not appreciate the extent of Lord Kṛṣṇa's mercy.

Within this world one's heart is bound by sex attraction, which disturbs one's meditation on the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Intoxicated by contact with women, the conditioned soul becomes artificially proud and forgets his loving servitude to the Lord. Through determined cultivation of knowledge and detachment, a conditioned soul may try to purify himself without the mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa, but such false pride is to be given up, just as one must give up the false pride of material attraction. When pure devotional service to the Lord is available to a conditioned soul, attraction to other processes is certainly a deviation in his devotional career. Material desire stubbornly residing within the heart can be vanquished by taking full shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Without false confidence in one's own cultivation of knowledge and renunciation, one should depend fully on the mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa and at the same time strictly follow the rules and regulations of bhakti-yoga, as instructed by the Lord Himself.

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