- atha bhāgavatā yūyaṁ
- priyāḥ stha bhagavān yathā
- na mad bhāgavatānāṁ ca
- preyān anyo 'sti karhicit
atha—therefore; bhāgavatāḥ—devotees; yūyam—all of you; priyāḥ—very dear to me; stha—you are; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; yathā—as; na—neither; mat—than me; bhāgavatānām—of the devotees; ca—also; preyān—very dear; anyaḥ—others; asti—there is; karhicit—at any time.
You are all devotees of the Lord, and as such I appreciate that you are as respectable as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. I know in this way that the devotees also respect me and that I am dear to them. Thus no one can be as dear to the devotees as I am.
It is said, vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ: Lord Śiva is the best of all devotees. Therefore all devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa are also devotees of Lord Śiva. In Vṛndāvana there is Lord Śiva's temple called Gopīśvara. The gopīs used to worship not only Lord Śiva but Kātyāyanī, or Durgā, as well, but their aim was to attain the favor of Lord Kṛṣṇa. A devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa does not disrespect Lord Śiva, but worships Lord Śiva as the most exalted devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Consequently whenever a devotee worships Lord Śiva, he prays to Lord Śiva to achieve the favor of Kṛṣṇa, and he does not request material profit. In Bhagavad-gītā (BG 7.20) it is said that generally people worship demigods for some material profit. Kāmais tais tair hṛta jñānāḥ. Driven by material lust, they worship demigods, but a devotee never does so, for he is never driven by material lust. That is the difference between a devotee's respect for Lord Śiva and an asura's respect for him. The asura worships Lord Śiva, takes some benediction from him, misuses the benediction and ultimately is killed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who awards him liberation.
Because Lord Śiva is a great devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he loves all the devotees of the Supreme Lord. Lord Śiva told the Pracetās that because they were devotees of the Lord, he loved them very much. Lord Śiva was not kind and merciful only to the Pracetās; anyone who is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very dear to Lord Śiva. Not only are the devotees dear to Lord Śiva, but he respects them as much as he respects the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Similarly, devotees of the Supreme Lord also worship Lord Śiva as the most dear devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. They do not worship him as a separate Personality of Godhead. It is stated in the list of nāma-aparādhas that it is an offense to think that the chanting of the name of Hari and the chanting of Hara, or Śiva, are the same. The devotees must always know that Lord Viṣṇu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that Lord Śiva is His devotee. A devotee should be offered respect on the level of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and sometimes even more respect. Indeed, Lord Rāma, the Personality of Godhead Himself, sometimes worshiped Lord Śiva. If a devotee is worshiped by the Lord, why should a devotee not be worshiped by other devotees on the same level with the Lord? This is the conclusion. From this verse it appears that Lord Śiva blesses the asuras simply for the sake of formality. Actually he loves one who is devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.