कर्मिभ्यः परितो हरेः प्रियतया व्यक्तिंययुर्ज्ञानिन-
स्तेभ्यो ज्ञानविमुक्त-भक्तिपरमाः प्रेमैकनिष्ठास्ततः ।
तेभ्यस्ताः पशुपाल-पङ्कजदृशस्ताभ्योऽपि सा राधिका
प्रेष्ठा तद्वदियं तदीय सरसी तां नाश्रयेत् कः कृती ॥१०॥
karmibhyaḥ parito hareḥ priyatayā vyaktiṁ yayur jñāninas
tebhyo jñāna-vimukta-bhakti-paramāḥ premaika-niṣṭhās tataḥ
tebhyas tāḥ paśu-pāla-paṅkaja-dṛśas tābhyo ’pi sā rādhikā
preṣṭhā tadvad iyaṁ tadīya-sarasī taṁ nāśrayet kaḥ kṛtī
jñāninaḥ – the brahma-jñānīs, who by dint of their spiritual knowledge are transcendental to the three modes of material nature; yayuḥ – have attained; vyaktim – distinction (have been ascertained in the scriptures); priyatayā – as being more dear; paritaḥ – in all respects; hareḥ – to Śrī Hari; karmibhyaḥ – than the pious followers of the path of karma, who are forever occupied in performing virtuous deeds; jñāna-vimukta – those who have abandoned the pursuit of knowledge, like Sanaka; bhakti-paramāḥ – and who are dear devotees of Kṛṣṇa, considering bhakti alone to be the best path; (have attained distinction as being more dear to Śrī Hari) tebhyaḥ – than them (the jñānīs); prema eka-niṣṭhāḥ – pure devotees of Śrī Kṛṣṇa such as Nārada who are resolutely fixed in prema for Him; (have attained distinction as being more dear to Śrī Hari) tataḥ – than them (those dear devotees); taḥ – those; paśu-pāla – maintainers of the cows (the gopīs); dṛśaḥ – whose eyes; paṅkaja – are like the fully blossomed petals of a lotus flower; (have attained distinction as being more dear to Śrī Hari) tebhyaḥ – than them (those loving devotees); sā – that; rādhikā – Śrīmatī Rādhikā; (has attained distinction as being more dear to Śrī Hari) api – even; tābhyaḥ – than them (the gopīs); iyam – this; sarasī – pond (Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa); tadīya – of Hers (Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s); preṣṭhā – is more dear (to Śrī Kṛṣṇa); tad-vat – just as She is; (therefore) kaḥ – what; kṛtī – highly fortunate, spiritually intelligent person; na āśrayet – would not take shelter (would not reside on the banks of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa in a state of transcendental consciousness, performing bhajana of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s eightfold daily pastimes); tām – of that Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa.
One who selflessly performs virtuous acts in accordance with the path of karma-yoga is superior to those who merely seek to fulfil their selfish desires. The brahma-jñānīs, who by dint of their spiritual knowledge are transcendental to the three modes of material nature, are more dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa than those pious followers of the karma path, who are forever occupied in performing virtuous deeds. More dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa than the brahma-jñānīs are His devotees like Sanaka, who have abandoned the pursuit of knowledge and who consider bhakti alone to be the best path. In doing so, they have followed the statement in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.3): “jñāne prayāsam udapāsya – one should abandon the endeavour for knowledge.” Pure devotees like Nārada, who are resolutely fixed in prema for Kṛṣṇa, are even more dear to Him than all such devotees. The vraja-gopīs, whose very lives belong solely to Kṛṣṇa, are even more beloved to Him than all such loving (premī) devotees. Amongst all those beloved gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhikā is more dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa than His own life; in precisely the same way, He dearly loves Her pond, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Therefore, what highly fortunate, spiritually intelligent person would not reside on the banks of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa in a state of transcendental consciousness, performing bhajana of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s eightfold daily pastimes?
In this tenth verse, yet another reason for taking shelter of and worshipping Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa is being shown. A follower of the path of karma-kāṇḍa, who is interested solely in enjoying the fruits of his actions, is actually indifferent to Bhagavān. More dear to Bhagavān are jñānīs, who are inclined towards nirviśeṣa-brahma, His impersonal aspect, which is merely a non-specific manifestation of undifferentiated spirit. More dear to Bhagavān than such jñānīs are His devotees such as the four Kumāras, who are devoid of nirviśeṣa-jñāna, inclination towards His impersonal aspect, yet possess aiśvarya-jñāna, awareness of His supreme majesty. Devotees such as Śrī Nārada who possess prema-niṣṭhā, a resolute and exclusive fixation in love for Him, are even more dear to Śrī Hari than such jñāni-bhaktas. Superior to such loving devotees are the vraja-gopīs, who possess an indescribable and unprecedented love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa and are therefore exceedingly dear to Him.
In the Padma Purāṇa it is said:
yathā rādhā priyā viṣṇos
tasyāḥ kuṇḍaṁ priyaṁ thatā
Just as Śrīmatī Rādhikā is most dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Her pond, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa, is equally dear to Him. Among all the beloved gopīs, none are as dear as Śrīmatī Rādhikā.
This verse, quoted in Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi (4.5), proves that, amongst all the gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhikā alone is Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s dearmost beloved. In precisely the same way Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa, Her pond – which is actually non-different from Her – is exceedingly dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and is also the topmost place of residence for devotees. Therefore what spiritually insightful person desirous of performing bhajana would not take shelter of that pond? Certainly any such person would take shelter of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa.
Among the many varieties of sādhakas found in this world, the devotee of Bhagavān who performs bhajana while residing on the banks of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa is the best and the most dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This is described in this tenth verse. More dear to Kṛṣṇa than the followers of the path of karma are the jñānīs, who search after the impersonal aspect of the absolute truth. More dear to Kṛṣṇa than all the varieties of jñānīs is a pure devotee, who has abandoned the attempt to understand the absolute truth through the cultivation of knowledge. Amongst all varieties of pure devotees, the premi-bhakta, or one who dearly loves Kṛṣṇa, is the most dear to Him. Amongst all varieties of such loving pure devotees, the vraja-gopīs are the most dear to Kṛṣṇa. Of all the vraja-gopīs, Śrīmati Rādhikā is Kṛṣṇa’s dearmost, and Her pond, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa, is similarly dear to Him. Therefore the intelligent person who possesses sufficient accumulated devotional merit (sukṛti) will most certainly reside on the banks of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa and within the mind render service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s eightfold daily pastimes.
More dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa than those who simply act to fulfil their selfish desires is one who is firmly established in the mode of goodness and is therefore dedicated to performing virtuous deeds. Even more dear to Kṛṣṇa than all such sat-karmīs is a brahma-jñānī, who is transcendental to the modes of nature altogether. More dear to Kṛṣṇa than all such jñānīs is a pure devotee. More dear to Kṛṣṇa than all such pure devotees is a premi-bhakta, who loves Him dearly. Even more dear to Kṛṣṇa than all such premi-bhaktas are the vraja-gopīs. Amongst all the vraja-gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhikā is Kṛṣṇa’s dearmost. In the same way that Kṛṣṇa loves Her, He loves Her pond, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa’s devotees, who are the most fortunate people, take shelter of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa.