The following verse is a petition made at the stage of humility described in the previous Texts. Prahlāda Mahārāja (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.9.39)) prays:
naitan manas tava kathāsu vikuṇṭha-nātha
samprīyate durita-duṣṭam asādhu tīvram
tasmin kathaṁ tava gatiṁ vimṛśāmi dīnaḥ
O Vaikuṇṭhanātha, my mind is polluted by the desire to sin. How can I explain to You the suffering of my mind, which is constantly afflicted by desires? My mind, strongly attached to these desires, is sometimes overpowered by happiness and sometimes by distress and fear. It is always engaged in collecting wealth and material assets, and it finds no taste in the narrations of Your pastimes. How, then, can I remember and meditate upon You?
durita-dūṣita mana asādhu mānasa
kāma-harṣa-śoka-bhaya eṣaṇāra vaśa
tava kathā-rati kise haibe āmāra?
kise kṛṣṇa tava līlā kariba vicāra?
When steady devotion arises in the heart of a sādhaka, a mood of natural humility manifests. Out of greed to constantly relish the sweetness of Bhagavān he repents, “Alas, alas, I have not performed any sādhana-bhajana. My heart is sinful and my mind is wicked, and therefore I left the merciful Lord and am drowning in the ditch of material enjoyment. How will I be able to relish the nectar of Svāminī’s lotus feet? O Lord, how can I develop affection for Your form, qualities and pastimes? How can I obtain a taste for bhajana? Firmly bound by many kinds of illicit desires, I am drowning in the ocean of material existence. Oh, how can I protect myself from all this? O Bhagavān, I have become a servant of the six enemies. How can I, who am unintelligent and devoted to material desires, understand the boundless, eternal and deep truth about You?” This kind of humility arises when bhakti is fully ripe. In reality, fully mature prema is humility. Considering himself to be extremely fallen and wretched, the sādhaka always offers Bhagavān various humble and grief-stricken prayers.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.9.40) explains how life is completely destroyed by attraction to the form, taste and so on of material objects:
jihvaikato ’cyuta vikarṣati māvitṛptā
śiśno ’nyatas tvag-udaraṁ śravaṇaṁ kutaścit
ghrāṇo ’nyataś capala-dṛk kva ca karma-śaktir
bahvyaḥ sapatnya iva geha-patiṁ lunanti
O Acyuta, my tongue is pulling me towards very relishable flavours, my genitals towards beautiful women, my stomach towards foodstuffs that are harmful, my ears towards sweet songs and useless talk, my nose towards pleasant fragrances, my eyes towards beauty and my sense of touch towards soft things. In this way all my sense organs are pulling me towards their respective sense objects. O Nanda-nandana, my situation is like that of a man with many wives, each dragging him towards her own bedroom. In such a condition how can I remember You and Your form, qualities and pastimes?
jihvā ṭāne rasa prati, upastha kadarthe
udara bhojane ṭāne viṣama anarthe
carma ṭāne śayyādite, śravaṇa kathāya
ghrāṇa ṭāne surabhite, cakṣu dṛśye yāya
karmendriya karme ṭāne, bahu-patnī yathā
gṛhapati ākarṣaya, mora mana tathā
emata avasthā mora śrī-nanda-nandana
ki rūpe tomāra līlā kariba smaraṇa?
The sādhaka is praying to Bhagavān with great humility, “O Lord, let my mind always be completely attached to Your lotus feet and engaged in glorifying You. But, O Acyuta, although I am trying to control my senses by innumerable endeavours, I have not been successful. Alas, alas, what shall I do? My unsatisfied tongue, genitals, belly, ears, nose, restless eyes and sense of touch are drawing me in the direction of their respective sense objects – sound, form, taste, smell and touch – and are thus destroying me. O Prabhu, although I have tried my best to subdue them, I have not succeeded. My condition is like that of a man who, controlled by lust, has married several wives. Now all these wives are dragging him in their own direction, each wanting her lustful desires fulfilled. He is not able to pacify the fire of their lust nor do they leave him alone. The more this lusty man tries in various ways to satisfy the desires of these ladies, the less successful he is. Similarly, I endeavoured in many ways, but all in vain. O protector of the helpless, now You are my only shelter. I have faith in You alone. By the power of Your mercy, please deliver me from the entanglement of this material existence and thus make Your name, Patita-pāvana, meaningful.”
A prayer for obtaining the association of vraja-bhaktas is spoken by Lord Brahmā in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.30):
tad astu me nātha sa bhūri-bhāgo
bhave ’tra vānyatra tu vā tiraścām
yenāham eko ’pi bhavaj-janānāṁ
bhūtvā niṣeve tava pāda-pallavam
O Bhagavān, may I be so fortunate as to attain the association of Your devotees and, under their guidance, obtain service to Your lotus feet; be it in this or any other human birth, or in a birth such as an animal, bird, worm or moth.
ei brahma janmei vā anya kona bhave
paśu-pakṣī ha’ye janmi tomāra vibhave
ei mātra āśā tava bhakta-gaṇa-saṅge
thāki’ tava pada-sevā kari nānā-raṅge
Lord Brahmā became perplexed when he saw Śrī Kṛṣṇa playing with the other cowherd boys. So, in order to see more of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, he stole the cowherd boys and calves. Śrī Kṛṣṇa, however, assumed the forms of as many cows and cowherd boys as Brahmā stole, and for one year He continued His pastimes as before. Finally, He showed Brahmā His four-armed form. Upon seeing Bhagavān’s opulence, Brahmā deeply regretted his actions. He praised Śrī Kṛṣṇa in various ways and begged forgiveness for his offence: “O Lord, I have directly received Your mercy. O fulfiller of all kinds of desires, my fortune is not in having obtained this post as Brahmā. Rather, if I take birth in Vraja from the womb of an animal, bird, worm, moth or any other sub-human species, I will consider myself most fortunate. Even the mercy available to the deer in Vraja is not easily obtained in this birth as Brahmā. The deer cleanse the dust from Your limbs with their tongues, and You caress them with Your hands. I want to take birth in any species, high or low, where I can serve Your lotus feet under the guidance of Your devotees. This is my earnest desire and will be my good fortune.”
It is useless to be anxious about attaining the four goals of life. Śrī Uddhava explains in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.4.15):
ko nv īśa te pāda-saroja-bhājāṁ
sudurlabho ’rtheṣu caturṣv apīha
tathāpi nāhaṁ pravṛṇomi bhūman
O Lord, it is not difficult for one who has taken shelter of Your lotus feet to achieve the four goals of life (religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation); nevertheless, such a person does not desire them. O Great One, he is not concerned with anything other than rendering service to Your lotus feet.
kṛṣṇa! tava pāda-padme bhakti āche yāṅra
catur-varga-madhye kivā aprāpya tāṅhāra
tathāpi tomāra pada-sevā mātra cāi
anya kona arthe mora prayojana nāi
The inherent dharma of the living entity is the tendency to serve (sevā-vṛtti). The devotee therefore desires the fifth goal of human life, pañcama-puruṣārtha, which is prema-sevā. He does not accept the threefold designations of religiosity (dharma), economic development (artha) and sense gratification (kāma), nor does he accept liberation (mokṣa), which is free from material designations. The impersonalists strive for sāyujya-mukti, which the devotee always completely rejects. The Nārada-pañcarātra (1.1.34) states:
bhaktaś cādbhutās tasyāś
All kinds of liberation are automatically accomplished by devotees who perform pure devotional service to Hari. Not only are they accomplished, but they follow the devotees like maidservants, always ready to serve them.
Devotees reject the five kinds of mukti: sāyujya, sārūpya, sāmīpya, sālokya and sārṣṭi. Excluding sāyujya, however, the other four are not entirely opposed to bhakti. They are of two kinds: sukhaiśvaryottarā (liberation tainted with the desire to enjoy the Lord’s opulence) and prema-sevottarā (liberation in which the dominant desire is to serve the Lord for His pleasure). Because there is some desire for personal happiness in both of these, those who are devoted to unalloyed service to Bhagavān consider them opposed to loving service and do not accept them.
One should endeavour to attain pure unalloyed devotion (śuddha-ahaitukī-bhakti). Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.5.18) states:
tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido
na labhyate yad bhramatām uparyadhaḥ
tal labhyate duḥkhavad-anyataḥ sukhaṁ
kālena sarvatra gabhīra-raṁhasā
[Śrī Nārada said:] In the course of time I have been wandering from the seven higher planets to the seven lower, such as Sutalaloka, but I have not attained eternal, transcendental happiness, which wise persons endeavour to taste. Just as misery comes without endeavour, by the influence of grave, quickly-moving time, happiness also comes without any endeavour. What, therefore, is the use of endeavouring for worldly happiness?
vinā yatne duḥkhera ghaṭanā yena haya
sei rūpe kāla-krame sukhera udaya
ataeva caudda-loke durlabha ye dhana
sei bhakti-janya yatna kare budha-gaṇa
A devotee understands that any pleasure within the material universe is insignificant compared to even the slightest experience of the nectar and fragrance of Bhagavān’s lotus feet. One who has only tasted molasses will give it up when he tastes fragrant sugar candy. Similarly, before actually cultivating devotion to Bhagavān in the association of pure devotees, the living entity who is allured by the flowery words of the Vedas desires to enjoy nectar, nectarean food and the other heavenly pleasures of Svarga. Alternatively, by the influence of association with jñānīs, the living entity desires liberation. Pure devotees do not accept either of these – they only desire the happiness of loving service to Bhagavān through bhakti. This Text tells us that those who are genuinely wise search only for that constant, eternal, transcendental happiness that is only obtained in Hari-dhāma (Vaikuṇṭha). This transcendental happiness is not available to the jīva who wanders throughout the fourteen worlds searching for mundane enjoyment.
Material happiness is even obtained in the body of a hog. According to his karma the living entity sometimes tastes sorrow and difficulties, and sometimes he effortlessly tastes happiness. Therefore the scriptures unanimously instruct that one should not endeavour to obtain that which is temporary and material. The jīva’s goal is neither to prevent his material suffering nor to be successful in endeavours for happiness. Such attempts are simply childish fickleness. The wise give up searching for these temporary things and endeavour to attain service to Śrī Hari, which is the soul’s eternal dharma.