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Reading from Bhaktivedānta Academy Study Guide on Bhagavad-gītā: [Chapter 8 Verses 14-16 Pure Devotional Service] "For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Pṛthā, because of his constant engagement in devotional service. After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection. From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again."

The Lord has already described bhakti mixed with karma (ārto jijñāsur arthārtī, 7.16), bhakti mixed with desire for liberation (jarā-maraṇa-mokṣāya, 7.29), and bhakti mixed with yoga (8.9-13).  Now the Lord speaks of kevala-bhakti—the highest bhakti which is devoid of any material tinge.

In the notes: Besides ārto jijñāsur and arthārtī Bhagavad-gītā 7.16 mentions the jñānī who does not have a desire for material results or for liberation. Therefore he is not classified among the devotees who want something in exchange for their devotional service. Still, according to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, the jñānī retains some elements of jñāna for practicing bhakti and is thus distinguished from the kevala-bhakta who practices bhakti alone.

His Holiness Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: Because the jñānī then also can be established as a neophyte devotee. But his sincerity that he wants to know Kṛṣṇa, wants to please Kṛṣṇa is there, but there will be the element of jñāna, wanting to know, so he can properly worship, properly deal with Kṛṣṇa. He is distinguished from the jijñāsu who just wants to have knowledge and once he has gained that then he may lose interest and go somewhere else because there is so many vast topics.

So, the kevala-bhakta means that he is beyond this, these aren’t his focus at all. So then we will see here, is that being fixed in their practicing in this way he will come to that platform. So this pure devotion means, the intent is there. One may not be completely pure. This is the important element to note: just as the moon is appreciated for its beauty and its coolingness, but it still has spots, is that the devotee being focused on Kṛṣṇa, not wanting anything there, but from the past activities there is still something remaining. So those things, by performing the devotional service, those will go away. So that’s why Kṛṣṇa is saying, he will obtain. Because otherwise, where someone has come to that platform, He says, 'He has attained.' Kṛṣṇa makes that point. So he will attain. And he is very dear, because he is only focused on Kṛṣṇa. These are just habits from the past. These things just slowly, slowly go away by the process, but they are not his focus. So they may be engaged, they may be different things, he may analyze them according to his knowledge, but he is not interested in getting a result, so he is performing activities in naiṣkarmya. And he is not wanting liberation. So, therefore, this comes to the point of kevala-bhakta.

So it is a matter of where the focus is. Because the whole thing is consciousness. If the focus is right, it works. This is very important. Because otherwise you may say, 'Oh, but he has faults, I saw, he is attached to this or that,' but in his mind that is not his focus. Just like Nārada Muni, when he is discussing with Vyāsadeva about when he was the son of a maidservant, and then he says, 'I was not interested in playing, I was just focused on the spiritual life.' But in the purport Prabhupāda said, he is a kid, of course, he is playing and doing all these things, what kid is not? But in his mind he wasn’t thinking, 'Yeah, now I want to go play.' No, he is thinking of Kṛṣṇa and just because he is a kid, they play, they do different things. Do you understand? So it is what is the intent.

Just like, let's say, someone who is just new in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it is new and fresh to them. All they think about is the Kṛṣṇa consciousness and doing things connected to that. But if you look at it, they probably have much more anarthas and activities that are not so useful than someone who is more mature in devotional service. But you don’t notice that, you just see that enthusiasm, that freshness, that interest, that drive. Because that is what is important, because that is what is in the relationship. You have a good friend. What is important? That aspect of interaction, or what he does in his spare time? The point is, Kṛṣṇa is a person, so this is what is important. Is He important? Is that what you are trying to obtain? Is that what is important? And other things, then that is another aspect. So with time everything will match. So in the beginning it may not match, but if one continues it will all match.

Reading from Bhaktivedānta Academy Study Guide: Because of constant engagement in devotional service, Kṛṣṇa is easily obtained by a devotee who always remembers Him without deviation (Verse 14).

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Means, before we said, if you are always remembering Kṛṣṇa, at the time of death you will remember. So if he is always remembering now, that will happen then. So it is anyway. And Kṛṣṇa is there, He will help, as we will see when we get to the tenth chapter, then Kṛṣṇa makes it very clear, His position.

Reading from Bhaktivedānta Academy Study Guide: The pure devotee’s only desire is to please Kṛṣṇa. Therefore his mind is exclusively fixed on Kṛṣṇa and he wards off all desires and thoughts not related to unflinching devotional service.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So he wards off all desires, doesn’t mean they won’t come. As we mentioned yesterday, devotees would harass another devotee because he would think of different things and he would, you know, being simple or being open, trying to be not from the material honest, but just trying to do association, guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati, then he would discuss with others and then they would take that and use that against him in a political way, find fault. So this is wrong, Kṛṣṇa is not agreeing with that because this is not... Desires come up.

Because otherwise, how is it that Yamunācārya, he is an Ālvār, he is one of the 12 previous ācāryas we accept and the Rāmānujas accept, like Kulaśekhara, we always talk about Kulaśekhara, he is one of the 12 Ālvārs, so we don't have a... Yamunācārya, he is one of the Ālvārs. So like this, Yamunācārya, he was a king, actually it is Yamunācārya, he was a king. He was a brahmacārī, then he went, defeated the Paṇḍita, and then he was given half the kingdom, so he became a king. And then later on one of his Godbrothers had to come and by a trick get him back out, because he had this favorite spinach, so he would bring it every day, so he was eating it, very much liked it, and then one day he didn't bring it, so then they wanted to know, 'Where is this guy?' So then when he did come back, then the king saw him and then he reminded him of his previous devotional service. So one can say, 'Well, how is this an Ālvār?' But this is not how it works. The point is its connection to Kṛṣṇa.

Just another thing also to notice, we use the term here, 'pure devotional service,' 'pure devotee.' Pure devotee starts from a madhyama. Madhyama is a pure devotee. Neophyte may be, may not be. But madhyama is. So that's where it starts. Because we will say 'pure devotee' and then we will put it way off in the distance. No, pure devotional service can be performed from niṣṭhā. Because that's it, you are fixed, that is the point, constant engagement, so one is fixed.

Reading from Bhaktivedānta Academy Study Guide: Therefore his mind is exclusively fixed on Kṛṣṇa, he wards off all desires and thoughts not related to unflinching devotional service to the Supreme Lord: Smartavyaṁ satato viṣṇuḥ vismārtavyaṁ na jātucit. He does not have any selfish desires and as a result he enjoys perfect peace.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So, one has to be liberal in that way. Liberal meaning, that should not bother you about others if they are fixed in their devotion and they are moving forward. At the same time, one also has to have this attitude towards oneself. It is not a liberality 'It is all right that one thinks this,' no, it is a matter of even if one thinks, it is still, you go on.

From Bhagavad-gītā Seriatim Study Course, Lecture #44, Bhaktivedānta Academy, Śrīdhāma Māyāpura. This passage starting at 15 mins 40s.

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