By: Mahanidhi Swami
InBhagavata-gita(18.54), Bhagavan Sri Krishna says, “After one [a bhakta] becomes liberated from the three modes of material nature, he attains para-bhakti or pure devotion, uttama-bhakti to Me (brahma bhuta prasannatma, mad-bhaktim labhate param)”.
It is significant here that Bhagavan uses the word labhate (achieves, attains), instead of the word kurute (do, make). Labhate means that uttama bhakti is achieved only by the mercy of Bhagavan or His bhaktas; it is not attainable by one’s own efforts.
This is the position of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and theBhagavad-gita: first liberation then para-bhakti.
Now let’s look at the grantha-rajaSrimad Bhagavatam(10.33.39). Here the devotee, Sri Sukadeva Goswami promises that simply by hearing or describing Radha-Krishna’s Rasa Dance, one will first attain uttama-bhakti, para-bhakti, pure devotion to Bhagavan Sri Krishna. And then he will quickly attain liberation from the modes of nature, and their concomitant qualities like lust, anger, greed and so on (vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir, srnuyad atha varnayed, bhaktim param bhagavati pratilabhya, kamam
hrd-rogam ashu apahinoti acirena).
This is the position of the bhakta Sukadeva Goswami and the Bhagavatam: first para-bhakti then liberation.
The conclusion is that the devotees of Krishna are more merciful than Bhagavan Sri Krishna.
Grantha-raja Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai!
Krpa-shakti murti Sukadeva Goswami ki jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!