In Praise of the Supreme Lord's Devotees

By His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

The pious and saintly Vaisnavas understand the exact meaning of the Bhagavad-gita. The simple message of the Gita is self-illuminated like the sun. Its knowledge is not hidden under a gloomy shroud of impersonalism. There is actually no room for extracting some alternative meaning and then giving a so-called esoteric dissertation on it. The devotees of Lord Krsna alone can fully take to heart the instructions of the Gita, and by acting accordingly they are liberated from the awesome and eternal enslavement of the cycle of karma. Such persons are not restricted to a particular country, race, or society. The Lord's devotees belong to a class of their own - they form a spiritual society unhindered by geographical conditions. God is not the monopoly of any particular group. Therefore the message of the Gita, being universal, can be followed by anyone and everyone. After all, it is in the Gita (9.32) that Lord Krsna has unconditionally declared,

O son of Prtha, those who take shelter in Me, though they be
of lower birth - women, vaisyas [merchants], as well
as sudras [workers] - can attain the Supreme destination.
The demons misinterpret the words of Lord Krsna concerning caste and social division, and they act capriciously on that basis. But this cannot blemish Lord Krsna or His words. In the Bhagavad-gita (4.13) Lord Krsna clearly says,
According to the three modes of material nature and the work
associated with them, the four divisions of human society are
created by Me.  And, although I am the creator of this system,
you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable.
The four divisions of society - namely intellectuals, administrators, merchants, and laborers - should be determined not by birth but by merit, just as one becomes a doctor or a judge not by birthright but by merit alone. In this world of the three modes of material nature, social classes have always existed. Therefore a person's birth should never determine his caste or class in society. The four classes were created according to a person's qualifications.

Doctors are available in every country and society; similarly, the four classes of men are also present in every country and society. A son born to a doctor is not necessarily sure to grow up to be a doctor; similarly, the progeny of the four classes of society do not automatically fix their future career according to that of their parents. The scriptures describe in detail the divisions of society, with their inherent characteristics. Therefore we commit a serious mistake when we regard the different classes of men as belonging to particular countries or races. The Indian culture of today is restricted by the hereditary caste system and kept in the custody of narrow-minded people who are like frogs in a well. If, instead, India had spread the transcendental message of Bhagavad-gita in the generous manner befitting a noble brahmana, then peace and tranquillity in this world would not be in such acutely short supply. By the propagation of brahminical culture, the world would have greatly prospered. Instead, the Vedic culture has been seriously maimed by the imposition of the hereditary caste system and this has had grievously adverse effects on the world. The Supreme Lord in His incarnation as Lord Caitanya has opened many avenues to peaceful living by propagating the brahminical culture, which He calls the religion of the soul. Those who are fortunate can emulate His life, follow His divine teachings, and perfect their lives.

Varnasrama-dharma, the system of four spiritual orders and four social orders of life, is of two kinds: demoniac and transcendental. They have nothing in common. The divisions of society mentioned in the scriptures are present at all times and in all lands. If one with knowledge of the scriptures scrutinizes the different societies, he can easily discern the four classes. Persons possessing brahminical or priestly qualities in varying degrees are seen in practically every society. In modern terms they are called intellectuals. All the other classes are also present. Therefore it is an established fact that the four divisions of society, according to merit, are, were, and will be present everywhere.

Those who think that brahmanas and the other three castes exist only in Indian society are sadly mistaken. The scriptures have declared that in Kali-yuga everyone is born a sudra, or a menial laborer, a member of the fourth class. Still, India has many persons endowed with high, brahminical characteristics, and without doubt such persons are also seen in every other country. Every country has these four classes of men, determined according to merit. As a matter of fact, even those who are less than sudras - the candalas, or dog-eaters - are eligible to perform devotional service. If a candala becomes an elevated devotee of the Lord, then on the basis of his merit he should be respected by all other classes. There is much scriptural evidence in this regard: the Hari-bhakti-vilasa (10.91) states, "A devotee candala achieves the same spiritual success as the devotee brahmana." And in the Bhagavatam (7.9.10), Prahlada Maharaja says, "A devotee candala is many times elevated than an ordinary ritualistic brahmana." Indeed, such a devotee candala can be the guru of the brahmanas; this has been shown throughout history by many spiritual preceptors who were born in a low caste but who initiated persons of higher castes. So, the castes are classified according to merit and activity, but a pure devotee of the Lord is beyond all these classifications. He is transcendental to everything material. How can a person who is elevated beyond all castes, a saint, be adequately worshiped if he is worshiped only as a brahmana? Therefore one who has taken shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the recipient of all good fortune in all countries at all times. The Bhagavad-gita mentions this in several places.

Whatever part of this world a person belongs to, if he follows the instructions of the Supreme Lord in the Bhagavad-gita, then he attains the transcendental platform and can become even more elevated than a brahmana. As Lord Krsna says in the Gita (4.24),

A person who is fully absorbed in Krsna consciousness is sure
to attain the spiritual kingdom because of his full
contribution to spiritual activities, in which the consummation
is absolute and that which is offered is of the same spiritual
This verse explains how one can attain spiritual knowledge by performing activities that please the Supreme Lord.

Sripada Sankaracarya propounded the impersonal theory, citing phrases like sarvam khalv idam brahma: "By nature everything is Brahman, spirit." Sankaracarya's theory has caused great confusion about established scriptural conclusions, but this phrase clearly supports the Gita verse quoted above.

At this point it is urgent that we discuss how one can perform devotional service for the Supreme Lord's pleasure. In this regard it is also noteworthy how saintly leaders like King Janaka executed karma-yoga, or devotional service, by performing sacrifice. The aim of all sacrifices should be to please the Supreme Lord, Visnu or Krsna. Contact with matter is unavoidable in our present conditioned state, because while performing activities to sustain the body and to accomplish other purposes, we become intimate with material nature. But if we can spiritualize these activities by performing every one of them as a service to Brahman, the Supreme Absolute Truth, then these activities become yajna, or sacrifice. When the Vedic phrase sarvam khalv idam brahma is interpreted in this way, it is acceptable. In other words, when one invokes the spiritual or transcendental or absolute in everything, then matter loses its mundaneness, and then only can one realize the perfect meaning of the phrase sarvam khalv idam brahma. The Vaisnavas say that anything connected with the Lord in devotional service is transcendental. In other words, it is nondifferent from the Supreme Lord Himself, Madhava. Just as iron in long and constant touch with fire loses the characteristics of iron and becomes fiery, so everything offered in sacrifice to the Absolute, or the Transcendence, becomes absolute, or transcendental.

In the Bhagavad-gita (14.27) Lord Krsna says, "And I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is immortal, imperishable and eternal and is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness." This verse unequivocally declares that Brahman is Lord Krsna's bodily effulgence. Since Lord Krsna is the source of Brahman, devotional service to Lord Krsna establishes the true meaning of sarvam khalv idam brahma. A sacrifice is properly performed only when all the sacrificial ingredients - the offerings, the fire, the ghee, and so on - become spiritualized, or reach the stage of Brahman, by their contact with Lord Krsna. And since the performance of sacrifice culminates in the manifestation of real love for Lord Visnu, loving devotional service to Lord Visnu is the very best form of sacrifice. Such a stage can be also described as total absorption in Brahman.

Persons who act in this way become progressively detached from matter and attached to Lord Krsna's devotional service. Thus they are able to purify the mirror of their hearts, extinguish the forest fire of material existence, and become situated in their original, spiritual position. They exist at a level of realization far above the impersonal realization of the Absolute, for they are free form the contamination of vainly trying to merge with the Supreme and usurping His Absolute position. They never fall from this stage of consciousness. Fully absorbed in their own transcendental identity, they are the complete masters of their senses. They are the perfect persons to rule this universe, if they so desire, and they alone bring good fortune to everyone. The conditioned souls, however, are unable to benefit the world in any way. The purified, rare souls continuously perform karma-yoga and are always in a liberated state. In the Bhagavad-gita (5.7) it is stated,

One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who controls
his mind and senses is dear to everyone, and everyone is dear
to him.  Though always working, such a man is never entangled.
There are those who live and act in a manner exactly opposite to that of the pure souls, who are constantly acting in karma-yoga. Such fruitive workers have no connection with the Supreme Lord, Krsna. Therefore, they cannot cleanse their heart of material contamination. They are slaves of their sensual urges, spending their time in gratifying their senses according to their whims. Yet they shamelessly say that all their actions are prompted by the Supreme Lord. Being cheaters and atheists, they speak like this so that their impious acts may be acceptable, and thus they inflict untold misfortunes and calamities on the world. By contrast, the pure, self-realized souls are constantly absorbed in serving Lord Krsna's lotus feet with their body, mind, and words. They never associate with atheistic people. The Supreme Lord is absolutely independent and can exercise absolute free will over all; because the spirit soul is qualitatively the same as the Supreme Lord, the Lord does not annul his minute free will.

The spirit soul unfortunately misuses this God-given minute free will and falls into the dark well of nescience and illusion. Once the spirit soul takes shelter of maya, the illusory material energy, he develops the material qualities of goodness, passion, and ignorance. The spirit soul loses his original characteristics and develops a new nature, which is controlled by the three modes of material nature, and this continues until such time as he transcends them. His actions are prompted accordingly. If it happened in any other way, then material variegatedness would not be visible in this phenomenal world. So if a person fails to inform himself about the very subtle laws and workings of material nature, and at the same time he argues that all activities are sanctioned and inspired by the Supreme Lord, then he is reducing the Supreme Lord's position and making Him out to be partial and unjust. The Lord never favors one and discriminates against another. Factually, He advises everyone to give up all material activities, which are by nature unstable and temporary. Because of forgetfulness, of God, a man becomes an eternal victim of ignorance, which then colors all his actions. The Bhagavad-gita (5.14) says,

The embodied spirit, master of the city of his body, does not
create activities, nor does he induce people to act, nor does
he create the fruits of action.  All this is enacted by the
modes of material nature.
Therefore all activities except those performed as a sacrifice to Lord Visnu are whimsical actions done of one's own volition. They are not performed under the Supreme Lord's direction or sanction. Since such activities stem from the material modes of nature, they are automatically under nature's total control. The Supreme Lord is merely an impartial and silent witness to such activities.

The actions of the karma-yogai, or devotee, are always connected with the Absolute Truth. Hence the devotee remains situated on the transcendental platform, far beyond the mundane sphere. In such a realized position, he does not see this material creation as separate from the Supreme Lord but as a transformation of His energy. Such perceptions are unhindered by the material modes of nature. Indeed, the karma-yogi's realization of everything's inherent connection with Lord Krsna is equipoised and transcendental. The Gita (5.18) states, "The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, and dog, and a dog-eater [outcaste]."

The brahmana endowed with such learning is primarily in the material mode of goodness. Among the animals, the cow is also in the mode of goodness; elephants, lions, and so on, are situated primarily in the mode of passion; dogs and some humans (such as the candalas and other outcastes) are in the mode of ignorance. The karma-yogis, who are always meditating on the Supreme, never see these outer coverings of the soul, but rather the pure soul proper. This is true equal vision in relation to the Supreme. The karma-yogis perceive that all elements and objects in this world are materials for the Supreme Lord's worship and that all living entities are eternal servitors of Lord Krsna. One attains the purest stage of equal vision when one ceases to take into consideration the outer covering of the soul, the body, but rather is established in the soul's innate nature of serving the Lord. In this stage one engages all things in devotional service to the Supreme Lord by using them as ingredients for sacrifice to please Lord Visnu.

The karma-yogi knows that Lord Krsna is the only enjoyer and exploiter of all material objects and that He is the only Lord and master of all living entities. Forgetful of this relationship with Lord Krsna, the living entity falls into the clutches of maya, or illusion. Under the influence of maya, he tries in vain to act the part of an enjoyer or a renouncer - but this is all a mere fantasy. In fact, the real affliction of the living entity is the pretense that he is the enjoyer or renouncer. All types of good and pious activities -like yoga, the cultivation of knowledge, austerity, and renunciation - are misapplied labor if they cannot kindle in the heart the flame of loving attraction for topics relating to the Supreme Lord. As Lord Krsna declares in the Bhagavad-gita (5.29),

A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the
ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the
Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor
and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from
the pangs of material miseries.
Earlier in this book we discussed the need for performing work as sacrifice, and now form this verse the truth that Lord Krsna is the original Supreme Person, the enjoyer of all sacrifices, comes out with clarity. It must be understood that the results of sacrifice performed by the karma-yogis, as well as the austerities of the knowledge-seekers, are all meant to be enjoyed by Lord Krsna alone. The object of the yogis' meditation, the Supersoul within the heart, is actually a partial expansion of Lord Krsna. We will discuss this subject matter in detain later in this book.

Lord Krsna is the well-wisher of the followers of all the different disciplines - karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, astanga-yoga(meditation), and bhakti-yoga. And because Lord Krsna is the well-wisher of everyone, He sends His close associates to the world to establish proper religious teachings in every millennium. Lord Krsna is the supreme master of all the planets, the original Lord, and the cause of all causes. The only path to peace is the path of gradual elevation in karma-yoga, leading to realization of the Absolute Truth, Lord Krsna.

Those who are already executing their work for the satisfaction of Lord Krsna are not required to separately perform sacrifices, austerities, or meditation, that are not on the platform of pure Krsna consciousness. Previously we explained that a pure karma-yogi is automatically a brahmana, sannyasi and a yogi. Like a karmi, or fruitive worker, he is expert in performing sacrifices and executing his duties; like a jnani, or seeker of knowledge, he is renounced and austere; and like a yogi, he is also detached from the fruits of his work and has brought his senses under control. One who is completely detached from all fruitive work and has become attracted to the Supreme Lord and His loving devotional service is simultaneously ornamented with all good qualities. As Lord Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita (6.1),

One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works
as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is
the true mystic, not he who lights no fire and performs no duty.
Since the karma-yogi knows that the ultimate enjoyer of the fruits of all his activities is Lord Krsna, he does not hanker after those fruits and is fully detached from them. He always thinks of doing everything for Lord Krsna. Such an unattached karma-yogi never thinks that action in Krsna consciousness is meant for enjoying sense pleasure or avoiding pain. The sannyasi renounces everything, including activities prescribed by the scriptures, in favor of cultivating knowledge of the Absolute. The yogi retires from active service and, desiring to see the Supersoul within his heart, spends his days in meditation with half-closed eyes. But he whose work is a sacrifice for the satisfaction of the Supreme makes no endeavors for his physical requirements. Since he is engaged in devotional service to the Supreme Lord, he is not required to execute the ritualistic activities recommended in the scriptures. Such a detached karma-yogi is superior to one who is merely unattached to the fruits of his work. The karma-yogi is automatically accomplished in the knowledge of the Absolute that the sannyasi seeks and the eight mystic perfections that the meditating yogi aspires for.

The real karma-yogis are in fact devotees of the Supreme Lord. Since they have attained perfection, they do not hanker for profit, adoration, or distinction. In their state of perfection, all knowledge and mystic powers automatically embellish them. With everything desirable available to them, why should they need anything else?

Following the eightfold path of Pantanjali, the meditative yogis gradually elevate themselves, mastering the different stages until they reach samadhi, or the state of absorption in the Supersoul. In their desire to reach perfection, they tolerate all sorts of adversities and sufferings and remain fixed on their goal. Ultimately they attain a state of consciousness that cannot be compared to anything in this material world. In this state of mystic perfection, no suffering - not even death - seems formidable. Lord Krsna's comment about such yogis has been recorded in the Bhagavad-gita (6.22),

Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon
gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain.  Being
situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the
midst of greatest difficulty.
In his purport to this verse, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that when one detaches oneself form the sensual world and becomes situated in samadhi, complete absorption in the Absolute Truth, one perceives the pure spiritual self and is rewarded with intense bliss. Such a yogi never deviates his concentration from the Absolute Truth, the object of his meditation. The eight mystic perfections - anima, laghima, prapti, prakamya, and so on (The eight mystic perfections are described by Lord Krsna to Uddhava in the Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.15.4-5. They are:anima-becoming smaller than the smallest; mahima-becoming greater than the greatest; laghima-becoming lighter than the lightest; prapti-acquiring whatever one desires; prakamya-experiencing any enjoyable object, either in this world or the next; isita-manipulating the subpotencies of maya; vasita-being unimpeded by the three modes of nature; kamavasayita-obtaining anything from anywhere, to the highest possible limit.) - which the yogi acquires during his discipline, are by-products of his yoga practice. In samadhi the yogi regards all these mystic perfections as insignificant. Many yogis, after mastering a few of these mystic perfections, pretend to have mastered them all, and because of a restless mind they deviate from the goal of permanent samadhi. On the other hand, for the karma-yogi, the devotee of the Lord, there is no such possibility: his heart and concentration remain fixed on his goal because he always works for the pleasure of Lord Krsna. He is always in samadhi, the yogi's ultimate destination. In the Lord's devotional service, the devotee experiences ever fresh emotions, and as his perfections become more mature, the transcendental bliss he relishes is inexplicable and inconceivable to mundane mercenaries.

What to speak of karma-yoga, even in the lesser discipline of eightfold yoga, whatever progress the yogi makes on the path toward the goal of samadhi does not go in vain, although he may not reach the ultimate goal in one lifetime. In his next life he will continue his progress. By contrast, when the fruitive worker dies, whatever wealth and education he has acquired, along with the endeavor that went in to acquiring them, all become null and void. As for the pure karma-yogi, or devotee, his devotional activities are all beyond the level of mind and body. They are related to the soul and the Supreme Soul, and hence his activities become the wealth of his pure, eternal soul. Just as the soul is never destroyed with the disintegration of the body, so this wealth of devotional service is never devalued. Thus the Bhagavad-gita says that the karma-yogi always works for the benefit and elevation of his soul, and that this endeavor and its results remain permanent spiritual assets in this life and the next. These spiritual assets are never liquidated. As Lord Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita (6.40),

Son of Prtha, a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious
activities does not meet with destruction, either in this
world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My
friend, is never overcome by evil.
Human beings are divided into two categories: the law-abiders and the law-breakers. Those who care only about satisfying their senses and so not submit to discipline and law are like animals, completely uncontrolled. Whether such an uncontrolled person is cultured or uncultured, educated or uneducated, weak or strong, his actions are always bestial. They can never benefit anyone.

The law-abiding human beings are further divided into three groups: the karmis, or fruitive workers; the jnanis, or knowledge-seekers; and the bhaktas, or devotees. The karmis are divided into two sections: the sakama-karmis, or fruitive workers who want to enjoy the results of their labor, and the niskama-karmis, who renounce the fruits of action. The sakama-karmis are greedy after insignificant, transient happiness. They make progress in their mundane activities and enjoy the heavenly planets in the life hereafter, but all that enjoyment is temporary. Therefore the soul's real benefit evades them.

To attain true, eternal happiness, which comes only after the dissipation of material bondage, is the real benefit for the soul. Thus any path that does not lead the soul to strive for this supreme goal - eternal transcendental bliss - is considered useless. When eternal bliss is the goal of ritualistic activities (karma-kanda), then they are transformed into karma-yoga. Through the practice of karma-yoga, the heart is purified of material contamination and one gains knowledge of the Absolute. Thereafter one becomes situated in meditation on the Absolute, and finally one attains bhakti, pure devotional service. In the process of karma-kanda, it is recommended that one renounces physical pleasures for a time; so a karmi may sometimes be called any ascetic. Yet however much penance a karmi may perform, ultimately this penance is another form of sensual enjoyment, since that is its ultimate goal. The demons also perform penance to increase their powers, but it is all simply to enjoy their senses. Once the living entity can transcend the stage of hankering after sensual pleasures, he comes easily to the stage of karma-yoga, which is in all respects good. Only such a person can benefit society.

The spiritual progress the karma-yogi makes in this lifetime remains intact, and he continues in this next life from that point. In the Bhagavad-gita (6.43), Lord Krsna comments, "On taking such a birth, he revives the divine consciousness of his precious life, and he again tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru." In his next life the unsuccessful yogi may be born in the family of a pious brahmana or wealthy merchant. When we talk of failure in yoga, we refer to karma-yogis, dhyan-yogis, and jnana-yogis. Among the followers of these paths, the karma-yogi is closest to becoming a pure devotee, since he has dedicated his activities to the Supreme Lord's service. Gradually, acting in this manner, he becomes a bhakti-yogi. Such a yogi is in the highest order, and he is fit to instruct all other yogis.

In the Bhagavad-gita (6.47) Lord Krsna says,

And of all yogis, the one with great faith who always abides
in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental
loving service to Me - he is the most intimately united with Me
in yoga and is the highest of all.  That is My opinion.
The fruitive workers cannot be counted among the yogis. The actual yogis are the karma-yogis, the janana-yogis, the astanga-yogis, and the bhakti-yogis. Factually they are the same, although named differently. The yogic process is like a ladder one ascends gradually toward the final goal of the Absolute Truth. Niskama-karma, or renunciation of the fruits of one's labor is the first step on this ladder. When knowledge and austerity are added to it, it becomes jnana-yoga, the second step in the ladder. And when meditation on the Supreme is added to jnana-yoga, the third step is reached, namely astanga-yoga. Finally, when loving devotional service to the Supreme Lord is practiced along with astanga-yoga,, it is transformed into bhakti-yoga. This entire successive process is yoga. For an exact and clear delineation of the subject of yoga, all four steps need to be explained separately. Those who desire the best for humanity take to the path of yoga. The process for progressing in yoga requires, first, determination and strict execution of discipline at each stage. When a person is firmly situated at one stage, he then has to relinquish attachment and adherence to the practices of that stage in order to elevate himself to the next higher stage. Those who cannot reach the top for some reason and get stuck at any one of the four stages acquire the designation of that particular stage. Thus there are karma-yogis, jnana-yogis, astanga-yogis, and bhakti-yogis. Lord Krsna instructs Arjuna that one who renders loving devotional service to Him, the Supreme Lord, is the highest among all yogis, and that Arjuna should thus strive to become such a bhakti-yogi.

The successive, step-by-step spiritual path is not the same as step-by-step progress in the material world. In the mundane process the rules of progress are strict and cannot be transgressed. If one wants to acquire a doctorate at a university, he has to begin form the elementary school level and gradually work upwards. It is impossible to go directly to the university without prior schooling. In spiritual life, however, although there are strict regulations, by the Supreme Lord's grace one can bypass many intermediary stages and reach the top, or "doctorate" level. One can attain this divine grace by intimate and constant association with the Supreme Lord. And such intimate association with the Lord comes about through confidential exchanges with a pure devotee of the Supreme Lord. Everyone of us is intimately and eternally related to the Supreme Lord, but due to the bad influence of maya we have forgotten our relationship with Him.

The living entities are like sons of the Lord, and as such they are rightful heirs to the great wealth of their rich father. But because of the reactions to sins committed in previous lives, they are roaming about without a home, suffering acute poverty. That the living entities are suffering is quite clear to all. But they do not know who their wealthy father is or where they can go to reclaim their valuable inheritance. Without proper knowledge, they are trying in vain to escape from their poverty while aimlessly roaming about like poor beggars. They meet many who promise to help them, but in the end such helpers turn out to be beggars themselves. A few among these strangers seem rich and prosperous, but the directions they give do not lead to the father's house, and so the living entities' poverty knows no end. The wealthy strangers suggest many paths, such as karma, jnana, or dhyana, but the problem of poverty remains unsolved. The living entities can escape their poverty only by learning and practicing the science of devotional service to the Supreme Lord. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the source of all incarnations, explained the science of devotional service to Srila Rupa Gosvami at Prayaga (Allahabad). These instructions are the crest jewel of teachings for all humanity. In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 19.151), the Lord says,

According to their karma, all living entities are wandering
throughout the entire universe.  Some of them are being
elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going
down to the lower planetary systems.  Out of many millions of
wandering living entities one who is very fortunate gets
an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master
by the grace of Lord Krsna.  By the mercy of both, Lord Krsna
and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of
the creeper of devotional service.
By the mercy of the Lord Krsna, this seed of devotion is available in the Bhagavad-gita. Only one who is able to receive this devotional seed can understand the purport of the Bhagavad-gita. Otherwise, simply repeatedly reading the Bhagavad-gita and discussing its teachings will not produce any results.

In the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna Himself reveals the truth about Himself. When an ordinary mortal writes an autobiography, he receives many accolades, but when the Supreme Lord writes about Himself, we unfortunately do not fully believe in His words. Furthermore, we overlook the cardinal issues in His writings and quibble over lesser subjects, trying to magnify them by giving them concocted connotations and meanings. This practice is stretched to such absurdity that the original meaning is lost and the lopsided conclusions attract only ridicule from readers. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna unequivocally declares that He is the Supreme Absolute Truth and that it is the duty of everyone to render Him loving devotional service. The Bhagavad-gita was revealed for the sole purpose of explaining these two principal points. One who understands them is eligible to begin spiritual life as a neophyte devotee. Sraddha, or faith, is the first prerequisite in spiritual life and is described as synonymous with neophyte devotion. Thus Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 22.62) says,

By rendering transcendental loving service to Krsna, one
automatically performs all subsidiary activities.  This
confident firm faith, favorable to the discharge of
devotional service is called sraddha.