ātmānam anu ye ceha
ye rāyaḥ paśavo gṛhāḥ
mām evaṁ viśvato-mukham
bhajanty ananyayā bhaktyā
tān mṛtyor atipāraye
Unflinching devotional service, as described in these two verses, means engaging oneself in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or devotional service, accepting the Supreme Lord as all in all. Since the Supreme Lord is all-inclusive, if anyone worships Him with unflinching faith, he has automatically achieved all other opulences and performed all other duties. The Lord promises herein that He takes His devotee to the other side of birth and death. Lord Caitanya therefore recommended that one who aspires to go beyond birth and death should have no material possessions. This means that one should not try to be happy in this world or to be promoted to the heavenly world, nor should he try for material wealth, children, houses or cattle.
How liberation is imperceptibly achieved by a pure devotee and what the symptoms are have been explained. For the conditioned soul there are two statuses of living. One status is in this present life, and the other is our preparation for the next life. If I am in the mode of goodness then I may be preparing for promotion to the higher planets, if I am in the mode of passion then I shall remain here in a society where activity is very prominent, and if I am in the mode of ignorance I may be degraded to animal life or a lower grade of human life. But for a devotee there is no concern for this life or the next life because in any life he does not desire elevation in material prosperity or a high-grade or low-grade life. He prays to the Lord, “My dear Lord, it does not matter where I am born, but let me be born, even as an ant, in the house of a devotee.” A pure devotee does not pray to the Lord for liberation from this material bondage. Actually, the pure devotee never thinks that he is fit for liberation. Considering his past life and his mischievous activities, he thinks that he is fit to be sent to the lowest region of hell. If in this life I am trying to become a devotee, this does not mean that in my many past lives I was one-hundred-percent pious. That is not possible. A devotee is therefore always conscious of his real position. Only by his full surrender to the Lord, by the Lord’s grace, are his sufferings made shorter. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, “Surrender unto Me, and I will give you protection from all kinds of sinful reaction.” That is His mercy. But this does not mean that one who has surrendered to the lotus feet of the Lord has committed no misdeeds in his past life. A devotee always prays, “For my misdeeds, may I be born again and again, but my only prayer is that I may not forget Your service.” The devotee has that much mental strength, and he prays to the Lord: “May I be born again and again, but let me be born in the home of Your pure devotee so that I may again get a chance to develop myself.”
A pure devotee is not anxious to elevate himself in his next birth. He has already given up that sort of hope. In any life in which one is born, as a householder, or even as an animal, one must have some children, some resources or some possessions, but a devotee is not anxious to possess anything. He is satisfied with whatever is obtainable by God’s grace. He is not at all attached to improving his social status or improving the status of education of his children. He is not neglectful — he is dutiful — but he does not spend too much time on the upliftment of temporary household or social life. He fully engages in the service of the Lord, and for other affairs he simply spares as much time as absolutely necessary (yathārham upayuñjataḥ). Such a pure devotee does not care for what is going to happen in the next life or in this life; he does not care even for family, children or society. He fully engages in the service of the Lord in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It is stated in Bhagavad-gītā that without the knowledge of the devotee the Lord arranges for him to be immediately transferred to the Lord’s transcendental abode just after he leaves his body. After quitting his body he does not go into the womb of another mother. The ordinary common living entity, after death, is transferred to the womb of another mother, according to his karma, or activities, to take another type of body. But as far as the devotee is concerned, he is at once transferred to the spiritual world in the association of the Lord. That is the Lord’s special mercy. How it is possible is explained in the following verses. Because He is all-powerful, the Lord can do anything and everything. He can excuse all sinful reactions. He can immediately transfer a person to Vaikuṇṭhaloka. That is the inconceivable power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is favorably disposed to the pure devotees.