NBS 73

yatas tadīyāḥ
Synonyms: 
yataḥ — because; tadīyāḥ — His.
Translation: 
Pure devotees are not distinguished by externals like social class, for they belong to the Lord.
Purport: 

Here Nārada explains why one should avoid caste-conscious prejudice toward devotees of Kṛṣṇa: because devotees are all one class—they are all His own. And because they belong to the Supreme Lord (tadīyāḥ), the devotees are worshipable:

ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param
tasmāt parataraṁ devi tadīyānāṁ samarcanam

"Of all types of worship, worship of Lord Viṣṇu is best, and better than the worship of Lord Viṣṇu is the worship of His devotee, the Vaiṣṇava" (Padma Purāṇa).

Tadīya means "in relation to Him." The devotees are intimately related to the Lord because they are under the shelter of His internal energy. Thus they always accompany Him and serve Him as His carrier Garuḍa, His couch Ananta Śeṣa, His cows, His gopas and gopīs, and so on.

In a general sense, all living entities are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa—"My eternal fragmental parts," Kṛṣṇa saysand that is another reason why one should not judge someone higher or lower by material standards. But although all jīvas are dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa, He is dear only to His devotees, and therefore they receive His special attention. As He says in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.29),

samo 'haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu na me dveṣyo 'sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā mayi te teṣu cāpy aham

"I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend—is in Me—and I am also a friend to him."

During a conversation with Sanātana Gosvāmī and Haridāsa Ṭhākura in Jagannātha Purī, Lord Caitanya once elaborately explained the same truth expressed in this sūtra. Sanātana had contracted a skin disease that produced oozing sores. Out of humility he considered his body useless for devotional service, and he decided to commit suicide under the wheel of Lord Jagannātha's chariot. But Lord Caitanya read his mind and forbade him to do so, telling him that he had already surrendered his body to the Lord for service. Lord Caitanya used to embrace Sanātana, and this made Sanātana feel mortified because his oozing sores touched the Lord's body. And so Sanātana decided to leave Jagannātha Purī. But Lord Caitanya explained that He was not offended by Sanātana's body; rather, He felt great bliss while embracing Sanātana because He saw his body as transcendental. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu quoted the Bhagavad-gītā (5.18):

vidyā-vinaya-sampanne brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ

"The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater [outcaste]."

On hearing this quote, Haridāsa said, "What You have spoken deals with external formalities." Lord Caitanya then revealed His inner thoughts regarding His love for His devotees:

My dear Haridāsa and Sanātana, I think of you as My little boys, to be maintained by Me. The maintainer never takes seriously any faults of the maintained....When a child passes stool and urine that touch the body of the mother, the mother never hates the child. On the contrary, she takes much pleasure in cleaning him. The stool and urine of the child appear like sandalwood pulp to the mother. Similarly, when the foul moisture oozing from the sores of Sanātana touches My body, I have no hatred for him. [Cc. Antya 4.184-7]

Lord Caitanya then further explained the glories of devotional service and how it transforms a devotee's body into spiritual existence.

In conclusion, the body of a pure devotee is never material. Even if it appears so, Kṛṣṇa still accepts the devotee as dear and embraces him as His own. By the Lord's mercy, the devotee is spiritualized, and in his transcendental body he renders service to the Lord's lotus feet.