CC Ādi 8.17
সেয়ং সাধনসাহস্রৈর্হরিভক্তিঃ সুদুলর্ভা ॥ ১৭ ॥
jñānataḥ — by cultivation of knowledge; su-labhā — easily obtainable; muktiḥ — liberation; bhuktiḥ — sense enjoyment; yajña-ādi — performance of sacrifices, etc.; puṇyataḥ — and by performing pious activities; sā — that; iyam — this; sādhana-sāhasraiḥ — execution of thousands of sacrifices; hari-bhaktiḥ — devotional service; su-durlabhā — is very rare.
“By cultivating philosophical knowledge one can understand his spiritual position and thus be liberated, and by performing sacrifices and pious activities one can achieve sense gratification in a higher planetary system, but the devotional service of the Lord is so rare that even by executing hundreds and thousands of such sacrifices one cannot obtain it.”
Prahlāda Mahārāja instructs:
mitho ’bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām
spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad-arthaḥ
niṣkiñcanānāṁ na vṛṇīta yāvat
These ślokas are to be discussed. Their purport is that one cannot obtain kṛṣṇa-bhakti, or the devotional service of the Lord, by official execution of the Vedic rituals. One has to approach a pure devotee. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura sings, chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava-sevā nistāra pāyeche kebā: “Who has been elevated without rendering service to a pure Vaiṣṇava?” It is the statement of Prahlāda Mahārāja that unless one is able to accept the dust from the lotus feet of a pure Vaiṣṇava there is no possibility of achieving the platform of devotional service. That is the secret. The above-mentioned tantra-vacana, quoted from the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.36), is our perfect guidance in this connection.