भगवान् नारदो मुनिसत्तम: ॥ ४० ॥
karṇa-dhāraḥ — captain of the ship; iva — like; apāre — in the extensive oceans; bhagavān — representative of the Lord; pāra-darśakaḥ — one who can give directions to the other side; atha — thus; ābabhāṣe — began to say; bhagavān — the godly personality; nāradaḥ — the great sage Nārada; muni-sat-tamaḥ — the greatest among the devotee philosophers.
You are like a captain of a ship in a great ocean and you can direct us to our destination. Thus addressed, the godly personality, Devarṣi Nārada, greatest of the philosopher devotees, began to speak.
There are different types of philosophers, and the greatest of all of them are those who have seen the Personality of Godhead and have surrendered themselves in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Among all such pure devotees of the Lord, Devarṣi Nārada is the chief, and therefore he has been described herein as the greatest of all philosopher devotees. Unless one has become a sufficiently learned philosopher by hearing the Vedānta philosophy from a bona fide spiritual master, one cannot be a learned philosopher devotee. One must be very faithful, learned and renounced, otherwise one cannot be a pure devotee. A pure devotee of the Lord can give us direction towards the other end of nescience. Devarṣi Nārada used to visit the palace of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira because the Pāṇḍavas were all pure devotees of the Lord, and the Devarṣi was always ready to give them good counsel whenever needed.