स्त उत भवत्पदाम्बुजहृदोऽघभिदङ्घ्रिजला: ।
दधति सकृन्मनस्त्वयि य आत्मनि नित्यसुखे
न पुनरुपासते पुरुषसारहरावसथान् ॥ ३५ ॥
ta uta bhavat-padāmbuja-hṛdo ’gha-bhid-aṅghri-jalāḥ
dadhati sakṛn manas tvayi ya ātmani nitya-sukhe
na punar upāsate puruṣa-sāra-harāvasathān
bhuvi — on the earth; puru — greatly; puṇya — pious; tīrtha — places of pilgrimage; sadanāni — and personal abodes of the Supreme Lord; ṛṣayaḥ — sages; vimadaḥ — free from false pride; te — they; uta — indeed; bhavat — Your; pada — feet; ambuja — lotus; hṛdaḥ — in whose hearts; agha — sins; bhit — which destroys; aṅghri — (having bathed) whose feet; jalāḥ — the water; dadhati — turn; sakṛt — even once; manaḥ — their minds; tvayi — toward You; ye — who; ātmani — toward the Supreme Soul; nitya — always; sukhe — who is happy; na punaḥ — never again; upāsate — they worship; puruṣa — of a man; sāra — the essential qualities; hara — which steal away; āvasathān — their mundane homes.
Sages free from false pride live on this earth by frequenting the sacred pilgrimage sites and those places where the Supreme Lord displayed His pastimes. Because such devotees keep Your lotus feet within their hearts, the water that washes their feet destroys all sins. Anyone who even once turns his mind toward You, the ever-blissful Soul of all existence, no longer dedicates himself to serving family life at home, which simply robs a man of his good qualities.
The qualification of an aspiring sage is that he has learned about the Absolute Truth from standard authorities and developed a sober mood of renunciation. To develop his capacity for discriminating the important from the unimportant, such a person often wanders from one holy site to another, taking advantage of the association of great souls who frequent or reside in these places. If, in the course of his travels, the aspiring sage can begin to realize the Supreme Lord’s lotus feet in the core of his heart, he will be released from the illusion of false ego and from the painful bondage of lust, envy and greed. Though he may still go to places of pilgrimage to bathe away his sins, the now purified sage has the power to sanctify others with the water that washes his feet and with the realized instructions he imparts. Such a sage is described by the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (2.2.9)
kṣīyante cāsya karmāṇi
tasmin dṛṣṭe parāvare
“The knot in the heart is pierced, all misgivings are cut to pieces, and the chain of fruitive actions is terminated when one sees the Supreme Lord everywhere, within all superior and inferior beings.” To sages who have reached this stage, the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (3.2.11) thus pays homage: namaḥ paramarṣibhyaḥ, namaḥ paramarṣibhyaḥ. “Obeisances to the topmost sages, obeisances to the topmost sages!”
Putting aside the affectionate company of wives, children, friends and followers, saintly Vaiṣṇavas travel to the holy dhāmas where the Supreme Lord’s worship can be most successfully prosecuted — places such as Vṛndāvana, Māyāpura and Jagannātha Purī, or anywhere else where sincere devotees of Lord Viṣṇu congregate. Even those Vaiṣṇavas who have not taken sannyāsa and still live at home or in their guru’s āśrama, but who have once tasted just a drop of the sublime pleasure of devotional service, will also have little inclination to meditate on the pleasures of a materialistic family life, which robs a person of his discretion, determination, sobriety, tolerance and peace of mind.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī prays:
santaḥ santi yato yato gata-madās tān āśramān āvasan
nityaṁ tan-mukha-paṅkajād vigalita-tvat-puṇya-gāthāmṛta-
srotaḥ-samplava-sampluto nara-hare na syām ahaṁ deha-bhṛt
“My dear Lord, when I will give up all sense gratification and engage incessantly in meditating upon You, and when I will take up residence in the hermitages of saintly devotees free from false pride, then I will become fully immersed in the inundation of nectar pouring from the devotees’ lotus mouths as they chant sacred narrations about You. And then, O Lord Narahari, I will never again have to take a material body.”