आत्मक्रीड आत्मरत आत्मवान् समदर्शन: ॥ २० ॥
ekaḥ — alone; caret — one should move about; mahīm — the earth; etām — this; niḥsaṅgaḥ — without any material attachment; saṁyata-indriyaḥ — completely controlling the senses; ātma-krīḍaḥ — enthusiastic by realization of the Supersoul; ātma-rataḥ — completely satisfied in spiritual understanding; ātma-vān — steady on the spiritual platform; sama-darśanaḥ — with equal vision everywhere.
Without any material attachment, with senses fully controlled, remaining enthusiastic, and satisfied in realization of the Supreme Lord and his own self, the saintly person should travel about the earth alone. Having equal vision everywhere, he should be steady on the spiritual platform.
One who remains attached to material sense gratification cannot be steady in the process of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. Being shackled by illusory desires, he is not able to fully control the senses. Actually, one should take shelter of devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours a day, for by such service one remains within the scope of spiritual reality. By chanting and hearing the holy names of the Lord along with the Lord’s glories and pastimes, one naturally drifts away from the field of material sense gratification. Good association with Lord Kṛṣṇa and His devotees automatically vanquishes useless material association, and one is able to carry out the Vedic injunctions meant to lift the conditioned soul out of the material field and onto the liberated platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In this regard, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī states in his Upadeśāmṛta (4):
guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati
bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva
“Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one’s mind in confidence, inquiring confidentially, accepting prasādam and offering prasādam are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee and another.”
One who thus learns to associate with the Lord’s devotees actually remains insulated from the contamination of material life. By pure association one gradually understands the name, form, qualities, associates, pastimes and devotional service of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and thus even in this lifetime one can become a resident of the spiritual world. In the association of pure devotees there is no material contamination and no useless discussion, since all pure devotees are fully engaged twenty-four hours a day in the loving service of the Lord. By the influence of such devotees, one develops equal vision (sama-darśana) and sees the realized knowledge of Kṛṣṇa consciousness everywhere. As one begins to understand his eternal relationship with Lord Kṛṣṇa, he becomes ātma-vān, situated in his constitutional position. An advanced Vaiṣṇava, constantly enjoying the mellows of loving devotional service and carrying out the mission of the Lord on the earth, is ātma-krīḍa, one who enjoys life within the internal potency of the Supreme Lord. The advanced devotee remains constantly attracted to the Supreme Lord and His devotees and is therefore ātma-rata, fully satisfied by constant engagement in devotional service. One cannot possibly develop the exalted qualities mentioned here without becoming an unalloyed devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. One who is envious of the Lord and His devotees becomes attracted to bad association, gradually loses control of the senses and falls down into the network of impious life. The innumerable varieties of nondevotees are like branches sprouting from the single tree of enviousness of the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, and their association should be given up by all means.
Without unalloyed devotional service to the Lord, one loses touch with the desire and mission of the Personality of Godhead and becomes attracted to worshiping the wonderful male and female creations of the Lord’s illusory energy — demigods, demigoddesses, celebrities, politicians, prostitutes, etc. In this way, one foolishly considers something besides Lord Kṛṣṇa to be supremely wonderful. Actually, Lord Kṛṣṇa is the only true object of worship for those desiring to experience unlimited beauty and pleasure. By seriously taking to Kṛṣṇa consciousness one can realize the transcendental position of Lord Kṛṣṇa and gradually develop all of the qualities mentioned in this verse.