पश्यन् पद्मपलाशाक्षो न प्रतस्थे सुहृत्सताम् ॥ २० ॥
na pratasthe suhṛt satām
prasthāna — to leave; abhimukhaḥ — ready; api — although; enam — him (Pṛthu); anugraha — by kindness; vilambitaḥ — detained; paśyan — seeing; padma-palāśa-akṣaḥ — the Lord, whose eyes are like the petals of a lotus flower; na — not; pratasthe — departed; suhṛt — the well-wisher; satām — of the devotees.
The Lord was just about to leave, but because He was so greatly inclined toward the behavior of King Pṛthu, He did not depart. Seeing the behavior of Mahārāja Pṛthu with His lotus eyes, He was detained because He is always the well-wisher of His devotees.
Here the words suhṛt satām are very significant. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is always very inclined toward His devotee and is always thinking of the devotee’s well-being. This is not partiality. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord is equal to everyone (samo ’haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu), but to one who particularly engages in His service, He is very much inclined. In another place, the Lord says that a devotee always exists in His heart and He also exists always in the heart of the devotee.
The special inclination of the Supreme Personality of Godhead for His pure devotee is not unnatural, nor is it partiality. For example, sometimes a father has several children, but he has special affection for one child who is very much inclined toward him. This is explained in Bhagavad-gītā (10.10):
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ
yena mām upayānti te
Those who constantly engage in the devotional service of the Lord in love and affection are directly in contact with the Supreme Personality of Godhead sitting as the Supersoul in everyone’s heart. The Lord is not far away from the devotee. He is always in everyone’s heart, but only the devotee can realize the Lord’s presence, and thus he is directly connected and he takes instruction from the Lord at every moment. Therefore there is no chance of a devotee’s being in error, nor is there any partiality on the part of the Lord for His pure devotees.