भगवन्तं वासुदेवं प्रपन्न: स प्रियो हि
मे ॥ २८ ॥
prapannaḥ sa priyo hi me
yaḥ — anyone; param — transcendental; raṁhasaḥ — of the controller; sākṣāt — directly; tri-guṇāt — from the three modes of material nature; jīva-saṁjñitāt — living entities called by the name jīvas; bhagavantam — unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vāsudevam — unto Kṛṣṇa; prapannaḥ — surrendered; saḥ — he; priyaḥ — very dear; hi — undoubtedly; me — of me.
Lord Śiva continued: Any person who is surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, the controller of everything — material nature as well as the living entity — is actually very dear to me.
Now Lord Śiva explains the reason he has personally come before the princes. It is because all the princes are devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (7.19):
jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ
“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.”
Lord Śiva is rarely seen by common men, and similarly a person who is fully surrendered unto Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is also very rarely seen because a person who is fully surrendered unto the Supreme Lord is very rare (sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ). Consequently, Lord Śiva came especially to see the Pracetās because they were fully surrendered unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva. Vāsudeva is also mentioned in the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the mantra oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Since Vāsudeva is the ultimate truth, Lord Śiva openly proclaims that one who is a devotee of Lord Vāsudeva, who is surrendered to Lord Kṛṣṇa, is actually very dear to him. Lord Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is worshipable not only by ordinary living entities but by demigods like Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā and others. Yaṁ brahmā-varuṇendra-rudra-marutaḥ stunvanti divyaiḥ stavaiḥ (Bhāg. 12.13.1): Kṛṣṇa is worshiped by Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Varuṇa, Indra, Candra and all other demigods. That is also the situation with a devotee. Indeed, one who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness immediately becomes very dear to anyone who is simply finding out and beginning to understand what Kṛṣṇa consciousness actually is. Similarly, all the demigods are also trying to find out who is actually surrendered to Lord Vāsudeva. Because the Pracetā princes were surrendered to Vāsudeva, Lord Śiva willingly came forth to see them.
Lord Vāsudeva, or Kṛṣṇa, is described in Bhagavad-gītā as Puruṣottama. Actually He is the enjoyer (puruṣa) and the Supreme (uttama) as well. He is the enjoyer of everything — the prakṛti and the puruṣa. Being influenced by the three modes of material nature, the living entity tries to dominate material nature, but actually he is not the puruṣa (enjoyer) but prakṛti, as described in Bhagavad-gītā (7.5): apareyam itas tv anyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām. Thus the jīva, or living entity, is actually prakṛti, or the marginal energy of the Supreme Lord. Being associated with material energy, he tries to lord it over the material nature. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (15.7):
“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.”
By endeavoring to dominate material nature, the living entity simply struggles hard for existence. Indeed, he struggles so hard to enjoy himself that he cannot even enjoy the material resources. Thus he is sometimes called prakṛti, or jīva, for he is situated in the marginal potency. When the living entity is covered with the three modes of material nature, he is called jīva-saṁjñita. There are two kinds of living entities: one is called kṣara, and the other is akṣara. Kṣara refers to those who have fallen down and become conditioned, and akṣara refers to those who are not conditioned. The vast majority of living entities live in the spiritual world and are called akṣara — they are in the position of Brahman, pure spiritual existence. They are different from those who have been conditioned by the three modes of material nature.
Being above both the kṣara and akṣara, Lord Kṛṣṇa, Vāsudeva, is described in Bhagavad-gītā (15.18) as Puruṣottama. The impersonalists may say that Vāsudeva is the impersonal Brahman, but actually the impersonal Brahman is subordinate to Kṛṣṇa, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (14.27): brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham. That Kṛṣṇa is the source of the impersonal Brahman is also confirmed in Brahma-saṁhitā (5.40): yasya prabhā prabhavato jagadaṇḍa-koṭi. The impersonal Brahman is nothing but the effulgence or bodily rays of Kṛṣṇa, and in those bodily rays there are innumerable universes floating. Thus in all respects Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is the Supreme Lord, and Lord Śiva is very satisfied with those who are completely surrendered to Him. Complete surrender is desired by Kṛṣṇa, as He indicates in the last chapter of Bhagavad-gītā (18.66): sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja.
The word sākṣāt, meaning “directly,” is very significant. There are many so-called devotees, but actually they are only karmīs and jñānīs, for they are not directly devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa. The karmīs sometimes offer the results of their activities to Lord Vāsudeva, and this offering is called karmārpaṇam. These are considered to be fruitive activities, for the karmīs consider Lord Viṣṇu to be one of the demigods like Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. Because they consider Lord Viṣṇu to be on the same level with the demigods, they contend that surrendering to the demigods is as good as surrendering unto Vāsudeva. This contention is denied herein because if it were true, Lord Śiva would have said that surrender unto him, Lord Vāsudeva, Viṣṇu or Brahmā is the same. However, Lord Śiva does not say this because he himself surrenders unto Vāsudeva, and whoever else surrenders unto Vāsudeva is very, very dear to him. This is expressed herein openly. The conclusion is that a devotee of Lord Śiva is not dear to Lord Śiva, but a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa is very dear to Lord Śiva.