विदां मुनीनां परमं गुरुं वै ।
प्रष्टुं प्रवृत्त: किमिहारणं तत्
साक्षाद्धरिं ज्ञानकलावतीर्णम् ॥ १९ ॥
vidāṁ munīnāṁ paramaṁ guruṁ vai
praṣṭuṁ pravṛttaḥ kim ihāraṇaṁ tat
sākṣād dhariṁ jñāna-kalāvatīrṇam
aham — I; ca — and; yoga-īśvaram — the master of all mystic power; ātma-tattva-vidām — of the learned scholars who are aware of the spiritual science; munīnām — of such saintly persons; paramam — the best; gurum — the preceptor; vai — indeed; praṣṭum — to inquire; pravṛttaḥ — engaged; kim — what; iha — in this world; araṇam — the most secure shelter; tat — that which; sākṣāt harim — directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead; jñāna-kalā-avatīrṇam — who has descended as the incarnation of complete knowledge in His plenary portion known as Kapiladeva.
I consider your good self the most exalted master of mystic power. You know the spiritual science perfectly well. You are the most exalted of all learned sages, and you have descended for the benefit of all human society. You have come to give spiritual knowledge, and you are a direct representative of Kapiladeva, the incarnation of God and the plenary portion of knowledge. I am therefore asking you, O spiritual master, what is the most secure shelter in this world?
As Kṛṣṇa confirms in Bhagavad-gītā:
śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ
sa me yuktatamo mataḥ
“Of all yogīs, he who abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.” (Bg. 6.47)
Jaḍa Bharata was a perfect yogī. He was formerly the emperor Bharata Mahārāja, and he was now the most exalted personality among learned sages and the master of all mystic powers. Although Jaḍa Bharata was an ordinary living entity, he had inherited all the knowledge given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kapiladeva. He could therefore be taken directly as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As confirmed by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura in his stanzas to the spiritual master: sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstraiḥ. An exalted personality like Jaḍa Bharata is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead because he fully represents the Lord by giving knowledge to others. Jaḍa Bharata is herein accepted as the direct representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead because he was imparting knowledge on behalf of the Supreme Lord. Therefore Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa concluded that it was appropriate to ask him about ātma-tattva, the spiritual science. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet. This Vedic injunction is also confirmed herein. If anyone is at all interested in knowing the spiritual science (brahma jijñāsā), he must approach a guru like Jaḍa Bharata.