दैवं प्रिय: कुलपति: क्व च किङ्करो व: ।
अस्त्वेवमङ्ग भगवान् भजतां मुकुन्दो
मुक्तिं ददाति कर्हिचित्स्म न भक्तियोगम् ॥ १८ ॥
daivaṁ priyaḥ kula-patiḥ kva ca kiṅkaro vaḥ
astv evam aṅga bhagavān bhajatāṁ mukundo
muktiṁ dadāti karhicit sma na bhakti-yogam
rājan — O my dear King; patiḥ — maintainer; guruḥ — spiritual master; alam — certainly; bhavatām — of you; yadūnām — the Yadu dynasty; daivam — the worshipable Deity; priyaḥ — very dear friend; kula-patiḥ — the master of the dynasty; kva ca — sometimes even; kiṅkaraḥ — servant; vaḥ — of you (the Pāṇḍavas); astu — to be sure; evam — thus; aṅga — O King; bhagavān — the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhajatām — of those devotees engaged in service; mukundaḥ — the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; muktim — liberation; dadāti — delivers; karhicit — at any time; sma — indeed; na — not; bhakti-yogam — loving devotional service.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: My dear King, the Supreme Person, Mukunda, is actually the maintainer of all the members of the Pāṇḍava and Yadu dynasties. He is your spiritual master, worshipable Deity, friend, and the director of your activities. To say nothing of this, He sometimes serves your family as a messenger or servant. This means He worked just as ordinary servants do. Those engaged in getting the Lord’s favor attain liberation from the Lord very easily, but He does not very easily give the opportunity to render direct service unto Him.
While instructing Mahārāja Parīkṣit, Śukadeva Gosvāmī thought it wise to encourage the King because the King might be thinking of the glorious position of various royal dynasties. Especially glorious is the dynasty of Priyavrata, in which the Supreme Lord Ṛṣabhadeva incarnated. Similarly, the family of Uttānapāda Mahārāja, the father of Mahārāja Dhruva, is also glorious due to King Pṛthu’s taking birth in it. The dynasty of Mahārāja Raghu is glorified because Lord Rāmacandra appeared in that family. As far as the Yadu and Kuru dynasties are concerned, they existed simultaneously, but of the two, the Yadu dynasty was more glorious due to the appearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Mahārāja Parīkṣit might have been thinking that the Kuru dynasty was not as fortunate as the others because the Supreme Lord did not appear in that family, neither as Kṛṣṇa, Lord Rāmacandra, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva or Mahārāja Pṛthu. Therefore Parīkṣit Mahārāja was encouraged by Śukadeva Gosvāmī in this particular verse.
The Kuru dynasty may be considered more glorious due to the presence of devotees like the five Pāṇḍavas, who rendered unalloyed devotional service. Although Lord Kṛṣṇa did not appear in the Kuru dynasty, He was so obligated to the Pāṇḍavas’ devotional service that He acted as a maintainer of the family and spiritual master of the Pāṇḍavas. Although He took birth in the Yadu dynasty, Lord Kṛṣṇa was more affectionate to the Pāṇḍavas. By His actions, Lord Kṛṣṇa proved that He was more inclined to the Kuru dynasty than the Yadu dynasty. Indeed, Lord Kṛṣṇa, indebted to the Pāṇḍavas’ devotional service, sometimes acted as their messenger, and He guided them through many dangerous situations. Therefore Mahārāja Parīkṣit should not have been saddened because Lord Kṛṣṇa did not appear in his family. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is always inclined toward His pure devotees, and by His action it is clear that liberation is not very important for the devotees. Lord Kṛṣṇa easily gives one liberation, but He does not so easily give one the facility to become a devotee. Muktiṁ dadāti karhicit sma na bhakti-yogam. Directly or indirectly, it is proved that bhakti-yoga is the basis for the supreme relationship with the Supreme Lord. It is far superior to liberation. For a pure devotee of the Lord, mukti is automatically attained.