उत्तारणेऽस्य भवसम्भवलोपहेतो: ।
मूढेषु वै महदनुग्रह आर्तबन्धो
किं तेन ते प्रियजनाननुसेवतां न: ॥ ४२ ॥
uttāraṇe ’sya bhava-sambhava-lopa-hetoḥ
mūḍheṣu vai mahad-anugraha ārta-bandho
kiṁ tena te priya-janān anusevatāṁ naḥ
kaḥ — what is that; nu — indeed; atra — in this matter; te — of Your Lordship; akhila-guro — O supreme spiritual master of the entire creation; bhagavan — O Supreme Lord, O Personality of Godhead; prayāsaḥ — endeavor; uttāraṇe — for the deliverance of these fallen souls; asya — of this; bhava-sambhava — of creation and maintenance; lopa — and of annihilation; hetoḥ — of the cause; mūḍheṣu — unto the foolish persons rotting in this material world; vai — indeed; mahat-anugrahaḥ — compassion by the Supreme; ārta-bandho — O friend of the suffering living entities; kim — what is the difficulty; tena — with that; te — of Your Lordship; priya-janān — the dear persons (devotees); anusevatām — of those always engaged in serving; naḥ — like us (who are so engaged).
O my Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, original spiritual master of the entire world, what is the difficulty for You, who manage the affairs of the universe, in delivering the fallen souls engaged in Your devotional service? You are the friend of all suffering humanity, and for great personalities it is necessary to show mercy to the foolish. Therefore I think that You will show Your causeless mercy to persons like us, who engage in Your service.
Here the words priya-janān anusevatāṁ naḥ indicate that the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is very favorable to devotees who act according to the instructions of His own pure devotee. In other words, one must become the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord. If one wants to become the servant of the Lord directly, this is not as fruitful as engaging in the service of the Lord’s servant. This is the direction of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who shows us the way to become gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ. One should not be proud of becoming directly the servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rather, one must seek a pure devotee, a servant of the Lord, and engage oneself in the service of such a servant. The more one becomes the servant of the servant, the more one becomes perfect in devotional service. This is also the injunction of Bhagavad-gītā: evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ. One can understand the science of the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by the paramparā system. In this regard, Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says, tāṅdera caraṇa sevi bhakta-sane vāsa: “Let me serve the lotus feet of the devotees of the Lord, and let me live with devotees.” Janame janame haya, ei abhilāṣa. Following Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, one should aspire to be a servant of the Lord’s servant, life after life. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura also sings, tumi ta’ ṭhākura, tomāra kukura, baliyā jānaha more: “O my Lord, O Vaiṣṇava, please consider me your dog.” One must become the dog of a Vaiṣṇava, a pure devotee, for a pure devotee can deliver Kṛṣṇa without difficulty. Kṛṣṇa se tomāra, kṛṣṇa dite pāra. Kṛṣṇa is the property of His pure devotee, and if we take shelter of a pure devotee, he can deliver Kṛṣṇa very easily. Prahlāda wants to engage in the service of a devotee, and therefore he prays to Kṛṣṇa, “My dear Lord, kindly give me the shelter of Your very dear devotee so that I may engage in his service and You may then be pleased.” Mad-bhakta-pūjābhyadhikā (Bhāg. 11.19.21). The Lord says, “Engaging in the service of My devotee is better than trying to engage in My devotional service.”
Another significant point in this verse is that by devotional service Prahlāda Mahārāja does not want to benefit alone. Rather, he prays to the Lord that all of us fallen souls in this material world may, by the grace of the Lord, engage in the service of His servant and thus be delivered. The grace of the Lord is not at all difficult for the Lord to bestow, and thus Prahlāda Mahārāja wants to save the whole world by spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness.