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ŚB 8.8.21


धर्म: क्‍वचित् तत्र न भूतसौहृदं
त्याग: क्‍वचित् तत्र न मुक्तिकारणम् ।
वीर्यं न पुंसोऽस्त्यजवेगनिष्कृतं
न हि द्वितीयो गुणसङ्गवर्जित: ॥ २१ ॥


dharmaḥ kvacit tatra na bhūta-sauhṛdaṁ
tyāgaḥ kvacit tatra na mukti-kāraṇam
vīryaṁ na puṁso ’sty aja-vega-niṣkṛtaṁ
na hi dvitīyo guṇa-saṅga-varjitaḥ


dharmaḥ — religion; kvacit — one may have full knowledge of; tatra — therein; na — not; bhūta-sauhṛdam — friendship with other living entities; tyāgaḥ — renunciation; kvacit — one may possess; tatra — therein; na — not; mukti-kāraṇam — the cause of liberation; vīryam — power; na — not; puṁsaḥ — of any person; asti — there may be; aja-vega-niṣkṛtam — no release from the power of time; na — nor; hi — indeed; dvitīyaḥ — the second one; guṇa-saṅga-varjitaḥ — completely freed from the contamination of the modes of nature.


Someone may possess full knowledge of religion but still not be kind to all living entities. In someone, whether human or demigod, there may be renunciation, but that is not the cause of liberation. Someone may possess great power and yet be unable to check the power of eternal time. Someone else may have renounced attachment to the material world, yet he cannot compare to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, no one is completely freed from the influence of the material modes of nature.


The statement dharmaḥ kvacit tatra na bhūta-sauhṛdam is very important in this verse. We actually see that there are many Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and religionists of other cults who adhere to their religious principles very nicely but are not equal to all living entities. Indeed, although they profess to be very religious, they kill poor animals. Such religion has no meaning. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.8) says:

dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ
notpādayed yadi ratiṁ
śrama eva hi kevalam

One may be very expert in following the religious principles of his own sect, but if he has no tendency to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his observance of religious principles is simply a waste of time. One must develop a sense of loving Vāsudeva (vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ). The sign of a devotee is that he is a friend to everyone (suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānām). A devotee will never allow a poor animal to be killed in the name of religion. This is the difference between a superficially religious person and a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

We find that there have been many great heroes in history, but they could not escape from the cruel hands of death. Even the greatest hero cannot escape from the ruling power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead when Kṛṣṇa comes as death. That is described by Kṛṣṇa Himself: mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham. The Lord, appearing as death, takes away a hero’s so-called power. Even Hiraṇyakaśipu could not be saved when Nṛsiṁhadeva appeared before him as death. One’s material strength is nothing before the strength of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.