sadhavo hrdayam mahyam
sadhunam hrdayam tv aham
mad-anyat te na jananti
naham tebhyo manag api
sadhavah—the saints; hrdayam—heart; mahyam—My; sadhunam—of the saints; hrdayam—the heart; tu—indeed; aham—I; mat—than Me; anyat—other; te—they; na—not; jananti—know; na—nor; aham—I; tebhyah—than them; manak—slightly; api—even.
“Saints are My heart, and only I am their hearts. They do not know anyone but Me, and therefore I do not recognize anyone besides them as Mine.”
PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada
This verse appears in Srimad-Bhagavatam (9.4.68) in connection with a misunderstanding between Durvasa Muni and Maharaja Ambarisa. As a result of this misunderstanding, Durvasa Muni tried to kill the king, when the Sudarsana cakra, the celebrated weapon of Godhead, appeared on the scene for the devoted king’s protection. When the Sudarsana cakra attacked Durvasa Muni, he fled in fear of the weapon and sought shelter from all the great demigods in heaven. Not one of them was able to protect him, and therefore Durvasa Muni prayed to Lord Visnu for forgiveness. Lord Visnu advised him, however, that if he wanted forgiveness he had to get it from Maharaja Ambarisa, not from Him. In this context Lord Visnu spoke this verse.
The Lord, being full and free from problems, can wholeheartedly care for His devotees. His concern is how to elevate and protect all those who have taken shelter at His feet. The same responsibility is also entrusted to the spiritual master. The bona fide spiritual master’s concern is how the devotees who have surrendered to him as a representative of the Lord may make progress in devotional service. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is always mindful of the devotees who fully engage in cultivating knowledge of Him, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.
COMMENT by Giriraj Swami
This verse is placed by Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami in the first chapter of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, which discusses guru-tattva, the truth about the spiritual master. First and foremost, the spiritual master must be a devotee of the Lord, and Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami describes different characteristics of devotees. In the current series of verses, he discusses the Lord’s presence in the devotee’s heart. The devotee receives inspiration from the Lord within the heart, and thus the devotee should be identified with the Lord.
In the present verse, Lord Vishnu describes the beautiful reciprocation between the Lord and His devotees. In essence, the devotees know nothing but the Lord, and the Lord knows no one but His devotees. The Lord dwells in the hearts of His devotees, and His devotees remain in the core of His heart. As Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (9.29),
samo ’ham sarva-bhutesu
na me dvesyo ’sti na priyah
ye bhajanti tu mam bhaktya
mayi te tesu capy aham
“I am equal to all living beings. I do not envy anyone, nor am I partial to anyone. But those who render service unto Me in devotion are in Me, and I am in them.”
When I came before Sri Sri Radha-Gokulananda this morning, I thought of Srila Prabhupada, how he came here and installed the Deities. There are many wonderful pictures and even live footage of him offering arati and dancing in kirtan before the Deities. And I thought of how Prabhupada endeavored ceaselessly to preach the message of Sri Krishna Chaitanya and to give facility to devotees to progress in Krishna consciousness. He voyaged alone by steamship, arriving in America at the age of seventy, not knowing anyone. On the order of his spiritual master, between the ages of seventy and eighty-two he preached and spread Krishna consciousness and created so many facilities for the devotees, like Bhaktivedanta Manor, all over the world. I thought, “What selfless service. What surrender. What dependence on the Lord. How much the Lord must love Srila Prabhupada.”
Then I thought of myself: “Now I am sixty-two. Who knows what condition I’ll be in when I am seventy, the age at which Srila Prabhupada arrived in America. And I have so many people to help me. By Srila Prabhupada’s grace, there are devotees practically everywhere I go. I have people to travel with me and to help me with my luggage. And I go by plane. I don’t go by steamship, by cargo carrier. Yet even then, it is so hard to travel—really hard.
“And Srila Prabhupada had no one. Externally, he was all alone. He began at the age of seventy—he traveled by steamship, cargo carrier—and he served the Lord in the best way by preaching the message of Krishna and making devotees, caring for them, protecting them, encouraging them, and giving them every facility to progress in Krishna consciousness. What deep love for the conditioned souls, for his spiritual master, and for Krishna resided in Srila Prabhupada’s heart! And reciprocally, what love for Srila Prabhupada resided in Krishna’s heart!”