Chapter 9: The Most Confidential Knowledge
mahatmanas tu mam partha
daivim prakrtim asritah
jnatva bhutadim avyayam
mahätmänaù—the great souls; tu—but; mäm—unto Me; pärtha—O son of Påthä; daivém—divine; prakåtim—nature; äçritäù—taken shelter of; bhajanti—render service; ananya-manasaù—without deviation of the mind; jïätvä—knowing; bhüta—creation; ädim—original; avyayam—inexhaustible.
O son of Påthä, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.
In this verse the description of mahätmä is clearly given. The first sign of the mahätmä is that he is already situated in the divine nature. He is not under the control of material nature. And how is this effected? That is explained in the Seventh Chapter: one who surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Çré Kåñëa, at once becomes freed from the control of material nature. That is the qualification. One can become free from the control of material nature as soon as he surrenders his soul to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the preliminary formula. Being marginal potency, as soon as the living entity is freed from the control of material nature, he is put under the guidance of the spiritual nature. The guidance of the spiritual nature is called daivéà prakåtim, divine nature. So, when one is promoted in that way-by surrendering to the Supreme Personality of Godhead-one attains to the stage of great soul, mahätmä.
The mahätmä does not divert his attention to anything outside Kåñëa because he knows perfectly well that Kåñëa is the original Supreme Person, the cause of all causes. There is no doubt about it. Such a mahätmä, or great soul, develops through association with other mahätmäs, pure devotees. Pure devotees are not even attracted by Kåñëa's other features, such as the four-armed Mahä-Viñëu. They are simply attracted by the two-armed form of Kåñëa. Since they are not attracted to other features of Kåñëa (what to speak of the demigods), they are not concerned with any form of a demigod or of a human being. They only meditate upon Kåñëa in Kåñëa consciousness. They are always engaged in the unswerving service of the Lord in Kåñëa consciousness.