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BG Chap 18 - The nature of parā bhakti

After the stage of Brahman, with the cessation of jñana, like a fire which dies without fuel, one attains eternal devotion to Kṛṣṇa in the form of hearing, chanting and so on. Because bhakti is a function of the Lord’s internal potency, it is distinct from māyā, and so is not dispelled even after both avidyā and vidyā are dispelled. Therefore this bhakti is parā, being far superior to jñana. Remaining after the disappearance of niṣkāma karma, jñana and any other processes, bhakti is exclusive or kevalam. Although this bhakti was already partly active previously for the purpose of allowing the achievement of liberation through the processes of jñana and vairāgya, at that time it was not clearly perceivable, just as the Supersoul residing in every living being’s heart is also not clearly perceivable. Therefore, instead of saying, “He performs devotional service,” the Lord says, “He attains devotional service.” It is just like a person keeping gold and gems within a mixture of beans. After the beans are removed, the gold and gems, which were already present, become separately available in their pure form (kevala).

This bhakti attained is bhakti as the sādhya, whose general form is to directly see Kṛṣṇa. When sādhana bhakti reaches its goal, it is called sādhya. The first type of sādhya bhakti is bhāva bhakti, in which the devotee perceives the Lord and experiences bliss. This matures as prema. Thus the paraṁ bhakti mentioned here indicates prema bhakti