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SB 1.2 - The stages of loving and seeing the Lord

Thus established in unalloyed goodness, the devotee gains positive scientific knowledge of the Lord in the stage of liberation from all material association. Mostly men are conducted by passion and ignorance. Out of many thousands of such men, one may endeavor for perfection in life. And out of those who have attained perfection, one may know scientifically about the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa. And Kṛṣṇa can be known only by bhakti yoga. Perfection of human life is attained when one can understand that he is not the product of matter but is in fact spirit. He then ceases his material hankerings and becomes enlivened as a spiritual being. This attainment of success is possible only when one is actually a brāhmaṇa by qualification. The brahminical stage is the highest stage of human life because of its good qualities. The devotee is already a brāhmaṇa by action. A brāhmaṇa has to become a Vaiṣṇava to be actually in the transcendental stage. Although a brāhmaṇa can realize Brahman, scientific knowledge of the Supreme Lord is lacking. One has to surpass the brahminical stage and reach the vasudeva stage to understand Kṛṣṇa.

The next four stages of bhakti are indicated in verse 20. (11) ratiḥ – fondness (bhāva). This is indicated by the phrase evaṁ prasanna manasaḥ – one whose mind is satisfied or one in whom fondness has arisen. Without rati, there could never be constant detachment from objects of material enjoyment, and without constant detachment there could never be satisfaction of the mind. (12) prema – love, from bhagavad bhakti yogataḥ. This means engaging in devotional love to Bhagavān. (13) atha darśanam – then direct vision, audience. This is from bhagavat tattva vijñānam. The word vijñānam means experience. Thus realization follows prema and refers to experiencing Kṛṣṇa’s form, pastimes, greatness, sweetness and qualities. (14) harer mādhuryānubhāva – experience of Hari’s sweetness. The stage of bhagavat tattva vijñānam occurs after one experiences Lord