Srimad Bhagavatam 11.18.37 - Qualities of Paramhansa (download mp3)
by Radhika Vallabha Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
na hi tasya vikalpakhya
ya ca mad-viksaya hata
a-dehantat kvacit khyatis
tatah sampadyate maya
A realized soul no longer sees anything as separate from Me, for his realized knowledge of Me has destroyed such illusory perception. Since the material body and mind were previously accustomed to this kind of perception, it may sometimes appear to recur; but at the time of death the self-realized soul achieves opulences equal to Mine.
Lord Krsna explained in verse 32 of this chapter that all material and spiritual objects are expansions of His potency. By realized knowledge of the Lord one gives up the illusion that anything, anywhere, at any time, can be separate from Lord Krsna. Lord Krsna has also explained, however, that one must keep the material body and mind fit for executing devotional service; therefore even a self-realized soul may sometimes appear to accept or reject certain conditions or objects within this world. Such brief apparent duality of concentration upon something other than Krsna does not change the liberated status of a self-realized soul, who achieves at the time of death the same opulences as Lord Krsna in the spiritual world. The function of illusion is to separate one from Lord Krsna, but the brief and occasional appearance of duality in the behavior or mentality of a pure devotee never separates him from the Lord. It does not constitute actual illusion, for it lacks the essential function of illusion, namely, the separation of one from Lord Krsna.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura describes the self-realized devotees as follows. The devotee of the Lord does not see anything as separate from Lord Krsna and thus does not consider himself to be a permanent resident of the material world. At every moment the devotee is moved by his desire to serve Lord Krsna. Just as those who are inclined to sense gratification pass their time making arrangements for their enjoyment, similarly the devotees are busy throughout the day arranging their devotional service to Lord Krsna. Therefore they have no time to act like materialistic sense enjoyers. To ordinary persons it may seem that a pure devotee is seeing something as separate from Krsna, but a pure devotee is actually fixed in his status as a liberated soul and is guaranteed to achieve a spiritual body in the kingdom of God. Ordinary, materialistic persons cannot always understand the activities of a pure devotee of the Lord, and thus they may try to minimize his position, considering him to be the same as themselves. At the end of life, however, the results achieved by the devotees of the Lord and ordinary materialists are vastly different.