sa vai maha-bhagavatah pariksid
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
O Suta Gosvami, please describe those topics of the Lord by which Maharaja Pariksit, whose intelligence was fixed on liberation, attained the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of Garuda, the king of birds. Those topics were vibrated by the son of Vyasa [Srila Sukadeva].
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
There is some controversy amongst the students on the path of liberation. Such transcendental students are known as impersonalists and devotees of the Lord. The devotee of the Lord worships the transcendental form of the Lord, whereas the impersonalist meditates upon the glaring effulgence, or the bodily rays of the Lord, known as the brahmajyoti. Here in this verse it is said that Maharaja Pariksit attained the lotus feet of the Lord by instructions in knowledge delivered by the son of Vyasadeva, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami. Sukadeva Gosvami was also an impersonalist in the beginning, as he himself has admitted in the Bhagavatam (2.1.9), but later on he was attracted by the transcendental pastimes of the Lord and thus became a devotee. Such devotees with perfect knowledge are called maha-bhagavatas, or first-class devotees. There are three classes of devotees, namely the prakrta, madhyama and maha-bhagavata. The prakrta, or third-class devotees, are temple worshipers without specific knowledge of the Lord and the Lord’s devotees. The madhyama, or the second-class devotee, knows well the Lord, the Lord’s devotees, the neophytes and the nondevotees also. But the maha-bhagavata, or the first-class devotee, sees everything in relation with the Lord and the Lord present in everyone’s relation. The maha-bhagavata, therefore, does not make any distinction, particularly between a devotee and nondevotee. Maharaja Pariksit was such a maha-bhagavata devotee because he was initiated by a maha-bhagavata devotee, Sukadeva Gosvami. He was equally kind, even to the personality of Kali, and what to speak of others.
So there are many instances in the transcendental histories of the world of an impersonalist who has later become a devotee. But a devotee has never become an impersonalist. This very fact proves that on the transcendental steps, the step occupied by a devotee is higher than the step occupied by an impersonalist. It is also stated in the Bhagavad-gita (12.5) that persons stuck on the impersonal step undergo more sufferings than achievement of reality. Therefore knowledge imparted by Sukadeva Gosvami unto Maharaja Pariksit helped him attain the service of the Lord. And this stage of perfection is called apavarga, or the perfect stage of liberation. Simple knowledge of liberation is material knowledge. Actual freedom from material bondage is called liberation, but attainment of the transcendental service of the Lord is called the perfect stage of liberation. Such a stage is attained by knowledge and renunciation, as we have already explained (Bhag. 1.2.12), and perfect knowledge, as delivered by Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, results in the attainment of the transcendental service of the Lord.