bhuvi puru-punya-tirtha-sadanany rsayo vimadas
ta uta bhavat-padambuja-hrdo ’gha-bhid-anghri-jalah
dadhati sakrn manas tvayi ya atmani nitya-sukhe
na punar upasate purusa-sara-haravasathan
Sages free from false pride live on this earth by frequenting the sacred pilgrimage sites and those places where the Supreme Lord displayed His pastimes. Because such devotees keep Your lotus feet within their hearts, the water that washes their feet destroys all sins. Anyone who even once turns his mind toward You, the ever-blissful Soul of all existence, no longer dedicates himself to serving family life at home, which simply robs a man of his good qualities.
The qualification of an aspiring sage is that he has learned about the Absolute Truth from standard authorities and developed a sober mood of renunciation. To develop his capacity for discriminating the important from the unimportant, such a person often wanders from one holy site to another, taking advantage of the association of great souls who frequent or reside in these places. If, in the course of his travels, the aspiring sage can begin to realize the Supreme Lord’s lotus feet in the core of his heart, he will be released from the illusion of false ego and from the painful bondage of lust, envy and greed. Though he may still go to places of pilgrimage to bathe away his sins, the now purified sage has the power to sanctify others with the water that washes his feet and with the realized instructions he imparts. Such a sage is described by the Mundaka Upanisad (2.2.9)
ksiyante casya karmani
tasmin drste paravare
“The knot in the heart is pierced, all misgivings are cut to pieces, and the chain of fruitive actions is terminated when one sees the Supreme Lord everywhere, within all superior and inferior beings.” To sages who have reached this stage, the Mundaka Upanisad (3.2.11) thus pays homage: namah paramarsibhyah, namah paramarsibhyah. “Obeisances to the topmost sages, obeisances to the topmost sages!”
Putting aside the affectionate company of wives, children, friends and followers, saintly Vaisnavas travel to the holy dhamas where the Supreme Lord’s worship can be most successfully prosecuted — places such as Vrndavana, Mayapura and Jagannatha Puri, or anywhere else where sincere devotees of Lord Visnu congregate. Even those Vaisnavas who have not taken sannyasa and still live at home or in their guru’s asrama, but who have once tasted just a drop of the sublime pleasure of devotional service, will also have little inclination to meditate on the pleasures of a materialistic family life, which robs a person of his discretion, determination, sobriety, tolerance and peace of mind.
Srila Sridhara Svami prays:
muñcann anga tad anga-sangam anisam tvam eva sañcintayan
santah santi yato yato gata-madas tan asraman avasan
nityam tan-mukha-pankajad vigalita-tvat-punya-gathamrta-
srotah-samplava-sampluto nara-hare na syam aham deha-bhrt
“My dear Lord, when I will give up all sense gratification and engage incessantly in meditating upon You, and when I will take up residence in the hermitages of saintly devotees free from false pride, then I will become fully immersed in the inundation of nectar pouring from the devotees’ lotus mouths as they chant sacred narrations about You. And then, O Lord Narahari, I will never again have to take a material body.”