To unfold the mystery of bhakti-yoga, as it is explained in the previous verse, is the ultimate stage of all inquiries or the highest objective for the inquisitive. Everyone is searching after self-realization in different ways—by karma-yoga, by jñāna-yoga, by dhyāna-yoga, by rāja-yoga, by bhakti-yoga, etc. To engage in self-realization is the responsibility of every living entity developed in consciousness. One who is developed in consciousness certainly makes inquiries into the mystery of the self, of the cosmic situation and of the problems of life, in all spheres and fields—social, political, economic, cultural, religious, moral, etc.—and in their different branches. But here the goal of all such inquiries is explained.
The Vedānta-sūtra philosophy begins with this inquiry about life, and the Bhāgavatam answers such inquiries up to this point, or the mystery of all inquiries. Lord Brahmā wanted to be perfectly educated by the Personality of Godhead, and here is the answer by the Lord, finished in four nutshell verses, from aham eva to this verse, etāvad eva. This is the end of all self-realization processes. Men do not know that the ultimate goal of life is Viṣṇu, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, due to being bewildered by the glaring reflection in the darkness, and as such everyone is entering into the darkest region of material existence, driven by the uncontrolled senses. The whole material existence has sprung up because of sense gratification, desires based principally on the sex desire, and the result is that in spite of all advancement of knowledge, the final goal of all the activities of the living entities is sense gratification. But here is the real goal of life, and everyone should know it by inquiries put before a bona fide spiritual master expert in the science of bhakti-yoga, or from a living personality of Bhāgavatam life. Everyone is engaged in various kinds of scriptural inquiries, but the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam gives answers to all of the various students of self-realization: this ultimate objective of life is not to be searched out without great labor or perseverance. One who is imbued with such sincere inquiries must ask the bona fide spiritual master in the disciplic succession from Brahmājī, and that is the direction given here. Because the mystery was disclosed before Brahmājī by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the mystery of all such inquiries regarding self-realization must be put before such a spiritual master, who is directly the representative of the Lord, acknowledged in that disciplic succession. Such a bona fide spiritual master is able to clear up the whole thing by evidence from the revealed scriptures, both direct and indirect. Although everyone is free to consult the revealed scriptures in this connection, one still requires the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, and that is the direction in this verse. The bona fide spiritual master is the most confidential representative of the Lord, and one must receive direction from the spiritual master in the same spirit that Brahmājī received it from the Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa. The bona fide spiritual master in that bona fide chain of disciplic succession never claims to be the Lord Himself, although such a spiritual master is greater than the Lord in the sense that he can deliver the Lord by his personally realized experience. The Lord is not to be found simply by education or by a good fertile brain, but surely He can be found by the sincere student through the transparent medium of the bona fide spiritual master.