The Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, although the Lord of all followers of different paths of self-realization, is knowable only by those who are above all pretensions. Everyone is searching for eternal peace or eternal life, and with an aim to this destination everyone is either studying the Vedic scriptures or other religious scriptures or undergoing severe austerity as empiric philosophers, as mystics yogīs or as unalloyed devotees, etc. But the Supreme Lord is perfectly realized only by the devotees because they are above all pretensions. Those who are on the path of self-realization are generally classified as karmīs, jñānīs, yogīs, or devotees of the Lord. The karmīs, who are much attracted by the fruitive activities of the Vedic rituals, are called bhukti-kāmī, or those who desire material enjoyment. The jñānīs, who try to become one with the Supreme by mental speculation, are called mukti-kāmī, or those who desire liberation from material existence. The mystic yogīs, who practice different types of austerities for attainment of eight kinds of material perfection and who ultimately meet the Supersoul (Paramātmā) in trance, are called siddhi-kāmī, or those who desire the perfection of becoming finer than the finest, becoming heavier than the heaviest, getting everything desired, having control over everyone, creating everything liked, etc. All these are abilities of a powerful yogī. But the devotees of the Lord do not want anything like that for self-satisfaction. They want only to serve the Lord because the Lord is great and as living entities they are eternally subordinate parts and parcels of the Lord. This perfect realization of the self by the devotee helps him to become desireless, to desire nothing for his personal self, and thus the devotees are called niṣkāmī, without any desire. A living entity, by his constitutional position, cannot be void of all desires (the bhukti-kāmī, mukti-kāmī and siddhi-kāmī all desire something for personal satisfaction), but the niṣkāmī devotees of the Lord desire everything for the satisfaction of the Lord. They are completely dependent on the orders of the Lord and are always ready to discharge their duty for the satisfaction of the Lord.
In the beginning Arjuna placed himself as one of those who desire self-satisfaction, for he desired not to fight in the Battle of Kurukṣetra, but to make him desireless the Lord preached the Bhagavad-gītā, in which the ways of karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, haṭha-yoga and also bhakti-yoga were explained. Because Arjuna was without any pretension, he changed his decision and satisfied the Lord by agreeing to fight (kariṣye vacanaṁ tava) (BG 18.73), and thus he became desireless.
The examples of Brahmā and Lord Śiva are specifically cited here because Brahmājī, Lord Śiva, Śrīmatī Lakṣmījī and the four Kumāras (Sanaka, Sanātana, etc.) are leaders of the four desireless Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas. They are all freed from all pretensions. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī interprets the word gata-vyalīkaiḥ as projjhita-kaitavaiḥ, or those who are freed from all pretensions (the unalloyed devotees only). In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (CC Madhya 19.149) it is said:
- kṛṣṇa-bhakta—niṣkāma, ata eva 'śānta'
- bhukti-mukti-siddhi-kāmī, sakali 'aśānta'
Those who are after fruitive results for their pious activities, those who desire salvation and identity with the Supreme, and those who desire material perfections of mystic power are all restless because they want something for themselves, but the devotee is completely peaceful because he has no demand for himself and is always ready to serve the desire of the Lord. The conclusion is, therefore, that the Lord is for everyone because no one can achieve the result of his respective desires without His sanction, but as stated by the Lord in Bhagavad-gītā (BG 8.9), all such results are awarded by Him only, for the Lord is adhīśvara (the original controller) of everyone, namely the Vedāntists, the great karma-kāṇḍīyas, the great religious leaders, the great performers of austerity and all who are striving for spiritual advancement. But ultimately He is realized by the pretensionless devotees only. Therefore special stress is given to the devotional service of the Lord by Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī.