Persons who have achieved eternal, blissful life exactly on the level of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and who are able to attract Lord Kṛṣṇa by their transcendental loving service, are called eternally perfect. The technical name is nitya-siddha. There are two classes of living entities – namely, nitya-siddha and nitya-baddha. The distinction is that the nitya-siddhas are eternally Kṛṣṇa conscious without any forgetfulness, whereas the nitya-baddhas, or eternally conditioned souls, are forgetful of their relationship with Kṛṣṇa.
The position of the nitya-siddhas is explained in the Padma Purāṇa in connection with the narration of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and Satyabhāmā-devī. The Lord tells Satyabhāmā, “My dear Satyabhāmā-devī, I have descended to this earthly planet by the request of Lord Brahmā and other demigods. Those who are born into this family of Yadu are all My eternal associates. My dear wife, you should not consider that My associates are ever separated from Me; they are My personal expansions, and as such, you must know that they are almost as powerful as I am. Because of their transcendental qualities, they are very, very dear to Me, as I am very, very dear to them.” Anyone who becomes exhilarated by hearing of the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa when He was present on this earth with His associates is to be understood as nitya-siddha, eternally perfect.
In the Tenth Canto, fourteenth chapter, verse 32 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there is this statement: “How wonderful are the fortunate residents of Vṛndāvana, such as Nanda and the other cowherd men. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Brahman, has actually become their intimate friend!”
A similar statement is there in the Tenth Canto, twenty-sixth chapter, verse 10 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. When Lord Kṛṣṇa lifted Govardhana Hill, the cowherd men, under the protection of Lord Kṛṣṇa, became struck with wonder and went to Nanda Mahārāja and inquired from him, “My dear Nanda Mahārāja, how is it that we are so intensely attached to Kṛṣṇa and that Kṛṣṇa is also so affectionately attached to us? Does it mean that He is the Supersoul of everyone?”
All of the residents of Vṛndāvana and Dvārakā – namely, the cowherd men and the members of the Yadu family – are eternally perfect devotees of the Lord. As the Lord descends by His causeless mercy upon this planet, so, in order to help in the pastimes of the Lord, these devotees also come here. They are not ordinary living entities or conditioned souls; they are ever-liberated persons, associates of the Personality of Godhead. And just as Lord Kṛṣṇa behaves like an ordinary man when He descends to this planet, so the members of the Yadu dynasty and the residents of Vṛndāvana execute activities just like ordinary men. But they are not ordinary men; they are as liberated as Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself.
In the Padma Purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa section, it is stated, “Just as Lord Rāmacandra descends along with Lakṣmaṇa [an expansion of Saṅkarṣaṇa] and Bharata [an expansion of Pradyumna], so the members of the Yadu dynasty and the cowherd men of Vṛndāvana also descend with Lord Kṛṣṇa in order to join in the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. When the Supreme Lord returns to His eternal abode, His associates return with Him to their respective places. As such, these ever-liberated Vaiṣṇavas are not bound by the material laws of birth and death.”
As stated in Bhagavad-gītā by the Lord Himself, His birth, deeds and activities are all transcendental. Similarly, the birth, deeds and activities of the associates of the Lord are also transcendental. And as it is an offense to consider oneself to be Kṛṣṇa, so it is offensive to consider oneself to be Yaśodā, Nanda or any other associate of the Lord. We should always remember that they are transcendental; they are never conditioned souls.
It is described that Kṛṣṇa, the enemy of Kaṁsa, has sixty-four transcendental qualities, and all of the ever-liberated souls who accompany the Lord have the first fifty-five of the qualities, without any doubt. Such devotees are related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in any of five transcendental mellows – namely, neutrality, servitorship, friendship, parenthood and conjugal love. These relationships with the Lord are eternal, and therefore nitya-siddha devotees do not have to strive to attain the perfectional stage by executing regulative devotional principles. They are eternally qualified to serve Kṛṣṇa.
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