It is difficult to decide who the spiritual guides of devotion mentioned are by the names given here. Some have imagined that कुमार is सनत्कुमार or स्कन्द who preached the Greatest Science (भूमविद्या) to नारद. Even in the ब्रह्मवैवर्तपुराण, it is said that नारद’s Teacher was सनत्कुमार who was the best वैष्णव who used to chant हरिः शरणम् – hymn. But, we don’t find any authority to tell that सनत्कुमार of the पुराण and that of the उपनिषद्- are one and the same; either the hymn or the chanting of hymn is not found in the उपनिषद्. The conclusion of the Upanishad is as follows : All the hymns of the ऋग्वेद, etc. are mere names; though, in the beginning, it is told that name, itself, should be worshipped as the ब्रह्मन्; and, it is concluded that the Greatest (ब्रह्मन्) who transgresses name and form is the real Reality; and, Its Own Form is Bliss.
व्यास and also शुक are famous. It is true that श्रीकृष्ण’s majesty is highlighted in the भारत. If the one believes that शुक preached the Great भागवत पुराण to the king परीक्षित, there is no obstacle to tell that शुक is the Supreme भागवत.
Name of शाण्डिल्य is found in the छान्दोग्य(3-14-4) and also in the बृहदारण्यक(2-6-1). The Aphorisms of Devotion of शाण्डिल्य also are famous. One can’t tell decisively that among them which name is inquired in the present aphorism.
Though गर्ग’s name also is found in the श्रुति and स्मृति, no authority is found to tell firmly that they are the very same spiritual guide of devotion mentioned here.
विष्णुस्मृति is famous, but, that compiler of the स्मृति has not become famous as the spiritual guide of devotion. In the नारायणीयोपाख्यान of the भारत, नारायण – sage preaches the majesty of विष्णु to नारद; it is said that the sage is incarnated from a part of विष्णु; still, that sage has not become famous by the name विष्णु. कौण्डिन्य and शेष names don’t have any authority to tell that they are the guides of devotion. From the भागवत पुराण, उद्धव is famous as a great devotee. आरुणि’s name also doesn’t belong to any famous guide of devotion. That is the name of a spiritual guide whose name is mentioned in the sixth chapter of the छान्दोग्य. There is no doubt that बलि, हनुमन्त and विभीषण are the famous devotees.
Anyhow, we can have this much : Those who are mentioned here have shown devotion in their conduct; and, this may be the opinion of the compiler of aphorisms that the Theorem of Devotion (भक्तिसिद्धान्त) which is explained in the present aphorism obtains support from their practice.
20. FRUIT TO THOSE WHO EXERCISE ACCORDING TO THE PREACHING OF THE SCRIPTURE.
[ इदम् has another text इह.]
84. The one who has faith in the auspicious preaching narrated by नारद , and who conducts confidently – he becomes a man of devotion. He obtains the Most Beloved God. (He) obtains the Most Beloved God.
161. The substance of all scriptures is this : Only by faith, devotion and meditation – the experience of the Form of Bliss of God who is the Self of all – can be had. This is declared in this scripture, therefore, those who have faith in the preaching which is narrated here and who follow this custom – obtain the Intimate Union (सायुज्य) of the Supreme Self (परमात्मा ) who is the Most Beloved of all and, He has the Form of Supreme Bliss which is famous in the scripture. In order to show that the scripture ends here, the sentence : स प्रेष्ठं लभते – is repeated twice.