This is a description of the mahā-bhāgavata, the great personality who sees everything in relation to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Lord’s presence is realized in three stages. The kaniṣṭha-adhikārī is in the lowest stage of realization. He goes to a place of worship, such as a temple, church or mosque, according to his religious faith, and worships there according to scriptural injunctions. Devotees in this stage consider the Lord to be present at the place of worship and nowhere else. They cannot ascertain who is in what position in devotional service, nor can they tell who has realized the Supreme Lord. Such devotees follow the routine formulas and sometimes quarrel among themselves, considering one type of devotion better than another. These kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs are actually materialistic devotees who are simply trying to transcend the material boundary to reach the spiritual plane.
Those who have attained the second stage of realization are called madhyama-adhikārīs. These devotees observe the distinctions between four categories of being: (1) the Supreme Lord; (2) the devotees of the Lord; (3) the innocent, who have no knowledge of the Lord; and (4) the atheists, who have no faith in the Lord and hate those in devotional service. The madhyama-adhikārī behaves differently toward these four classes of person. He adores the Lord, considering Him the object of love; he makes friends with those who are in devotional service; he tries to awaken the dormant love of God in the hearts of the innocent; and he avoids the atheists, who deride the very name of the Lord.
Above the madhyama-adhikārī is the uttama-adhikārī, who sees everything in relation to the Supreme Lord. Such a devotee does not discriminate between an atheist and a theist but sees everyone as part and parcel of God. He knows that there is no essential difference between a vastly learned brāhmaṇa and a dog in the street, because both of them are part and parcel of the Lord, although they are encaged in different bodies on account of the different qualities of their activities in their previous lives. He sees that the brāhmaṇa particle of the Supreme Lord has not misused his little independence given him by the Lord and that the dog particle has misused his independence and is therefore being punished by the laws of nature by being encaged in the form of a dog. Not considering the respective actions of the brāhmaṇa and the dog, the uttama-adhikārī tries to do good to both. Such a learned devotee is not misled by material bodies but is attracted by the spiritual spark within them.
Those who imitate an uttama-adhikārī by flaunting a sense of oneness or fellowship but who behave on the bodily platform are actually false philanthropists. The conception of universal brotherhood must be learned from an uttama-adhikārī and not from a foolish person who does not properly understand the individual soul or the Supreme Lord’s Supersoul expansion, who dwells everywhere.
It is clearly mentioned in this sixth mantra that one should “observe,” or systematically see. This means that one must follow the previous ācāryas, the perfected teachers. Anupaśyati is the exact Sanskrit word used in this connection. Anu means “to follow,” and paśyati means “to observe.” Thus the word anupaśyati means that one should not see things as he does with the naked eye but should follow the previous ācāryas. Due to material defects, the naked eye cannot see anything properly. One cannot see properly unless one has heard from a superior source, and the highest source is the Vedic wisdom, which is spoken by the Lord Himself. Vedic truths are coming in disciplic succession from the Lord to Brahmā, from Brahmā to Nārada, from Nārada to Vyāsa, and from Vyāsa to his many disciples. Formerly there was no need to record the messages of the Vedas, because people in earlier ages were more intelligent and had sharper memories. They could follow the instructions simply by hearing once from the mouth of a bona fide spiritual master.
At present there are many commentaries on the revealed scriptures, but most of them are not in the line of disciplic succession coming from Śrīla Vyāsadeva, who originally compiled the Vedic wisdom. The final, most perfect and sublime work by Śrīla Vyāsadeva is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is the natural commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra. There is also the Bhagavad-gītā, which was spoken by the Lord Himself and recorded by Vyāsadeva. These are the most important revealed scriptures, and any commentary that contradicts the principles of the Bhagavad-gītā or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is unauthorized. There is complete agreement among the Upaniṣads, Vedānta-sūtra, Vedas, Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and no one should try to reach any conclusion about the Vedas without receiving instructions from members of Vyāsadeva’s disciplic succession, who believe in the Personality of Godhead and His diverse energies as they are explained in Śrī Īśopaniṣad.
According to the Bhagavad-gītā (18.54), only one who is already on the liberated platform (brahma-bhūta) can become an uttama-adhikārī devotee and see every living being as his own brother. This vision cannot be had by politicians, who are always after some material gain. One who imitates the symptoms of an uttama-adhikārī may serve another’s outward body for the purpose of fame or material reward, but he does not serve the spirit soul. Such an imitator can have no information of the spiritual world. The uttama-adhikārī sees the spirit soul within the material body and serves him as spirit. Thus the material aspect is automatically served.