The Garuda Purana
Chapter CCXL - Traits of a true Vaishnava
Suta said:—Whom shall one make salutation unto except the man in whose heart is the devotion to Hari? He saves his self from the ocean of misdeeds. A knowledge, that encompasseth Govinda, is the true knowledge; a discourse that is about Govinda is the true discourse, an act, done for his gratification, is the only true act—what is the good of being prolific in its narration? A tongue that hymnises the god Hari is the only true tongue, a heart that dwells in Hari is the only true heart, and those two are the only commendable hands that are engaged in making offerings unto him. The significance of one’s head is that it is bowed down unto Hari in an act of obeisance, the significance of the mind is that it is engaged in devising works for his gratification, and the significance of the tongue is that, O Govinda, it sings of, or utters your glories. The accumulated iniquities of a man, even if they have assumed dimensions as great as those of the mount Meru or the Mandara, are sure to vanish away at the touch of Keshava, like a dreadful disease in the hand of a good physician. By offering whatever acts he does, whether good or evil, to god, a man is not bound by their effects. The whole universe with its inmates of fourfold order of created beings, mobile and immobile, from the smallest grass to the highest Brahma, sleeps under the influence of thy Nescience, O lord. He, by reposing mind in whom a man never visits hell, he, to whom offering his Self a man gets rid of all impediments, he, by reposing mind in whom a man does not go to hell; he, in the contemplation of whom lies heaven, he, by locating whom in his heart a man becomes liberated from the fetters of re-birth, when meditated upon by the dull-witted, absolve them of all sin: what wonder is there that a man, by singing the praises of the undecaying one, will be absolved of his sin? He, who has purchased the whole universe with his accumulated pieties, becomes an awakened spirit through the grace of Vishnu. Those, who wish to sail across this ocean of misery, shall perform Agnikaryas (Homas), Japas, and rites of ceremonial ablutions, and worship Vishnu. The king is the refuge of the kingdom, the father is the refuge of his sons, virtue is the refuge of all beings, and the god Hari is the refuge of all. O thou greatest of the holy sages, to those who make obeisance to the eternal Vasudeva, the parent of the universe, exists not a holier sanctuary (place of pilgrimage) than a contemplation of the god. Without laziness one should meditate upon Govinda, it is immaterial whether he fails to make any offering of gems, or to study any part of the Vedas. A devotee of Vishnu, whether he be a Nishada or a Chandala, is equal to a Brahmana in respect of purity, and the gate of hell is permanently closed against him. If a suppliant is always found to fondly supplicate a rich man for money, what wonder that a man, by supplicating Vishnu, will be liberated from the fetters of re-birth. As a full blazed fire consumes even moist fuels, so the contemplation of the effulgent Vishnu consumes all the sin of Yogins. As wilds beasts shun the mountain-summit that is on fire, so all kinds of sin leave the person who is addicted to the practice of Yoga. The success achieved by a man (in matters of psychic knowledge) is proportionate to the extent of his faith in Vishnu. The glory of Shri Krishna is so much that even his abusers or vilifiers such as, Shisupala (who was the son of Damaghosa,) etc., were enabled to come by a better state, not to speak of those who are devoted to him. So long a person labours under the delusion of worshipping separate Godheads such as Brahma, Vrihaspati, or such and such holy sages, as long as he is not favoured with the knowledge of worshipping the one and universal Hari.