At some point of time in our journey through the cycle of birth, when one’s past good karmas bear fruit, one comes under the beneficial influence of an acharya. He instils good conduct in us, strengthens our belief in mantra japa, and inspires in us the atma tatva jnana and leads us towards seeking salvation. In this context, the stories of what happened in the case of the sinner Kshatrabandu and of the virtuous Pundarika are quoted to explain how by the good graces of Narada, they are able to redeem themselves, pointed out Asuri Sri Madhavachariar in a discourse.
Kshatrabandu was known for his penchant to kill people and eat them. Once Narada came in his way and when he wanted to kill Narada, the sage explained that he is on the wrong path and incurring harmful doshas. Narada taught him Govinda Nama and miraculously, this confirmed sinner turned a new leaf. He began meditating on Govinda Nama sincerely and was eventually liberated. If this instance shows that even sin need not be a hurdle to moksha if one gets the acharya association, the story of Pundarika exemplifies the truth that without an acharya’s grace, good deeds by themselves cannot lead to salvation. Pundarika was noted for his righteous conduct, was very devoted to God and followed religious practices as ordained in the sastras. All this only tied him to samsara and did not lead him to moksha. But owing to his good fortune, he got Narada as his acharya who imparted the Dwadasakshara mantra. He meditated on this and finally gained moksha.
So, sadly when the jivatma is compelled into further births owing to both punya and papa, and continues in the state of ajnana, contact with an acharya can help him out of this tricky situation. The acharya can direct him to think of God and moksha and the way to seek Him.