Narada describes different kinds of relationships with God

The king Parikshit raised the following basic question to the sage Suka(the narrator of Bhagavata): “How come the Lord who is above all ‘Gunas'(qualities)could hate some beings while loving some?” The reference here is to the Lord openly supporting the Devas against the Asuras(or the demons). Suka replies:”The Lord,although above all qualities, takes on the role of punishing the wicked for their own good”. (‘Nirgunopi Ajo Avyakto bhagavan prakriteh parah svamaya gunamavisya badhya badhakatam gatah’).

Then Suka goes on to to eloborate the point by referring to a dialogue between Yudhishthira and Narada.
The background to this dialogue is as follows: Yudhishtira performed the famous ‘Rajasuya Yaga’ which was very well attended by all dignitaries including sages ,Kings etc. On that occasion Lord Krishna was bestowed the special honour (of receiving the offerings of the yajna)by the Pandavas. Thereupon the king Sisupala ,who had always harboured jelousy,hatred and ill-will against Krishna,got enraged and started to abuse and denounce the Lord and his clan in the harshest and the most despicable manner. Krishna gave him a long rope and ultimately killed him with his powerful weapon ‘Discus’. And lo and behold, he merged with the Lord(attained Moksha) and everyone witnessed this amazing episode with great wonder.
This episode provoked Yudhishthira to get certain clarifications from Narada (who was also one of the invitees for the yajna).
The question which troubled Yudhishtira was the following:
Whereas the kings like Kamsa and Sisupala(who were Wickedness personified)instantly merged with the Lord Krishna after being slain,another wicked king by name ‘Vena’ did not get the blessings of the Lord after he was cursed and hurled into Hell by the sages .
(The story of Kamsa was also similar to that of Sisupala. He tried every possible trick to attack and kill Krishna before finally meeting his end in the hands of the Lord and attaining Moksha).

Yudhishtira was clearly confused and wanted to know as to why the two wicked guys were blessed with the favour of ‘Moksha’ while the king Vena faced a different fate altogether.
Narada gives an explanation to the question as follows:
The paths to liberation(or Moksha) are several. Sisupala,for instance,was constantly thinking of the Lord Krishna because of his intense hatred. Therefore,in spite of hatred,he was liberated due to the merit(Punya)accrued thanks to constant remembrance of the Lord. It is important to remember that the Lord has no hatred towards anybody. The only hindrance to Sisupaala’s liberation was the sin(‘Paapa’ committed by him through constant hatred of the Lord and abuses hurled at Him without any provocation. He had to pay for that sin by being slain and became eligible for absorption with the Lord immediately by virtue of the accumulated ‘Punya’ through constant remembrance of the Lord.
The case of Kamsa was slightly different. He was also constantly remembering the Lord but not because of any hatred(as in the case of Sisupala)but due to constant fear of being slain. The fear found expression through his numerous attempts made to kill Krishna. He was punished and cleansed of the sin(‘Paapa’) by the Lord by being slain. And instantly he also got liberated merging with the Lord .
There is a third category of people who attain liberation through attachment to the Lord(like the Pandavas). The cowherd boys,in turn, got liberated through kinship with the Lord while the Gopis achieved the same goal through Love for the Lord. And several, like Narada himself, attained liberation( Moksha) through the powerful medium of ‘Bhakti'(devotion).
Thus whether one is God hating type or God fearing type or God loving type,Bhagavata tells us that as long as one is constantly and intensely thinking of Him,the final outcome in terms of Moksha attainment is positive.
Narada says that the king Vena,obviously did not belong to any of the five categories above and therefore did not get liberated.

I found the story particularly interesting in the context of modern times because I hear several people(young as well as old) describing themselves as God-fearing. I am not,for a moment,suggesting that they are Kamsa-like(unless they are always worried that the God is going to kill them or punish them just as Kamsa did).
If ever they read the above dialogue between Narada and Yudhishthira,I am sure they will prefer calling themselves ‘God-loving’ instead of God-fearing!

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