|Canto 3: The Status Quo||Chapter 21: Conversation Between Manu and Kardama|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.21.17
lokāḿś ca lokānugatān paśūḿś ca
hitvā śritās te caraṇātapatram
lokān — worldly affairs; ca — and; loka-anugatān — the followers of worldly affairs; paśūn — beastly; ca — and; hitvā — having given up; śritāḥ — taken shelter; te — Your; caraṇa — of lotus feet; ātapatram — the umbrella; parasparam — with one another; tvat — Your; guṇa — of qualities; vāda — by discussion; sīdhu — intoxicating; pīyūṣa — by the nectar; niryāpita — extinguished; deha-dharmāḥ — the primary necessities of the body.
However, persons who have given up stereotyped worldly affairs and the beastly followers of these affairs, and who have taken shelter of the umbrella of Your lotus feet by drinking the intoxicating nectar of Your qualities and activities in discussions with one another, can be freed from the primary necessities of the material body.
After describing the necessity of married life, Kardama Muni asserts that marriage and other social affairs are stereotyped regulations for persons who are addicted to material sense enjoyment. The principles of animal life — eating, sleeping, mating and defending — are actually necessities of the body, but those who engage in transcendental Kṛṣṇa consciousness, giving up all the stereotyped activities of this material world, are freed from social conventions. Conditioned souls are under the spell of material energy, or eternal time — past, present and future — but as soon as one engages in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he transcends the limits of past and present and becomes situated in the eternal activities of the soul. One has to act in terms of the Vedic injunctions in order to enjoy material life, but those who have taken to the devotional service of the Lord are not afraid of the regulations of this material world. Such devotees do not care for the conventions of material activities; they boldly take to that shelter which is like an umbrella against the sun of repeated birth and death.
Constant transmigration of the soul from one body to another is the cause of suffering in material existence. This conditional life in material existence is called saḿsāra. One may perform good work and take his birth in a very nice material condition, but the process under which birth and death take place is like a terrible fire. Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, in his prayer to the spiritual master, has described this. Saḿsāra, or the repetition of birth and death, is compared to a forest fire. A forest fire takes place automatically, without anyone's endeavor, by the friction of dried wood, and no fire department or sympathetic person can extinguish it. The raging forest fire can be extinguished only when there is a constant downpour of water from a cloud. The cloud is compared to the mercy of the spiritual master. By the grace of the spiritual master the cloud of the mercy of the Personality of Godhead is brought in, and then only, when the rains of Kṛṣṇa consciousness fall, can the fire of material existence be extinguished. This is also explained here. In order to find freedom from the stereotyped conditional life of material existence, one has to take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord, not in the manner in which the impersonalists indulge, but in devotional service, chanting and hearing of the activities of the Lord. Only then can one be freed from the actions and reactions of material existence. It is recommended here that one should give up the conditional life of this material world and the association of so-called civilized human beings who are simply following, in a polished way, the same stereotyped principles of eating, sleeping, defending and mating. Chanting and hearing of the glories of the Lord is described here as tvad-guṇa-vāda-sīdhu. Only by drinking the nectar of chanting and hearing the pastimes of the Lord can one forget the intoxication of material existence.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness