kabhu svarge uṭhāya, kabhu narake ḍubāya
daṇḍya-jane rājā yena nadīte cubāya
kabhu—sometimes; svarge—to higher planetary systems; uṭhāya—he rises; kabhu—sometimes; narake—in hellish conditions of life; ḍubāya—he is drowned; daṇḍya-jane—a criminal; rājā—a king; yena—as; nadīte—in the river; cubāya—dunks.
"In the material condition, the living entity is sometimes raised to higher planetary systems and material prosperity and sometimes drowned in a hellish situation. His state is exactly like that of a criminal whom a king punishes by submerging him in water and then raising him again from the water.
In the Vedas it is stated, asaṅgo 'yaṁ puruṣaḥ: the living entity is always free from the contamination of the material world. One who is not materially infected and who does not forget Kṛṣṇa as his master is called nitya-mukta. In other words, one who is eternally liberated from material contamination is called nitya-mukta. From time immemorial the nitya-mukta living entity has always been a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, and his only attempt has been to serve Kṛṣṇa. Thus he never forgets his eternal servitorship to Kṛṣṇa. Any living entity who forgets his eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa is under the sway of the material condition. Bereft of the Lord's transcendental loving service, he is subjected to the reactions of fruitive activity. When he is elevated to the higher planetary systems due to worldly pious activities, he considers himself well situated, but when he is subjected to punishment, he thinks himself improperly situated. Thus material nature awards and punishes the living entity. When the living entity is materially opulent, material nature is rewarding him. When he is materially embarrassed, material nature is punishing him.
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