karmaṇy asminn anāśvāse
karmaṇi—in fruitive activity; asmin—in this; anāśvāse—although not positive in result; dhūma-dhūmra-ātmanām—whose bodies are simply becoming blackish because of smoke; bhavān—you; āpāyayati—give a chance to drink; govinda-pāda-padma-āsavam—the nectarean beverage flowing from the lotus feet of Govinda; madhu—sweet.
" 'We have just begun performing this fruitive activity, a sacrificial fire, but due to the many imperfections in our action, we are not certain of its result. Our bodies have become black from the smoke, but we are factually pleased by the nectar of the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead, Govinda, which you are distributing.'
This verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.18.12) was spoken to Sūta Gosvāmī at the meeting of great sages at Naimiṣāraṇya. The great sages were headed by Śaunaka, and Sūta Gosvāmī spoke of the glorious activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead at that meeting. At that time, all the ṛṣis assembled there neglected to complete the ritualistic ceremonies because there was no positive assurance of the results. All the performers were coated with black ash due to the large amount of smoke coming from the fire.
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