yatha gavo nasi protas
tantyam baddhas ca damabhih
vaktantyam namabhir baddha
vahanti balim isituh
yatha—as much as; gavah—cow; nasi—by the nose; protah—strung; tantyam—by the thread; baddhah—bound by; ca—also; damabhih—by ropes; vaktantyam—in the network of Vedic hymns; namabhih—by nomenclatures; baddhah—conditioned; vahanti—carry on; balim—orders; isituh—for being controlled by the Supreme Lord.
As a cow, bound through the nose by a long rope, is conditioned, so also human beings are bound by different Vedic injunctions and are conditioned to obey the orders of the Supreme.
Every living being, whether a man or an animal or a bird, thinks that he is free by himself, but actually no one is free from the severe laws of the Lord. The laws of the Lord are severe because they cannot be disobeyed in any circumstance. The manmade laws may be evaded by cunning outlaws, but in the codes of the supreme lawmaker there is not the slightest possibility of neglecting the laws. A slight change in the course of God-made law can bring about a massive danger to be faced by the lawbreaker. Such laws of the Supreme are generally known as the codes of religion, under different conditions, but the principle of religion everywhere is one and the same, namely, obey the orders of the Supreme God, the codes of religion. That is the condition of material existence. All living beings in the material world have taken up the risk of conditioned life by their own selection and are thus entrapped by the laws of material nature. The only way to get out of the entanglement is to agree to obey the Supreme. But instead of becoming free from the clutches of maya, or illusion, foolish human beings become bound up by different nomenclatures, being designated as brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas, sudras, Hindus, Mohammedans, Indians, Europeans, Americans, Chinese, and many others, and thus they carry out the orders of the Supreme Lord under the influence of respective scriptural or legislative injunctions. The statutory laws of the state are imperfect imitation replicas of religious codes. The secular state, or the godless state, allows the citizens to break the laws of God, but restricts them from disobeying the laws of the state; the result is that the people in general suffer more by breaking the laws of God than by obeying the imperfect laws made by man. Every man is imperfect by constitution under conditions of material existence, and there is not the least possibility that even the most materially advanced man can enact perfect legislation. On the other hand, there is no such imperfection in the laws of God. If leaders are educated in the laws of God, there is no necessity of a makeshift legislative council of aimless men. There is necessity of change in the makeshift laws of man, but there is no change in the God-made laws because they are made perfect by the all-perfect Personality of Godhead. The codes of religion, scriptural injunctions, are made by liberated representatives of God in consideration of different conditions of living, and by carrying out the orders of the Lord, the conditioned living beings gradually become free from the clutches of material existence. The factual position of the living being is, however, that he is the eternal servitor of the Supreme Lord. In his liberated state he renders service to the Lord in transcendental love and thus enjoys a life of full freedom, even sometimes on an equal level with the Lord or sometimes more than the Lord. But in the conditioned material world, every living being wants to be the Lord of other living beings, and thus by the illusion of maya this mentality of lording it over becomes a cause of further extension of conditional life. So in the material world the living being is still more conditioned, until he surrenders unto the Lord by reviving his original state of eternal servitorship. That is the last instruction of the Bhagavad-gita and all other recognized scriptures of the world.
Link to this page: https://prabhupadabooks.com/sb/1/13/42