sukhāya karmāṇi karoti loko
na taiḥ sukhaṁ vānyad-upāramaṁ vā
vindeta bhūyas tata eva duḥkhaṁ
yad atra yuktaṁ bhagavān vaden naḥ
viduraḥ uvāca—Vidura said; sukhāya—for attaining happiness; karmāṇi—fruitive activities; karoti—everyone does so; lokaḥ—in this world; na—never; taiḥ—by those activities; sukham—any happiness; vā—or; anyat—differently; upāramam—satiation; vā—either; vindeta—achieves; bhūyaḥ—on the contrary; tataḥ—by such activities; eva—certainly; duḥkham—miseries; yat—that which; atra—under the circumstances; yuktam—right course; bhagavān—O great one; vadet—may kindly enlighten; naḥ—us.
Vidura said: O great sage, everyone in this world engages in fruitive activities to attain happiness, but one finds neither satiation nor the mitigation of distress. On the contrary, one is only aggravated by such activities. Please, therefore, give us directions on how one should live for real happiness.
Vidura asked Maitreya some common questions, which was not originally his intention. Uddhava asked Vidura to approach Maitreya Muni and inquire into all the truths concerning the Lord, His name, fame, quality, form, pastimes, entourage, etc., and thus when Vidura approached Maitreya, he should have asked only about the Lord. But out of natural humility he did not immediately ask about the Lord, but inquired into a subject which would be of great importance to the common man. A common man cannot understand the Lord. He must first know the real position of his life under the influence of the illusory energy. In illusion one thinks that he can be happy only by fruitive activities, but what actually happens is that one becomes more and more entangled in the network of action and reaction and does not find any solution to the problem of life. There is a nice song in this connection: “Because of a great desire to have all happiness in life, I built this house. But unfortunately the whole scheme has turned to ashes because the house was unexpectedly set on fire.” The law of nature is like that. Everyone tries to become happy by planning in the material world, but the law of nature is so cruel that it sets fire to one’s schemes; the fruitive worker is not happy in his schemes, nor is there any satiation of his continuous hankering for happiness.
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