dhātar yad asmin bhava īśa jīvās
tāpa-trayeṇābhihatā na śarma
ātman labhante bhagavaṁs tavāṅghri-
cchāyāṁ sa-vidyām ata āśrayema
dhātaḥ—O father; yat—because; asmin—in this; bhave—material world; īśa—O Lord; jīvāḥ—the living entities; tāpa—miseries; trayeṇa—by the three; abhihatāḥ—always embarrassed; na—never; śarma—in happiness; ātman—self; labhante—do gain; bhagavan—O Personality of Godhead; tava—Your; aṅghri-chāyām—shade of Your feet; sa-vidyām—full of knowledge; ataḥ—obtain; āśrayema—shelter.
O Father, O Lord, O Personality of Godhead, the living entities in the material world can never have any happiness because they are overwhelmed by the three kinds of miseries. Therefore they take shelter of the shade of Your lotus feet, which are full of knowledge, and we also thus take shelter of them.
The way of devotional service is neither sentimental nor mundane. It is the path of reality by which the living entity can attain the transcendental happiness of being freed from the three kinds of material miseries—miseries arising from the body and mind, from other living entities and from natural disturbances. Everyone who is conditioned by material existence—whether he be a man or beast or demigod or bird—must suffer from ādhyātmika (bodily or mental) pains, ādhibhautika pains (those offered by living creatures), and ādhidaivika pains (those due to supernatural disturbances). His happiness is nothing but a hard struggle to get free from the miseries of conditional life. But there is only one way he can be rescued, and that is by accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The argument that unless one has proper knowledge one cannot be freed from material miseries is undoubtedly true. But because the lotus feet of the Lord are full of transcendental knowledge, acceptance of His lotus feet completes that necessity. We have already discussed this point in the First Canto (1.2.7):
There is no want of knowledge in the devotional service of Vāsudeva, the Personality of Godhead. He, the Lord, personally takes charge of dissipating the darkness of ignorance from the heart of a devotee. He confirms this in Bhagavad-gītā (10.10):
Empiric philosophical speculation cannot give one relief from the threefold miseries of material existence. Simply to endeavor for knowledge without devoting oneself to the Lord is a waste of valuable time.
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