so ’nvesamanah saranam
babhrama prthivim prabhuh
nanurupam yadavindad
abhut sa vimana iva
sah—that King Puranjana; anvesamanah—searching after; saranam—shelter; babhrama—traveled over; prthivim—the whole planet earth; prabhuh—to become an independent master; na—never; anurupam—to his liking; yada—when; avindat—he could find; abhut—became; sah—he; vimanah—morose; iva—like.
King Puranjana began to search for a suitable place to live, and thus he traveled all over the world. Even after a great deal of traveling, he could not find a place just to his liking. Finally he became morose and disappointed.
The travelings of Puranjana are similar to the travelings of the modern hippies. Generally hippies are sons of great fathers and great families. It is not that they are always poor. But some way or another they abandon the shelter of their rich fathers and travel all over the world. As stated in this verse, the living entity wants to become a prabhu, or master. The word prabhu means “master,” but actually the living entity is not a master; he is the eternal servant of God. When the living entity abandons the shelter of God, Krsna, and tries to become a prabhu independently, he travels all over the creation. There are 8,400,000 species of life and millions and millions and trillions of planets within the creation. The living entity wanders throughout these various types of bodies and throughout different planets, and thus he is like King Puranjana, who traveled all over the world looking for a suitable place to live.
Sri Narottama dasa Thakura has sung, karma-kanda, jnana-kanda, kevala visera bhanda: “The path of karma-kanda [fruitive activities] and the path of jnana-kanda [speculation] are just like strong pots of poison.” Amrta baliya yeba khaya, nana yoni sada phire: “A person who mistakes this poison to be nectar and drinks it travels in different species of life.” Kadarya bhaksana kare: “And, according to his body, he eats all types of abominable things.” For instance, when the living entity is in the body of a hog, he eats stool. When the living entity is in the body of a crow, he eats all kinds of refuse, even pus and mucus, and enjoys it. Thus Narottama dasa Thakura points out that the living entity travels in different types of bodies and eats all kinds of abominable things. When he does not become ultimately happy, he becomes morose or takes to the ways of hippies.
Thus in this verse it is said (na anurupam) that the King could never find a place suitable for his purposes. This is because in any form of life and on any planet in the material world, a living entity cannot be happy because everything in the material world is unsuitable for the spirit soul. As stated in this verse, the living entity independently wants to become a prabhu, but as soon as he gives up this idea and becomes a servant of God, Krsna, his happiness immediately begins. Therefore Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura sings:
miche mayara vase, yaccha bhese’,
khaccha habudubu, bhai
“My dear living entity, why are you being carried away by the waves of maya?” As stated in the Bhagavad-gita (18.61):
“The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.”
The living entity is carried in the machine of the body through so many species of life on so many planets. Therefore Bhaktivinoda Thakura asks the living entity why he is being carried away in these bodily machines to be placed in so many different circumstances. He advises that one surmount the waves of maya by surrendering unto Krsna.
As soon as we confront Krsna, Krsna advises:
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Bg. 18.66)
Thus we are immediately relieved from traveling from one body to another and from one planet to another. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu says: brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva (Cc. Madhya 19.151). If, while traveling, a living entity becomes fortunate enough to become blessed by the association of devotees and to come to Krsna consciousness, his real life actually begins. This Krsna consciousness movement is giving all wandering living entities a chance to take to the shelter of Krsna and thus become happy.
In this verse the words vimana iva are very significant. In this material world even the great King of heaven is also full of anxiety. If even Lord Brahma is full of anxiety, what of these ordinary living entities who are working within this planet? Bhagavad-gita (8.16) confirms:
abrahma-bhuvanal lokah
punar avartino ’rjuna
“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place.” In the material world a living entity is never satisfied. Even in the position of Brahma or in the position of Indra or Candra, one is full of anxiety simply because he has accepted this material world as a place of happiness.

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