pracinabarhisam ksattah
karmasv asakta-manasam
narado ’dhyatma-tattva-jnah
krpaluh pratyabodhayat
pracinabarhisam—unto King Pracinabarhisat; ksattah—O Vidura; karmasu—in fruitive activities; asakta—attached; manasam—with this mentality; naradah—the great sage Narada; adhyatma—spiritualism; tattva-jnah—one who knows the truth; krpaluh—being compassionate; pratyabodhayat—gave instructions.
While the princes were undergoing severe austerities in the water, their father was performing different types of fruitive activities. At this time the great saint Narada, master and teacher of all spiritual life, became very compassionate upon the King and decided to instruct him about spiritual life.
As pointed out by Prabodhananda Sarasvati Thakura, a great devotee of Lord Caitanya, kaivalya, or merging into the Brahman effulgence, is just like going to hell. He similarly states that elevation to the upper planetary systems for the enjoyment of heavenly life is just so much phantasmagoria. This means that a devotee does not give any importance to the ultimate goal of the karmis and jnanis. The ultimate goal of the karmis is promotion to the heavenly kingdom, and the ultimate goal of the jnanis is merging into the Brahman effulgence. Of course, the jnanis are superior to the karmis, as confirmed by Lord Caitanya. Koti-karmanistha-madhye eka ‘jnani’ srestha: “one jnani, or impersonalist, is better than many thousands of fruitive actors.” (Cc. Madhya 19.147) Therefore a devotee never enters upon the path of karma, or elevation by fruitive activities. Narada Muni took compassion upon King Pracinabarhisat when he saw the King engaged in fruitive activity. In comparison to mundane workers, those who are trying to be elevated to the higher planetary systems by performing yajnas are undoubtedly superior. In pure devotional service, however, both karma and jnana are considered bewildering features of the illusory energy.

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