apuṇya-vṛkṣān śrayate kṣudhārdito
marīci-toyāny abhidhāvati kvacit
adṛśya—invisible; jhillī—of crickets or a kind of bee; svana—by the sounds; karṇa-śūla—whose ears are disturbed; ulūka—of the owls; vāgbhiḥ—by sound vibrations; vyathita—very disturbed; antaḥ-ātmā—whose mind and heart; apuṇya-vṛkṣān—impious trees that have no fruits or flowers; śrayate—he takes shelter of; kṣudha—from hunger; arditaḥ—suffering; marīci-toyāni—the waters of a mirage in the desert; abhidhāvati—he runs after; kvacit—sometimes.
Wandering in the forest of the material world, the conditioned soul sometimes hears an invisible cricket making harsh sounds, and his ears become very much aggrieved. Sometimes his heart is pained by the sounds of owls, which are just like the harsh words of his enemies. Sometimes he takes shelter of a tree that has no fruits or flowers. He approaches such a tree due to his strong appetite, and thus he suffers. He would like to acquire water, but he is simply illusioned by a mirage, and he runs after it.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said that the Bhāgavata philosophy is meant for people who are completely free from envy (paramo nirmatsarāṇām). The material world is full of envious people. Even within one’s inner circle there is much backbiting, and this is compared to the sound vibration of a cricket in the forest. One cannot see the cricket, but one bears its sounds and thus becomes aggrieved. When one takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one always hears unpalatable words from relatives. This is the nature of the world; one cannot avoid mental distress due to the backbiting of envious people. Being very much aggrieved, sometimes one goes to a sinful person for help, but he has no means to help because he has no intelligence. Thus the living entity is disappointed. This is like running after a mirage in the desert in an effort to find water. Such activities do not produce any tangible results. Due to being directed by the illusory energy, a conditioned soul suffers in so many ways.
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