yathaiva narakān naraḥ
tan me vyākhyātum arhasi
adhunā—right now; iha—in this material world; mahā-bhāga—O greatly opulent and fortunate Śukadeva Gosvāmī; yathā—so that; eva—indeed; narakān—all the hellish conditions into which the impious are put; naraḥ—human beings; nānā—varieties of; ugra—terrible; yātanān—conditions of suffering; na īyāt—may not undergo; tat—that; me—to me; vyākhyātum arhasi—please describe.
O greatly fortunate and opulent Śukadeva Gosvāmī, now kindly tell me how human beings may be saved from having to enter hellish conditions in which they suffer terrible pains.
In the Twenty-sixth Chapter of the Fifth Canto, Śukadeva Gosvāmī has explained that people who commit sinful acts are forced to enter hellish planets and suffer. Now Mahārāja Parīkṣit, being a devotee, is concerned with how this can be stopped. A Vaiṣṇava is para-duḥkha-duḥkhī; in other words, he has no personal troubles, but he is very unhappy to see others in trouble. Prahlāda Mahārāja said, “My Lord, I have no personal problems, for I have learned how to glorify Your transcendental qualities and thus enter a trance of ecstasy. I do have a problem, however, for I am simply thinking of these rascals and fools who are busy with māyā-sukha, temporary happiness, without knowledge of devotional service unto You.” This is the problem faced by a Vaiṣṇava. Because a Vaiṣṇava fully takes shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he personally has no problems, but because he is compassionate toward the fallen, conditioned souls, he is always thinking of plans to save them from their hellish life in this body and the next. Parīkṣit Mahārāja, therefore, anxiously wanted to know from Śukadeva Gosvāmī how humanity can be saved from gliding down to hell. Śukadeva Gosvāmī had already explained how people enter hellish life, and he could also explain how they could be saved from it. Intelligent men must take advantage of these instructions. Unfortunately, however, the entire world is lacking Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and therefore people are suffering from the grossest ignorance and do not even believe in a life after this one. To convince them of their next life is very difficult because they have become almost mad in their pursuit of material enjoyment. Nevertheless, our duty, the duty of all sane men, is to save them. Mahārāja Parīkṣit is the representative of one who can save them.
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