kati santiha sastaro
jiva-lokasya vai prabho
trai-vidhyam kurvatah karma
yamadutah ucuh—the order carriers of Yamaraja said; kati—how many; santi—are there; iha—in this world; sastarah—controllers or rulers; jiva-lokasya—of this material world; vai—indeed; prabho—O master; trai-vidhyam—under the three modes of material nature; kurvatah—performing; karma—activity; phala—of the results; abhivyakti—of the manifestation; hetavah—causes.
The Yamadutas said: Our dear lord, how many controllers or rulers are there in this material world? How many causes are responsible for manifesting the various results of activities performed under the three modes of material nature [sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna]?
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says that the Yamadutas, the order carriers of Yamaraja, were so disappointed that they asked their master, almost in great anger, whether there were many masters other than him. Furthermore, because the Yamadutas had been defeated and their master could not protect them, they were inclined to say that there was no need to serve such a master. If a servant cannot carry out the orders of his master without being defeated, what is the use of serving such a powerless master?
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