jalaṁ tad-udbhavaiś channaṁ
jalam—water; tat-udbhavaiḥ—by grass grown from that water; channam—covered; hitvā—giving up; ajñaḥ—a foolish animal; jala-kāmyayā—desiring to drink water; mṛgatṛṣṇām—a mirage; upādhāvet—runs after; tathā—similarly; anyatra—somewhere else; artha-dṛk—self-interested; svataḥ—in himself.
Just as a deer, because of ignorance, cannot see the water within a well covered by grass, but runs after water elsewhere, the living entity covered by the material body does not see the happiness within himself, but runs after happiness in the material world.
This is an accurate example depicting how the living entity, because of lack of knowledge, runs after happiness outside his own self. When one understands his real identity as a spiritual being, he can understand the supreme spiritual being, Kṛṣṇa, and the real happiness exchanged between Kṛṣṇa and one’s self. It is very interesting to note how this verse points to the body’s growth from the spirit soul. The modern materialistic scientist thinks that life grows from matter, but actually the fact is that matter grows from life. The life, or the spiritual soul, is compared herein to water, from which clumps of matter grow in the form of grass. One who is ignorant of scientific knowledge of the spirit soul does not look inside the body to find happiness in the soul; instead, he goes outside to search for happiness, just as a deer without knowledge of the water beneath the grass goes out to the desert to find water. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to remove the ignorance of misled human beings who are trying to find water outside the jurisdiction of life. Raso vai saḥ. Raso ’ham apsu kaunteya. The taste of water is Kṛṣṇa. To quench one’s thirst, one must taste water by association with Kṛṣṇa. This is the Vedic injunction.
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