śokāgninā sakala-yoniṣu dahyamānaḥ
duḥkhauṣadhaṁ tad api duḥkham atad-dhiyāhaṁ
bhūman bhramāmi vada me tava dāsya-yogam
yasmāt—because of which (because of existing in the material world); priya—pleasing; apriya—not pleasing; viyoga—by separation; saṁyoga—and combination; janma—whose birth; śoka-agninā—by the fire of lamentation; sakala-yoniṣu—in any type of body; dahyamānaḥ—being burned; duḥkha-auṣadham—remedial measures for miserable life; tat—that; api—also; duḥkham—suffering; a-tat-dhiyā—by accepting the body as the self; aham—I; bhūman—O great one; bhramāmi—am wandering (within the cycle of birth and death); vada—kindly instruct; me—unto me; tava—Your; dāsya-yogam—activities of service.
O great one, O Supreme Lord, because of combination with pleasing and displeasing circumstances and because of separation from them, one is placed in a most regrettable position, within heavenly or hellish planets, as if burning in a fire of lamentation. Although there are many remedies by which to get out of miserable life, any such remedies in the material world are more miserable than the miseries themselves. Therefore I think that the only remedy is to engage in Your service. Kindly instruct me in such service.
Prahlāda Mahārāja aspired to engage in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord. After the death of his father, who was materially very opulent, Prahlāda would have inherited his father’s property, which extended throughout the world, but Prahlāda Mahārāja was not inclined to accept such material opulence, for whether one is in the heavenly or hellish planets or is a rich or a poor man’s son, material conditions are everywhere. Therefore no condition of life is at all pleasing. If one wants the uncontaminated pleasure of blissful life, he must engage himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Material opulence may be somewhat pleasing for the time being, but to come to that temporary pleasing condition one must work extremely hard. When a poor man is rich he may be better situated, but to come to that position he had to accept many miseries. The fact is that in material life, whether one is miserable or happy, both conditions are miserable. If one actually wants happy, blissful life, one must become Kṛṣṇa conscious and constantly engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. That is the real remedy. The entire world is under the illusion that people will be happy by advancing in materialistic measures to counteract the miseries of conditional life, but this attempt will never be successful. Humanity must be trained to engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. That is the purpose of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. There can be no happiness in changing one’s material conditions, for everywhere there is trouble and misery.
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