tasmad amus tanu-bhrtam aham asiso ’jna
ayuh sriyam vibhavam aindriyam avirincyat
necchami te vilulitan uruvikramena
kalatmanopanaya mam nija-bhrtya-parsvam
tasmat—therefore; amuh—all those (opulences); tanu-bhrtam—with reference to living entities possessing material bodies; aham—I; asisah ajnah—knowing well the results of such benedictions; ayuh—a long duration of life; sriyam—material opulences; vibhavam—influence and glories; aindriyam—all meant for sense gratification; avirincyat—beginning from Lord Brahma (down to the small ant); na—not; icchami—I want; te—by You; vilulitan—subject to be finished; uru-vikramena—who are extremely powerful; kala-atmana—as the master of the time factor; upanaya—kindly take to; mam—me; nija-bhrtya-parsvam—the association of Your faithful servant, Your devotee.
My dear Lord, now I have complete experience concerning the worldly opulence, mystic power, longevity and other material pleasures enjoyed by all living entities, from Lord Brahma down to the ant. As powerful time, You destroy them all. Therefore, because of my experience, I do not wish to possess them. My dear Lord, I request You to place me in touch with Your pure devotee and let me serve him as a sincere servant.
By studying Srimad-Bhagavatam, every intelligent man can get experience like that of Prahlada Maharaja through the historical incidents mentioned in this great literature of spiritual knowledge. By following in the footsteps of Prahlada Maharaja, one should gain thorough experience that all material opulence is perishable at every moment. Even this body, for which we try to acquire so many sensual pleasures, may perish at any time. The soul, however, is eternal. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire: [Bg. 2.20] the soul is never vanquished, even when the body is destroyed. An intelligent man, therefore, should care for the happiness of the spirit soul, not of the body. Even if one receives a body with a long duration of life, like those of Lord Brahma and the other great demigods, it will also be destroyed, and therefore an intelligent man should be concerned with the imperishable spirit soul.
To save oneself, one must take shelter of a pure devotee. Narottama dasa Thakura therefore says, chadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payeche keba. If one wants to save himself from material nature’s onslaughts, which arise because of the material body, one must become Krsna conscious and try to fully understand Krsna. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (4.9), janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah. One should understand Krsna in truth, and this one can do only by serving a pure devotee. Thus Prahlada Maharaja prays that Lord Nrsimhadeva place him in touch with a pure devotee and servant instead of awarding him material opulence. Every intelligent man within this material world must follow Prahlada Maharaja. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. Prahlada Maharaja did not want to enjoy the estate left by his father; rather, he wanted to become a servant of the servant of the Lord. The illusory human civilization that perpetually endeavors for happiness through material advancement is rejected by Prahlada Maharaja and those who strictly follow in his footsteps.
There are different types of material opulence, known technically as bhukti, mukti and siddhi. Bhukti refers to being situated in a very good position, like a position with the demigods in the higher planetary systems, where one can enjoy material sense gratification to the greatest extent. Mukti refers to being disgusted with material advancement and thus desiring to become one with the Supreme. Siddhi refers to executing a severe type of meditation, like that of the yogis, to attain eight kinds of perfection (anima, laghima, mahima, etc.). All who desire some material advancement through bhukti, mukti or siddhi are punishable in due course of time, and they return to material activities. Prahlada Maharaja rejected them all; he simply wanted to engage as an apprentice under the guidance of a pure devotee.
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