śrutvā gāthāṁ devayānī
mene prastobham ātmanaḥ
śrutvā—hearing; gāthām—the narration; devayānī—Queen Devayānī, the wife of Mahārāja Yayāti; mene—understood; prastobham ātmanaḥ—when instructed for her self-realization; strī-puṁsoḥ—between the husband and wife; sneha-vaiklavyāt—from an exchange of love and affection; parihāsam—a funny joke or story; iva—like; īritam—spoken (by Mahārāja Yayāti).
When Devayānī heard Mahārāja Yayāti’s story of the he-goat and she-goat, she understood that this story, which was presented as if a funny joke for entertainment between husband and wife, was intended to awaken her to her constitutional position.
When one actually awakens from material life, one understands his real position as an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. This is called liberation. Muktir hitvānyathā rūpaṁ svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ (Bhāg. 2.10.6). Under the influence of māyā, everyone living in this material world thinks that he is the master of everything (ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate [Bg. 3.27]). One thinks that there is no God or controller and that one is independent and can do anything. This is the material condition, and when one awakens from this ignorance, he is called liberated. Mahārāja Yayāti had delivered Devayānī from the well, and finally, as a dutiful husband, he instructed her with the story about the he-goat and she-goat and thus delivered her from the misconception of material happiness. Devayānī was quite competent to understand her liberated husband, and therefore she decided to follow him as his faithful wife.
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