CC Madhya 24.169
na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ
tal labhyate duḥkha-vad anyataḥ sukhaṁ
kālena sarvatra gabhīra-raṁhasā
tasya eva — for that; hetoḥ — reason; prayateta — should endeavor; kovidaḥ — one who is learned and intelligent; na — not; labhyate — is achieved; yat — that which; bhramatām — of those wandering; upari adhaḥ — up and down; tat — that; labhyate — is achieved; duḥkha-vat — exactly like unhappiness or distress; anyataḥ — from other reasons (one’s past actions); sukham — happiness; kālena — by time; sarvatra — everywhere; gabhīra — insurmountable; raṁhasā — having force.
“ ‘The transcendental position cannot be attained by wandering up and down from Brahmaloka and Satyaloka to Pātālaloka. If one is actually intelligent and learned, he should endeavor for that rare transcendental position. By the force of time one attains whatever material happiness is available within the fourteen worlds, just as one attains distress in due course of time. But since spiritual consciousness is not attained in this way, one should try for it.’
This verse was spoken by Nārada Muni in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.5.18). Nārada Muni was speaking to Vyāsadeva, who was morose even after he had compiled all the Vedic literatures. In this connection, Nārada Muni advised Śrīla Vyāsadeva to try to attain devotional service and nothing else.