jano ’yam anutiṣṭhati
viduṣaḥ karma-siddhiḥ syād
yathā nāviduṣo bhavet
jñātvā — understanding; ajñātvā — not understanding; ca — also; karmāṇi — activities; janaḥ — the common people; ayam — these; anutiṣṭhati — perform; viduṣaḥ — for one who is wise; karma-siddhiḥ — achievement of the intended goal of activity; syāt — arises; yathā — as; na — not; aviduṣaḥ — for one who is foolish; bhavet — occurs.
When people in this world perform activities, sometimes they understand what they are doing and sometimes they don’t. Those who know what they are doing achieve success in their work, whereas ignorant people do not.
The Lord here informs His father that people should perform a particular ceremony or activity only after thoroughly understanding it through discussion with friends. We should not be blind followers of tradition. If a person doesn’t even know what he’s doing, how can he be successful in his work? This, essentially, is the Lord’s argument in this verse. Since Śrī Kṛṣṇa, as the young child of Nanda, would naturally be expected to show enthusiasm for His father’s religious activities, it was the father’s duty to give the son a thorough explanation of the ceremony.