बह्वन्तरायकामत्वात् कृषिवच्चापि निष्फलम् ॥ २१ ॥
kṛṣi-vac cāpi niṣphalam
śrutam — material happiness which is heard of; ca — also; dṛṣṭa-vat — just like that which we have already seen; duṣṭam — is contaminated; spardhā — by jealousy; asūyā — by envy; atyaya — by death; vyayaiḥ — and by decay; bahu — many; antarāya — obstacles; kāmatvāt — because of accepting happiness with such characteristics; kṛṣi-vat — like agriculture; ca — also; api — even; niṣphalam — fruitless.
That material happiness of which we hear, such as promotion to heavenly planets for celestial enjoyment, is just like that material happiness we have already experienced. Both are polluted by jealousy, envy, decay and death. Therefore, just as an attempt to raise crops becomes fruitless if there are many problems like crop disease, insect plague or drought, similarly, the attempt to attain material happiness, either on earth or on the heavenly planets, is always fruitless because of innumerable obstacles.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments as follows on this verse. “Ordinarily, if there is no specific impediment, agricultural endeavors will yield their fruits. If, however, there is a defect in the seed, or if the soil is too salty or barren, or if there is drought, plague, excessive rain or heat out of season, or if there are disturbances caused by animals, birds or insects, then agricultural activities will not yield the desired harvest. Similarly, those who are expert in analyzing the material world see that the heavenly situations offered in the Vedas are not basically different from life on the earth. By the interaction of conditioned souls there will inevitably be jealousy as one becomes distinguished as superior and another as inferior. By the power of time these positions are reversed, and therefore violence and intrigue disturb life even on the heavenly planets. In fact, the attempt to promote oneself to the heavenly planets is itself full of problems and disturbances. One should therefore understand that the kingdom of God, Vaikuṇṭha, is transcendental to the limitations and disturbances imposed by the laws of material nature in this world. If one wrongly concludes that such imperfections are also present in the kingdom of God, then one will be polluted by material contamination.”