अनुदेहं वियन्त्येते स्वप्नो निद्रानुगो यथा ॥ ५३ ॥
anu-dehaṁ viyanty ete
svapno nidrānugo yathā
putra — of children; dāra — wife; āpta — relatives; bandhūnām — and friends; saṅgamaḥ — the association, living together; pāntha — of travelers; saṅgamaḥ — association; anu-deham — with each change of body; viyanti — they are separated; ete — all these; svapnaḥ — a dream; nidrā — in sleep; anugaḥ — occurring; yathā — just as.
The association of children, wife, relatives and friends is just like the brief meeting of travelers. With each change of body one is separated from all such associates, just as one loses the objects one possesses in a dream when the dream is over.
Pāntha-saṅgama indicates the momentary association of travelers at hotels, restaurants, tourist spots or, in more traditional cultures, freshwater wells and walking paths. We are now associated with many relatives, friends and well-wishers, but as soon as we change our material body we will immediately be separated from all these associates, just as upon awakening we are immediately separated from the imaginary situation of a dream. One becomes attached to the sense gratification of one’s dream, and similarly, under the spell of the illusory concepts of “I” and “mine,” we become attached to so-called relatives and friends who gratify our sense of false ego. Unfortunately, such fleeting egoistic association covers our real knowledge of the self and the Supreme, and we remain hovering in material illusion, futilely endeavoring for permanent sense gratification. One who remains attached to the bodily concept of family and friends cannot possibly give up the false egoism of “I” and “mine,” or “I am everything and everything is mine.”
Without giving up material sense gratification we cannot become steady on the transcendental platform of devotional service, and therefore we cannot relish the actual flavor of eternal happiness. Unless one becomes a pure devotee of the Lord, accepting Lord Kṛṣṇa as one’s only friend, one cannot give up the hankering for temporary and superficial material relationships. A traveler far away from his home and loved ones may strike up superficial conversations with other travelers, but such relationships have no ultimate meaning. One should therefore revive one’s lost relationship with Lord Kṛṣṇa. We are constitutionally part and parcel of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is the reservoir of all spiritual pleasure, and our original relationship with Him is full of love and happiness. But because of our desire to enjoy independently from Him, we fall down into the confusing, meaningless network of material relationships created by māyā. An intelligent person realizes there is no actual pleasure or satisfaction for the soul on either this planet or any other material planet. Therefore, like a weary traveler exhausted from his journey, he should go back home, back to Godhead, for eternal peace as the faithful servant of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa.