नि:श्रेयसं कथं नृणां निषेधविधिलक्षणम् ॥ ३ ॥
antareṇa vacas tava
niḥśreyasaṁ kathaṁ nṝṇāṁ
guṇa — piety; doṣa — sin; bhidā — the difference between; dṛṣṭim — seeing; antareṇa — without; vacaḥ — words; tava — Your; niḥśreyasam — perfection of life, liberation; katham — how is it possible; nṝṇām — for human beings; niṣedha — prohibitions; vidhi — positive injunctions; lakṣaṇam — characterized by.
Without seeing the difference between piety and sin, how can one understand Your own instructions in the form of Vedic literatures, which order one to act piously and forbid one to act sinfully? Furthermore, without such authorized Vedic literatures, which ultimately award liberation, how can human beings achieve the perfection of life?
If one does not accept the necessity of performing pious activities and avoiding sinful activities, it becomes very difficult to understand authorized religious scriptures; and without such scriptures, how can human beings attain salvation? This is the essence of Śrī Uddhava’s question.