निर्विण्णधीरहमु हे वृजिनाभितप्तो
नारायणं नरसखं शरणं प्रपद्ये ॥ १८ ॥
sarva-jñam īśvaram akuṇṭha-vikuṇṭha-dhiṣṇyam
nirviṇṇa-dhīr aham u he vṛjinābhitapto
nārāyaṇaṁ nara-sakhaṁ śaraṇaṁ prapadye
tasmāt — therefore; bhavantam — unto You; anavadyam — the perfect; ananta-pāram — unlimited; sarva-jñam — omniscient; īśvaram — Personality of Godhead; akuṇṭha — undisturbed by any force; vikuṇṭha — the spiritual kingdom Vaikuṇṭha; dhiṣṇyam — whose personal abode; nirviṇṇa — feeling renounced; dhīḥ — my mind; aham — I; u he — O (Lord); vṛjina — by material distress; abhitaptaḥ — tormented; nārāyaṇam — unto Lord Nārāyaṇa; nara-sakham — the friend of the infinitesimal living entity; śaraṇam prapadye — I approach to take shelter.
Therefore, O Lord, feeling weary of material life and tormented by its distresses, I now surrender unto You because You are the perfect master. You are the unlimited, all-knowing Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose spiritual abode in Vaikuṇṭha is free from all disturbances. In fact, You are known as Nārāyaṇa, the true friend of all living beings.
No one can claim to be a self-made man, because everyone works with the body and mind awarded by material nature. By the laws of nature there is always anxiety in material existence, and terrible tragedies periodically harass the conditioned souls. Here Uddhava points out that only Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, is a proper master, friend and shelter for the conditioned souls. We may be attracted by the good qualities of a particular man or demigod, but we may later discover discrepancies in that person’s behavior. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is described as anavadyam. There are no discrepancies in the personal conduct or character of the Personality of Godhead; He is eternally faultless.
We may faithfully serve a master, father or demigod, but when it is time for us to receive our reward for faithful service, the master may die. Therefore Lord Kṛṣṇa is here described as ananta-pāram, which indicates that He is not limited by time or space. The word anta indicates the termination of time, and pāra indicates a spatial termination; therefore ananta-pāram means that Lord Kṛṣṇa is not limited by time or space and thus will always dutifully reward His faithful servants.
If we serve someone other than the Personality of Godhead, our so-called master may forget our service or become ungrateful. Therefore Lord Kṛṣṇa is described here as sarva-jñam, omniscient. He can never forget the service of His devotee, and therefore He is never ungrateful. In fact, it is said that Lord Kṛṣṇa does not remember the faults of His devotees but only the sincere service they have rendered.
A further disadvantage in serving anyone besides Kṛṣṇa is that when we are in danger our master may not be able to protect us. If we take shelter of our nation, that nation may be destroyed in war. If we take shelter of our family, they may also die. And as described in the Vedic literature, even the demigods are sometimes defeated by the demons. But since Lord Kṛṣṇa is described here as īśvara, or the supreme controller, there is no danger of His being overcome or even impeded by any other power. Thus Lord Kṛṣṇa’s promise of protection to His devotee is eternally valid.
If we do not serve the Personality of Godhead, we will not know the ultimate result of our service. But here Lord Kṛṣṇa is described as akuṇṭha-vikuṇṭha-dhiṣṇyam. Lord Kṛṣṇa has an eternal abode called Vaikuṇṭha, and that abode is never disturbed by anything. The faithful servants of Lord Kṛṣṇa will certainly go back to Godhead, back home, for an eternal life of bliss and knowledge in the personal abode of the Lord. However, since even the demigods, and what to speak of insignificant human beings, are subject sooner or later to annihilation, what ultimate benefit can be derived from serving them?
Uddhava describes his personal situation as nirviṇṇa-dhīḥ and vṛjinābhitaptaḥ. In other words, Śrī Uddhava states that he is exhausted and discouraged by the contradictions and anguish of material life. He has been forced, therefore, to become humble and surrender to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, the personal friend of every living entity. In the material world a great man does not have time for insignificant men. But although the Lord is the greatest person, He sits in the heart of every living entity; thus He is the most merciful. Lord Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate shelter of even Nāra, or the Lord’s puruṣa expansion who creates the material world. The living entity is called nara, and the source of his material situation is Nāra, or Mahā-Viṣṇu. The word nārāyaṇa indicates that even Mahā-Viṣṇu finds His shelter in Kṛṣṇa, who is certainly supreme. Although our consciousness is presently contaminated by sinful propensities, if we follow the example of Śrī Uddhava and take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, everything can be rectified. Taking shelter of Kṛṣṇa means taking shelter of devotional service to Kṛṣṇa and obeying Him. Lord Kṛṣṇa demands this in Bhagavad-gītā, and if we comply with the order of the Lord our life can become fully auspicious and successful. Sooner than we expect, we may, by Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, enter the kingdom of God for an eternal life of bliss and knowledge.