न वेद किञ्चिद् बहिरन्तरं वा ।
यथेषुकारो नृपतिं व्रजन्त-
मिषौ गतात्मा न ददर्श पार्श्वे ॥ १३ ॥
na veda kiñcid bahir antaraṁ vā
yatheṣu-kāro nṛpatiṁ vrajantam
iṣau gatātmā na dadarśa pārśve
tadā — at that time; evam — thus; ātmani — in the Supreme Personality of Godhead; avaruddha — fixed; cittaḥ — the mind; na — does not; veda — know; kiñcit — anything; bahiḥ — outside; antaram — inside; vā — either; yathā — just as; iṣu — of arrows; kāraḥ — a maker; nṛ-patim — the king; vrajantam — going; iṣau — in the arrow; gata-ātmā — being absorbed; na dadarśa — did not see; pārśve — right next to him.
Thus, when one’s consciousness is completely fixed on the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one no longer sees duality, or internal and external reality. The example is given of the arrow maker who was so absorbed in making a straight arrow that he did not even see or notice the king himself, who was passing right next to him.
It is understood that when a king moves on a public street he is heralded by kettledrums and other musical instruments and is accompanied by soldiers and other members of his retinue. Thus, despite this royal extravaganza passing right by his workshop, the arrow maker did not even notice because he was completely absorbed in his prescribed duty of making an arrow straight and sharp. One who is completely absorbed in loving devotional service to the Absolute Truth, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, no longer pays attention to material illusion. In this verse the word bahis, “external,” refers to the innumerable objects of material sense gratification, such as food, drink, sex, and so on, which drag the senses of the conditioned soul into material duality. The word antaram, or “internal,” refers to memory of previous sense gratification or hopes and dreams for future materialistic situations. One who is seeing everywhere the Absolute Truth, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, categorically rejects both internal and external illusion. This is called mukti-pada, or the status of liberation. On this platform there is neither attraction nor aversion to sense objects; rather, there is loving absorption in the Absolute Truth, Kṛṣṇa, and an overwhelming desire to please Him by devotional service. One who gives up the reality of Kṛṣṇa will be forced to wander uselessly in the kingdom of mental speculation. One who cannot see that the Absolute Truth, Lord Kṛṣṇa, is the background and basis of everything that exists will be bewildered by the false concept that there is something that is not Kṛṣṇa. Everything emanates from the Lord, and He is the Lord of everything. This simple understanding is the actual existential situation.