वरान्विभो त्वद्वरदेश्वराद् बुध:
कथं वृणीते गुणविक्रियात्मनाम् ।
ये नारकाणामपि सन्ति देहिनां
तानीश कैवल्यपते वृणे न च ॥ २३ ॥
varān vibho tvad varadeśvarād budhaḥ
kathaṁ vṛṇīte guṇa-vikriyātmanām
ye nārakāṇām api santi dehināṁ
tān īśa kaivalya-pate vṛṇe na ca
pṛthuḥ uvāca — Pṛthu Mahārāja said; varān — benedictions; vibho — my dear Supreme Lord; tvat — from You; vara-da-īśvarāt — from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the highest of the bestowers of benedictions; budhaḥ — a learned person; katham — how; vṛṇīte — could ask for; guṇa-vikriyā — bewildered by the modes of material nature; ātmanām — of the living entities; ye — which; nārakāṇām — of the living entities living in hell; api — also; santi — exist; dehinām — of the embodied; tān — all those; īśa — O Supreme Lord; kaivalya-pate — O bestower of merging in the existence of the Lord; vṛṇe — I ask for; na — not; ca — also.
My dear Lord, You are the best of the demigods who can offer benedictions. Why, therefore, should any learned person ask You for benedictions meant for living entities bewildered by the modes of nature? Such benedictions are available automatically, even in the lives of living entities suffering in hellish conditions. My dear Lord, You can certainly bestow merging into Your existence, but I do not wish to have such a benediction.
There are different kinds of benedictions according to a person’s demands. For karmīs the best benediction is promotion to the higher planetary systems, where the duration of life is very long and the standard of living and happiness is very high. There are others, namely jñānīs and yogīs, who want the benediction of merging into the existence of the Lord. This is called kaivalya. The Lord is therefore addressed as kaivalya-pati, the master or Lord of the benediction known as kaivalya. But devotees receive a different type of benediction from the Lord. Devotees are anxious neither for the heavenly planets nor for merging into the existence of the Lord. According to devotees, kaivalya, or merging into the existence of the Lord, is considered as good as hell. The word naraka means “hell.” Similarly, everyone who exists in this material world is called nāraka because this material existence itself is known as a hellish condition of life. Pṛthu Mahārāja, however, expressed that he was interested neither in the benediction desired by the karmīs nor that desired by the jñānīs and yogīs. Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī Prabhu, a great devotee of Lord Caitanya, described that kaivalya is no better than a hellish condition of life, and as for the delights of the heavenly planets, they are factually will-o’-the-wisps, or phantasmagoria. They are not wanted by devotees. Devotees do not even care for the positions held by Lord Brahmā or Lord Śiva, nor does a devotee desire to become equal with Lord Viṣṇu. As a pure devotee of the Lord, Pṛthu Mahārāja made his position very clear.