स एष सार्थोऽर्थपर: परिभ्रमन्
भवाटवीं याति न शर्म विन्दति ॥ १ ॥
duratyaye ’dhvany ajayā niveśito
sa eṣa sārtho ’rtha-paraḥ paribhraman
bhavāṭavīṁ yāti na śarma vindati
brāhmaṇaḥ uvāca — the brāhmaṇa Jaḍa Bharata continued to speak; duratyaye — which is very difficult to traverse; adhvani — on the path of fruitive activities (performing actions in this life, creating a body in the next life by those actions, and in this way continuously accepting birth and death); ajayā — by māyā, the external energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; niveśitaḥ — caused to enter; rajaḥ-tamaḥ-sattva-vibhakta-karma-dṛk — a conditioned soul who sees only immediately beneficial fruitive activities and their results, which are divided into three groups by the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance; saḥ — he; eṣaḥ — this; sa-arthaḥ — the living entity falsely seeking sense gratification; artha-paraḥ — intent upon gaining wealth; paribhraman — wandering all over; bhava-aṭavīm — the forest known as bhava, which means the repetition of birth and death; yāti — enters; na — not; śarma — happiness; vindati — obtains.
Jaḍa Bharata, who had fully realized Brahman, continued: My dear King Rahūgaṇa, the living entity wanders on the path of the material world, which is very difficult for him to traverse, and he accepts repeated birth and death. Being captivated by the material world under the influence of the three modes of material nature (sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa), the living entity can see only the three fruits of activities under the spell of material nature. These fruits are auspicious, inauspicious and mixed. He thus becomes attached to religion, economic development, sense gratification and the monistic theory of liberation (merging with the Supreme). He works very hard day and night exactly like a merchant who enters a forest to acquire some articles to sell later for profit. However, he cannot really achieve happiness within this material world.
One can very easily understand how difficult and insurmountable the path of sense gratification is. Not knowing what the path of sense gratification is, one becomes implicated in the repetition of birth and accepts different types of bodies again and again. Thus one suffers in material existence. In this life one may think that he is very happy being an American, Indian, Englishman or German, but in the next life one has to accept another body among 8,400,000 species. The next body has to be immediately accepted according to karma. One will be forced to accept a certain type of body, and protesting will not help. That is the stringent law of nature. Due to the living entity’s ignorance of his eternal blissful life, he becomes attracted to material activities under the spell of māyā. In this world, he can never experience happiness, yet he works very hard to do so. This is called māyā.