kaḥ vā — who is that person; iha — within this material world; te — of Your Lordship; aparājitaḥ — not conquered; aparājitayā — by the unconquerable; māyayā — illusory energy; anavasita-padavya — whose path cannot be ascertained; anāvṛta-matiḥ — whose intelligence is not bewildered; viṣaya-viṣa — of material enjoyment, which is like poison; raya — by the course; anāvṛta — not covered; prakṛtiḥ — whose nature; anupāsita — without worshiping; mahat-caraṇaḥ — the lotus feet of great devotees.
Dear Lord, unless one worships the lotus feet of great devotees, one will be conquered by the illusory energy, and his intelligence will be bewildered. Indeed, who has not been carried away by the waves of material enjoyment, which are like poison? Your illusory energy is unconquerable. No one can see the path of this material energy or tell how it is working.
Mahārāja Nābhi was inclined to performing great sacrifices for begetting a son. The son might be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but such a material desire — be it great or insignificant — is brought about by the influence of māyā. A devotee does not at all desire anything for sense gratification. Devotion is therefore explained as devoid of material desires (anyābhilāṣitā-śūnya). Everyone is subjected to the influence of māyā and entangled in all kinds of material desire, and Mahārāja Nābhi was no exception. Freedom from māyā’s influence is possible when one engages in the service of the great devotees (mahac-caraṇa-sevā). Without worshiping the lotus feet of a great devotee, one cannot be freed from māyā’s influence. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura therefore says, chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava-sevā nistāra pāyeche kebā: “Who has been freed from māyā’s clutches without serving the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava?” Māyā is aparājita, and her influence is also aparājita. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (7.14):
mama māyā duratyayā
“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome.”
Only a devotee can surpass māyā’s great influence. It was no fault on Mahārāja Nābhi’s part that he wanted a son. He wanted a son like the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the best of all sons. By the association of the Lord’s devotee, one no longer desires material opulence. This is confirmed in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 22.54):
lava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi haya
kṛṣṇa-bhakti dūre rahu, saṁsāra nahe kṣaya
If one is serious about escaping māyā’s influence and returning home, back to Godhead, one must associate with a sādhu (devotee). That is the verdict of all scriptures. By the slight association of a devotee, one can be freed from the clutches of māyā. Without the mercy of the pure devotee, one cannot get freedom by any means. Certainly a pure devotee’s association is necessary in order to obtain the loving service of the Lord. One cannot be freed from māyā’s clutches without sādhu-saṅga, the benediction of a great devotee. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.5.32) Prahlāda Mahārāja says:
spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad arthaḥ
niṣkiñcanānāṁ na vṛṇīta yāvat
One cannot become the Lord’s pure devotee without taking the dust of a great devotee on his head (pāda-rajo-’bhiṣekam). A pure devotee is niṣkiñcana; he has no material desire to enjoy the material world. One has to take shelter of such a pure devotee in order to attain his qualities. The pure devotee is always free from the clutches of māyā and her influence.