प्रययुस्तं परिक्रम्य पन्थानमनिवर्तनम् ॥ २१ ॥
prayayus taṁ parikramya
iti — thus; vyavasitāḥ — being fully convinced by the instructions of Nārada Muni; rājan — O King; haryaśvāḥ — the sons of Prajāpati Dakṣa; eka-cetasaḥ — all being of the same opinion; prayayuḥ — left; tam — Nārada Muni; parikramya — circumambulating; panthānam — on the path; anivartanam — which does not bring one back again to this material world.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: My dear King, after hearing the instructions of Nārada, the Haryaśvas, the sons of Prajāpati Dakṣa, were firmly convinced. They all believed in his instructions and reached the same conclusion. Having accepted him as their spiritual master, they circumambulated that great sage and followed the path by which one never returns to this world.
From this verse we can understand the meaning of initiation and the duties of a disciple and spiritual master. The spiritual master never instructs his disciple, “Take a mantra from me, pay me some money, and by practicing this yoga system you will become very expert in materialistic life.” This is not the duty of a spiritual master. Rather, the spiritual master teaches the disciple how to give up materialistic life, and the disciple’s duty is to assimilate his instructions and ultimately follow the path back home, back to Godhead, from whence no one returns to this material world.
After hearing the instructions of Nārada Muni, the Haryaśvas, the sons of Prajāpati Dakṣa, decided not to be entangled in materialistic life by begetting hundreds of children and having to take care of them. This would have been unnecessarily entangling. The Haryaśvas did not consider pious and impious activities. Their materialistic father had instructed them to increase the population, but because of the words of Nārada Muni, they could not heed that instruction. Nārada Muni, as their spiritual master, gave them the śāstric instructions that they should give up this material world, and as bona fide disciples they followed his instructions. One should not endeavor to wander to different planetary systems within this universe, for even if one goes to the topmost planetary system, Brahmaloka, one must return again (kṣīṇe puṇye martya-lokaṁ viśanti). The endeavors of karmīs are a useless waste of time. One should endeavor to return home, back to Godhead. This is the perfection of life. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (8.16):
punar āvartino ’rjuna
mām upetya tu kaunteya
punar janma na vidyate
“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.”