कालो महान् व्यतीयाय ब्रह्मशापमुपेयुष: ॥ २० ॥
kālo mahān vyatīyāya
evam — thus; aiśvarya-mattasya — of one who was intoxicated by opulences; dṛptasya — greatly proud; ut-śāstra-vartinaḥ — transgressing the regulative principles mentioned in the śāstras; kālaḥ — duration of time; mahān — a great; vyatīyāya — passed; brahma-śāpam — a curse by exalted brāhmaṇas; upeyuṣaḥ — having obtained.
Hiraṇyakaśipu thus passed a long time being very much proud of his opulences and transgressing the laws and regulations mentioned in the authoritative śāstras. He was therefore subjected to a curse by the four Kumāras, who were great brāhmaṇas.
There have been many instances in which demons, after achieving material opulences, have become extremely proud, so much so that they have transgressed the laws and regulations given in the authoritative śāstras. Hiraṇyakaśipu acted in this way. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (16.23):
na sa siddhim avāpnoti
na sukhaṁ na parāṁ gatim
“He who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination.” The word śāstra refers to that which controls our activities. We cannot violate or transgress the laws and regulative principles mentioned in the śāstras. Bhagavad-gītā repeatedly confirms this.
karma kartum ihārhasi
“One should understand what is duty and what is not duty by the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated.” (Bg. 16.24) One should act according to the direction of the śāstra, but the material energy is so powerful that as soon as one becomes materially opulent, he begins to transgress the śāstric laws. As soon as one transgresses the laws of śāstra, he immediately enters upon the path of destruction.