स्पृशत्यनर्थापगमो यदर्थ: ।
निष्किञ्चनानां न वृणीत यावत् ॥ ३२ ॥
spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad-arthaḥ
niṣkiñcanānāṁ na vṛṇīta yāvat
na — not; eṣām — of these; matiḥ — the consciousness; tāvat — that long; urukrama-aṅghrim — the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is famous for performing uncommon activities; spṛśati — does touch; anartha — of unwanted things; apagamaḥ — the disappearance; yat — of which; arthaḥ — the purpose; mahīyasām — of the great souls (the mahātmās, or devotees); pāda-rajaḥ — by the dust of the lotus feet; abhiṣekam — consecration; niṣkiñcanānām — of devotees who have nothing to do with this material world; na — not; vṛṇīta — may accept; yāvat — as long as.
Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination.
Becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious brings about anartha-apagamaḥ, the disappearance of all anarthas, the miserable conditions we have unnecessarily accepted. The material body is the basic principle of these unwanted miserable conditions. The entire Vedic civilization is meant to relieve one from these unwanted miseries, but persons bound by the laws of nature do not know the destination of life. As described in the previous verse, īśa-tantryām uru-dāmni baddhāḥ: they are conditioned by the three strong modes of material nature. The education that keeps the conditioned soul bound life after life is called materialistic education. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has explained that materialistic education expands the influence of māyā. Such an education induces the conditioned soul to be increasingly attracted to materialistic life and to stray further and further away from liberation from unwanted miseries.
One may ask why highly educated persons do not take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The reason is explained in this verse. Unless one takes shelter of a bona fide, fully Kṛṣṇa conscious spiritual master, there is no chance of understanding Kṛṣṇa. The educators, scholars and big political leaders worshiped by millions of people cannot understand the goal of life and take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, for they have not accepted a bona fide spiritual master and the Vedas. Therefore in the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (3.2.3) it is said, nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhyo na medhayā na bahunā śrutena: one cannot become self-realized simply by having an academic education, by presenting lectures in an erudite way (pravacanena labhyaḥ), or by being an intelligent scientist who discovers many wonderful things. One cannot understand Kṛṣṇa unless one is graced by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Only one who has surrendered to a pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa and taken the dust of his lotus feet can understand Kṛṣṇa. First one must understand how to get out of the clutches of māyā. The only means is to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. And to become Kṛṣṇa conscious very easily, one must take shelter of a realized soul — a mahat, or mahātmā — whose only interest is to engage in the service of the Supreme Lord. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.13):
daivīṁ prakṛtiṁ āśritāḥ
jñātvā bhūtādim avyayam
“O son of Pṛthā, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.” Therefore, to end the unwanted miseries of life, one must become a devotee.
sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ
“One who has unflinching devotional faith in Kṛṣṇa consistently manifests all the good qualities of Kṛṣṇa and the demigods.” (Bhāg. 5.18.12)
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.” (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23)
tasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛṇute tanūṁ svām
“The Lord is obtained only by one whom He Himself chooses. To such a person He manifests His own form.” (Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 3.2.3)
These are Vedic injunctions. One must take shelter of a self-realized spiritual master, not a materially educated scholar or politician. One must take shelter of a niṣkiñcana, a person engaged in devotional service and free from material contamination. That is the way to return home, back to Godhead.