कालेन चोदितगुणानुमतेन पुंस: ।
संसारचक्रमज कोऽतितरेत् त्वदन्य: ॥ २१ ॥
kālena codita-guṇānumatena puṁsaḥ
chandomayaṁ yad ajayārpita-ṣoḍaśāraṁ
saṁsāra-cakram aja ko ’titaret tvad-anyaḥ
māyā — the external energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; manaḥ — the mind*; sṛjati — creates; karma-mayam — producing hundreds and thousands of desires and acting accordingly; balīyaḥ — extremely powerful, insurmountable; kālena — by time; codita-guṇa — whose three modes of material nature are agitated; anumatena — permitted by the mercy of the glance (time); puṁsaḥ — of the plenary portion, Lord Viṣṇu, the expansion of Lord Kṛṣṇa; chandaḥ-mayam — chiefly influenced by the directions in the Vedas; yat — which; ajayā — because of dark ignorance; arpita — offered; ṣoḍaśa — sixteen; aram — the spokes; saṁsāra-cakram — the wheel of repeated birth and death in different species of life; aja — O unborn Lord; kaḥ — who (is there); atitaret — able to get out; tvat-anyaḥ — without taking shelter at Your lotus feet.
O Lord, O supreme eternal, by expanding Your plenary portion You have created the subtle bodies of the living entities through the agency of Your external energy, which is agitated by time. Thus the mind entraps the living entity in unlimited varieties of desires to be fulfilled by the Vedic directions of karma-kāṇḍa [fruitive activity] and the sixteen elements. Who can get free from this entanglement unless he takes shelter at Your lotus feet?
If the hand of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is present in everything, where is the question of being liberated from material encagement to spiritual, blissful life? Indeed, it is a fact that Kṛṣṇa is the source of everything, as we understand from Kṛṣṇa Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ). All the activities in both the spiritual and material world are certainly conducted by the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the agency of either the material or spiritual nature. As further confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (9.10), mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sacarācaram: without the direction of the Supreme Lord, material nature cannot do anything; it cannot act independently. Therefore, in the beginning the living entity wanted to enjoy the material energy, and to give the living entity all facility, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, created this material world and gave the living entity the facility to concoct different ideas and plans through the mind. These facilities offered by the Lord to the living entity constitute the sixteen kinds of perverted support in terms of the knowledge-gathering senses, the working senses, the mind and the five material elements. The wheel of repeated birth and death is created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but to direct the bewildered living entity in progress toward liberation according to varied stages of advancement, different directions are given in the Vedas (chandomayam). If one wants to be elevated to the higher planetary systems, he may follow the Vedic directions. As the Lord states in Bhagavad-gītā (9.25):
pitṝn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā
yānti mad-yājino ’pi mām
“Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me.” The real purpose of the Vedas is to direct one back home, back to Godhead, but the living entity, not knowing the real goal of his life, wants to go sometimes here and sometimes there and do sometimes this and sometimes that. In this way he wanders throughout the entire universe, imprisoned in various species and thus engaging in various activities for which he must suffer the reactions. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore says:
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
(Cc. Madhya 19.151)
The fallen, conditioned living entity, trapped by the external energy, loiters in the material world, but if by good fortune he meets a bona fide representative of the Lord who gives him the seed of devotional service, and if he takes advantage of such a guru, or representative of God, he receives the bhakti-latā-bīja, the seed of devotional service. If he properly cultivates Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he is then gradually elevated to the spiritual world. The ultimate conclusion is that one must surrender to the principles of bhakti-yoga, for then one will gradually attain liberation. No other method of liberation from the material struggle is at all possible.