संसृतिं चात्मनाशं च तत्र विद्वान् स आत्मदृक् ॥ २० ॥
nānudhyāyen na sandiśet
saṁsṛtiṁ cātma-nāśaṁ ca
tatra vidvān sa ātma-dṛk
dṛṣṭam — the material enjoyment we experience in our present life; śrutam — material enjoyment as promised to the fruitive workers for future happiness (either in this life or in the next, in the heavenly planets and so on); asat — all temporary and bad; buddhvā — knowing; na — not; anudhyāyet — one should even think of; na — nor; sandiśet — should actually enjoy; saṁsṛtim — prolongation of material existence; ca — and; ātma-nāśam — forgetfulness of one’s own constitutional position; ca — as well as; tatra — in such a subject matter; vidvān — one who is completely aware; saḥ — such a person; ātma-dṛk — a self-realized soul.
One who knows that material happiness, whether good or bad, in this life or in the next, on this planet or on the heavenly planets, is temporary and useless, and that an intelligent person should not try to enjoy or even think of such things, is the knower of the self. Such a self-realized person knows quite well that material happiness is the very cause of continued material existence and forgetfulness of one’s own constitutional position.
The living entity is a spiritual soul, and the material body is his encagement. This is the beginning of spiritual understanding.
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
dhīras tatra na muhyati
“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” (Bg. 2.13) The real mission of human life is to get free from encagement in the material body. Therefore Kṛṣṇa descends to teach the conditioned soul about spiritual realization and how to become free from material bondage. Yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata. The words dharmasya glāniḥ mean “pollution of one’s existence.” Our existence is now polluted, and it must be purified (sattvaṁ śuddhyet). The human life is meant for this purification, not for thinking of happiness in terms of the external body, which is the cause of material bondage. Therefore, in this verse, Mahārāja Yayāti advises that whatever material happiness we see and whatever is promised for enjoyment is all merely flickering and temporary. Ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino ’rjuna. Even if one is promoted to Brahmaloka, if one is not freed from material bondage one must return to this planet earth and continue in the miserable condition of material existence (bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate). One should always keep this understanding in mind so as not to be allured by any kind of sense enjoyment, in this life or in the next. One who is fully aware of this truth is self-realized (sa ātma-dṛk), but aside from him, everyone suffers in the cycle of birth and death (mṛtyu-saṁsāra-vartmani). This understanding is one of true intelligence, and anything contrary to this is but a cause of unhappiness. Kṛṣṇa-bhakta — niṣkāma, ataeva ‘śānta.’ Only a Kṛṣṇa conscious person, who knows the aim and object of life, is peaceful. All others, whether karmīs, jñānīs or yogīs, are restless and cannot enjoy real peace.