kaḥ śāpaḥ ko nv anugrahaḥ
kaḥ svargo narakaḥ ko vā
kiṁ sukhaṁ duḥkham eva vā
guṇa-pravāhe — in the current of the modes of material nature; etasmin — this; kaḥ — what; śāpaḥ — a curse; kaḥ — what; nu — indeed; anugrahaḥ — a favor; kaḥ — what; svargaḥ — elevation to heavenly planets; narakaḥ — hell; kaḥ — what; vā — or; kim — what; sukham — happiness; duḥkham — distress; eva — indeed; vā — or.
This material world resembles the waves of a constantly flowing river. Therefore, what is a curse and what is a favor? What are the heavenly planets, and what are the hellish planets? What is actually happiness, and what is actually distress? Because the waves flow constantly, none of them has an eternal effect.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura sings, (miche) māyāra vaśe, yāccha bhese’, khāccha hābuḍubu, bhāi: “My dear living entities within this material world, why are you being carried away by the waves of the modes of material nature?” (Jīva) kṛṣṇa-dāsa, ei viśvāsa, karle ta’ āra duḥkha nāi: “If the living entity tries to understand that he is an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, there will no longer be misery for him.” Kṛṣṇa wants us to give up all other engagements and surrender unto Him. If we do so, where will the cause and effect of this material world be? There is nothing like cause and effect for the surrendered soul. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says in this regard that being put into this material world is like being thrown into a mine of salt. If one falls into a mine of salt, he tastes only salt wherever he goes. Similarly, this material world is full of miseries. The so-called temporary happiness of the world is also misery, but in ignorance we cannot understand this. That is the actual position. When one comes to his senses — when he becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious — he is no longer concerned with the various conditions of this material world. He is not concerned with happiness or distress, curses or favors, or heavenly or hellish planets. He sees no distinction between them.