O my Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, by engaging in Your transcendental loving service in the association of devotees who are liberated souls [haṁsas], I shall become completely uncontaminated by the association of the three modes of material nature and be able to chant the glories of Your Lordship, who are so dear to me. I shall chant Your glories, following exactly in the footsteps of Lord Brahmā and his disciplic succession. In this way I shall undoubtedly be able to cross the ocean of nescience.
My Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, O Supreme, because of a bodily conception of life, embodied souls neglected and not cared for by You cannot do anything for their betterment. Whatever remedies they accept, although perhaps temporarily beneficial, are certainly impermanent. For example, a father and mother cannot protect their child, a physician and medicine cannot relieve a suffering patient, and a boat on the ocean cannot protect a drowning man.
My dear Lord, everyone in this material world is under the modes of material nature, being influenced by goodness, passion, and ignorance. Everyone—from the greatest personality, Lord Brahmā, down to the small ant—works under the influence of these modes. Therefore, everyone in this material world is influenced by Your energy. The cause for which they work, the place where they work, the time when they work, the matter due to which they work, the goal of life they have considered final, and the process for obtaining this goal—all are nothing but manifestations of Your energy. Indeed, since the energy and energetic are identical, all of them are but manifestations of You.
Srila Prabhupada’s Purport:
A devotee’s life and duty are very well explained herein. As soon as a devotee can chant the holy name and glories of the Supreme Lord, he certainly comes to the liberated position. Attachment for glorifying the Lord by hearing and chanting the holy name and activities of the Lord (śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ [SB 7.5.23]) certainly brings one to the position where material contamination is absent. One should chant the bona fide songs received from the disciplic succession. In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that the chanting is powerful when one follows the disciplic succession (evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ [Bg. 4.2]). Manufacturing many ways of chanting will never be effective. However, chanting the song or the narration left by the previous ācāryas (mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ) is extremely effective, and this process is very easy. Therefore, in this verse Prahlāda Mahārāja uses the word añjaḥ (“easily”). Accepting the thoughts of exalted authorities through disciplic succession is certainly much easier than the method of mental speculation, by which one tries to invent some means to understand the Absolute Truth. The best process is to accept the instructions of the previous ācāryas and follow them. Then God realization and self-realization become extremely easy. By following this easy method, one is liberated from the contamination of the material modes of nature, and thus one can certainly cross the ocean of nescience, in which there are many miserable conditions. By following in the footsteps of the great ācāryas, one associates with the haṁsas or paramahaṁsas, those who are completely freed from material contamination. Indeed, by following the instructions of the ācāryas one is always freed from all material contamination, and thus one’s life becomes successful, for one reaches the goal of life. This material world is miserable, regardless of one’s standard of life. Of this there is no doubt.
Attempts to mitigate the miseries of material existence by material methods will never be successful. One must take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness to become happy; otherwise happiness is impossible. One might say that becoming advanced in spiritual life also involves tapasya, voluntary acceptance of some inconvenience. However, such inconvenience is not as dangerous as material attempts to mitigate all miseries.
Through parental care, through remedies for different kinds of disease, and through means of protection on the water, in the air and on land, there is always an endeavour for relief from various kinds of suffering in the material world, but none of them are guaranteed measures for protection. They may be beneficial temporarily, but they afford no permanent benefit. Despite the presence of a father and mother, a child cannot be protected from accidental death, disease and various other miseries. No one can help, including the parents. Ultimately the shelter is the Lord, and one who takes shelter of the Lord is protected. This is guaranteed. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.31), kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: “O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.” Therefore, unless one is protected by the mercy of the Lord, no remedial measure can act effectively. One should consequently depend fully on the causeless mercy of the Lord. Although as a matter of routine duty one must of course accept other remedial measures, no one can protect one who is neglected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this material world, everyone is trying to counteract the onslaught of material nature, but everyone is ultimately fully controlled by material nature. Therefore, even though so-called philosophers and scientists try to surmount the onslaught of material nature, they have not been able to do so. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (13.9) that the real sufferings of the material world are four—janma-mṛtyu jarā-vyādhi (birth, death, old age and disease). In the history of the world, no one has been successful in conquering these miseries imposed by material nature. prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ [Bg. 3.27]. Nature (prakṛti) is so strong that no one can overcome her stringent laws. So-called scientists, philosophers, religionists, and politicians should therefore conclude that they cannot offer facilities to the people in general. They should make vigorous propaganda to awaken the populace and raise them to the platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Our humble attempt to propagate the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement all over the world is the only remedy that can bring about a peaceful and happy life. We can never be happy without the mercy of the Supreme Lord (tvad-upekṣitānām). If we keep displeasing our supreme father, we shall never be happy within this material world, in either the upper or lower planetary systems.
Whether one thinks himself protected by his parents, by the government, by some place or by some other cause, everything is due to the various potencies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Everything that is done, whether in the higher, middle, or lower planetary systems, is due to the supervision or control of the Supreme Lord. It is therefore said, karmaṇā-daiva-netreṇa jantur dehopapattaye [SB 3.31.1]. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Super soul within the core of everyone’s heart, gives inspirations for action according to one’s mentality. All these mentalities are merely facilities given by Kṛṣṇa to the person acting. Bhagavad-gītā therefore says, mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca: [Bg. 15.15] everyone works according to the inspiration given by the Super soul. Because everyone has a different goal of life, everyone acts differently, as guided by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The words yasmin yato yarhi yena ca yasya yasmāt indicate that all activities, whatever they may be, are but different features of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All of them are created by the living entity and fulfilled by the mercy of the Lord. Although all such activities are nondifferent from the Lord, the Lord nonetheless directs, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: [Bg. 18.66] “Give up all other duties and surrender unto Me.” When we accept this direction from the Lord, we can become happy. If we work according to our material senses, we are in material life, but as soon as we act according to the real, transcendental direction of the Lord, our position is spiritual. The activities of bhakti, devotional service, are directly under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Nārada-pañcarātra states:
sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate
[Cc. Madhya 19.170]
When one gives up materially designated positions and works directly under the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one’s spiritual life is revived. This is described as svarūpena avasthiti, being situated in one’s original constitutional position. This is the real description of mukti, or liberation from material bondage.