- tasmāt karmasu barhiṣmann
- ajñānād artha-kāśiṣu
- mārtha-dṛṣṭiṁ kṛthāḥ śrotra-
- sparśiṣv aspṛṣṭa-vastuṣu
tasmāt—therefore; karmasu—in fruitive activities; barhiṣman—O King Prācīnabarhiṣat; ajñānāt—out of ignorance; artha-kāśiṣu—in the glittering fruitive result; mā—never; artha-dṛṣṭim—considering to be the aim of life; kṛthāḥ—do; śrotra-sparśiṣu—pleasing to the ear; aspṛṣṭa—without touching; vastuṣu—real interest.
My dear King Barhiṣmān, you should never out of ignorance take to the Vedic rituals or to fruitive activity, which may be pleasing to hear about or which may appear to be the goal of self-interest. You should never take these to be the ultimate goal of life.
In Bhagavad-gītā (BG 2.42-43) it is said:
- yām imāṁ puṣpitāṁ vācaṁ
- pravadanty avipaścitaḥ
- veda-vāda-ratāḥ pārtha
- nānyad astīti vādinaḥ
- kāmātmānaḥ svarga-parā
- bhogaiśvarya-gatiṁ prati
"Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas , which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this."
Generally people are very much attracted to the fruitive activities sanctioned in the Vedic rituals. One may be very much attracted to becoming elevated to heavenly planets by performing great sacrifices, like those of King Barhiṣmān. Śrī Nārada Muni wanted to stop King Barhiṣmān from engaging in such fruitive activities. Therefore he is now directly telling him, "Don't be interested in such temporary benefits." In modern civilization people are very much interested in exploiting the resources of material nature through the methods of science. Indeed, this is considered advancement. This is not actually advancement, however, but is simply pleasing to hear. Although we are advancing according to such concocted methods, we are forgetting our real purpose. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura therefore says, jaḍa-vidyā yata māyāra vaibhava tomāra bhajane bādhā: "Materialistic studies are the glare of māyā only, for they are an obstacle to spiritual progress."
The temporary comforts of life experienced either on this planet or on other planets are all to be taken as illusory because they do not touch the real purpose of life. The real purpose of life is to go back home, back to Godhead. Ignorant of the real purpose of life, people take to either gross materialistic activities or ritualistic activities. King Barhiṣmān is herein requested not to be attached to such activities. In the Vedas it is stated that the performance of sacrifice is the actual purpose of life. A section of the Indian population known as the Ārya-samājists lay too much stress on the sacrificial portion of the Vedas. This verse indicates, however, that such sacrifices are to be taken as illusory. Actually the aim of human life should be God realization, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The Vedic performances are, of course, very glittering and pleasing to hear about, but they do not serve the real purpose of life.