Srimad-Bhagavatam: Canto 7 - Chapter 1 - Verse 24


तस्मादमूस्तनुभृतामहमाशिषोऽज्ञआयु: श्रियं विभवमैन्द्रियमाविरिञ्‍च्यात् ।नेच्छामि ते विलुलितानुरुविक्रमेणकालात्मनोपनय मां निजभृत्यपार्श्वम् ॥ २४ ॥


tasmād amūs tanu-bhṛtām aham āśiṣo ’jñaāyuḥ śriyaṁ vibhavam aindriyam āviriñcyātnecchāmi te vilulitān uruvikrameṇakālātmanopanaya māṁ nija-bhṛtya-pārśvam


My dear Lord, now I have complete experience concerning the worldly opulence, mystic power, longevity and other material pleasures enjoyed by all living entities, from Lord Brahmā down to the ant. As powerful time, You destroy them all. Therefore, because of my experience, I do not wish to possess them. My dear Lord, I request You to place me in touch with Your pure devotee and let me serve him as a sincere servant.


By studying Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, every intelligent man can get experience like that of Prahlāda Mahārāja through the historical incidents mentioned in this great literature of spiritual knowledge. By following in the footsteps of Prahlāda Mahārāja, one should gain thorough experience that all material opulence is perishable at every moment. Even this body, for which we try to acquire so many sensual pleasures, may perish at any time. The soul, however, is eternal. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre: the soul is never vanquished, even when the body is destroyed. An intelligent man, therefore, should care for the happiness of the spirit soul, not of the body. Even if one receives a body with a long duration of life, like those of Lord Brahmā and the other great demigods, it will also be destroyed, and therefore an intelligent man should be concerned with the imperishable spirit soul. To save oneself, one must take shelter of a pure devotee. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura therefore says, chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava-sevā nistāra pāyeche kebā. If one wants to save himself from material nature’s onslaughts, which arise because of the material body, one must become Kṛṣṇa conscious and try to fully understand Kṛṣṇa. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (4.9), janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ. One should understand Kṛṣṇa in truth, and this one can do only by serving a pure devotee. Thus Prahlāda Mahārāja prays that Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva place him in touch with a pure devotee and servant instead of awarding him material opulence. Every intelligent man within this material world must follow Prahlāda Mahārāja. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ. Prahlāda Mahārāja did not want to enjoy the estate left by his father; rather, he wanted to become a servant of the servant of the Lord. The illusory human civilization that perpetually endeavors for happiness through material advancement is rejected by Prahlāda Mahārāja and those who strictly follow in his footsteps. There are different types of material opulence, known technically as bhukti, mukti and siddhi. Bhukti refers to being situated in a very good position, like a position with the demigods in the higher planetary systems, where one can enjoy material sense gratification to the greatest extent. Mukti refers to being disgusted with material advancement and thus desiring to become one with the Supreme. Siddhi refers to executing a severe type of meditation, like that of the yogīs, to attain eight kinds of perfection (aṇimā, laghimā, mahimā, etc.). All who desire some material advancement through bhukti, mukti or siddhi are punishable in due course of time, and they return to material activities. Prahlāda Mahārāja rejected them all; he simply wanted to engage as an apprentice under the guidance of a pure devotee.