There are two ways to progress. Those who are materialists have no interest in transcendence; therefore they are more interested in material advancement by economic development, or in promotion to the higher planets by appropriate work. When one takes to the path of transcendence, one has to cease all material activities and sacrifice all forms of so-called material happiness. If the aspiring transcendentalist fails, then he apparently loses both ways; in other words, he can enjoy neither material happiness nor spiritual success. He has no position; he is like a riven cloud. A cloud in the sky sometimes deviates from a small cloud and joins a big one. But if it cannot join a big one, then it is blown away by the wind and becomes a nonentity in the vast sky. The brahmanah pathi is the path of transcendental realization through knowing oneself to be spiritual in essence, part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, who is manifested as Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan. Lord Sri Krishna is the fullest manifestation of the Supreme Absolute Truth, and therefore one who is surrendered to the Supreme Person is a successful transcendentalist.
Certainly the transcendental body of Sri Krishna is not perishable. He is just like the sun, and maya is like a cloud. In the material world we can see that there is the sun and that there are clouds and different stars and planets. The clouds may cover all these in the sky temporarily, but this covering is only apparent to our limited vision. The sun, moon and stars are not actually covered. Similarly, maya cannot cover the Supreme Lord. By His internal potency He is not manifest to the less intelligent class of men.
Isvara (the Supreme Lord), jiva (the living entity), prakriti (nature), kala (eternal time) and karma (activity) are all explained in the Bhagavad-gita. Out of these five, the Lord, the living entities, material nature and time are eternal. The manifestation of prakriti may be temporary, but it is not false. Some philosophers say that the manifestation of material nature is false, but according to the philosophy of Bhagavad-gita or according to the philosophy of the Vaishnavas, this is not so. The manifestation of the world is not accepted as false; it is accepted as real, but temporary. It is likened unto a cloud which moves across the sky, or the coming of the rainy season, which nourishes grains. As soon as the rainy season is over and as soon as the cloud goes away, all the crops which were nourished by the rain dry up. Similarly, this material manifestation takes place at a certain interval, stays for a while and then disappears. Such are the workings of prakriti. But this cycle is working eternally. Therefore prakriti is eternal; it is not false. The Lord refers to this as “My prakriti.” This material nature is the separated energy of the Supreme Lord, and similarly the living entities are also the energy of the Supreme Lord, although they are not separated but eternally related. So the Lord, the living entity, material nature and time are all interrelated and are all eternal. However, the other item, karma, is not eternal. The effects of karma may be very old indeed. We are suffering or enjoying the results of our activities from time immemorial, but we can change the results of our karma, or our activity, and this change depends on the perfection of our knowledge. We are engaged in various activities. Undoubtedly we do not know what sort of activities we should adopt to gain relief from the actions and reactions of all these activities, but this is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita.
One may question here that if Krishna is equal to everyone and no one is His special friend, then why does He take a special interest in the devotees who are always engaged in His transcendental service? But this is not discrimination; it is natural. Any man in this material world may be very charitably disposed, yet he has a special interest in his own children. The Lord claims that every living entity — in whatever form — is His son, and so He provides everyone with a generous supply of the necessities of life. He is just like a cloud which pours rain all over, regardless of whether it falls on rock or land or water. But for His devotees, He gives specific attention. Such devotees are mentioned here: they are always in Krishna consciousness, and therefore they are always transcendentally situated in Krishna.