na - not; te - they; viduá¸¥ - know; sva-artha-gatim - the ultimate goal of life, or their own real interest; hi - indeed; viá¹£á¹um - Lord Viá¹£á¹u and His abode; durÄÅayÄá¸¥ - being ambitious to enjoy this material world; ye - who; bahiá¸¥ - external sense objects; artha-mÄninaá¸¥ - considering as valuable; andhÄá¸¥ - persons who are blind; yathÄ - just as; andhaiá¸¥ - by other blind men; upanÄ«yamÄnÄá¸¥ - being led; te - they; api - although; Ä«Åa-tantryÄm - to the ropes (laws) of material nature; uru - having very strong; dÄmni - cords; baddhÄá¸¥ - bound.
Since there must always be a difference of opinion between demons and devotees, Hiraá¹yakaÅipu, when criticized by his son PrahlÄda MahÄrÄja, should not have been surprised that PrahlÄda MahÄrÄja differed from his way of life. Nonetheless, Hiraá¹yakaÅipu was extremely angry and wanted to rebuke his son for deriding his teacher or spiritual master, who had been born in the brÄhmaá¹a family of the great ÄcÄrya ÅukrÄcÄrya. The word Åukra means âsemen,â and ÄcÄrya refers to a teacher or guru. Hereditary gurus, or spiritual masters, have been accepted everywhere since time immemorial, but PrahlÄda MahÄrÄja declined to accept such a seminal guru or take instruction from him. An actual guru is Årotriya, one who has heard or received perfect knowledge through paramparÄ, the disciplic succession. Therefore PrahlÄda MahÄrÄja did not recognize a seminal spiritual master. Such spiritual masters are not at all interested in Viá¹£á¹u. Indeed, they are hopeful of material success (bahir-artha-mÄninaá¸¥). The word bahiá¸¥ means âexternal,â artha means âinterest,â and mÄnina means âtaking very seriously.â Generally speaking, practically everyone is unaware of the spiritual world. The knowledge of the materialists is restricted within the four-billion-mile limit of this material world, which is in the dark portion of the creation; they do not know that beyond the material world is the spiritual world. Unless one is a devotee of the Lord, one cannot understand the existence of the spiritual world. Gurus, teachers, who are simply interested in this material world are described in this verse as andha, blind. Such blind men may lead many other blind followers without true knowledge of material conditions, but they are not accepted by devotees like PrahlÄda MahÄrÄja. Such blind teachers, being interested in the external, material world, are always bound by the strong ropes of material nature.