What Is A Forest Fire? by His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Constant transmigration of the soul from one body to another is the cause of suffering in material existence. This conditional life in material existence is called saṁsāra, the cycle of birth and death. One may perform good work and take birth in a very comfortable material condition, but the process under which birth and death take place is always like a terrible fire. Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura, in his prayer to the spiritual master, has described this.
Saṁsāra, or the repetition of birth and death, is compared to a forest fire. A forest fire takes place automatically – without anyone’s endeavour – by the friction of dry wood. It cannot be extinguished by the endeavours of men. The raging forest fire can be extinguished only when there is a heavy downpour of water from a cloud. The cloud is compared to the mercy stored in the heart of the spiritual master. By the grace of the spiritual master the cloud of the mercy of the Personality of Godhead is brought in. Then, when the rains of Krishna consciousness fall, the fire of material existence can be extinguished. This is also explained here. In order to find freedom from the stereotyped conditional life of material existence, one has to take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. That shelter is achieved not in the proud manner in which the impersonalists indulge, but in humble devotional service — chanting and hearing of the transcendental activities of the Lord. Only then can one be free from the actions and reactions of material existence. It is recommended here that one should give up the conditioned life of this material world and the association of so-called civilized human beings who are simply following – in a polished way – the same stereotyped principles of eating, sleeping, defending and mating. Chanting and hearing of the glories of the Lord is described here as tvad-guṇa-vāda-sīdhu. Only by drinking the nectar of chanting and hearing the pastimes of the Lord can one forget the intoxication of material existence.
— Srimad Bhagavatam » Canto 3: The Status Quo » Chapter 12: Creation of the Kumāras and Others » Verses: 18, Purport.