Persons devoid of ātma-tattva do not inquire into the problems of life, being too attached to the fallible soldiers like the body, children and wife. Although sufficiently experienced, they still do not see their inevitable destruction.
This material world is called the world of death. Every living being, beginning from Brahmā, whose duration of life is some thousands of millions of years, down to the germs who live for a few seconds only, is struggling for existence. Therefore, this life is a sort of fight with material nature, which imposes death upon all. In the human form of life, a living being is competent enough to come to an understanding of this great struggle for existence, but being too attached to family members, society, country, etc., he wants to win over the invincible material nature by the aid of bodily strength, children, wife, relatives, etc. Although he is sufficiently experienced in the matter by dint of past experience and previous examples of his deceased predecessors, he does not see that the so-called fighting soldiers like the children, relatives, society members and countrymen are all fallible in the great struggle. One should examine the fact that his father or his father's father has already died, and that he himself is therefore also sure to die, and similarly, his children, who are the would be fathers of their children, will also die in due course. No one will survive in this struggle with material nature. The history of human society definitely proves it, yet the foolish people still suggest that in the future they will be able to live perpetually, with the help of material science. This poor fund of knowledge exhibited by human society is certainly misleading, and it is all due to ignoring the constitution of the living soul. This material world exists only as a dream, due to our attachment to it. Otherwise, the living soul is always different from the material nature. The great ocean of material nature is tossing with the waves of time, and the so-called living conditions are something like foaming bubbles, which appear before us as bodily self, wife, children, society, countrymen, etc. Due to a lack of knowledge of self, we become victimized by the force of ignorance and thus spoil the valuable energy of human life in a vain search after permanent living conditions, which are impossible in this material world.
Our friends, relatives and so-called wives and children are not only fallible, but also bewildered by the outward glamor of material existence. As such, they cannot save us. Still we think that we are safe within the orbit of family, society or country.
The whole materialistic advancement of human civilization is like the decoration of a dead body. Everyone is a dead body flapping only for a few days, and yet all the energy of human life is being wasted in the decoration of this dead body. Śukadeva Gosvāmī is pointing out the duty of the human being after showing the actual position of bewildered human activities. Persons who are devoid of the knowledge of ātma-tattva are misguided, but those who are devotees of the Lord and have perfect realization of transcendental knowledge are not bewildered.
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.1.4, Translation and Purport)