In this material world, which advances like a river that carries away the living entity, all people become friends, relatives and enemies in due course of time. They also act neutrally, they mediate, they despise one another, and they act in many other relationships. Nonetheless, despite these various transactions, no one is permanently related.
It is our practical experience in this material world that the same person who is one's friend today becomes one's enemy tomorrow. Our relationships as friends or enemies, family men or outsiders, are actually the results of our different dealings. Chitraketu Maharaja was lamenting for his son, who was now dead, but he could have considered the situation otherwise. "This living entity," he could have thought, "was my enemy in my last life, and now, having appeared as my son, he is prematurely leaving just to give me pain and agony." Why should he not consider his dead son his former enemy and instead of lamenting be jubilant because of an enemy's death? As stated in Bhagavad-gita (3.27), prakriteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvashah: factually everything is happening because of our association with the modes of material nature. Therefore one who is my friend today in association with the mode of goodness may be my enemy tomorrow in association with the modes of passion and ignorance. As the modes of material nature work, in illusion we accept others as friends, enemies, sons or fathers in terms of the reactions of different dealings under different conditions.
Just as gold and other commodities are continually transferred from one place to another in due course of purchase and sale, so the living entity, as a result of his fruitive activities, wanders throughout the entire universe, being injected into various bodies in different species of life by one kind of father after another.
It has already been explained that Chitraketu's son was his enemy in a past life and had now appeared as his son just to give him more severe pain. Indeed, the untimely death of the son caused severe lamentation for the father. One may put forward the argument, "If the King's son was his enemy, how could the King have so much affection for him?" In answer, the example is given that when someone's wealth falls into the hands of his enemy, the money becomes the enemy's friend. Then the enemy can use it for his own purposes. Indeed, he can even use it to harm its previous owner. Therefore the money belongs neither to the one party nor to the other. The money is always money, but in different situations it can be used as an enemy or a friend.
As explained in Bhagavad-gita, it is not by any father or mother that the living entity is given his birth. The living entity is a completely separate identity from the so-called father and mother. By the laws of nature, the living entity is forced to enter the semen of a father and be injected into the womb of the mother. He is not in control of selecting what kind of father he will accept. Prakriteh kriyamanani: [Bg. 3.27] the laws of nature force him to go to different fathers and mothers, just like a consumer commodity that is purchased and sold. Therefore the so-called relationship of father and son is an arrangement of prakriti, or nature. It has no meaning, and therefore it is called illusion.
The same living entity sometimes takes shelter of an animal father and mother and sometimes a human father and mother. Sometimes he accepts a father and mother among the birds, and sometimes he accepts a demigod father and mother. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu therefore says:
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
guru-krishna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija
[Chaitanya-charitamrita Madhya 19.151]
Harassed life after life by the laws of nature, the living entity wanders throughout the entire universe in different planets and different species of life. Somehow or other, if he is fortunate enough, he comes in touch with a devotee who reforms his entire life. Then the living entity goes back home, back to Godhead. Therefore it is said:
janame janame sabe pita mata paya
krishna guru nahi mile baja hari ei
In the transmigration of the soul through different bodies, everyone, in every form of life—be it human, animal, tree or demigod—gets a father and mother. This is not very difficult. The difficulty is to obtain a bona fide spiritual master and Krishna. Therefore the duty of a human being is to capture the opportunity to come in touch with Krishna's representative, the bona fide spiritual master. Under the guidance of the spiritual master, the spiritual father, one can return home, back to Godhead.