As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (SB 10.84.13):
- yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke
- sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma-ijya-dhīḥ
- yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij
- janeṣv abhijñeṣu sa eva go-kharaḥ
"A human being who identifies the body made of three elements as the self, who considers the by-products of the body to be his kinsmen, who considers the land of his birth worshipable, and who goes to a place of pilgrimage simply to bathe rather than to meet men of transcendental knowledge there, is to be considered like a cow or an ass." Although Hiraṇyakaśipu was a great demon, he was not as foolish as the population of the modern world. Hiraṇyakaśipu had clear knowledge of the spirit soul and the subtle and gross bodies, but now we are so degraded that everyone, including the exalted scientists, philosophers and other leaders, is under the bodily conception of life, which is condemned in the śāstras. Sa eva go-kharaḥ: (SB 10.84.13) such persons are nothing but cows and asses.
Hiraṇyakaśipu advised his family members that although the gross body of his brother Hiraṇyākṣa was dead and they were aggrieved because of this, they should not lament for the great soul of Hiraṇyākṣa, who had already attained his next destination. Ātmā, the spirit soul, is always unchanged (avikalaḥ pumān). We are spirit souls, but when carried away by mental activities (manodharma), we suffer from so-called material conditions of life. This generally happens to nondevotees. Harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇāḥ: nondevotees may possess exalted material qualities, but because they are foolish they have no good qualifications. The designations of the conditioned soul in the material world are decorations of the dead body. The conditioned soul has no information of the spirit and its exalted existence beyond the effects of the material condition.