When one is unsuccessful in achieving his desired goal of life, when one finds no fulfillment in his present occupation, when one finds himself in reversed conditions and when one feels guilt—at such a time one is said to be in a state of lamentation.
In this condition of lamentation one becomes questioning, thoughtful, tearful, regretful and heavy-breathed. His bodily color changes, and his mouth becomes dry.
One aged devotee of Kṛṣṇa addressed Him in this way: "My dear Kṛṣṇa, O killer of the demon Agha, my body is now invalid due to old age. I cannot speak very fluently, my voice is faltering, my mind is not strong, and I am often attacked by forgetfulness. But, my dear Lord, You are just like the moonlight, and my only real regret is that for want of any taste for Your pleasant shining I did not advance myself in Kṛṣṇa consciousness." This statement is an instance of lamentation due to one's being unable to achieve his desired goal.
One devotee said, "This night I was dreaming of collecting various flowers from the garden, and I was thinking of making a garland to offer to Kṛṣṇa. But I am so unfortunate that all of a sudden my dream was over, and I could not achieve my desired goal!" This statement is an instance of lamentation resulting from nonfulfillment of one's duties.
When Nanda Mahārāja saw his foster son Kṛṣṇa embarrassed in the sacrificial arena of Kaṁsa, he said, "How unfortunate I am that I did not keep my son bolted within a room. Unfortunately, I have brought Him to Mathurā, and now I see that He's embarrassed by this giant elephant named Kuvalaya. It is as though the moon of Kṛṣṇa were eclipsed by the shadow of the earth." This is an instance of lamentation caused by reversed conditions.
In the Tenth Canto, Fourteenth Chapter, verse 9, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there is a statement by Brahmā: "My dear Lord, just see my impudence! You are the unlimited, the original Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul—and You rule over the most perfect illusory energies! And just see my impudence! I wanted to supersede You by my own personal power, and I was very puffed up with this tiny power of mine. Just as a simple spark from a fire cannot do any harm to the fire, so my bewildering potency was completely unsuccessful in thwarting Your superior illusory power. Therefore I find myself to be most insignificant and think of myself as a most useless person." This statement by Brahmā is an instance of lamentation caused by committing an offense.