This statement (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.4.46) was made by Śukadeva Gosvāmī to Mahārāja Parīkṣit. This quotation concerns the attempted killing of Kṛṣṇa’s sister (Yogamāyā), who appeared before Kṛṣṇa’s birth as the daughter of mother Yaśodā. This daughter Yogamāyā and Kṛṣṇa were born simultaneously, and Vasudeva replaced Yogamāyā with Kṛṣṇa and took Yogamāyā away. When she was brought to Mathurā and Kaṁsa attempted to kill her, Yogamāyā slipped out of his hands. She could not be killed. She then informed Kaṁsa about the birth of his enemy, Kṛṣṇa, and being thus baffled, Kaṁsa consulted his associates, who were all demons. When this big conspiracy was taking place, this verse was spoken by Śukadeva Gosvāmī. He points out that a demon can lose everything because of his nefarious activities.
The word mahad-atikrama, meaning “envy of Lord Viṣṇu and His devotees,” is significant in this verse. The word mahat indicates a great personality, a devotee or the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. Being always engaged in the Lord’s service, the devotees themselves are as great as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The word mahat is also explained by Lord Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā (BG 9.13):
- mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ
- bhajanty ananya-manaso jñātvā bhūtādim avyayam
“O son of Pṛthā, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.” Being envious of the Lord and His devotees is not at all auspicious for a demon. By such envy, a demon loses everything considered beneficial.