Srimad Bhagavatam 11.13.32 - Its all about Perception (download mp3)
by Satyananda Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
yo jagare bahir anuksana-dharmino ’rthan
bhunkte samasta-karanair hrdi tat-sadrksan
svapne susupta upasamharate sa ekah
smrty-anvayat tri-guna-vrtti-drg indriyesah
While awake the living entity enjoys with all of his senses the fleeting characteristics of the material body and mind; while dreaming he enjoys similar experiences within the mind; and in deep dreamless sleep all such experiences merge into ignorance. By remembering and contemplating the succession of wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep, the living entity can understand that he is one throughout the three stages of consciousness and is transcendental. Thus, he becomes the lord of the senses.
In verse 30 of this chapter Lord Krsna stated that one must retire from material duality by the proper means, which the Lord now explains. One may first consider the three phases of consciousness mentioned above and then understand one’s own transcendental position as spirit soul. One experiences childhood, boyhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle age and old age, and throughout these phases one is experiencing things while awake and while dreaming. Similarly, one may, by careful intelligence, understand one’s lack of consciousness during deep sleep, and thus through intelligence one may have experience of lack of consciousness.
One may argue that it is actually the senses that experience during wakefulness and that it is the mind that experiences during dreams. However, the Lord here states, indriyesah: the living entity is actually the lord of the senses and mind, although temporarily he has become a victim of their influence. By Krsna consciousness one may resume one’s rightful position as master of the mental and sensory faculties. Also, since the living entity can remember his experiences in these three stages of consciousness, he is ultimately the experiencing agent or the seer of all phases of consciousness. He remembers, “I saw so many things in my dream, and then my dream ended and I didn’t see anything. Now I’m waking up.” This universal experience can be understood by everyone, and thus everyone can understand that one’s actual identity is separate from the material body and mind.