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dhyātur dhiyā svapna-manorathau yathā
tat karma-saṅkalpa-vikalpakaṁ mano
budho nirundhyād abhayaṁ tataḥ syāt
Although the conditioned mind is bewildered by the objects of sense gratification offered by māyā, illusion, if one takes to the unalloyed devotional service of the Lord such material sense gratification gradually dissipates, for it is merely a mental concoction of the conditioned soul. Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī has emphasized by the words avyabhicāriṇī bhakti that one cannot dissipate the illusion of material sense gratification unless one takes to the unalloyed devotional service of the Lord. As Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has stated:
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā
Unalloyed devotional service cannot be mixed with material sense gratification or mental speculation. The servant must act only for the satisfaction of the master. Similarly, Lord Kṛṣṇa states in Bhagavad-gītā, mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. One must see only Kṛṣṇa everywhere and must act exclusively for the satisfaction of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the eternal master of every living entity.
Śrīla Madhvācārya has quoted several verses from the Hari-vaṁśa illustrating that the living entity bewildered by identifying with his material body, home, family, friends and so on and thus entangled in the cycle of birth and death accepts phantasmagoria as reality. According to Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, śravaṇa-kīrtanādi-lakṣaṇa-mātratvaṁ yato na vyāhanyeta: if one seriously desires to vanquish the duality of material illusion, one must adopt the process of chanting and hearing the glories of the Supreme Lord. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu also cited the following Vedic reference:
harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
According to Vedic literatures the living entities of this Kali-yuga are very feeble in their power to understand spiritual knowledge (mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ). Their minds are always disturbed, and they are lazy and misguided by so many bogus leaders. They are further described in the Bhāgavatam as niḥsattvān (impatient and impious), durmedhān (possessed of weak intelligence) and hrasitāyuṣaḥ (very short lived). Therefore one who seriously wants to overcome the ignorance of material life must surrender to the process of chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord — Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare — as well as reciting and rendering submissive aural reception to the transcendental literatures presented by the Lord, such as Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Caitanya-caritāmṛta. It should be understood that the living entity is completely spiritual and never actually becomes mixed with material energy (asaṅgo hy ayaṁ puruṣaḥ). According to Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, tasmin śuddhe ’pi kalpyate: although the living entity is śuddha, pure spirit soul, he imagines that he is a material creation and thus entangles himself in the network of illusion called dehāpatya-kalatrādi.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has used the word mānasa-pratyakṣa to describe the experience of material life. Mānasa-pratyakṣa means “that which is experienced only within the mind.” The actual pratyakṣa is described in Bhagavad-gītā (9.2):
pavitram idam uttamam
susukhaṁ kartum avyayam
When one submissively hears the instructions given by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā, which constitute the king of all knowledge (rāja-vidyā) and the most confidential of all information (rāja-guhyam), by associating with such spotless spiritual knowledge (pavitram idam uttamam) one can directly experience one’s eternal nature (pratyakṣāvagamam). By experiencing one’s eternal nature, one becomes thoroughly religious (dharmyam), blissful (susukham) and eternally engaged in the devotional service of the Lord (kartum avyayam).
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has quoted the following śruti-mantra in this connection: vijita-hṛṣīka-vāyubhir adānta-manas turagam. “By the very senses and life air one has conquered, the uncurbed mind will again drag one away.” According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura the meaning of this verse is samavahāya guroś caraṇam: if one rejects the lotus feet of one’s spiritual master, all of one’s previous spiritual advancement becomes null and void. This has already been indicated in the previous verse by the words guru-devatātmā. Unless one accepts a bona fide spiritual master in the authorized paramparā as one’s worshipable deity and life and soul, there is no question of overcoming the duality of material life.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has made the following comments on this verse. “Control of the mind is a result of living a life of devotional service to the Lord. By the influence of fixed devotional service, the accepting and rejecting mind can stop its thirst for sensory enjoyment apart from Kṛṣṇa. In transcendental Kṛṣṇa consciousness there is no contradiction, pettiness or lack of ecstasy. In other words, it is not like a material object, which always proves temporary and constantly miserable. Having forgotten Kṛṣṇa, the conditioned living entity is suffering the misdirection and perversion of his own so-called intelligence. The living entities are fragmental parts of the supreme shelter, Kṛṣṇa, but have fallen from Kṛṣṇa’s kingdom of spiritual pastimes. Because of forgetting the Supreme Lord, they become prone to sinful life and turn their attention to dangerous material objects, which fill them with constant fear. If one desires to subdue the mind, which is constantly engaged in the duality of mental concoction, one must take to the devotional service of Lord Kṛṣṇa.”