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ramamāṇo guṇeṣv asyā
mamāham iti manyate
The different forms of the living entities are different dresses offered by the illusory, external energy of the Lord according to the modes of nature the living being desires to enjoy. The external, material energy is represented by her three modes, namely goodness, passion and ignorance. So even in the material nature there is a chance of an independent choice by the living entity, and according to his choice the material energy offers him different varieties of material bodies. There are 900,000 varieties of material bodies in the water, 2,000,000 vegetable bodies, 1,100,000 worms and reptiles, 1,000,000 forms of birds, 3,000,000 different bodies of beasts, and 400,000 human forms. Altogether there are 8,400,000 varieties of bodies in different planets of the universe, and the living entity is traveling by so many transmigrations according to different modes of enjoying spirit within himself. Even in one particular body the living entity changes from childhood to boyhood, from boyhood to youth, from youth to old age and from old age to another body created by his own action. The living entity creates his own body by his personal desires, and the external energy of the Lord supplies him the exact form by which he can enjoy his desires to the fullest extent. The tiger wanted to enjoy the blood of another animal, and therefore, by the grace of the Lord, the material energy supplied him the body of the tiger with facilities for enjoying blood from another animal. Similarly, a living entity desiring to get the body of a demigod in a higher planet can also get it by the grace of the Lord. And if he is intelligent enough, he can desire to get a spiritual body to enjoy the company of the Lord, and he will get it. So the minute freedom of the living entity can be fully utilized, and the Lord is so kind that He will award the living entity the same type of body he desires. The living entity’s desiring is like dreaming of a golden mountain. A person knows what a mountain is, and he knows also what gold is. Out of his desire only, he dreams of a golden mountain, and when the dream is over he sees something else in his presence. He finds in his awakened state that there is neither gold nor a mountain, and what to speak of a golden mountain.
The different positions of the living entities in the material world under multifarious manifestations of bodies are due to the misconception of “mine” and “I.” The karmī thinks of this world as “mine,” and the jñānī thinks “I am” everything. The whole material conception of politics, sociology, philanthropy, altruism, etc., conceived by the conditioned souls is on the basis of this misconceived “I” and “mine,” which are products of a strong desire to enjoy material life. Identification with the body and the place where the body is obtained under different conceptions of socialism, nationalism, family affection, and so on and so forth is all due to forgetfulness of the real nature of the living entity, and the whole misconception of the bewildered living entity can be removed by the association of Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Mahārāja Parīkṣit, as all this is explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.