Srimad-Bhagavatam: Canto 3 - Chapter 1 - Verse 4


अर्थे ह्यविद्यमानेऽपि संसृतिर्न निवर्तते ।ध्यायतो विषयानस्य स्वप्नेऽनर्थागमो यथा ॥ ४ ॥


arthe hy avidyamāne ’pisaṁsṛtir na nivartatedhyāyato viṣayān asyasvapne ’narthāgamo yathā


Actually a living entity is transcendental to material existence, but because of his mentality of lording it over material nature, his material existential condition does not cease, and just as in a dream, he is affected by all sorts of disadvantages.


The example of a dream is very appropriate. Due to different mental conditions, in dreams we are put into advantageous and disadvantageous positions. Similarly, the spirit soul has nothing to do with this material nature, but because of his mentality of lording it over, he is put into the position of conditional existence. Conditional existence is described here as dhyāyato viṣayān asya. Viṣaya means “an object of enjoyment.” As long as one continues to think that he can enjoy material advantages, he is in conditioned life, but as soon as he comes to his senses, he develops the knowledge that he is not the enjoyer, for the only enjoyer is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (5.29), He is the beneficiary for all the results of sacrifices and penances (bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasām), and He is the proprietor of all the three worlds (sarva-loka-maheśvaram). He is the actual friend of all living entities. But instead of leaving proprietorship, enjoyment and the actual position as the friend of all living entities to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we claim that we are the proprietors, the enjoyers and the friends. We perform philanthropic work, thinking that we are the friends of human society. Someone may proclaim himself to be a very good national worker, the best friend of the people and of the country, but actually he cannot be the greatest friend of everyone. The only friend is Kṛṣṇa. One should try to raise the consciousness of the conditioned soul to the platform of understanding that Kṛṣṇa is his actual friend. If one makes friendship with Kṛṣṇa, one will never be cheated, and he will get all help needed. Arousing this consciousness of the conditioned soul is the greatest service, not posing oneself as a great friend of another living entity. The power of friendship is limited. Although one claims to be a friend, he cannot be a friend unlimitedly. There are an unlimited number of living entities, and our resources are limited; therefore we cannot be of any real benefit to the people in general. The best service to the people in general is to awaken them to Kṛṣṇa consciousness so that they may know that the supreme enjoyer, the supreme proprietor and the supreme friend is Kṛṣṇa. Then this illusory dream of lording it over material nature will vanish.