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SB 11.13.31

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Please note: The synonyms, translation and purport of this verse were composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


asattvād ātmano 'nyeṣāṁ
bhāvānāṁ tat-kṛtā bhidā
gatayo hetavaś cāsya
mṛṣā svapna-dṛśo yathā


asattvāt—because of lacking factual existence; ātmanaḥ—from the Supreme Personality of Godhead; anyeṣām—of others; bhāvānām—states of existence; tat—by them; kṛtā—created; bhidā—difference or separation; gatayaḥ—destinations such as going to heaven; hetavaḥ—fruitive activities, which are the cause of future rewards; ca—also; asya—of the living entity; mṛṣā—false; svapna—of a dream; dṛśaḥ—of the seer; yathā—just as.

Translation and purport composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


Those states of existence that are conceived of as separate from the Supreme Personality of Godhead have no actual existence, although they create a sense of separation from the Absolute Truth. Just as the seer of a dream imagines many different activities and rewards, similarly, because of the sense of an existence separate from the Lord's existence, the living entity falsely performs fruitive activities, thinking them to be the cause of future rewards and destinations.


Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura comments as follows: "Although Lord Kṛṣṇa in His form of Haṁsa-avatāra has condemned the intelligence that sees duality and separate values within the material world, the Vedas themselves institute the system of varṇāśrama-dharma, by which the entire human society is divided into different castes, occupations and spiritual statuses. Therefore, how can the Lord recommend that one give up one's faith in this Vedic system? The answer is given in this verse as follows. The words anyeṣāṁ bhāvānām, or 'of other states of existence,' refer to the innumerable divisions of false identification with the material body, mind, occupation, and so on. Such identification is illusion, and the material divisions of the varṇāśrama system are certainly based on this illusion. The Vedic literatures promise heavenly rewards such as residence in upper planetary systems and prescribe the means to acquire such rewards. However, both the rewards and the means for achieving them are ultimately illusion. Since this world is the Lord's creation, one cannot deny that its existence is also real; yet the living entity who identifies the creations of this world as belonging to himself is certainly in illusion. The example may be given that horns are real and rabbits are real, but if one imagines a rabbit's horns, that is certainly illusion, though a rabbit's horns may occur in a dream. Similarly, the living entity dreams of a permanent relationship within the material world. One may dream that one is feasting on sumptuous sweet rice prepared with milk and sugar, but there is no actual nutritional value in the dream of royal feasting."

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura remarks in this regard that just as one soon forgets the experience of a dream after awakening, similarly, a liberated soul in Kṛṣṇa consciousness does not see anything substantial in even the most exalted rewards offered by the Vedas, such as promotion to the heavenly planets. Therefore Lord Kṛṣṇa advised Arjuna in Bhagavad-gītā to remain fixed in self-realization, without being deviated by fruitive rituals performed in the name of religion.

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