16. At night, by the grace of the moonlight, the clouds in the sky can be seen moving. Yet the moon itself also appears to be moving, just as a living being appears to be moving because of false identification with matter.
At night in the rainy season the moving clouds reflecting the moonlight make the moon appear to be moving. This is called illusion. The spirit soul, or the living being, is the root of all the activities of the material body, but because of illusion the spirit soul remains covered by the gross and subtle material bodies. Thus covered, the conditioned soul identifies with the material body and becomes subject to the sense of false ego.
This false ego obliges a living being to consider his material body to be his self, the offspring of the body to be his children, and the land of the birth of the body to be an object of worship. Thus the living being’s conception of nationalism is another type of ignorance. Because of ignorance, a living being identifies himself with the land of his birth and moves with the misconceptions of national ideas. In fact, however, a living being does not belong to any nation or species of life. He has nothing to do with the body, as the moon has nothing to do with the moving clouds.
The moon is far away from the clouds and is fixed in its own orbit, but illusion presents a scene in which the moon appears to be moving. A living being should not float with the misconception of the temporary body; he must always know himself to be transcendental to the bodily identity. This is the path of knowledge, and complete knowledge fixes the living being in the orbit of spiritual activities.
The spiritual living force is always active by nature. By illusion his activities are wrongly directed in relation with the body, but in the liberated condition of complete knowledge his activities are conducted in spiritual devotion. Liberation does not mean stopping activities; it means being purified of illusory activities and becoming transcendental to relations with the gross and subtle bodies.
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