yathā jale candramasaḥ
kampādis tat-kṛto guṇaḥ
dṛśyate ’sann api draṣṭur
ātmano ’nātmano guṇaḥ
yathā—as; jale—in the water; candramasaḥ—of the moon; kampa-ādiḥ—quivering, etc.; tat-kṛtaḥ—done by the water; guṇaḥ—quality; dṛśyate—it is so seen; asan api—without existence; draṣṭuḥ—of the seer; ātmanaḥ—of the self; anātmanaḥ—of other than the self; guṇaḥ—quality.
As the moon reflected on water appears to the seer to tremble due to being associated with the quality of the water, so the self associated with matter appears to be qualified as matter.
The Supreme Soul, the Personality of Godhead, is compared to the moon in the sky, and the living entities are compared to the reflection of the moon on water. The moon in the sky is fixed and does not appear to quiver like the moon on the water. Actually, like the original moon in the sky, the moon reflected on the water should also not quiver, but because of being associated with water, the reflection appears to be quivering, although in actual fact the moon is fixed. The water moves, but the moon does not move. Similarly, the living entities appear to be tainted by material qualities like illusion, lamentation and miseries, although in the pure soul such qualities are completely absent. The word pratīyate, which means “apparently” and “not actually” (like the experience of having one’s head cut off in a dream), is significant here. The reflection of the moon on the water is the separated rays of the moon and not the actual moon. The separated parts and parcels of the Lord entangled in the water of material existence have the quivering quality, whereas the Lord is like the actual moon in the sky, which is not at all in touch with water. The light of the sun and moon reflected on matter makes the matter bright and praiseworthy. The living symptoms are compared to the light of the sun and the moon illuminating material manifestations like trees and mountains. The reflection of the sun or moon is accepted as the real sun or moon by less intelligent men, and the pure monistic philosophy develops from these ideas. In fact, the light of the sun and the moon are actually different from the sun and moon themselves, although they are always connected. The light of the moon spread throughout the sky appears to be impersonal, but the moon planet, as it is, is personal, and the living entities on the moon planet are also personal. In the rays of the moon, different material entities appear to be comparatively more or less important. The light of the moon on the Taj Mahal appears to be more beautiful than the same light in the wilderness. Although the light of the moon is the same everywhere, due to being differently appreciated it appears different. Similarly, the light of the Lord is equally distributed everywhere, but due to being differently received, it appears to be different. One should not, therefore, accept the reflection of the moon on the water as actual and misunderstand the whole situation through monistic philosophy. The quivering quality of the moon is also variable. When the water is standing still, there is no quivering. A more settled conditioned soul quivers less, but due to material connection the quivering quality is more or less present everywhere.
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