jñānaṁ karma ca yat-kṛtam
sakhyas tad-vṛttayaḥ prāṇaḥ
sakhāyaḥ—the male friends; indriya-gaṇāḥ—the senses; jñānam—knowledge; karma—activity; ca—also; yat-kṛtam—done by the senses; sakhyaḥ—female friends; tat—of the senses; vṛttayaḥ—engagements; prāṇaḥ—life air; pañca-vṛttiḥ—having five processes; yathā—like; uragaḥ—the serpent.
The five working senses and the five senses that acquire knowledge are all male friends of Purañjanī. The living entity is assisted by these senses in acquiring knowledge and engaging in activity. The engagements of the senses are known as girl friends, and the serpent, which was described as having five heads, is the life air acting within the five circulatory processes.
Because of his desire to enjoy the material world, the living entity is dressed with the material gross and subtle bodies. Thus he is given a chance to enjoy the senses. The senses are therefore the instruments for enjoying the material world; consequently the senses have been described as friends. Sometimes, because of too much sinful activity, the living entity does not get a material gross body, but hovers on the subtle platform. This is called ghostly life. Because of his not possessing a gross body, he creates a great deal of trouble in his subtle body. Thus the presence of a ghost is horrible for those who are living in the gross body. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (15.10):
“The foolish cannot understand how a living entity can quit his body, nor can they understand what sort of body he enjoys under the spell of the modes of nature. But one whose eyes are trained in knowledge can see all this.”
The living entities are merged into the air of life, which acts in different ways for circulation. There is prāṇa, apāna, udāna, vyāna and samāna, and because the life air functions in this fivefold way, it is compared to the five-hooded serpent. The soul passes through the kuṇḍalinī-cakra like a serpent crawling on the ground. The life air is compared to uraga, the serpent. Pañca-vṛtti is the desire to satisfy the senses, attracted by five sense objects—namely form, taste, sound, smell and touch.
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