अहंमत्या भासितया स्वभासा पुरुषो यथा ॥ १९ ॥
sva-bhāsā puruṣo yathā
During the rainy season the moon was prevented from appearing directly by the covering of the clouds, which were themselves illumined by the moon’s rays. Similarly, the living being in material existence is prevented from appearing directly by the covering of the false ego, which is itself illumined by the consciousness of the pure soul.
The analogy given here is excellent. During the rainy season we cannot see the moon in the sky, because the moon is covered by clouds. These clouds, however, are radiant with the glow of the moon’s own rays. Similarly, in our conditioned, material existence we cannot directly perceive the soul, because our consciousness is covered by the false ego, which is the false identification with the material world and the material body. Yet it is the soul’s own consciousness that illumines the false ego.
As the Gītā describes, the energy of the soul is consciousness, and when this consciousness manifests through the screen of false ego, it appears as dull, material consciousness, in which there is no direct vision of the soul or God. In the material world, even great philosophers ultimately resort to hazy ambiguities when speaking about the Absolute Truth, just as the cloudy sky manifests only in a dull and indirect way the iridescent light of the moon.
In material life, our false ego is often enthusiastic, hopeful and apparently aware of various material affairs, and such consciousness encourages us to push on in material existence. But in truth we are merely experiencing the dull reflection of our original, pure consciousness, which is Kṛṣṇa consciousness — direct perception of the soul and God. Not realizing that the false ego merely hampers and dulls our real, spiritual consciousness, which is fully enlightened and blissful, we mistakenly think that material consciousness is full of knowledge and happiness. This is comparable to thinking that the luminous clouds are lighting up the night sky, while in fact it is the moonshine that illumines the sky, and the clouds that merely dull and hamper the moonshine. The clouds appear luminous because they are filtering and impeding the brilliant rays of the moon. Similarly, at times material consciousness appears pleasurable or enlightened because it is screening or filtering the original, blissful and enlightened consciousness coming directly from the soul. If we can understand the ingenious analogy given in this verse, we can easily advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.