संसारस्तन्निबन्धोऽयं पुंसो विद्याच्छिदात्मन: ॥ १० ॥
deho ’yaṁ puruṣasya hi
saṁsāras tan-nibandho ’yaṁ
puṁso vidyā cchid ātmanaḥ
yaḥ — which; asau — that(subtle body); guṇaiḥ — by the material modes; viracitaḥ — constructed; dehaḥ — the body; ayam — this (gross body); puruṣasya — of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; hi — certainly; saṁsāraḥ — material existence; tat-nibandhaḥ — tied to that; ayam — this; puṁsaḥ — of the living entity; vidyā — knowledge; chit — that which cuts apart; ātmanaḥ — of the soul.
The subtle and gross material bodies are created by the material modes of nature, which expand from the potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Material existence occurs when the living entity falsely accepts the qualities of the gross and subtle bodies as being his own factual nature. This illusory state, however, can be destroyed by real knowledge.
Regarding the analogy comparing fire and its fuel to the soul and the body, one may argue that to some extent fire is dependent upon its fuel and cannot exist without it. Since we do not experience the existence of fire independent of fuel, one may therefore still question how it is possible for the living entity to exist separately from the body, become covered by it and eventually become free from it. Only through the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s knowledge potency (vidyā) can one clearly understand the nature of the living entity. By vidyā, or real knowledge, one may cut material existence to pieces and even in this lifetime experience spiritual reality. According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, our material existence is an artificial imposition. By the Lord’s inconceivable potency of nescience, the qualities of gross and subtle material forms are psychologically imposed upon the living being, and because of misidentification with the body, the living entity initiates a series of illusory activities. As explained in the previous chapter, the present material body is like a tree that produces the karmic seed of the next body. However, this cycle of ignorance can be cut to pieces by the transcendental knowledge explained by the Lord.
Unfortunately, the conditioned souls, being inimical to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, do not accept the perfect knowledge spoken by the Lord. Instead they remain absorbed in gross and subtle illusion. But if the living entity accepts the Lord’s knowledge, his whole situation can be rectified, and he can return to his original, eternal, blissful life of perfect knowledge in the direct association of the Lord.