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ŚB 11.22.41


स्वप्नं मनोरथं चेत्थं प्राक्तनं न स्मरत्यसौ ।
तत्र पूर्वमिवात्मानमपूर्वम् चानुपश्यति ॥ ४१ ॥


svapnaṁ manorathaṁ cetthaṁ
prāktanaṁ na smaraty asau
tatra pūrvam ivātmānam
apūrvam cānupaśyati


svapnam — a dream; manaḥ-ratham — a daydream; ca — and; ittham — thus; prāktanam — previous; na smarati — does not remember; asau — he; tatra — in that (present body); pūrvam — the previous; iva — as if; ātmānam — himself; apūrvam — having no past; ca — and; anupaśyati — he views.


Just as a person experiencing a dream or daydream does not remember his previous dreams or daydreams, a person situated in his present body, although having existed prior to it, thinks that he has only recently come into being.


The objection may be raised that sometimes when experiencing a dream one actually remembers a previous dream. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura replies that by the mystic power of jāti-smara one can remember one’s previous body, and as is well known, “The exception establishes the rule.” Normally, conditioned souls do not perceive their past existence; they think, “I am six years old” or “I am thirty years old,” and “previous to this birth I did not exist.” In such material ignorance one cannot understand the actual situation of the soul.