tāmasaś cety ahaṁ tri-vṛt
vaikārikaḥ — in the mode of goodness; taijasaḥ — in the mode of passion; ca — and; tāmasaḥ — in the mode of ignorance; ca — also; iti — thus; aham — false ego; tri-vṛt — in three categories; tat-mātra — of the subtle forms of sense objects; indriya — of the senses; manasām — and of the mind; kāraṇam — the cause; cit-acit — both spirit and matter; mayaḥ — encompassing.
False ego, which is the cause of physical sensation, the senses and the mind, encompasses both spirit and matter and manifests in three varieties: in the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance.
The word cid-acin-maya, “encompassing both spirit and matter,” is significant in this regard. The false ego is the illusory combination of the eternal conscious soul and the temporary unconscious body. Because the spirit soul desires to exploit illicitly the creation of God, he is bewildered by the three modes of nature and assumes an illusory identity within the material world. Struggling to enjoy, he becomes more and more entangled in the complexities of illusion and only increases his anxiety. This hopeless situation can be overcome by taking to pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness, in which the pleasure of the Supreme Lord becomes the only goal of one’s life.