क्षेमाय नैर्गुण्यमथो मन: स्यात् ।
यथा प्रदीपो घृतवर्तिमश्नन्
शिखा: सधूमा भजति ह्यन्यदा स्वम् ।
पदं तथा गुणकर्मानुबद्धं
वृत्तीर्मन: श्रयतेऽन्यत्र तत्त्वम् ॥ ८ ॥
kṣemāya nairguṇyam atho manaḥ syāt
yathā pradīpo ghṛta-vartim aśnan
śikhāḥ sadhūmā bhajati hy anyadā svam
padaṁ tathā guṇa-karmānubaddhaṁ
vṛttīr manaḥ śrayate ’nyatra tattvam
guṇa-anuraktam — being attached to the material modes of nature; vyasanāya — for the conditioning in material existence; jantoḥ — of the living entity; kṣemāya — for the ultimate welfare; nairguṇyam — being unaffected by the material modes of nature; atho — thus; manaḥ — the mind; syāt — becomes; yathā — as much as; pradīpaḥ — a lamp; ghṛta-vartim — a wick within clarified butter; aśnan — burning; śikhāḥ — the flame; sadhūmāḥ — with smoke; bhajati — enjoys; hi — certainly; anyadā — otherwise; svam — its own original; padam — position; tathā — so; guṇa-karma-anubaddham — bound by the modes of nature and the reactions of material activities; vṛttīḥ — various engagements; manaḥ — the mind; śrayate — takes shelter of; anyatra — otherwise; tattvam — its original condition.
When the living entity’s mind becomes absorbed in the sense gratification of the material world, it brings about his conditioned life and suffering within the material situation. However, when the mind becomes unattached to material enjoyment, it becomes the cause of liberation. When the flame in a lamp burns the wick improperly, the lamp is blackened, but when the lamp is filled with ghee and is burning properly, there is bright illumination. Similarly, when the mind is absorbed in material sense gratification, it causes suffering, and when detached from material sense gratification it brings about the original brightness of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
It is therefore concluded that the mind is the cause of material existence and liberation also. Everyone is suffering in this material world because of the mind; it is therefore proper to train the mind or to cleanse the mind from material attachment and engage it fully in the Lord’s service. This is called spiritual engagement. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
“One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.”
We should engage the mind fully in Kṛṣṇa conscious activities. Then it will be the cause of our liberation, for our returning home, back to Godhead. However, if we keep the mind engaged in material activities for sense gratification, it will cause continuous bondage and will make us remain in this material world in different bodies, suffering the consequences of our different actions.