|Canto 11: General History||Chapter 22: Enumeration of the Elements of Material Creation|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.22.41
svapnaḿ manorathaḿ cetthaḿ
prāktanaḿ na smaraty asau
tatra pūrvam ivātmānam
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.
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