The conditioned soul thinks, "I am this body," but a liberated soul thinks, "I am not this body. I am spirit soul." This "I am" is called ego, or identification of the self. "I am this body" or "Everything in relationship to the body is mine" is called false ego, but when one is self-realized and thinks that he is an eternal servitor of the Supreme Lord, that identification is real ego. One conception is in the darkness of the threefold qualities of material nature—goodness, passion and ignorance—and the other is in the pure state of goodness, called śuddha-sattva or vāsudeva. When we say that we give up our ego, this means that we give up our false ego, but real ego is always present. When one is reflected through the material contamination of the body and mind in false identification, he is in the conditional state, but when he is reflected in the pure stage he is called liberated. The identification of oneself with one's material possessions in the conditional stage must be purified, and one must identify himself in relationship with the Supreme Lord. In the conditioned state one accepts everything as an object of sense gratification, and in the liberated state one accepts everything for the service of the Supreme Lord. Kṛṣṇa consciousness, devotional service, is the actual liberated stage of a living entity. Otherwise, both accepting and rejecting on the material platform or in voidness or impersonalism are imperfect conditions for the pure soul.
By the understanding of the pure soul, called satya-dṛk, one can see everything as a reflection of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A concrete example can be given in this connection. A conditioned soul sees a very beautiful rose, and he thinks that the nice aromatic flower should be used for his own sense gratification. This is one kind of vision. A liberated soul, however, sees the same flower as a reflection of the Supreme Lord. He thinks, "This beautiful flower is made possible by the superior energy of the Supreme Lord; therefore it belongs to the Supreme Lord and should be utilized in His service." These are two kinds of vision. The conditioned soul sees the flower for his own enjoyment, and the devotee sees the flower as an object to be used in the service of the Lord. In the same way, one can see the reflection of the Supreme Lord in one's own senses, mind and body—in everything. With that correct vision, one can engage everything in the service of the Lord. It is stated in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu that one who has engaged everything—his vital energy, his wealth, his intelligence and his words—in the service of the Lord, or who desires to engage all these in the service of the Lord, no matter how he is situated, is to be considered a liberated soul, or satya-dṛk. Such a man has understood things as they are.