Ordinarily, these mundaners cannot easily understand their eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa. Instead, they themselves have posed as Kṛṣṇa, under the false inducement of the illusory energy. This false position of supreme enjoyer gives them much trouble as they search for lordship over the powers of nature, but still these mundaners cannot give up the spirit of lording it over. And when they pretend to give up the enjoying spirit, under the pressure of disappointment and frustration, they usually take shelter of pseudo renunciation, with an even greater spirit of enjoyment. The mundane workers, who are always desirous of enjoying the fruits of their mundane activities, suffer greatly under the pressing disadvantages of such activities, just like poor oxen tightly tethered to the grinding mill. But under a false pretense of "enjoyer" dictated by the illusory energy, they think themselves to be really enjoying. Therefore, the learned karma-yogīs tactfully engage such foolish mundaners in the respective works for which they have special attachments—but in relation with Kṛṣṇa—without disturbing them in their general activities. For this purpose only, the learned and liberated souls who are eternal servitors of Kṛṣṇa sometimes remain in the midst of ordinary activities, just to attract the foolish mundaners to the process of karma-yoga.
The foolish mundaners would have been left perpetually in the darkness of foolish activities if Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, or His eternal associates, such as Marshal Arjuna, had not kindly taken the trouble of initiating the process of karma-yoga by the direct method of personal example. The foolish mundaners are unable to come to an awareness of the immeasurable difficulties that confront them in pursuance of their foolish mundane activities. However much they may bewilder themselves by the conception of lordship over their various actions, they are always being driven under the direction of the modes of nature—that is the considered verdict of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, in the Bhagavad-gītā. He says that the foolish mundaner considers himself the author or doer of all his activities by a sense dictated by his false egoism, without knowing that it is the modes of nature that lead him to do everything in all his engagements. The foolish mundaner cannot understand that he is under the spell of Lord Kṛṣṇa's illusory energy, Maya-devi, who has made the mundaner bound to do as she desires. Consequently, the foolish mundaner enjoys only the temporary results of his activities—fleeting mundane happiness or distress—and undergoes a severe penalty of servitude dictated by the modes of nature.
In Bhagavad-gītā Lord Kṛṣṇa affirms that each and every living entity that be is His part and parcel, and as such, each and every living entity is His eternal, transcendental servitor. The natural position of one who is part and parcel is to render service to the complete whole. In Hitopadeśa, a Vedic book of ancient fables, there is a lucid analogy entitled Uddeśa Indriyāṇām which explains the relationship of the parts of the body to the whole. The hands, legs, eyes, nose, and so forth are all parts of the complete whole that is the body. Now if the hands, legs, eyes, nose and so on do not endeavor to provide food for the stomach, but themselves try to enjoy the eatables collected by them, then there will be a maladjustment of the whole body. The bodily parts would be working against the interest of the body as a whole. By such foolish activities, the hands, legs, and so on could never improve their respective positions, but on the contrary, for want of sufficient nourishment of the whole body through the medium of the stomach, the whole system of bodily structure and function would become weakened, deteriorated, and diseased.
The Personality of Godhead is the original cause of all causes, and He is the life of the whole creation. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is the root of the tree of the whole creation. That is the statement of Bhagavad-gītā. It is also said in Bhagavad-gītā that there is no person superior to Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is the supreme enjoyer of all sacrifices and activities. But still, those who are utterly sinful do not surrender unto Him, even though He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and all other living beings are His transcendental, eternal servitors, part and parcel of Him.
Forgetfulness of this transcendental relationship between the living entity and the Personality of Godhead has created a false sense of everyone's being a miniature Kṛṣṇa, who tries to enjoy the world to his best capacity, while overlooking the transcendental service of the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, the complete whole and the origin of all. This kind of work is done under the spell of the modes of material nature, called māyā, or the illusory energy. Actually, the living entity has no capacity to lord it over the forces of nature. The living entity becomes subjugated by the modes of nature as soon as he tries to put himself into the position of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the supreme enjoyer—under a false egoistic sense, since he is constitutionally unable to do so, any more than the hands, legs, eyes, and so on can individually function as a complete, whole body. The living entity therefore undergoes many difficulties under the pretense of being an enjoyer. So to get rid of all these troubles and difficulties that we suffer due to our work, we have to adopt the process of karma-yoga.
In contrast with the ordinary living entity, those who are transcendentalists are really learned. Such transcendentalists do not perform any work in the manner of the common mundaner. They know that mundane activities done under the modes of nature are completely different from activities of transcendental service. The transcendentalist, knowing himself to be different from the material body and mind, always tries to cultivate transcendental activities. He knows that although temporarily within mundane existence, he is an eternal spirit, part and parcel of the Supreme Spirit. As such, he remains always separate from the mundaners, even though his material senses such as the hands, legs, eyes, and so on are engaged in temporary material activities. When engaged in the transcendental service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, however, such activities make the doer free from the bondage of work. The Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, says to Arjuna, "O Arjuna! Therefore give up the spirit of enjoying all your worldly work, and through this consciousness become a transcendentalist. You may adopt your circumstantial occupation of warfare, which is a duty for you. And whoever performs his every activity with transcendental consciousness—according to My direction, without any grudge toward Me—he also becomes free from the bondage of work."
The process of bodily self-consciousness—the misunderstanding that I am this material body and mind and, for that matter, that I am part and parcel of this material world and that everything in this material world is thus an object for my enjoyment—does not allow me to become a transcendentalist or a really learned fellow. Up to this point, we have already discussed this transcendental knowledge somewhat. And on the basis of this preliminary discussion, the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, advises us to become spiritually inclined, to become transcendentalists. Then only can we understand that we are nothing whatsoever of this material world, that we are eternal, spiritual living entities. By such spiritual realization, disintegration of our material affinity naturally begins, and the more we become spiritually developed, the less we are affected by the happiness or distress that arise out of sense perception in contact with material association. The false ego created by material contact is then gradually vanquished, and this dismantling of false egoism causes liberation from all material designations and renewed awareness of our relationship with the Absolute Truth. This is called liberation in life.