māyāntarāpatati nādy-apavargayor yat
janmādayo ’sya yad amī tava tasya kiṁ syur
ādy-antayor yad asato ’sti tad eva madhye
The example is given that a man walking in the forest may see a rope but consider it to be a snake. Such perception is māyā, or illusion, although the rope actually exists and a snake also exists in another place. Illusion thus refers to the false identification of one object with another. The material body exists briefly and then disappears. In the past the body did not exist, and in the future it will not exist; it enjoys a flickering, momentary existence in so-called present time. If we falsely identify ourselves as the material body or mind, we are creating an illusion. One who identifies himself as American, Russian, Chinese, Mexican, black or white, man or woman, communist or capitalist, and so on, accepting such designations as his permanent identity, is certainly in deep illusion. He can be compared to a sleeping man who sees himself acting in a different body while dreaming. In the previous verse Lord Kṛṣṇa told Uddhava that spiritual knowledge is the means of achieving the highest perfection, and now the Lord is explicitly describing such knowledge.