There is a class of men akin to Māyāvādī philosophers who misinterpret the ahaṁ brahmāsmi and so ’ham Vedic mantras to mean, “I am the Supreme Brahman” and “I am identical with the Lord.” This kind of false conception, in which one thinks himself the supreme enjoyer, is a kind of illusion. It is described elsewhere in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (5.5.8): janasya moho ’yam ahaṁ mameti. As explained in the above verse, Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa is the predominating Deity of this false conception. Kṛṣṇa confirms this in Bhagavad-gītā (15.15):
sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca
“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.” The Lord is situated in everyone’s heart as Saṅkarṣaṇa, and when a demon thinks himself one with the Supreme Lord, the Lord keeps him in that darkness. Although such a demoniac living entity is only an insignificant part of the Supreme Lord, he forgets his true position and thinks he is the Supreme Lord. Because this forgetfulness is created by Saṅkarṣaṇa, He is sometimes called tāmasī. The name tāmasī does not indicate that He has a material body. He is always transcendental, but because He is the Supersoul of Lord Śiva, who must perform tamasic activities, Saṅkarṣaṇa is sometimes called tāmasī.