Every individual soul remains unconscious after the dissolution of the creation and thus enters into the Lord with His material energy. These individual living entities are conditioned souls everlastingly, but in each and every material creation they are given a chance to liberate themselves and become free souls. They are all given a chance to take advantage of the Vedic wisdom and find out what is their relationship with the Supreme Lord, how they can be liberated, and what the ultimate profit is in such liberation. By properly studying the Vedas one becomes conscious of his position and thus takes to the transcendental devotional service of the Lord and is gradually promoted to the spiritual sky. The individual souls in the material world engage in different activities according to their past unfinished desires. After the dissolution of a particular body, the individual soul forgets everything, but the all-merciful Lord, who is situated in everyone’s heart as the witness, the Supersoul, awakens him and reminds him of his past desires, and thus he begins to act accordingly in his next life. This unseen guidance is described as fate, and a sensible man can understand that this continues his material bondage in the three modes of nature.
The unconscious sleeping stage of the living entity just after the partial or total dissolution of the creation is wrongly accepted as the final stage of life by some less intelligent philosophers. After the dissolution of the partial material body, a living entity remains unconscious for only a few months, and after the total dissolution of the material creation, he remains unconscious for many millions of years. But when the creation is again revived, he is awakened to his work by the Lord. The living entity is eternal, and the wakeful state of his consciousness, manifested by activities, is his natural condition of life. He cannot stop acting while awake, and thus he acts according to his diverse desires. When his desires are trained in the transcendental service of the Lord, his life becomes perfect, and he is promoted to the spiritual sky to enjoy eternal awakened life.
Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Third Canto, Chapter 6 – Text 3