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Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 8
Tamastwajnaanajam viddhi mohanam sarvadehinaam;
Pramaadaalasyanidraabhis tannibadhnaati bhaarata.
But know thou Tamas to be born of ignorance, deluding all embodied beings; it binds fast, O Arjuna, by heedlessness, sleep and indolence!
After talking about Sattva and Rajasik guna that comes with attachment to knowledge and action respectively, Lord Krishna in this shloka talks about the Tamasic guna in an individual. He says that Arjuna should clearly understand that this Tamasic guna in an individual is the resultant of the person’s ignorance. Ignorance is due to the delusion that a particular being experiences. Lord Krishna also goes on to say that this Tamasic guna binds very fast to an individual and that makes a person not listen to anything that others say, makes him to sleep most of the time and the person starts postponing things due to extreme laziness.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
One always needs to understand that our mind supports all our actions and that is the nature of the mind. Even when the soul disapproves mind makes sure that the message is not reached to the senses. Also one has to note that every individual possesses a bit of Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamsic gunas in him. As he starts growing up and starts meeting individuals and encountering situations, these gunas take a formidable shape and one of the three gunas become dominant. Today, we are looking at Tamasic guna, which is present in every individual. One cannot get rid of it completely but one can only reduce the percentage of it in an individual.
The origin of Tamasic guna is ignorance and since everyone of us are ignorant, it is there in all of us. What drives away ignorance is knowledge so, as the person acquires more and more knowledge the tamasic nature in him starts to reduce. The biggest hurdle for seeking knowledge is a delusion. Delusion, as we have understood in many shlokas, is wavering mentality where a person starts doubting the knowledge he is seeking, thus he starts to move away from it, abandon it and remains in tamasic state. It can happen for some time or it can even happen for a lifetime. There are people who spend their whole lifetime in ignorance and under total tamasic control.
How does tamasic nature affects a person? It makes you heedless, sleepy and indolent. To explain it a bit further, heedless is where the person shows at least inclination to anything that others are saying to him. Like, we keep advising people who are goal-less and aimless to have an aim in their life and work hard. Do they listen to you? No, they don’t. They will the nod their head and do what they want to do. If you persist more they will hurt you by harsh words. Tamasic guna also makes you sleepy. Sleep is required for everyone but not for more than 6-7 hours a day. Why do Tamasic people sleep more and that too in the daytime?
Sleep is the result of mind telling it to itself that you need not do anything now and can rest and enjoy the state of inactivity. If mind goes to inaction the person’s senses one by one goes to rest resulting in sleep. This tendency is very harmful for a sattvik or a rajasik person, because it makes them to waver from their goals. Keeping mind active with aims and goals is the only way to attack sleep. Third is indolence. Indolence is nothing but laziness and the tendency to postpone things. Tamasic nature keeps you in inertia always, because of which any new task that you want to take, you keep postponing it. These are the qualities of a Tamasic person and everyone of us need to understand this and beware of this!!!