Tag Archives: Gunas

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 43

Shauryam tejo dhritirdaakshyam yuddhe chaapyapalaayanam;
Daanameeshwarabhaavashcha kshaatram karmaswabhaavajam.
Prowess, splendour, firmness, dexterity and also not fleeing from battle, 
generosity and lordliness are the duties of Kshatriyas, born of their own nature.
Interpretation
In this shloka Lord Krishna is talking about the Rajasic duties in an individual. It starts with prowess and splendor which are the essential elements of any Kshatriya. He is known for his pomp and grandeur and also for the firmness that he shows in dealing with his adversaries and also for the dexterity. Dexterity is a quality of a individual where he performs a task with great precision. Then comes the most important quality of a Kshatriya which is not fleeing from the battle and facing the enemy. Kshatriyas are also known for their generosity as they dont hesitate to give anything that is asked as alms. These are the typical qualities of Kshatriya, says Lord Krishna.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
A warrior is known for his valor. A place where a Brahmin is a soldier, a Kshatriya is either a soldier or a commander or a sportsman. In today’s world of politics, its Brahmins with their power of knowledge and intellect were able to rule the country. Kshatriyas today are confined to their physical prowess and sports is one area, you might have seen football, cricket, hockey stars displaying their valor. Army, police and para military forces are the other places for Kshatriyas today. They have the power and the ability to kill the enemy and they dont hesitate getting killed in a battle. If you look at army men they are very generous and help people and also show a lot of splendor in their life style. A person who has all these abilities is a Kshatriya and he chooses professions that involve physical prowess like sports, army and police. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 40

Na tadasti prithivyaam vaa divi deveshu vaa punah; Sattwam prakritijairmuktam yadebhih syaat tribhirgunaih.

There is no being on earth or again in heaven among the gods that is liberated from the three qualities born of Nature.
Interpretation
This shloka is explaining clearly the nature and importance of the three gunas. Lord Krishna says that these three gunas are very important for every individual on this planet or anywhere else in the universe will be affected by these gunas. Not only the beings on this planet but also those who go to heaven also and the gods living in heaven also are affected by these gunas. In the end Lord says that all these beings on this planet as well as those living in the heaven are not liberated from the three qualities of sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic gunas are born with.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
Gunas are universal and they are present in all individual, nobody in this world or in heaven can actually escape the three qualities of Sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic gunas. One has to understand the fact that all these threee gunas are affected by Maya, which we have seen in the previous shlokas also. The only way that one gets rid of this maya is in the stage of “om tat sat” where the person comes out of the maya of these three gunas. If Tamasic is maya that is black and filled with ignorance, Rajasic is a maya that is red with passion and Sattwik maya is pure white. White doesnt mean absence of maya but it means presence of a different type of maya.
But the question that would be asked then is how can those in heaven, including gods be under the influence of these three gunas? The answer is why not? Indra, who is the king of heaven is known to be a rajasic person who has hunger for power and lust for women. We have seen so many instances whenever rishis are performing Tapas, he sends beautiful women to entice them and deviate them. Everyone knows how Bramharishi Vishwamitra fell into the trap of menaka sent by Indra. So, swarga loka is no different from Bhu loka in exhibiting these gunas. Its only after a person crosses the swarga loka and goes into the mahar loka that he will slowly starts to get rid of this maya.  

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 32

Adharmam dharmamiti yaa manyate tamasaavritaa; Sarvaarthaan vipareetaamshcha buddhih saa paartha taamasee.
That which, enveloped in darkness, views Adharma as Dharma and all things perverted—that intellect, O Arjuna, is called Tamasic!
Interpretation

After talking about the Sattwik and Rajasic characteristics, Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about the Tamasic characteristics in a person. He says that Tamasic guna  is not visible and since it is covered it feels as if it is enveloped in darkness. This guna views the adharmic way of doing things as dharmic and always mistakes it that way only. The next important characteristic that Lord mentions is the perverted way of looking at things. Tamasic people usually looks at things in a perverted way, that usually harms people. He then tells to Arjuna that these are the qualities that a Tamasic person will have.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
When you get knowledge, it is the combination of outer knowledge and inner intellect, which we also call as spirituality. A person whenever he learns something will always try to internalize it and use it by combing it with his inner intellect. Such people are usually Rajasic and Sattwik by nature. But a person who lacks that inner intellect and takes the knowledge as it is, is a Tamasic person. A simple example. Centuries ago it was a tradition which mandated the lady of the household to light up a lamp before God and then the entire house will be lit. It is not a ritual or worshiping of God, but it is a simple tradition that God’s place should be the first place to light, and then only other places can be lit.
Just project this in today’s world. There are many houses where just after sunset they lit up the diya and do puja. It is considered to be bad and inauspicious if you dont do that. Let’s look at the truth. In today’s world houses are made with opaque glass windows and curtains and rooms are lit during day time also. So, what sense does it make lighting a lamp infront of God in an already lit puja room? The very purpose of the first light after sunset going to God is defeated. A person has to understand that it is not a religious ritual but a daily practice. When his inner intellect is covered with darkness he tends to exhibit such behavior. He is called as a typical Tamasic person. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 31

Yayaa dharmamadharmam cha kaaryam chaakaaryameva cha; Ayathaavat prajaanaati buddhih saa paartha raajasee.

That by which one incorrectly understands Dharma and Adharma, and also what ought to be done and what ought not to be done—that intellect, O Arjuna, is Rajasic!

Interpretation

After talking about the sattwik intellect, Lord Krishna in this shloka is educating Arjuna about Rajasic intellect. He says that a Rajasic person can never interpret the difference between dharma and adharma correctly. He usually has a very different understanding of the concept of dharma and adharma. Not only that, unlike a sattwik person who has an understanding of what ought to be done and what not, a Rajasic person cannot differentiate what needs to be done and what is not required to be done. Such kind of intellect that cannot differentiate dharma and adharma and what needs to be done and what need not is stated as Rajasic intellect.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Upanishads say that “ways of dharma are very subtle”, which means dharma doesn’t say very clearly what is one’s dharma and what is adharma. It has to be interpreted by a person depending on the situation that he is in.  Going to a temple or being a part of a religious ritual is considered to be a dharmic act. But not in all cases. Suppose if someone is a doctor and he is supposed to go to a hospital and perform a surgery but in return, he decides to take a leave from work for a religious ritual, then his act is considered to be adharma. A ritual conducted for the sake of money, enhancement of a person’s stature in the society are all considered to be adharmic. That means, if you perform a ritual at home or a temple for a promotion or a job or a success in education of children, they are all considered to be acts of adharma. 

A Rajasic person can never understand this. He has a very different understanding of the World and the concept of God. He thinks that God is a power who is the top most in the hierarchy. He starts to relate his power to the powers possessed by God. That means if he is heading an organization of  100 people, he tends to feel that God controls the entire population in this universe like the way he controls the 100 people in an organization. Unknowingly he thinks himself as a demigod and starts attributing his nature to God. Like the way he gets pleased with wealth and riches, he also feels that God gets pleased by the offerings made to him. This is an improper and adharmic way of looking at things, and this puts him in a situation where he ends up doing things which he is not supposed to do. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 22

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 22

Adeshakaale yaddaanamapaatrebhyashcha deeyate;
Asatkritamavajnaatam tattaamasamudaahritam.

The gift which is given at the wrong place and time to unworthy persons, without respect or with insult, is declared to be Tamasic.

Interpretation

This shloka talks about the gifts that are Tamasic in nature and have the qualities that are dark like Tamasic nature. Lord says that any gift that is given at a wrong place is a Tamasic gift. Here wrong place means a place where there is no need for a gift, like an office or any other work place. He also talks about the gift going to unworthy people who dont deserve such gifts. Apart from that Tamasic gift also is based on the intent with which it is given. A tamasic gift is given without any respect to an individual or with a feeling of insult, which means that the person taking the gift has actually forced the person to give the gift by insulting him. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

A wrong place is a place which is not holy and where irreligious people and greedy people assemble. A wrong place is also a place where the wealth acquired through illegal means is distributed to gamblers and women of evil reputation. A person’s visit to a prostitute and what he gives there as a gift to her is a classic example of the Tamasic gift. This has a low value as the lady is of low repute and doesnt belong to anyone. A person going to a club where gambling is going on and participating in the activities and encouraging such activities is also considered to be Tamasic in nature. He might not gamble, but the fact that he is contributing money to a place where illegal activities takes place is considered to be Tamasic in nature. 

The other aspect that is being discussed here is the intent with which gifts are given. Here we come across two words, without respect or with insult. We need to understand that we come across these situations many times in life. When the police guy comes to our home for doing a passport enquiry, he does his work and while going he expects some money from you. You might give him some money, but is that out of respect? It is not. It is only that you are forced to give that money to ensure that your process goes on smoothly. Also, gifts which are forcibly taken from you with an intent which is evil and insulting you also comes under tamasic gifts. A dowry that groom takes from the bride is nothing but a gift given by the parents of the bride just to escape the possible insult that they face in the hands of the groom’s family. Lord categorizes all these gifts as tamasic gifts.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 13

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 13

Vidhiheenam asrishtaannam mantraheenam adakshinam;Shraddhaavirahitam yajnam taamasam parichakshate.

They declare that sacrifice to be Tamasic which is contrary to the ordinances of the scriptures, in which no food is distributed, which is devoid of Mantras and gifts, and which is devoid of faith.

Interpretation

This shloka is concentrating on the Tamasic sacrifices that a person commits. We have already seen the Sattwik and the Rajasic sacrifices in the previous two shlokas. Lord in this shloka says that Tamasic people usually undertake sacrifices which are exactly opposite to the rules and regulations specified in the Vedic scriptures. They misinterpret what is said in the scriptures and that is the reason why they do the opposite of what is mentioned. There are three points that Lord talks here. One is the absence of any kind of alms, second is the absence of any kind of offering and Vedic chants and third is the absence of any kind of faith or belief in the sacrifices being performed by Tamasic people. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The major difference between Rajasic and Tamasic people is, Rajasic people depend on their own worth and doesn’t get into any rituals for accomplishing anything, but Tamasic people resort of all sorts of rituals that are either twisted or taken out of context and perform them to get the results. Anything that gives an instant result or benefit, a tamasic person doesn’t hesitate to do. Many categories of pujas and rituals which are linked to tantra, Vashikaran and Shanti pooja that is done for the benefit of the person comes under this tamasic category. Another type of ritual that is observed in many of the households which are tamasic in nature is “drishti” or “nazar utaarna” or remedy for an “evil eye cast”.

Many people believe that we fall ill or a work that is supposed to happen does not happen or you develop a dislike or hate for a particular food or set of activities because of this “drishti” or “evil eye”. In reality, there is no such thing called an evil eye. Karma theory propounds that we reap what we sow and many of the results that come are due to the result of acts that we committed in the past. Forgetting that we blame it on evil eye cast and we do remedies for that and transfer it out so that it goes to someone else! Am sure you would have seen lemons and vermilion thrown on the roads and you get scared to cross them. How can you even think that there will be rituals for transferring your bad luck to some other person? All these are the ills that a Tamasic person follows and unless he gets out of all this, he can never understand the plan of God and the law of Karma and its effects in one’s life. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 3

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 3
Sattwaanuroopaa sarvasya shraddhaa bhavati bhaarata;
Shraddhaamayo’yam purusho yo yacchraddhah sa eva sah.
The faith of each is in accordance with his nature, O Arjuna! 
The man consists of his faith; as a man’s faith is, so is he.
Interpretation

This shloka has a description of faith which we have also seen in the previous shloka. Lord Krishna in this shloka explains us what faith actually is. He states that the faith of a person is the result of his nature. The faith develops in a person as per his nature. Lord Krishna also says that the identity of any man is completely in sync with his faith. He uses the phrase “The man consists of his faith”. Then He finally goes on to say that whatever is the type of the faith that a man possess, the nature of the man is according to that only. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Many great people in this world are known from the faith they had. “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life. Dream of it. Think of it. Live on that idea. Let the brain, body, muscles, nerves and every part of your body be full of that idea and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced”. This is the faith of Swami Vivekanada, who in the last century has influenced millions across the world and continue to inspire people of today also. “In a gentle way you can shake the World” said Mahatma Gandhi, who is considered to be the greatest man to have walked on this land in 20th Century.

When you read the faiths of these people you will be amused by their unequivocal dedication to them. We all know how Gandhiji remained stubborn and fought for the freedom of the country on his own terms and also on Hindu-Muslim unity on his own terms. He had a pay the price for it with his life. Swami Vivekananda with his faith on sticking to one idea and making it the mission of one’s life was able to inspire us. Today also we remember him as a brave man who stood by his beliefs. We all need to develop a faith for each of us which will become our identity and we will all be known by that identity alone, says Lord Krishna in this shloka. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 15

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 5
Nirmaanamohaa jitasangadoshaaAdhyaatmanityaa vinivrittakaamaah;
Dwandwairvimuktaah sukhaduhkhasamjnairGacchantyam

Free from pride and delusion, victorious over the evil of attachment, dwelling constantly in the Self, their desires having completely turned away, freed from the pairs of opposites known as pleasure and pain, the undeluded reach the eternal goal.

Interpretation

After talking about how to get freed from the inverted peepul tree of the cycle of birth and death, Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about the path for the person to reach the eternal goal or salvation. He says that first he person has to come out of his pride and wavering mentality. Then he has to free himself from the evil effects of being too attached to people around him. Next step is he should be constantly focussing on himself alone and no one else. That prompts him to get over all his desires and he will also get rid of the feelings of pain and pleasure. Once this happens, the person automatically comes out of his wavering nature and reaches the eternal goal of salvation. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The best way to salvation is being with oneself, is the message that Lord Krishna is giving here. When you are only with yourself many of the feelings described above will not affect you. For example if you are only with yourself then you feel neither pride of what you achieve nor you waver between different options that are available to you. Wavering is mainly due to external factors and so is the attachment. You get attached to things, people, situations and wants to constantly win over them. Just put them aside and see how things look. Suddenly you will find that you are not attached to anything and thus nothing is affecting you.

When nothing is affecting you, you will not be drawn to anything in life. You wont have a desire to possess or acquire anything nor you will feel happy or sad when you get or dont get what you desired. Getting rid of one’s desires is extremely crucial for you to get closer to understanding the Almighty. Winning an argument is a desire, longing for a holiday is a desire, wanting to achieve a target is a desire. But you can achieve all this without desiring for the result. That is what the goal of life should be. You can say what you want dispassionately and if your words have merit you will be acknowledged for that, which is nothing but winning an argument or a debate. That can happen immediately or in due course of time, you have no control on it nor desire the outcome.
Same is the case with longing for a holiday. You can think of it but when it has to happen it will happen. Desiring for it achieves nothing and all the targets are set by the Almighty not by you. Working everyday with an unwavering mindset is the only way for you. How many times you have set deadlines for yourself, only to change them and suddenly, one day everything falls in place and you achieve your goal. This is a message that nothing is in your hands and there is no point in desiring them. When a person gets over all these, he automatically becomes unattached to anything and thus will start finding the meaning of God and will set himself on the path of salvation. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 24

Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 24

Maanaapamaanayostulyas tulyo mitraaripakshayoh; Sarvaarambhaparityaagee gunaateetah sa uchyate.

The same in honour and dishonour, the same to friend and foe, abandoning all undertakings—he is said to have crossed the qualities.

Interpretation

This shloka further talks about the qualities of a person who has transcended all the three gunas. Lord Krishna after speaking about the pain and pleasure, mud and gold, censure and praise talks about further more qualities exhibited by the person who transcended the three gunas. He says that a person who behaves in the same way in honor and dishonor is the one who transcended the gunas. Not only that, this person is the same to a friend as well as the enemy. This person also abandons all his activities and such a person is said to have crossed the qualities of gunas.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Will a person by abandoning all his activities attain a higher level of spirituality and cross over the gunas? Doing the work assigned to a person or the work he chooses to do is considered to be dharma and he has to follow it under any circumstance. Abandoning is never allowed. But this rule applies only to the learning stage itself. Take an example of the life of a student. When you were a student there were a lot of restrictions that would have been put on you and you would have been forced to adopt a life that you never wished to. This is all because you were a learner, not an earner. As a learner, you would have to face some hardships which will teach you the way of life.

In the journey of spirituality also, when a person is a learner, like a student he has to undertake tasks that becomes his dharma. He has to fulfill them and each of these tasks will teach him something new in life. Thus he acquires knowledge which will raise his spirituality and he moves from the lowest guna of Tamasic to Rajasik and then to Sattvik. Once he reaches a level of sattvik guna where learning becomes involuntary, then he gets enough spirituality where without doing any action the person is able to grow spiritually. That is the point where he has to abandon all his undertakings and spend time in understanding God through in-action. This is where the person is said to have transcended all the gunas.