Tag Archives: Shloka

Bhagavadgita Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 15

Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 15

Rajasi pralayam gatwaa karmasangishu jaayate;
Tathaa praleenastamasi moodhayonishu jaayate.

Meeting death in Rajas, he is born among those who are attached to action; and dying in Tamas, he is born in the womb of the senseless.

Interpretation

After talking about the sattva guna and where the sattvik person’s soul will go after the death, Lord Krishna focusses in this shloka about Rajasik person and the tamasic person and where his soul will go after the death and where he would be reborn in his next birth. Lord Krishna in the first part of the shloka talks about Rajasik person and says that a person who dies with Rajasik guna will be born in the family where the majority of those are engaged in Rajasik dharmas or attached to the action. Similarly, when he dies with tamasic gunas in him intact, he will choose a womb of a senseless family which has no direction.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

This shloka is very simple but needs to be understood in the right context with all its complexities.

You will have two or more siblings in a family. Will they all choose the same guna as parents? Will they all have the same guna? Will father and mother both have the same guna? These are the points to be considered. Firstly, we have to understand that the soul doesn’t have eyes or ears to see and hear to decide which womb it wants to take. All that soul has is the ability to sense vibrations of a particular guna and then decide on the basis of it the right womb it wants to enter.

Its a very complex process and it mainly depends on the knowledge that a soul possesses. A soul which is in higher lokas has more knowledge and aided with that knowledge and the senses available, it might make lesser mistakes than the other souls which are at the inferior lokas. When a soul is choosing a womb it just goes by the feel of vibes coming out from a person doing a sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasic activity. Understand that if you are meditating or learning or sharing the knowledge you emit a vibe in the universe which has a frequency giving it a shape of particular guna. If that is caught by a wandering soul, it gets attached to it and it decides to take birth in that family. 

Similar is the case with a person doing a Rajasik and Tamasic activity. A soul that is attached to Rajasik activity picks up the vibe of the same person when he is doing a Rajasic activity or of a lady who he is married to. If a husband is Rajasik and wife is sattvik then the children born to them could be of both gunas because of the vibes that they emit. Similar is the case with Tamasic guna. Also one needs to understand that a person is not 100% Sattva, Rajas or Tamas. If a soul attached to Tamas guna catches the vibe of a same Rajasic person when he is engaged in the Tamasic activity, it might decide to be born there thus making a mistake.

Here the Tamasic soul is more susceptible to make errors as it has least knowledge. A person might be 80% Rajas and 20% Tamas but the soul might decide to be born in that family when the father is engaged in the Tamas activity which occupies only 20% of his time. Thus after being born, a person decides that he is born in a wrong family. Typically you have leading businessmen or politicians aspiring for power, their sons will be useless. This is purely because of the wrong choice that a soul can make. Thus a family can have children from Sattva, Rajas and Tamas guna though the parents might just have one or two gunas.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 12

Chapter 14 Guna Triya  Vibhaga Yoga Verse 12

Lobhah pravrittir aarambhah karmanaam ashamah sprihaa;
Rajasyetaani jaayante vivriddhe bharatarshabha.

Greed, activity, the undertaking of actions, restlessness, longing—
these arise when Rajas is predominant, O Arjuna!

Interpretation

This is the second part of the three part shloka that now talks about when the Rajasik nature in an individual will be predominant. The Rajas or the Rajasik guna in an individual is predominant when he is overtaken by greed. Greed is the first step for an individual to get into Rajasik nature. Then he slowly draws himself into activities that are linked to ambition and growth and that creates restlessness and longing in him. Restlessness and longing are the results of his eagerness to achieve success in the tasks that he undertakes. When all these things arise in a person that is when he is engulfed by Rajasic nature, says Lord krishna.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

When you are anxious and restless, just pause for a minute and ask yourself, why are you restless? 99.9% of the time the answer will always be connected to an activity. We get restless when things don’t go according to our plan. We always have a wish list and expect that all that should be fulfilled. In fact, we measure success with the number of tasks that we achieve the given deadline. Chasing a deadline is the primary cause of restlessness. But is doing all this bad? Are we not here to do our duty or dharma? Are those duties not bound by time and the desired result? Is expecting a result from doing those things is undesirable? 

The answers to all the questions are one and simple. Do your work, don’t get attached to it. If we follow this simple principle, we are neither greedy or restless or there will be longing or you will be attached to actions. Think that every work is the gift of God and every task is done in His name. If we approach things with that perspective then all these negative feeling will never touch or affect us. We just have to leave everything to God because He alone knows when to give what. Deadlines are set by God, not by individuals. But there are some defined deadlines as God can never set a deadline directly. Those will be communicated to you through people and events. You should just understand them and act accordingly.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 11

Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 11

Sarvadwaareshu dehe’smin prakaasha upajaayate;
Jnaanam yadaa tadaa vidyaa dvivriddham sattwamityuta.

When, through every sense in this body, the wisdom-light shines, 
then it may be known that Sattwa is predominant.

Interpretation

After talking about the Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasik gunas in an individual and how they would be predominant, Lord Krishna in this shloka shifts His attention back to the Sattvik Guna. He attaches a lot of importance to the senses in holding that sattvik energy. He says that a person becomes wise only when he bestows himself with the sattvik energy. That sattvik energy can enter into his system only through the senses. Once it enters into the body of a person the light of his wisdom shines and only through that light of wisdom one can understand that the Sattvik guna is predominent in him. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

This is a three-part shloka that clearly explains the sattvik nature in an individual. The first shloka talks about how the sattvik energy that gets into an individual shines like wisdom-light. Wisdom-light in an individual is nothing but the illumination that results from a person acquiring wisdom. Wisdom is the result of knowledge and only sattvik energy can make you to learn more and acquire that wisdom. Like I have mentioned previously, you would feel like watching a business channel or a serious news channel only when you have the inclination to learn new things. This inclination to learn things only happens when sattvik energy is there. 

There is no end to knowledge and learning and a wise person will never allow himself to be limited to any area. As the knowledge level increases the person connects different things and gets varied perspectives about situations which lead to wisdom. For example, you will find people who can resolve any crisis or tell you how to handle any situation by just extrapolating the solutions for different problems. This is the result of hard work that the soul has put up and the sattvik energy in him helps to further that wisdom and his self will start glowing with the wisdom-light. The individuals who have this wisdom-light are the ones filled with sattvik energy.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 10

Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 10

Rajastamashchaabhibhooya sattwam bhavati bhaarata;
Rajah sattwam tamashchaiva tamah sattwam rajastathaa.

Now Sattwa prevails, O Arjuna, having overpowered Rajas and Tamas;
now Rajas, having overpowered Sattwa and Tamas; and now Tamas, having overpowered Sattwa and Rajas!

Interpretation

After explaining the nature of all the three Gunas Lord Krishna in this shloka talks about the prevalence of one Guna over the other. He says that when Sattvik Guna prevails in an individual then it overpowers the Rajasik and Tamasic nature and stands ahead. In the same way Rajasic Guna overpowers an individual, when passion takes over the reasoning power in him and he becomes obsessed about things. Then the third situation is when the Tamasic guna prevails over an indidvidual when he becomes lazy, then sattvik and Rajasi Gunas take a back seat. Lord Krishna says that all these three Gunas prevail in an individual at one point or the other as dominant force. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Your mood swings explain very clearly what Guna is dominant in you. All the three are inside you and you exhibit them at different times in different proportions. There are times when you want to be calm, peaceful, helpful and generous and that is when you have sattvik quality is dominating you. You don’t feel like saying ill about anyone and would want to be with yourself in your own world reading or doing meditation. Then another mood swing is suddenly you get ambitious, passionate and wants to do something big. You feel that you should achieve something and people around you should appreciate you for that. This is nothing but the Rajasik guna in you which is pushing you to achieve something. 

Another quality of Rajasik guna is when you feel jealous and envy of others. Suppose if your best friend is appreciated for what he has done and if part of the activity you have also done, but no one realises it, you will feel bit envy and jealous about that person. A sattvik natured person never experiences that. Tamasic is when you feel lazy, sleepy and doubt everything around. You are asked to do a particular task and you doubt whether its essential or not. You feel lazy and postpone it. If you are scolded for your inaction you get angry. All these are the qualities of a Tamasic person. Thus all these three qualities exist in every individual and the proportion of that forms his personality, says Lord Krishna.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 9

Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 9

Sattwam sukhe sanjayati rajah karmani bhaarata;
Jnaanamaavritya tu tamah pramaade sanjayatyuta.

Sattwa attaches to knowledge, Rajas to action, O Arjuna, 
while Tamas, shrouding knowledge, attaches to heedlessness only!

Interpretation

The last three shlokas explained the nature of Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasic guna in an individual, in this shloka Lord Krishna tries to connect all the three gunas and explains them in one single shloka. He says that Sattvik guna is attached to knowledge and the happiness that is derived from that knowledge. The Rajasik guna is attached to the actions that one performs as the part of their quest to success and achieved. Then Lord Krishna reiterates the point He said in the previous shloka that Tamasic guna in a person is the result of leaving the path of knowledge and going in the path of stubbornness and ignorance. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

We have already discussed the fact that every human being has all the three gunas of Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasic embedded in him. Depending on the situations and the influences of the people around, the quantity of these gunas present in an individual keeps changing. If a person is kept in the company of sattvik people, he imbibes a lot of sattivik characteristics and same is the case with other gunas. We usually have a lot of tamasic guna people around because we live in a country which has mostly ignorance in it. Strange it is that this is the land of Buddha, Swamy Vivekanada and Adi Shankaracharya but the maximum number of people are deeply ignorant. 

When you have ignorant people around, the ignorance is spread across and the people get those characteristics only. They will stay away from seeking any knowledge and thus will spend all their lives in seeking pleasure. If you are in the company of achievers like MS Dhoni or Milkha Singh or Saina Nehwal or Mukesh Ambani or JRD Tata you would see the competitive spirt and this is the  Rajasik guna of an individual. The simple example is how the Rajasik nature of Gopichand has created many great Badminton stars for India. So, the bottom line here is keeping the right kind of company is very essential and knowing each type of guna and the qualities associated with it helps us to choose the right company.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 8

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!

Interpretation

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!!!

Bhagavadgita Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 7

Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 7

Rajo raagaatmakam viddhi trishnaasangasamudbhavam;
Tannibadhnaati kaunteya karmasangena dehinam.

Know thou Rajas to be of the nature of passion, the source of thirst for sensual enjoyment and attachment; it binds fast, O Arjuna, the embodied one by attachment to action!

Interpretation

After explaining in detail about the Sattvik nature of an individual, Lord Krishna in this shloka explains the second nature in the Universe which is called as Rajasik. He compares Rajasik nature to passion. Passion here means utmost attachment for a profession or activity that a person is engaged in. Then Lord Krishna also links the Rajasik nature as the source of a person’s longing for the sensual enjoyment and attachment. The last part of the shloka talks about the nature of Rajasik guna. Rjasik guna binds a person faster to it and the person develops attachment to action unlike Satvik where he develops attachment to knowledge.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

This Rajasik guna is something we would notice in many individuals. A person who is Rajasik would like to have the power and prestige and has attachment to all the sensual things in life. He like money, power and every comfort that he can get. He is engrossed in worldly pursuits like status, career, prestige, family etc. Rajasik people are motivated to take up any activity that can give them these things. Such kind of people also get attached to the actions but not to the knowledge. For them results are more important than the means through which these are achieved.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 6

Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 6

Tatra sattwam nirmalatwaat prakaashakam anaamayam;
Sukhasangena badhnaati jnaanasangena chaanagha.

Of these, Sattwa, which from its stainlessness is luminous and healthy, 
binds by attachment to knowledge and to happiness, O sinless one!

Interpretation

After telling that the Gunas in an individual are indestructible and present in every individual in different proportions just like the colours in the nature, Lord Krishna in this shloka goes on to explain the nature of Sattvik Guna in an individual. Lord Krishna says that the Sattvik Guna is self illuminating and healthy which is originated by the stainlessness. Stainlessness is the ability of a person who does not have any bad mark on his personality. Then Lord Krishna in the second part of the shloka goes on to say that Sattvik Guna in an individual binds itself by the attachment to the knowledge which in turn leads to the happiness in an individual. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Two points are very important here. First is that Sattvik nature is stainless. It means that the person who is having sattvik nature in him will never do anything that brings a mark to his character. But the question is, in today’s world is it possible? In today’s world, anything you do people will always criticize you or point out your mistake or say that you have done it with an ulterior motive. So, it is not possible for anybody to have a stainless character. What Lord Krishna is saying here is stainlessness comes from the attachment to ones dharma and doing it with utmost dedication. May thousand people misunderstand you or criticize you or you are punished for your work by humans, but if the work you did is linked to your dharma then your character is stainless. Nobody except God can judge you and your actions.

The Second aspect that you need to understand here is the linkage of knowledge and happiness and how a Sattvik person enjoys it. Not everyone enjoys knowledge or getting knowledge. Many people run away when you start sharing information with them on any disciplines like biology, history, economics, physics or medicine. This is because knowledge for many is burden-some and for few its pleasurable. That is why more than 90% of people either watch sports, music or entertainment or commercial news channels on TV. But for a sattvik person knowledge is divine and it alone brings him the happiness. Thus a sattvik person is always in pursuit of knowledge and excellence and that alone brings him the satisfaction says Lord Krishna.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 5

Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 5

Sattwam rajastama iti gunaah prakriti sambhavaah;
Nibadhnanti mahaabaaho dehe dehinam avyayam.

Purity, passion and inertia—these qualities, O mighty-armed Arjuna, born of Nature, bind fast in the body, the embodied, the indestructible!

Interpretation

After talking about the secret of one’s birth and the masculine and feminine energy involved in creating the beings, Lord Krishna in this shloka concentrates on the qualities that are present in a being, that gives him a nature or personality. Here He talks about three qualities that are very essential and are a part of every being. The first is the purity which is also called as Sattvik, second is the passion or the Rajasik and the third is the inertia or the tamasic guna. These gunas are born out of prakruti or nature and they establish themselves in a body. These are so deep rooted in an individual that they cannot be destroyed by anyone. They only go with the body when it is dead. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Three is a very auspicious and important number in nature. The three gunas sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasik are like the three basic colours in nature. We all know that Red, Blue and Yellow are the three basic colours from which all the other colours of the Universe are created. In the same way, Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasik are the three basic gunas from which many other characteristics are born in the nature. Like the way, the two primary colours mix to create three secondary colours like Green, Orange and Purple, any of the two out of these three gunas combine to create the various mixed characteristics in a living being. The coming 14 shlokas will shed more light on these gunas.