Tag Archives: Tamasic

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 44

Krishigaurakshyavaanijyam vaishyakarma swabhaavajam; Paricharyaatmakam karma shoodrasyaapi swabhaavajam.

Agriculture, cattle-rearing and trade are the duties of the Vaishya (merchant class), born of their own nature; and action consisting of service is the duty of the Sudra or servant class, born of their own nature.

Interpretation

After talking about the Brahmans and Kshatriyas who are possessed by Sattwik and Rajasic guna completely, this shloka is talking about the duties of Vaishyas and of shudras. First talking about Vaishyas, Lord says that the duties of vaishyas include agriculture and cattle rearing apart from trade. Vaishyas are engaged in the activities related to trade and both agriculture and dairy industry is in a way linked to trade. Then coming to shudras Lord says that those activities which are of a servant class, servant class here means activities which are aimed at only serving the society. Thus people who are born out of this nature are shudras.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

If Brahmanas are Sattwik and Kshatriyas are Rajasic, then what are Vaishyas and shudras and what is the difference between the Vaishyas and Shudras? Lord gives a clear cut differentiation which is Vaishyas have a mix of Rajasic and Tamasic nature while Shudras are complete of Tamasic nature. When an individual has a mix of both Rajasic and Tamasic qualities, he would want to work hard, lead and get into a powerful position, but because of the Tamasic nature in him, he also wants enjoyment and fulfilment of desires. That’s how he gets into trading activity, where he works very hard in his business to earn money and then he enjoys the same wealth. Enjoyment here is with alcohol, women and other materialistic pleasures.

When we look at Shudras, they have very little or no Rajasic qualities in them and they are completely dominated by Tamasic gunas which is enjoyment and ignorance. So, they do not work hard to acquire the knowledge or skill that is needed to become a sattwik or a rajasic person. That leaves him with jobs which are menial and that serve people of higher gunas. He makes pots and sells it to people, he weaves clothes and sells them to the people around. He can be a barber, he can be a tailor who stitches clothes. These are not businesses but only the sources of livelihood. People who work as clerks and other lower level cadre jobs also come under this category. This is primarily due to the absence of Rajasic qualities in them.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 38

Vishayendriya samyogaad yattadagre’mritopamam; Parinaame vishamiva tatsukham raajasam smritam.

That pleasure which arises from the contact of the sense-organs with the objects, which is at first like nectar and in the end like poison—that is declared to be Rajasic.

Interpretation

After talking about the Sattwik pleasure and pain, this shloka concentrates on the Rajasic person’s way of looking at the pleasure and pain. Lord says that for a Rajasic person the most crucial triggers are the senses and he gets all his likes and dislikes from the contact of the objects with the senses. When they come in contact with the senses, these objects will appear sweet like nectar and give him a lot of pleasure. But as the task comes to an end the result is like a poison. So for a Rajasic person any task that he does start off like nectar and ends like a poison and that quality is declared to be Rajasic says Lord Krishna.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Take a young management graduate who just got out of his college with a placement in a top MNC with a handsome pay. His life starts off on a dream note. He earns his first salary, his first hike, his first promotion and with the position his salary also keeps rising and so is his pleasure. Life for him is like a fairy tale and a dream come true. He buys a car, a 3BHK apartment in a upmarket area, gets married goes on an exotic vacation and has every comfort that he can afford. He couldn’t complain because life gave him everything- wealth, power, happiness, prestige, fame. But he is a very little idea of what is building inside.

Power, position, wealth everything comes at a cost, and that is the cost of delivery and performance. As a new digit gets added to his pay package every time, his responsibilities also keep adding up, but what doesn’t add up are his age and his inner knowledge, that we call as spirituality. With age, his impulses slow down, his health starts deteriorating because of stressful lifestyle and it begins to take a toll on his performance. Added to this is a fast changing business environment where people who are younger to him have ideas that are more contemporary. Because of the lack of spirituality, he will not be able to adapt himself to the changing environment and that begins to show up on his delivery and success.

As his performance starts to affect, his aura gets depleted and his position becomes vulnerable. That is the time of his life when his children are moving into college and his financial security gets paramount. Work pressure, health issues can drag him to the brink, where he lands up either jobless or in a hospital. What started as a pleasure has turned into a poison. This is the story of many professionals today who started their work in 90s. Even businessmen like Vijay Mallya of UB group or Naresh Goyal of Jet Airways, because of their lack of spirituality which prevented them to adapt to the changing business environment have ended up losing control on the very companies that they have started years ago. Another possible victim is Subash Chandra of Zee group who is fast selling his stake in the company.

Pleasure in the beginning keeps you away from spirituality and lack of spirituality leads to lack of learning. Spirituality is not renunciation, spirituality is discipline, punctuality and value for time. A person when he gets power and authority, if he is Rajasic loses all the three things mentioned before and that stops him from learning the changes that are happening around him. Slowly he gets cut off from the changing world and becomes a victim of his own web. That ultimately brings his downfall and anyone who remained Rajasic throughout his life has to face this, irrespective of how powerful he is.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 36

Sukham twidaaneem trividham shrinu me bharatarshabha; Abhyaasaadramate yatra duhkhaantam cha nigacchati.

Now hear from Me, O Arjuna, of the threefold pleasure, in which one rejoices by practice and surely comes to the end of pain!
Interpretation
The last 7 shlokas were mainly concentrated on the effects of intellect and firmness on a person who has a sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic nature. We have seen how a person with Tamasic nature uses his intellect and firmness and same is the case with Rajasic and Sattwik person. Now Lord is going to talk about pain and pleasure. He tell Arjuna to listen from Him, about the three fold pleasures in which one rejoices. The three fold pleasure is again the Sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic pleasure. Lord implies here that the pleasure that people feel also is very much linked to the nature of themselves. So, everyone has their own way of rejoicing the pleasure to end the pain, which again depends on their nature. 
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
Pain and pleasure are inseparable part of anybody’s life and existence. When in pain, everyone wants to come out of that pain and that can only happen when you seek a pleasure. What pleasure you seek is also important. When in immense pain, a person might take to alcohol to overcome that pain or he might read a book or pray to God to overcome that pain. Apart from all this the definition of pain itself needs to be looked into. Pain is sometimes necessary to understand the pleasure but not all pains are required to be borne by an individual. So, understanding pain and pleasure as well as how one tackles the pain and what kind of pleasure he seeks are all important and let us hear what Lord Krishna tells about these pleasures and how it alters the pain of an individual. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sanyyas Yoga Verse 15

Chapter 18 Moksha Sanyyas Yoga Verse 15

Shareeravaangmanobhiryat karma praarabhate narah;
Nyaayyam vaa vipareetam vaa panchaite tasya hetavah.

Whatever action a man performs by his body, speech and mind, 
whether right or the reverse, these five are its causes.

Interpretation

This shloka comes after Lord talks about the five causes that accomplish a task. Lord in this shloka is talking about the consequences of actions performed by the body, mind and the soul. In the previous shloka, we have identified body, mind and speech as important reasons for doing or not doing any task. In this shloka, Lord says that whatever is the action that is performed by the body, mind and speech of an individual, whether it is right or wrong, the five causes that Lord has mentioned are the only reasons for it. The point to be noted here is whether the action is in the right direction or in reverse, the cause for it is the same.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

We have to understand here, the importance of body, speech and mind in doing any task. Since we are in the last chapter and since the readers are already exposed to many things, I would like to quote certain verses from Upanishad to underscore the importance of the body, speech and mind in performing any task.

“Brahman cannot be described by the voice. By its inspiration, the voice gets the power to speak”. You cant express God in voice. You are speaking because of the voice given by Brahman. 

“Brahman cannot be understood by the mind and intellect. By its power, mind and intellect will work”. Don’t try to understand God by the amount of knowledge and intellect that you possess. It’s a miniscule. Your mind itself is working and gaining intellect only because of that Brahman. 

“Brahman cannot be seen with the eyes. By its inspiration, the eyes see”. Non-believers ask for the proof of God saying where is He and how can He be sighted, forgetting the fact that the eyes that gives them the vision itself was bestowed by that Brahman. 

Body is the combination of senses, and those senses were bestowed by God, and so is mind and speech. Thus any action performed by an individual is because of the five causes, the body, mind, senses, the reason and the Brahman. Whether it is the right task or a wrong task, these five are only responsible and the body has to bear the Karma or the fruit of the tasks performed by it.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 8

Chapter 18 Moksha Sannyas Yoga Verse 8

Duhkhamityeva yat karma kaayakleshabhayaat tyajet;
Sa kritwaa raajasam tyaagam naiva tyaagaphalam labhet.

He who abandons action on account of the fear of bodily trouble because it is painful, he does not obtain the merit of renunciation by doing such Rajasic renunciation.

Interpretation

This shloka talks about those people who abandon actions on account of the fear. This shloka is concentrating on those actions that are abandoned that come out of passion which is the quality of a Rajasic person. Lord Krishna says that there are people who abandon the tasks that they have undertaken only because those tasks take a heavy toll on their body and put them through a lot of pain and stress. Lord also says that such kind of people can never merit to obtain the fruits of renunciation and such Rajasic renunciation will never bring them any kind of happiness. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Man is a mix of all the three qualities, Tamas, Rajas and Sattwa. There is nobody who is a pure tamasic or rajasic or sattwik. Actions also have a nature of these qualities in them. So, when one is spending a romantic evening with his partner he is engaged in Tamasic activity, when a person is passionately doing his job he is in a Rajasic state and when he is doing a sacrificial ritual for the benefit of the humanity he is in Sattwik stage and when he is doing something for the sake of Paramatma in him, he has risen above this to reach the stage of “Om tat sat”. So, a person depending on his activities will be in all these stages at every moment of his life.

What we are talking about here is a Rajasic renunciation or renunciation of acts out of passion. Passion burns energy and that takes a toll on one’s body. A Sportsman who is passionate will experience a lot of physical strain to his body and a scientist or a philosopher who is passionate about his thoughts and his hypothesis experiences a lot of mental stress. Stress or pain is something that every individual has to go through. Are you allowed to abandon it? The answer from Lord Krishna is No. We need to take as much pain as our body and mind allows us to take. Let us understand this concept a bit more with the two examples given below.

People who do physical work like Farmers, sportsmen etc would be obligated to do a lot of physical work that causes them an enormous amount of pain to their body. Can you be a farmer and not work in the field fearing pain to your body? Can you say that am fed up with this world and take sanyyas and abandon your duty of a farmer? The answer is No. Lord doesn’t permit that. The same is a case with a sportsman. Then there are a majority of people who engage in the work that needs a lot of hard work mentally. This leads to something called stress. The pain to mind is called stress. Can you avoid doing those activities because you are feeling stress? The answer is again No.

We choose activities according to our capabilities, our dharma and listening to the voice of Paramatma inside you. If you wish to be a philosopher and a thinker, you need to put in a lot of hard work mentally and you need to read, write and think a lot. Automatically mind gets pain which we call it as stress. Stress is harmful when you don’t align that with other activities. For example, if you do a lot of mental work and maintain an unhealthy lifestyle by drinking, pubbing, smoking and not sleeping properly, then it will harm your body. Many software engineers in the present day do that. But if you take the stress and also maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating good food and taking proper rest that stress will only help you. Thus, abandoning this Rajasic or Passion-related actions are not permitted according to Lord Krishna.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 25

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 25

adityanabhisandhaaya phalam yajnatapah kriyaah;
Daanakriyaashcha vividhaah kriyante mokshakaangkshibhih.

Uttering Tat, without aiming at the fruits, are the acts of sacrifice and austerity and the various acts of gift performed by the seekers of liberation.

Interpretation

After the syllable “om” the next thing that Lord is talking here is “tat”. Tat means that, and that here refers to the Almighty. Lord Krishna says that a person who believes in God, without aiming for any results and does all the activities accordingly will go in the path of liberation. Lord also mentions the importance of austerity in performing the sacrifices and says that any sacrifice done with austerity alone can meet the destination. Apart from all this Lord also says that it is mandatory that “tat” should be uttered by those who are offering various kinds of gifts for seeking liberation.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

“Tat” is uttered by the person who has the ability to see “God” in everything that he does. He has elevated himself from the gunas of Tamasic, Rajasic and Sattwik and have gone to higher levels beyond the realms of Maya affecting him. Here also, we hear the phrase of doing things without expecting any results out of it. You might say that this phrase was repeated so many times before. It was repeated for a person who is in tamasic, rajasic and sattwik gunas to progress spiritually. Our spirituality makes us to choose things which are appropriate to us. Everything we choose has a guna attached to it and when we perform that task, we need to do it without getting attached to it to realize the real meaning of it and to get out of it. 

This happens to many tasks in Rajasic and Sattwik stage. Attachment to a task makes us weaker and that affects the result. So, we have talked about it in our previous shlokas. Here we are talking about a person who has gone beyond the Sattwik stage. Here a person while doing any activity sees the element of God in it. Then only he can utter the word “tat”. If he is helping someone, he sees God in that person as well as the help that he is doing. Thus the person has the element of divinity attached to everything “that” he does and thus he says “tat” which means “that” in everything he does. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 19

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 19

Moodhagraahenaatmano yat peedayaa kriyate tapah; Parasyotsaadanaartham vaa tattaamasamudaahritam.

The austerity which is practised out of a foolish notion, with self-torture,  or for the purpose of destroying another, is declared to be Tamasic.

Interpretation

After talking about the austerities practised by Sattwik and Rajasic people, Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about the austerities of a Tamasic person. He says that the basic approach of a tamasic person is foolish. Foolish because he thinks what he knows is right and is unwilling to accommodate any other thought process or input into his mind. Such people can go to any extent of doing any sacrifice for getting things in an easy way. Another thing that Lord mentions here is Tamasic people also perform austerities for destroying others. All these things are declared Tamasic or dark. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

A sattwik person thinks that what he is doing is right, Rajasic person also thinks the same way and so does a Tamasic person. Then, what is the difference between them? The answer is exposure. The life we lead in this world is similar and we keep encountering similar situations again and again, even in multiple births. Let’s take for example, how a person handles domestic issues which everyone who gets married has to handle. A tamasic person is least bothered and doesn’t take care of anything concerning his wife or children. He neglects his family because he is busy enjoying the pleasures of life like drinking, gambling and roaming aimlessly and when pressure comes, he does some short cuts to earn money or looks at easy ways to solve the problem. 

A Rajasic person also might give impression that he is not taking care of his family. This happens when he is only bothered about wealth and success and is least concerned about his family. You would have seen the examples of families where the head thinks that giving all comforts and luxuries to wife and children is the way to take care of them. Despite getting everything, children feel neglected and not getting the love of parents, go in a wrong way like doing drugs, falling into the bad company etc. This is no different from what tamasic person did to his family. Both the families have ruined for reasons that are totally different. 

In case of a sattwik person, he also doesn’t take care but that is from the point of view that there is no need for him to really take care of getting into the minute aspects. Very very few families can be seen in this category where the head of the family empowers the members of the family and gives them enough freedom and comfort to do things in their own way. Such is the atmosphere in the household that there is no need to “take care” of anything. Thus if you see the way a sattwik person handles a family, it is very different from Rajasic and Tamasic person. The tamasic person has the least amount of spirituality so he depends and believes on everything that he sees and that gives him the guarantee of success. 

This explains why he takes pain and torture to get things done for himself. A tamasic person, walking all his way to Tirumala feels that the pain he took will please God and his wishes would be granted. He feels that this walking is a short cut for success and God will solve his problems. When this doesn’t happen then he searches for other methods like blindly believing in swamijis and other tantriks to get things done. This takes him to the path of black magic and destruction of others to get success for himself. These austerities performed will keep the person forever in Tamasic stage and unless he realizes it he cannot come out of this state. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 18

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 18

Satkaaramaanapoojaartham tapo dambhena chaiva yat;Kriyate tadiha proktam raajasam chalamadhruvam.

The austerity which is practiced with the object of gaining good reception, honour and worship with hypocrisy, is here said to be Rajasic, unstable and transitory.

Interpretation

This shloka talks about the austerities that a Rajasic mind prefers. We have seen in the previous shloka how a steadfast mind practices Sattwik austerities. The Rajasic austerities are aimed at gaining a good reception, which actually means that whatever work the person undertakes, he is expecting an appreciation for the same. Apart from that Rajasic person’s austerities are also aimed at giving him honor and worship of people around and the person also becomes a hypocrite who in the process, says one and does another. Also, Lord tells that this Rajasic behaviour exhibited by the person is unstable and transitory.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Why is Lord Krishna saying that the Rajasic nature of an individual is unstable and transitory? Here we have to understand the true nature of a Rajasic person. A Rajasic person is someone who strives for excellence in everything he does. He is hardworking and fulfills all his responsibilities without any delay. But the problem is, as the person completes his work and achieves success and takes rewards, he starts attributing them to himself. He feels that only because of his abilities he was able to achieve success. That builds a sense of over confidence in him and gives him false sense of invincibility and superiority, which in the due course becomes the reason for his downfall.

Take a look at any businessman or a political leader or a community head, we have seen that many of them steadily rise to glory and then go through a sharp decline to depths of degradation. It happens because from a lazy and easy going and static tamasic state a person becomes dynamic and hardworking, taking him to the Rajasic state. Till that point he is alright. But one aspect of his personality has to undergo a change to take him to sattwik stage, but that doesn’t happen. That is, whatever was achieved was mandated and charted by Almighty and he is just a doer. This process gets delayed because he believes in self and becomes a hypocrite also, by saying one thing and doing another. 

All this he does only to keep his success and name and even resorts to rituals to prevent himself from any kind of a downfall to his glory. Till this feeling remains he is a Rajasic person. Lord calls it transitory because like the way he changed from tamsic to Rajasic, one day he will realise that nothing was his achievement alone, and that takes him to sattwik stage. Thus whatever he is doing in the Rajasic stage is just temporary and like the way he came from Tamasic to Rajasic, he has to one day progress from Rajasic to Sattwik.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 10

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 10

Yaatayaamam gatarasam pooti paryushitam cha yat; Ucchishtamapi chaamedhyam bhojanam taamasapriyam.

That which is stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten and impure refuse, is the food liked by the Tamasic.

Interpretation

After talking about the Sattvik and Rajasic foods, Lord Krishna in this shloka is narrating the characteristic of the Tamasic foods. He starts by saying that all the stale foods which we keep in deep freezers and frozen foods that stay for a longer time are the Tamasic foods. Apart from that He also says that the foods which are tasteless, which decompose and decay over the period of time and become rotten are also classified as Tamasic foods. Also, the impure refuse of any fruit or an animal is classified as the tamasic food. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

By the time you finish reading the interpretation, you would have already concluded that most of the foods that were mentioned here are so disgusting that you would never ever eat them. But to your surprise more than 50% of the food that many people living in cities and urban areas in the country actually consume this food. Let’s take, for example, cow’s milk which is stored in the tetra pack and which is 2-3 months old, is it a sattvik food? Definitely not. Tetra pack prevents it from decaying but the positive and vibrant energy that fresh milk used within one day can never be obtained from the milk consumed from tetra packs.

Let’s take the fruit juices that you drink from Tropicana or Real or any other brand, they are all 3-6 months old and are considered to be Tamasic as they can never substitute a fresh fruit juice extracted and consumed within 24 hours. The preservatives used in those juices prevent it from decaying but the benefits you get from them, are totally absent. Wine and Alcohol are the natural examples of Tamasic food as the wine gets tastier as it gets older. Apart from that we also have the examples of frozen foods that are stored for days together under sub-zero temperature conditions also come under Tamasic foods, just look at them when you visit a supermarket next.

These Tamasic foods by nature lose all their taste and become tasteless. We add artificial tasters to it to make it tasty. Such kind of foods will only serve your taste buds but it never does any good to the kind of energy you get. We should here recollect what Lord Krishna said at that the beginning of this yoga, that eats food to live but not lives to eat. Foods give us energy and eating Sattvik food gives sattvik energy, Rajasic food gives you Rajasic energy and consuming Tamasic food gives you Tamasic energy. All our actions are dependent on these energies.