The Bhagavad-Gita Chapter 14

Separation of the Three Qualities

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From Mr. Judge

KRISHNA:

“I will explain further the sublime spiritual knowledge superior to all others, by knowing which all the sages have attained to supreme perfection on the dissolution of this body. They take sanctuary in this wisdom, and having attained to my state they are not born again even at the new evolution, nor are they disturbed at the time of general destruction.

“The great Brahman is my womb in which I place the seed; from that, O son of Bharata, is the production of all existing things. 1 This great Brahman is the womb for all those various forms which are produced from any womb, and I am the Father who provideth the seed. The three great qualities called sattva, rajas, and tamas — light, or truth, passion or desire, and indifference or darkness — are born from nature, and bind the imperishable soul to the body, O thou of mighty arms. Of these the sattva quality by reason of its lucidity and peacefulness entwineth the soul to rebirth through attachment to knowledge and that which is pleasant. Know that rajas is of the nature of desire, producing thirst and propensity; it, O son of Kunti, imprisoneth the Ego through the consequences produced from action. The quality of tamas, the offspring of the indifference in nature, is the deluder of all creatures, O son of Bharata; it imprisoneth the Ego in a body through heedless folly, sleep, and idleness. The sattva quality attaches the soul through happiness and pleasure, the rajas through action, and tamas quality surrounding the power of judgment with indifference attaches the soul through heedlessness.

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"The sattva quality attaches the soul through happiness and pleasure, the rajas through action, and tamas quality surrounding the power of judgment with indifference attaches the soul through heedlessness."

Is the common idea that treads it way through each of these three qualities desire? Wanting happiness and pleasure (sattva), wanting to engage in action (rajas), wanting rest or sleep (heedlessness) seems to be the central idea here.

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Grace,
Revisiting a few slokas that come to mind regarding your question;

Third discourse;
[iii.5] "Surely, none can ever remain inactive even for a moment; for everyone is helplessly driven to action by modes of Prakrti (nature born qualities; gunas)."
[iii.27]"In face all actions are being performed by the modes of Prakriti.  The fool, whose mind is deluded by egoism, thinks: 'I am the doer."
[iii.28] "However, he who has true insight into the respective spheres of Gunas and their actions, holding that it is the Gunas (in the form of senses, mind etc.) that move among the Gunas (objects of perception), does not get attached to them, Arjuna."

Lastly;
[iii.33] "All living creatures follow their tendencies; even the wise man acts according to the tendencies of his own nature..."

Desire indeed propels activity, no doubt about it.  However, to whom/what does this desire belong?  As stated in the last discourse, the Human constitution is a compounded body of many beings, each having a particular attraction and designation to the natures to which they adhere.  We see lowly acts done by our friends and neighbors, perhaps even ourselves, propelled by some "uncontrollable desire."  When we begin to take note of our attitude, thoughts, reactions, private habits, public habits, etc., we notice that there are many tendencies dominating our character.  When we try to abstain from anything in general, the entire body and mind seems to organize a mutiny.  This is the disturbance of the complexities of the Gunas and the dozens of beings consisting of combinations rooted from these three qualities.  Perhaps, looking at the alchemical transmutation would be a good analogy.

For students of Esoteric Philosophy, considering the teachings, there arises a deeper sense of responsibility regarding every thought and action, as they are not (technically) our desires, but the desires belonging to the lives which form our conditioned existence.  We are no doubt absolutely responsible for them, just as much as a mother would be responsible for the proper etiquette, moral and ethical education of her child.  She suffers when her child suffers.



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Kristan thank you very much for this most helpful reply.  It helped me to connect the Gita discussion with our Self-Reliance discussion.  Far too often we act impulsively, we react rather than act deliberately.  Perhaps wise action is guided by thought derived from our Higher Nature (Universal, Impersonal, Compassionate etc.).  This is the self of Self Reliance that should guide our actions,and not the qualities.

Which leads to a question.  If we are to tap the higher within us must we transcend the gunas or must we balance them or center ourselves in sattva?

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"If we are to tap the higher within us must we transcend the gunas or must we balance them or center ourselves in sattva?"

Hello Grace,

To my understanding, I don't believe it is very necessary to try and transcend any of the Gunas by a specific type of action.  This is only my opinion.  I personally cannot isolate a particular guna and say any one thing belongs purely to that nature.  Nature has many actions, and action/motion is absolutely necessary to keep a flow, I suppose, of some sort of progression and evolution.  When we consider the gunas, we mustn't suppose one specific guna is better than another, as each has a specific function in nature, and often there are many gunas present in a single action; predominantly sattvic with rajas undertone, and a tamasic base etc etc.  

To try and focus to become a predominantly sattvic person, we must check every aspect of our character-the ego- and root out all potential seeds of "un-sattvic" natures, and then in turn, root out the sattvaguna.  However this very action is rajasic in nature.  So I think it might be very well impossible to become purely sattvic without utilizing the other gunas and respective influences.  The gunas are the fabric of Nature- something we've only begun to dimly understand in the field of science.

There is a popular saying, "live in the moment"- we often here.  However a moment is just the smallest fraction of time we can measure.  There is something beyond every moment- something which strings the endless moments together to make what might be called a stream of awareness.  Many moments, similarly, many combination of gunas.  Only One Witness to the fluctuations and modifications of prakrti (gunas of nature), this is where I believe we should focus our attention.  Some texts name this as the 4th Guna- that which is above all other gunas;  It- the Impersonal Self- is beyond sattvagunam, rajagunam and tamogunam.

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Grace perhaps all of the above.  It might depend upon which part of our constitution we are referring to.  Perhaps at the level of the lowest manifestation we must balance the qualities of nature.  At the level of mind perhaps we must transcend them by not identifying with any of them as Self.

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It seems to me that a balance must be struck between rajas and tamas to establish sattva, the balance point.  Sattva is the quality that would allow the high powers to flow through the lower vehicles. But we are warned in the Gita that attachment can occur with all three of the qualities. What do other students think about that notion?

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Mobility, Inertia, and Vibration - from what I understand Sattva is a harmonious interplay of Rajas and Tamas and not something separate.

I think attachment to anything may be a hindrance. 

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This goes back to the separative self problem we are talking about in the Art of Living group.  The acquisitive self seeks to possess and claim, not only objects but qualities too. I have courage.  I have patience. I am strong.  Even virtues can be usurped.  This is why in the Gita Krishna teaches us that even sattva, the best of the three qualities, is in danger of of being a source of attachment.  The long quest of no self leads to All Self or One Self apparently.

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From the Johnston Translation:

I shall further declare to thee this wisdom, which is the best of all wisdoms, knowing which all silent seers have passed hence to supreme success.

Taking refuge in this wisdom, attaining to oneness of being with Me, at the creation of worlds they go not forth, nor do they fail, when the worlds are dissolved.

The Eternal, the Great One, is the womb for Me, wherein I lay the germ; thence, O descendant of Bharata, comes the birth of all beings.

Whatever forms, O son of Kunti, are born in all wombs, the Eternal, the Great One, is the womb, and I am the Father who gives the seed.

Substance, Force, Darkness: these are the Powers born of Nature; they bind, O mighty armed one, the eternal lord of the body within the body. (5)

There Substance, luminous through its stainlessness, and free from sorrow, binds by the bond of pleasure, and the bond of knowledge, O blameless one.

Force, of the essence of desire, engendering thirst and attachment, binds the lord of the body by the bond of works, O son of Kunti.

But Darkness, born of unwisdom, is known to be the deluder of all who are embodied; it binds through heedlessness, indolence and sleep, O descendant of Bharata.

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"The great Brahman is my womb in which I place the seed". Here, why do we differentiate between Brahman and I or Krishna or the Lord? Krishna, in my opinion, is the final Lord, the Brahman principle. And the nature is nothing but Brahman's maya which is hiding the truth from the Jiva and at the same time giving it the power to intellectually understand that it is Brahman's consciousness itself which is enlivening it. When one is thus able to see thru the hidden qualities and its resultant misunderstandings and realize that the pure/satvik quality is in fact the Brahman, one is liberated from all misunderstandings and samsara. It is like seeing the presence of the sun through the clouds covering it.
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This is another one of those instances where it is easy to say and hard to DO!  This clarifies the goals perhaps but there is much work to be done to untie the knot of self, and that is where the wisdom and magic is needed.

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Permalink Reply by Sunil Goel on March 30, 2015 at 12:04pm
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Sorry, I misinterpreted that. I tend to agree to a womb of Brahman. That womb is called the hrinyagarbha. But I still feel that Brahman and I/Krishna are the same.
Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on March 31, 2015 at 6:10pm
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Hello Sunil, 

With all due respect, I would be lead to believe that this sloka isn't referring to Hiranyagarbha as the womb, although, often Hiranyagarbha is often referred to as the womb in most other contexts due to its very name; garbha.  I have two other translations in front of me which seem to indicate that it is  Primordial Nature, or Mulaprakrti; Precosmic root-substance as the womb. 

"My Primordial Nature, known as the great Brahma, is the womb of all creatures; in that womb I place the seed of life.  The creation of all being follows from that union of Matter and Spirit, O Arjuna."

[Pandit Mahadeva Sastri, F.T.S.] 
"My womb is the great Brahman; in that I place the germ; thence, O Bharata, is the birth of all beings."
[follow by sloka 4] "Whatever forms are produced, O son of Kunti, in any wombs whatsoever, the Great Brahman is their womb, I the seed-giving Father.

A commentary attributed to Sankaracarya states that this womb is "My own Prakriti- i.e. the Prakrti which belongs to Me, the Maya made up of the three Gunas, the material cause of all beings.  This Prakriti is spoken of as great because it is greater than all effects; and is as the source and nourishing energy of all its modification."  

I believe this Prakriti being spoken of is a topic that was discussed in the last discourse.  Further, the commentary states, "In that Great Brahman (mahabrahma) I place the germ,the seed of the birth of the Hiranyagarbha, the seed which gives birth to all beings.... the act of this impregnation gives rise to the birth of all beings through the birth of the Hiranyagarbha." [comm on sk.4] "... Of these forms, the Great Brahman (prakriti) which passes through all states of matter is the cause; and I, the Isvara, am the Father, the author of impregnation of the seed in the womb."

For those who are not familiar with this Hiranyagarbha, the Theosophical Glossary defines it as thus; The radiant or golden egg or womb. Esoterically the luminous “fire mist” or ethereal stuff from which the Universe was formed. 

I believe these two slokas (3 & 4) can be explained just through our daily- intuitive and careful observations, though, difficult it might be, there must be a correspondence.  I believe that these two slokas, can be enhanced via pgs.14-16 of the SD.i.

"But I still feel that Brahman and I/Krishna are the same."
Only in essence.  Just as we are all representatives of the Inner Self, Krisna is a representative, if you will, of the Parambrahm. I suppose this is one way to look at it.  Krisna is also Iswara (Logos); the first Ego of the cosmos, it has been said.

Permalink Reply by Sunil Goel on March 30, 2015 at 12:11pm
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"But Darkness, born of unwisdom, is known to be the deluder of all who are embodied; it binds through heedlessness, indolence and sleep, O descendant of Bharata."

I don't understand this sentence pls.
Permalink Reply by Sunil Goel on April 1, 2015 at 8:49am
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Thank you Kristan. I understand your whole para, except where you say that I the Ishwara place the seed in the womb. The way I understand this, is, that I the Brahman, as if, placed the seed in my hiranyagarbha, from which everything evolved the Ishwara and subsequently all other living and non living beings. I am referring to this evolution as, as if, as the substantiality of the Ishwara and the rest is maya only and not real from the point of view of the Brahman.

In any case, the essential point is clear, that there is one force out of which everything has emerged. But how did the gunas come about? How did these become part of the nature and why only three qualities?!
Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on April 1, 2015 at 1:01pm
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Sunil,

You are defiantly allowed to have your own understanding.  But if you take that approach, "I the Brahman, as if, placed the seed in my hiranyagarbha, from which everything evolved the Ishwara and subsequently all other living and non living beings." there will be contradictions, at least from my understanding.

Hiranyagarbha is commonly seen as an intermediate body, being the collective totality of things i.e., the universe to be, prior to physical manifestation.  There is another body before this, and another body after this.  Three Bodies; The Casual (karana) Intermediate (sukma viz Hiranyagarbha) and Physical (sthula).  This is just a very crude and rough idea.  Each of these three are consisting of three more substates.  There is a fourth state however.  This fourth state is technically the "first" state, Turiya- the All Pervading.

The womb spoken of in the sloka, said to be referring to Prakrti, would, in my opinion, be referring to Turiya- the All-Pervading Prakriti.  Obviously there will be difference of opinion as to whether or not matter has any sort of existence in Turiya.  Let us remember that spirit and matter can not be separated, both are eternal and codependent, further both are facets of Parabrahm.  

You may experiment with this idea by observing (to the best of your ability) pre-ideation (abstract Space), the flash of "manifested" ideation presented within that Space, thus evolving into to a conceived idea (pre-thought; the seed presented within the field).  Further, the idea transforms to a thought which in turn becomes recognized and refined. It may stew, existing for some time before it manifests itself as an outward expression of a verbal idea (speech), or a physical action, etc.  You may also see this process in the first stages of human conception and development of the human embryo.  Nature repeats herself, She is under the Universal Law.  

But how did the gunas come about? How did these become part of the nature and why only three qualities?!

The gunas exist as an integral portion of the very Nature they are said to exist.  The three gunas exist in prakriti as the strands of cotton make the cloth. In other words, to avoid sounding tautological; water consists of Hydrogen+ Oxygen+ Hydrogen; 3 particles compounded to one element. This is how I can understand it.  Three is a number that is found in every single philosophical doctrine.  I could not give you any information on why there are only three base gunas, however there are specific numbers that are often repeated in occult texts, three is one of them.

Permalink Reply by Sunil Goel on April 2, 2015 at 9:27am
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Kristan, greetings!
My intention is not be defiant in my point of view under any circumstances. I am new to this forum and trying to cope up with the theories of SD, by going thru various posts and develop an understanding. It is extremely difficult to read the doctrine as a text.....at least for me. That is why I am trying to learn from the posts and use SD notes as reference now and then.

Regarding Hiranyagharbha, my understanding was as follows:

In comparison of micro with macro, we have Vishwa for micro and Virat for macro....this is the individual gross body vs the universal gross body. Then we have Tejasa for micro and Hiryanyagarbha for macro....this is the sukshama, the subtle body comprising of all sense organs, action organs, the mind, intellect and the ego. Then we have the Causal body (karana sharira) and the Ishwara, the individual "receptacle" or cause for storing karma and karma phalas and the macro whole which comprises of all the causal bodies put together.

Hence, I totally agree with you that the womb being talked about in the verse here is not this garbha but an intermediate state prior to gross and subtle formations. Can we call this womb the Ishwara, who is the maya shakti of the Lord? We could say that the Lord "germinated" the Ishwara from which evolution took place. And can we also call this Ishwara as nature which has the three gunas? It's possible that the sages may have studied the human nature very deeply and worked backwards to infer that it is only these three qualities which are inherent in some proportion or another in everything gross or subtle In this universe and hence, Ishwara or nature/Prakriti should have the same three qualities. And it's also possible that since every living creature on this earth has a male with female counterpart, that part of the nature where the womb existed, maybe representing the female gender! It's just loud thinking but makes sense!

In any case, what could be the objective of studying the three qualities of nature? Here too, I would beg to make an assumption that by studying these qualities, we will understand ourselves more and be more responsible in our actions and thoughts.

Pls excuse me for talking out of context, if that be the case.
Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on April 3, 2015 at 7:57am
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Sunil,

The Secrete Doctrine is by far a massive text and I think most people would agree with you regarding the difficulty of it.  Personally, I read it in bouts, trying to focus on a key teaching, then study other texts in the Light of the SD.  To me this is the only way I can manage to string together the gems that the SD presents.

"what could be the objective of studying the three qualities of nature? Here too, I would beg to make an assumption that by studying these qualities, we will understand ourselves more and be more responsible in our actions and thoughts."

I think there is a connection to this discourse, and the 3rd discourse of the Gita which might be considered.  There are a few slokas found in both sections that seem to compliment each other.  For instance, discourse 3 slokas; 5; 27; 28 and 33, when meditated with sloka 19 of the 14th discourse;

[xiv.19] "When the seer beholds not an agent other than the gunas and knows Him who is higher than the gunas, he attains to my being."

Responsibility is Dharma, and our Dharma is our Duty, which is the Royal Talisman.  My personal interpretation is quite in line with yours.  The more one tends to sever or cast off the "lower selves," the more apparent the Reality becomes. Of course, this may take many lifetimes. Once we recognize inner relations of cause and effect, the more we notice how crucial it is to take responsibility, not only of our physical actions, but even greater, the subtle actions pertaining to thoughts etc..  All types of action is movement, all movement is governed by deities of specific classes, and thus the cycle of karma continues, not one thing can escape its Law.

Permalink Reply by barbaram on April 4, 2015 at 3:00pm
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yes, the Secret Doctrine is a very difficult book.  our group read "The Divine Plan" by Geoffrey A Barborka first to understand the basic doctrines before studying the text, which seems to help.

Below is a pertinent quote from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by MN Dvivedi- section IV, Aphorism 13: on the role of Gunas, section IV, Sutra 13:

They, whether manifest or subtle, are of the nature of the Gunas.   

The nature of the past and the future which exist, is shown in this aphorisms. They, meaning the conditions of the properties, are either manifest, i.e., experienced in the present; or subtle, i.e., yet to come.  They are all, from Mahat down to any individual object, of the nature of the Gunas, as they are mere transformations of the three Gunas and are nothing apart from them.  Every object, in whatever condition, is pleasant, painful, or indifferent, and this is nothing but the result of primal constitution.  The Gunas keep up transforming themselves every minute, and produce the panorama of various phenomena.  It has been well said, "the form of the Gunas is never visible, that which so is but false show, entirely worthless."

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on April 6, 2015 at 12:45pm
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Thank you Barbra.  The Yoga-sutras are a key text to understand the fluctuations of the three Gunas in a very complex and systematic study.  If you haven't read the commentaries attributed to Veda-Vyāsa and a sub-commentary of Vācaspati Miśra I would strongly recommend it- take note of the JH Woods edition. 

I have come across a portion in the Srimad Devi Bhagavatam which might be of some considerations to this portion of the Gita.

From book III:
"These three qualities are always found to remain intermingled with one another, and each of them has always an inherent tendency to overcome the others; and therefore they are always, as it were, at war with one another.  They never have a separate existence from one another.(13)

"Never is found anywhere only one Sattva quality to the exclusion of others, the Rajas and Tamas; similar is the case with the Rajas or Tamas.  They remain intermingled and depend on one another.(14)

"Narada! Thus you see that, of these three qualities, no one can remain entirely alone free from the other qualities.  These remain always in twos and threes. (42)

Permalink Reply by Sunil Goel on April 4, 2015 at 1:22pm
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Kristan,


"I think there is a connection to this discourse, and the 3rd discourse of the Gita which might be considered. There are a few slokas found in both sections that seem to compliment each other. For instance, discourse 3 slokas; 5; 27; 28 and 33, when meditated with sloka 19 of the 14th discourse;"

Where do I locate these discourses please?
Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on April 6, 2015 at 12:46pm
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Suni, 
If you own a copy of the Gita, you can find the slokas I've mentioned in chapter 3.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on April 5, 2015 at 10:34pm
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Next paragraph Judge edition

“When, O son of Bharata, the qualities of tamas and rajas are overcome, then that of sattva prevaileth;tamas is chiefly acting when sattva and rajas are hidden; and when the sattva and tamas diminish, then rajas prevaileth. When wisdom, the bright light, shall become evident at every gate of the body, then one may know that the sattva quality is prevalent within. The love of gain, activity in action, and the initiating of works, restlessness and inordinate desire are produced when the quality of rajas is prevalent, whilst the tokens of the predominance of the tamas quality are absence of illumination, the presence of idleness, heedlessness, and delusion, O son of Kunti.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Sunil Goel on April 6, 2015 at 1:21pm
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Thank you Kirstan. Of course! Discourse means chapter! How could I not relate!!

Talking of gunas which belong to the Ishwara and also to the Jiva, the question comes to the mind that why did God create tamas and Rajas if he wanted us to endeavor to become satvic? In fact what is the purpose behind has manifestation? I have not come across any explanation to this point in any literature. When I put this question to a learned scholar the answer is always that one cannot question why and one can only question how!

Does the SD or kabalistic thought put any light on this very important question of the human being? It somehow doesn't seem right that "he" brought us here only so that we could liberate ourselves and also work for the welfare of the mankind. If he desired so, the question is why!! Or did this happen involuntarily and naturally without any intelligence behind it?
Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on April 6, 2015 at 2:32pm
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"The question comes to the mind that why did God create tamas and Rajas if he wanted us to endeavor to become satvic?"
"what is the purpose behind has manifestation?" 
"It somehow doesn't seem right that "he" brought us here only so that we could liberate ourselves and also work for the welfare of the mankind"
"Or did this happen involuntarily and naturally without any intelligence behind it?"

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration regarding these question you've asked, but if you don't mind me saying, I believe if you consider the Divinity God to be anImpersonal Principle, most of your questions will be answered in time. 

However, you mustn't take my word for it.  Ancient symbolism, art, poetry, and sacred texts are highly suggestive of this Truth.  The "Wide page of Nature" alone presents far more information than any scholar could, and careful observation along with silence may enable one to assimilate the subtle natures of the world around. 

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on April 9, 2015 at 10:26pm
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Next section from Johnston

Substance causes attachment through pleasure; Force, through works, O descendant of Bharata; but Darkness, enwrapping wisdom, causes attachment through sloth.

Overcoming Force and Darkness, Substance prevails, O descendant of Bharata; Force prevails over Substance and Darkness; or Darkness over Substance and Force. (10)

When light shines at all the doors in this dwelling, when wisdom shines, then let him know that Substance has prevailed.

Desire of possessions, activity, the undertaking of works, restlessness, longing, these are born when Force prevails, O bull of the Bharatas.

Obscurity, inactivity, sloth, delusion, these are born when Darkness prevails, O descendant of Kuru.

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on April 10, 2015 at 12:31pm
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I'm intrigued by the terms Johnston chose to use for the three gunas:

Substance = Sattva
Force = Rajas
Darkness = Tamas

Elsewhere he uses "Goodness" for Sattva and "Passion" for Rajas.

I wonder if anyone has thoughts on these terms. What does "substance" mean in this context? What does "force" mean, and what does "darkness" mean?

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on April 10, 2015 at 1:57pm
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Jon,

These are interesting translations.  Perhaps viewing Sattvaguna as a "substance" we can see it as representing the Universal, undivided, undifferentiated, homogeneous "mass" of (abstract) prakrti.
Rajaguna; force; Movement. The activity that causes differentiation within the undifferentiated  prakriti.  Perhaps churning can be associated with this idea. 
Tamogunam, darkness; (gross) manifestation perhaps.

The idea of sattvaguna being a substance really brings a lot of thoughts to mind.  I have seen in some texts that substance is used to describe the Parambrahma, I've always thought there was a deeper meaning behind this.

From the Devi Bhagavatam purana III.vi various slokas we can read;

"This is the Devî Bhagavatî Mahâvidyâ Mahâ Mâyâ, undeaying and eternal; She is the Full, the Prakriti, She is the Cause of us all... She is eternal (Brahma) and also non-eternal (Mâyâ).  She is the Will-force of the Supreme Self.  She is the First Creatrix of this world."

"She is the Mûlaprakriti united with the Chidânanda Person."

"She is the Mâyâ, assuming all forms; She is the Goddess of all."


"There is oneness always between Me and the Purusa; there is no difference whatsoever at any time between Me and the Purusa (the male; the Supreme Self).  Who is I, that is Purusa; who is Purusa, is that I.  The difference between force and the receptacle of force is due to error.  The One Secondless Eternal ever-lasting Brahma substance becomes dual at the time of creation [...] Brahma (n) is the material cause of these changes; without Brahma as the basis, the existence of Mâyâ is simply impossible.  It is therefore that in Mâyâ and Mâyâ's action, Brahma is interwoven."

"I enter in every substance, in everything of the nature of effect. [...] You, Brahmâ and Siva are my three Devas, born of my Gunas."

"There is no such thing in this world as devoid of these three Gunas.  Every thing, that is visible, is endowed with the three Gunas, and what ever will be or was before cannot exist without them.  Only the Supreme Self is without these Gunas; but He is not visible.  I am the Parâ Prakriti; at times I appear with the Gunas; and at other I remain without any Gunas.  O Sambhu! I am always the causal nature; never am I the nature of effect."

Apologies for the long quotation, but there defiantly is some very interesting suggestions behind this sattvaguna and what Johnston translates to substance.  Any thoughts?

Permalink Reply by barbaram on April 11, 2015 at 2:09pm
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Since there are only three types of Gunas, It didn't seem to make sense when I first heard that they lie at the basis of all manifestation until I was reminded that the entire spectrum of colors are derived from only three primary colors.  It was also helpful when I read in the theosophical literature by Taimni that there are subjective and objective aspects of the Gunas.  Often time, we do not distinguish those two which create some confusion.      

In the objective world, the Gunas are the properties which make up the constitution of the atoms, molecules, particles and their essential quality are the three kinds of motion - Sattva -  rhythmic motion; Raja - Non-rhythmic motion and Tamas - no motion.  The structure of the physical world is an interplay of these various combinations of motion. 

If the Gunas are the fundamental of the universe, then they must be pervasive and have effects on everything in existent, including our thoughts and emotions.  The subjective aspect of the gunas related to the psychological perception are: Sattva is perceived as harmony, and equanimity,  Raja to activity, passion, and energetic, and Tamas to inertia and passivity.  

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on April 18, 2015 at 7:20pm
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I've been reviewing some commentaries on Patanjali's yoga sutras, and I have come across some interesting subjects, which I hope I can tie into this discussion of the three gunas. 

Keeping in mind what Jon has mentioned prior; 
Substance = Sattva
Force = Rajas
Darkness = Tamas

In regards to the above, and turning attention to citta, or the mind-substance[citta], we may understand a different aspect of the current study.  Citta alone, or substance of the mind, is undefiled and free from the dominating influences of rajaguna and tamoguna. When rajas and tamas find its scope of activity, the citta becomes conditioned to the corresponding modifications designated according to the respective factors, such as personal karmas, skandhas, vasanaskandas etc.  Further, citta is said to be predominately sattvic in its quality i.e.; shining with Light (of consciousness).

Again, when we study the general three manifestations of matter (as seen in the 13th discourse), we see this same teaching reflect in the study of the gunas.  First, undefiled, unconditioned, and unmodified primary matter "substance", when roused by activity it becomes conditioned and active, rajas.  Perhaps we may consider this state to be Motion.  Further when these impressions belonging to the active subtle matter have been polarized, or rather applied or attached to increase the sense of personal egoity, they may belong to the tamasic quality- a heavy veil of darkness- obscuring the unconditioned state of citta.

Of course this is a very general outline. 

I will type out a selection of a commentary attributed to Sri Vakspati- Misra regarding the 49th sloka of the first book that briefly describes this meaning;

"...For the sattva of the thinking- substance is naturally bright; although it has the power of seeing all intended-objects, it becomes obscured by tamas; only when (or by) rajas, it is set free-to-stream-forth, then only does it know [the object].  But when by practice and passionlessness the defilement of rajas and tamas is cast off and it (the citta) shines forth spotlessly clear."

In connection with the above, seen in sloka 51 of the first book, Veda Vyasa mentions;

"The existence of subliminal-impressions made by the mind-stuff in restriction may be inferred from the experience of the lapse of time during which there is stability (sthiti) of the restriction.  Together with the subliminal-impressions which arise out of the emergent and restricted concentrations and which are conducive to Isolation, the mind-stuff resolves itself into its own permanent primary-matter.

This, of course, is one opinion.  I would like to know what others think about the determination of each quality... In other words, something sattvic to one might be very tamasic or rajasic to others.   Does this not depend on the personality, further, the psychological development of the individual?  Any opinions?

Permalink Reply by barbaram on April 19, 2015 at 4:12pm
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Hi Kristan,

Your message seems to be saying if the mind-stuff or Chitta do not get associated with our personality, then it returns to its original pure state.   Mind matter assumes the rajasic/ tamasic quality when it receives impressions from the ego.  In meditation, when the thoughts are restrained, chitta (thought matter) can recede back to its source, which is pure consciousness.  Chitta is an aspect of Consciousness in manifestation?

When we say the person is rajasic or tamasic, are we not talking about it in degrees?  And are we not talking about the individual's vehicles that are colored by these qualities? 

 

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on April 19, 2015 at 7:02pm
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Hello Barbara,
"...if the mind-stuff or Chitta do not get associated with our personality, then it returns to its original pure state.   Mind matter assumes the rajasic/ tamasic quality when it receives impressions from the ego."

Perhaps, though if we were to say that the personality assumes an equilibrated state, what would be of the personality? Further, isn't the ego a conditioning of the combination of the three gunas etc.?  This would then mean that Mind is first, then the personalized ego is the result, the child.  Would you agree?

It seems that citta might be similar to a universal substance in one sense.  We might go as far to say that it is impersonal in its essence... something removed from the personal ego, yet being a medium which the ego operates within and draws its influences from.  I suppose it can be individualized just as much as an amniotic sac can be individualized.  Both citta and the amniotic sac hold vital resources for the developing ego/baby.  I just picture this as a sattvic bubble, or personalized atmosphere, meaning it is personalized due to the impressions cast upon it, not personalized in reality.   You'll find a very typical definition of citta as memory in some texts, which is very vague, perhaps for good reasons (refer to antahkarana).

"In meditation, when the thoughts are restrained, chitta (thought matter) can recede back to its source, which is pure consciousness."

I was thinking that the fluctuations and modifications resort back to chitta. If we were to think that rajas and tamas had their own frequency, and when matched to a specific sattvic pitch, they resonate in harmony.

Meditation/yoga is sometimes called the sacrificial fire, in which the self is offered into.  I believe this was talked about in previous chapters of the Gita.  Fire (yoga/meditation) is the purifier, which render thoughts/seeds, burnt by the fire of knowledge, unable to reproduce.  Perhaps citta, shining with Light, is the highest condition of unmodified mind for the human monad/jivatman.     

When we say the person is rajasic or tamasic, are we not talking about it in degrees?  And are we not talking about the individual's vehicles that are colored by these qualities? 

This is where the question was, how is one to literally determine what is rajasic and tamasic in a persons behavior or any act in general?  The information must pass through our personalized equipment which is conditioned due to ones personal modified mind.  Our vision is tainted by our own dispositions and conditioning due to the domineering respective quality. 

Perhaps this is why many texts say that the three gunas are intertwined, inseparable, never at all completely isolated.  We see what in others, is what we have in ourselves, is this not true?

Permalink Reply by barbaram on April 22, 2015 at 7:04pm
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"Perhaps, though if we were to say that the personality assumes an equilibrated state, what would be of the personality?"

The personality will be then transparent, allowing the downflow of the Ego current.

"Further, isn't the ego a conditioning of the combination of the three gunas?"

Yes, most forms in manifestation, if not all, are combination of the 3 gunas.

"This would then mean that Mind is first, then the personalized ego is the result, the child.  Would you agree?"

Not sure how the last question leads to this conclusion.  Nevertheless, I agree, Mind is first and last.  We live in the mind, another way of saying we are manasic beings.

"Our vision is tainted by our own dispositions and conditioning due to the domineering respective quality."

This applies to all our perceptions and not just limited to the Gunas.  We continually try to see others as impartially as we are able to. 

" We see what in others, is what we have in ourselves, is this not true?"  Perhaps, not necessarily all the time. 

Below is explanation on Citta mind-stuff) (by I.K. Tamni, Yoga Sutras, page 7-8

...the word Citta.  This word is derived from the Cit or Citi one of the three aspects of Paramatma called Sat-Cit-Ananda in Vedanta.....The reflection of this aspect in the individual soul which is a microcosm is call Citta....Broadly, therefore, Citta corresponds to "mind" of modern psychology, but it has a more comprehensive import and field for functioning.  While Citta may be considered as a universal medium through which consciousness functions on all the planes of the manifested Universe, the "mind" of modern psychology is confined to the expression of only thought volition and feeling. 

We should not, however, make the mistake of imagining Citta as a sort of material medium which is moulded into different forms when mental images of different kinds are produced.  It is fundamentally of the nature of consciousness which is immaterial but affected by matter.....It is like an imaginable screen which enables the Light of consciousness to be projected in the manifested world. 

 

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on April 23, 2015 at 8:28am
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Dear Barbra,

"This would then mean that Mind is first, then the personalized ego is the result, the child.  Would you agree?"

Not sure how the last question leads to this conclusion.  Nevertheless, I agree, Mind is first and last.  We live in the mind, another way of saying we are manasic beings.

I will pull a section from the 24th and 25th discourses: 11th book of the Srimad Bhagavatam Mahapurana to help explain my conclusion.  It is a massive text, so please patiently keep in mind that what I am quoting is so fragmented.  So, if you are able, you can consult the texts in your free time, though I believe you might already know some information I am giving out.  It is very difficult to study the Gunas without taking Prakrti into consideration, I find.  

It must also be said, that the Bhagavad-Gita is the essence of all esoteric teachings.  The teachings presented in this text, especially the doctrine of the three Gunas, have been debated for centuries.  It is by no means a casual or simple discussion.  

[The First Manifestation; First Upadhi of the Cosmic Purusa]

"...Out of Prakrti- (even) while its equilibrium was being disturbed by Me (in the form of Time [motion]) as motivated by the Jivas* (whose Karma is ultimately responsible for creation)- there appeared the three Gunas- Rajas, Tamas, and Sattva**.  

*Jivas is undefined, not just human monads, but all type of monad/jivas, to my understanding. 
 **T. Subba Row mentions in his lectures on the Gita, that the three Gunas are the "children of mûlaprakrti." Further, in this connection, as stated above, Karma is directly traced to mûlaprakrti, the two being codependent on each other, are the cause of the upadhis of the Cosmos.

Out of the aforesaid (three Gunas) was evolved the Sûtra (the principle of cosmic activity) as well as Mahat (the principle of cosmic intelligence), which is ever accompanied by the Sûtra (of which it is a counter part and in conjunction with it forms one composite whole.)  From Mahat, even as it underwent modification, there appeared Ahamkara (the Cosmic ego), which deluded the Jîva (by bringing about its identification with the body etc.). 

This Ahamkara is of three kinds; Sattvika, Rajasika and Tamasika It is the cause of the five Tanmâtrâs (the subtle elements), the eleven Indriyas (the five senses of perception and the five organs of action) and the mind (including the deities presiding over the Indriyas and the mind) and (though material or non-spiritual in substance is a sort of connecting link between Spirit and Matter inasmuch as it is interpenetrated by a reflection of the spirit and) is (therefore considered to be both) spiritual and material.

"...With Me, having Kâla (the Time-Spirit) for My energy, as the Dispenser of the furits of actions, this (living) creation, yoked to Karma... [in this world of matter], which is (nothing but) a stream of the three Gunas.

Minute or large, lean or stout, whatever entity has come into being is pervaded by (made up of) Prakrti and Purusa both.  That which really constitutes the beginning as well as the end of a thing represents its middle too and that alone is real (inasmuch as it pervades all its states).  Its modification have only a practical value even as the modifications (ornaments) of gold or those made of clay.  That alone is real, adopting which as its material an earlier existence (eg. the Mahat-tattva)produces a later existence (eg. Ahamkara)

[Discourse 25]

"The notion which is expressed in the words "I am (tranquil, passionate or angry)" and "These (traits such as tranquillity, anger, lust etc.,) belong to me" is a matter of fact a combined effect (of the three Gunas); and whatever is done with the mind, the objects of the senses, the senses (themselves), and the vital airs (conjointly), is also a combined effect of the Three Gunas (since all these instruments are themselves a product of the three Gunas and all action is preceded by the feeling of I- ness, and My-ness.)."
_____

The quotes you have provided from I.K. Tamni are an interesting and good addition, especially in regards to "universal medium."  I think it is interesting that the definition of citta given is mind, this further supports what I was thinking.  However;

"We should not, however, make the mistake of imagining Citta as a sort of material medium which is moulded into different forms when mental images of different kinds are produced." 

True, I dont believe citta is moulded into anything anymore than the sky is moulded in the form of a cloud etc., however, even the Great Akasa is a material of sorts illuminated by The Divinity.   So, this is where the interesting correlation behind mind, matter, citta, and substance is presented.  Citta is a substance of sorts, perhaps even a principle, but isn't modified, as far as I know.

"It is fundamentally of the nature of consciousness which is immaterial but affected by matter"

With all due respect, I don't believe this to be very accurate and seems like a contradiction.  It is true that essentially and fundamentally citta may be the nature of consciousness, but the further statement is suspect; "which is immaterial but affected by matter."  If something is immaterial, then in what respects can this be affected?  Further, this quote seems to be referring to spirit and matter as two distinct and separate things, which is not, and cannot be the case.  I have the opinion that the antahkarana (citta, buddhi, manas, ego) is to our 7th principle, (the 3rd manifestation of Âtmâ, broadly speaking), as mûlaprakrti is to the Paramâtmâ.  Further, citta is said to bewithin the antahkarana; 
[The term has various meanings, which differ with every school of philosophy and sect. Thus Sankârachârya renders the word as “understanding”; others, as “the internal instrument, the Soul, formed by the thinking principle and egoism”; whereas the Occultists explain it as the path or bridge between the Higher and the Lower Manas, the divine Ego, and the personal Soul of man. It serves as a medium of communication between the two, and conveys from the Lower to the Higher Ego all those personal impressions and thoughts of men which can, by their nature, be assimilated and stored by the undying Entity, and be thus made immortal with it...]

HPB states;
"What is that "Spark" which "hangs from the flame?" It is JIVA, the MONAD in conjunction with MANAS, or rather its aroma -- that which remains from each personality, when worthy, and hangs from Atma-Buddhi, the Flame, by the thread of life."

Pndt. Bhavani Shankar;
"What is this Jivatma? Sri Krishna sayst "It is the 'Amsa' that emanates from Me and which is manifested from the beginning of time, that becomes the Jivatma in the world of living beings, and attracts the mind and the five senses, which have their basis in Prakriti" (G.XV·7). This Jivatma is the spark which hangs from Ishwara, the Flame, by the finest thread of Daiviprakriti and which is enclosed in the film of Hiranyamaya matter.

Sorry for the longish post.  Again, sometimes these teachings cannot be discussed casually.  
Holding to the wise words of HPB; 
"Outside of metaphysics no occult philosophy, no esotericism is possible."

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on April 20, 2015 at 9:59am
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Please offer a brief explanation of mind-stuff?

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on April 20, 2015 at 10:55am
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Gary,

I believe that is the question!  Substance is a very interesting topic to study.  I feel that I'd just be retyping what I had already typed in regards to your question.

Briefly however, one aspect of the the mind-substance is the unmodified substrate- universal substance- behind all types of conditioning or modifications- in the mind or otherwise.  I believe there are two other specific substances which correspond to rajaguna and tamoguna.

It is my personal understanding that this substance can only be known (not known in the literal sense) indirectly through modifications which apparently pass through it.   Just in the same manner, a beam of light can be "known" by particles of of dust passing though its range.

There are many names for this substance, depending on degree and manifestation- Microcosmic or Macrocosmic- the names are many and specific, but essentially one and the same substance.  Again, this is my interpretation.

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on April 11, 2015 at 4:47am
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Would anyone care to explain the correlations between Gunas, karma, samskaras, and the personal ego?

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on April 25, 2015 at 9:36am
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 I am not sure how to correlate them but the persona is a collection of these elements in varying degrees. Qualities and traits (gunas and samskaras) manifest based  upon karma, which is a collection of thoughts, feelings, choices and actions from the past that attract different classes of elementals which cohere in the personality.  The Immortal Soul, the Higher Man is a whole, is universal and a reflection of the All.  The persona or mask is a temporary collection and partial by definition.  It is  possible to evolve the persona to reflect a more universal outlook but to the degree that is partial, and almost by definition it has to be, it is Not-Self. Hence one of the key messages of the Gita, is the quest for selflessness (transcending the personal nature through negation and doing ones duty, altruism). Complete selflessness would be equated with universality.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on April 14, 2015 at 11:25pm
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Next paragraph Judge version

“If the body is dissolved when the sattva quality prevails, the self within proceeds to the spotless spheres of those who are acquainted with the highest place. When the body is dissolved while the quality of rajas is predominant, the soul is born again in a body attached to action; and so also of one who dies while tamas quality is prevalent, the soul is born again in the wombs of those who are deluded."

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on April 15, 2015 at 7:27pm
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There appears to be a very distinct hierarchy here:  Sattva is preferable to Rajas, Rajas preferable to Tamas.  Does a balance of Rajas and Tamas make Sattava or is it an independent quality?

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on April 25, 2015 at 10:34am
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Next Section from Johnston:

But when the wearer of the body comes to dissolution while Substance prevails, then he enters into the stainless worlds of those who know the best.

Coming to dissolution with Force prevailing, he is reborn among those who are bound by works; and so reaching dissolution with Darkness prevailing, he is born in wombs of delusion. (15)

They declare that the fruit of works well done is stainless, belonging to Substance; the fruit of Force is pain; the fruit of Darkness is unwisdom.

From Substance is born wisdom; from Force comes the desire of possessions; from Darkness come sloth, delusion and unwisdom also.

Those who dwell in Substance go upward; in the midst stand those who dwell in Force; those who dwell in Darkness go downward, under the sway of the lowest powers.

When the seer perceives that the source of works is no other than the powers, and when he beholds That which is beyond the powers, he enters into My being.

Passing beyond these Three Powers, from which the body comes into being, the lord of the body, let go by birth and death and age and pain, reaches immortality. (20)

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on May 15, 2015 at 8:34am
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Is the womb of delusion, spoken of here,  the identification with a personal separative self?

Permalink Reply by Alex Papandakis on May 27, 2015 at 9:32am
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It would appear to be.  Identification with name and form, a personal history, likes and dislikes, a whole library of qualities and affinities, specific relationships, aptitudes and weaknesses, could all be considered wombs of delusion.  That is not to say that any of these things are inherently bad, it is only to say that if one fiercely identifies with any of them it becomes delusive.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on April 30, 2015 at 9:51pm
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Next Judge Paragraph from Chapter 14

“The fruit of righteous acts is called pure and holy, appertaining to sattva; from rajas is gathered fruit in pain, and the tamas produceth only senselessness, ignorance, and indifference. From sattva wisdom is produced, from rajas desire, from tamas ignorance, delusion and folly. Those in whom the sattva quality is established mount on high, those who are full of rajas remain in the middle sphere, the world of men, while those who are overborne by the gloomy quality, tamas, sink below. But when the wise man perceiveth that the only agents of action are these qualities, and comprehends that which is superior to the qualities, he attains to my state. And when the embodied self surpasseth these three qualities of goodness, action, and indifference — which are coexistent with the body — it is released from rebirth and death, old age and pain, and drinketh of the water of immortality.”

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 2, 2015 at 4:55pm
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End of Chapter Johnston

ARJUNA SAID:

What are the marks of him who has passed beyond the Three Powers, Lord? What is his walk? And how does he transcend the Three Powers?

THE MASTER SAID:

He who, O son of Pandu, hates not Light, nor Activity nor Delusion, when they are manifested, nor desires them when they have passed away,

Remaining an onlooker only, unperturbed by the Three Powers, seeing that the Powers alone work, he stands unwavering,

Equal in pain and pleasure, dwelling in the Self, regarding a clod, a stone and gold as equal; balanced in gladness and woe, wise, holding equal balance in blame or praise,

Balanced in honor or dishonor, balanced toward friend and enemy, ceasing from all personal initiatives, such a one has passed beyond the Three Powers. (25)

And he who serves Me with faithful love, he, passing beyond the Three Powers, builds for oneness with the Eternal.

For I am the resting place of the Eternal, of unfading immortality, of immemorial law and perfect joy.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 2, 2015 at 4:57pm
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End of Chapter Judge Rendition

ARJUNA:

“What are the characteristic marks by which the man may be known, O Master, who hath surpassed the three qualities? What is his course of life, and what are the means by which he overcometh the qualities?”

KRISHNA:

“He, O son of Pandu, who doth not hate these qualities — illumination, action, and delusion — when they appear, nor longeth for them when they disappear; who, like one who is of no party, sitteth as one unconcerned about the three qualities and undisturbed by them, who being persuaded that the qualities exist, is moved not by them; who is of equal mind in pain and pleasure, self-centered, to whom a lump of earth, a stone, or gold are as one; who is of equal mind with those who love or dislike, constant, the same whether blamed or praised; equally minded in honor and disgrace, and the same toward friendly or unfriendly side, engaging only in necessary actions, such an one hath surmounted the qualities. And he, my servant, who worships me with exclusive devotion, having completely overcome the qualities, is fitted to be absorbed in Brahman the Supreme. I am the embodiment of the Supreme Ruler, and of the incorruptible, of the unmodifying, and of the eternal law, and of endless bliss.”

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 9, 2015 at 9:31am
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End of Chapter Johnston Edition

ARJUNA SAID:

What are the marks of him who has passed beyond the Three Powers, Lord? What is his walk? And how does he transcend the Three Powers?

THE MASTER SAID:

He who, O son of Pandu, hates not Light, nor Activity nor Delusion, when they are manifested, nor desires them when they have passed away,

Remaining an onlooker only, unperturbed by the Three Powers, seeing that the Powers alone work, he stands unwavering,

Equal in pain and pleasure, dwelling in the Self, regarding a clod, a stone and gold as equal; balanced in gladness and woe, wise, holding equal balance in blame or praise,

Balanced in honor or dishonor, balanced toward friend and enemy, ceasing from all personal initiatives, such a one has passed beyond the Three Powers. (25)

And he who serves Me with faithful love, he, passing beyond the Three Powers, builds for oneness with the Eternal.

For I am the resting place of the Eternal, of unfading immortality, of immemorial law and perfect joy.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on May 9, 2015 at 3:18pm
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" I am the embodiment of the Supreme Ruler, and of the incorruptible, of the unmodifying, and of the eternal law, and of endless bliss.”"

These slokas, along with the selected one above, in my opinion, point out the importance of the Ideal and the profound realization of the aspirant who successfully is able to install It in ones Heart. 

Without this Ideal, one is reminded of what was said in The Voice, frag. 1;

"Behold the Hosts of Souls.  Watch how they hover o'er the stormy seas of human life, and how, exhausted, bleeding, broken-winged, they drop one after other on the welling waves.  Tossed by the fierce winds, chased by the gale, they drift into the eddies and disappear within the first great vortex."

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on May 15, 2015 at 8:37am
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Please explain further what you mean by "install it in one's heart".   I find that a fascinating expression.

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on May 15, 2015 at 10:11am
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It is a very fascinating expression indeed!

I think the first time I had heard this, it felt as if  Earth had stood still. Ceasing from its very nature, Time itself seemed as if it had become suspended - standing aghast at the profound secret which lay within those words- which perhaps the true meaning, Time itself will dissolve.  I believe Heart isn't referring to our physical heart, but the Eternal Heart- the Eternal nucleus as it were, the Ancient Source for all of Life which the aspirant must dissolve Himself into.  It is a shared Universal Heart, an Impersonal Principle that must be installed as anIdeal, not purely spiritual but strongly dealing with moral and ethical regards as well.

The book,  "Light on the Path" [p.2] has a similar expression;-

"...But, O disciple, remember that it has to be endured, and fasten the energies of your soul upon the task. Live neither in the present nor the future, but in the eternal. This giant weed cannot flower there: this blot upon existence is wiped out by the very atmosphere of eternal thought."
 
It is a very deep idea, regarding the installation of this Ideal.  I believe it to be a metaphysical topic that will indeed guide the mind or intellect to find an unbreakable union with the Heart.  As metaphysics is the path to the Heart Doctrine, I believe it must be felt and and further practiced as if Life itself depends on it (which it most certainly does).  Perhaps it can be known/felt by subtle association, or detected in the gentle breeze of the wind, the humming of the bees, silence and etc...

I hate to sound too abstract, but I find it a very sacred subject.  I don't know if I can formulate it any better without feeling like I've degraded something.  I hope this is of some help to you.  It is well worth the private thought, in my opinion. 

Permalink Reply by barbaram on May 16, 2015 at 5:54pm
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Kristan:

Thank you for sharing this.  I sense the inner grandeur reading your words.   We all have moments when a phrase or an idea jumps out at us because the profundity stirs the depth of our soul and the sky seems to open up engulfing us in a sea of light.  

I will ponder more on the idea of "the installation of this Ideal."

 

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 18, 2015 at 12:25am
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Maybe it has to do with giving an idea your deepest attention, coming back to it again and again like visiting an old friend.  Maybe it has to do with making it sacred by keeping it in the back of your mind for as much as you can, and as long as you can. Maybe it has to do with contemplating it in silence, basking in it perhaps. Maybe it has to with trying to see how the idea sheds like on the daily round and the common duty.

Maybe all these things together and more.

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on May 19, 2015 at 1:18pm
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I agree, Gerry.

I think it involves a combination of everything you've mentioned above.  Or, perhaps we can view this as the main motivator, the first initiator which sets the impulse and motive for all other actions, etc.  Though, from time to time, this Ideal might slip from our thoughts and minds, however, if It be installed, then the idea, I believe, is that it becomes weaved into the Inner Man.  Might this be where the permanent installation of the altar (Heart) might take place?   

I believe Krsna recommends that all action and results be given unto him;

(G.iii.30)"Surrendering all actions to Me with thy thoughts on the Self, without hope and egotism and without anxiety, engage in battle. "

This verse speaks quite deep, and I believe that the true practice of yajana- or Sacrifice is expounded in this sloka.  Remembering what was written in B.P. Wadia's article, "The Law of Sacrifice" we can read;

"Contemplation on such Sacrifice-Yajna kindles the Fire of Devotion in the human heart. As the child's first feeling is for its mother, so the first spiritual aspiration of the awakening inner nature is for the Man of Fire, who embodies and expresses that Devotion through his Sacrifice. At his Flame we kindle our little lamp and, protecting it against the winds of impurity, the fogs of superstition, the mists of sense-attractions, the biting snows of selfishness, we march forward to the Holy of Holies."


Permalink Reply by barbaram on May 16, 2015 at 5:29pm
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And this reminds me of one of the paramitas mentioned in The Voice, frag III -

Vriag, indifference to pleasure and to pain, illusion conquered, truth alone perceived. 

The power of this divine indifference protects the students from continually sinking into the lap of Maya.