Bhagwad Geeta

Chapter 14 - Gunatraya - Vibhaga Yoga

Chapter 14, Verse 1

Lord Krishna says that he will reveal the knowledge of liberation once again. He says that the knowledge used by great sages to attain liberation from material energy will again be given to Arjuna in this chapter.

Chapter 14, Verse 2

Lord Krishna says that the people who acquire the knowledge of the difference between the material world and spiritual world and practice life according to the knowledge gained are liberated from this world. They are liberated in the sense that they are not reborn, and they are not destructed in the world. They go beyond the material realm.

Chapter 14, Verse 3

Lord Krishna uses the metaphor of womb and embryo to explain to Arjuna how God infuses consciousness in the material world. He says into the womb of material energy he infuses the embryo of consciousness. The same metaphor is used for the creation of the world.

Chapter 14, Verse 4

Lord Krishna uses the metaphor of mother and father in explaining the existence of life. He says that though the individual life forms are born from the wombs of mothers of different species, the life is given to the embryo by the father i.e., God. The material existence (Prakriti) is given by the mother nature. Body is made up of material nature. This material nature is called Prakriti. We may see that this material nature cannot work unless there is life in it. This life is given by consciousness (purusa). The consciousness(purusa) is derived from universal consciousness. Thus, we can see that both Prakriti and purusa are important for life. both must exist together for life to sustain.

Chapter 14, Verse 5

Lord Krishna says the material energy is in turn formed by the mixture of three Guna’s in different proportions (sattva, Rajasa and Tamasa). The three mixes in different proportions as per the purusa and produce different material nature.

Chapter 14, Verse 6

In this shloka, the nature of Sattva guna is given. It is mentioned that sattva guna is illuminating. Which means the one which will take a person from the darkness. Whatever makes a person comes out of ignorance is sattva guna. Also, it is said that sattva is purest, which means that it is not contaminated by attachments. it is pure and no prejudices are attached to it. Sattva causes attachment with knowledge and goodness.

Chapter 14, Verse 7

The quality of Rajas is the quality of creating passion. It causes desires in the body and these desires bind the soul to the fruits of actions. Whenever the mind craves those fruits of actions have to have come and the person is constantly trying to work towards fruits of actions, we can say that the person is having rajsic qualities.

Chapter 14, Verse 8

In this shloka Lord Krishna describes the third quality “tamo guna”. Tamo guna makes people or creatures grow attachment with laziness, sleep and negligence. The people affected by it prefer sleep and laziness to activity and work at hand. They tend to postpone the work and neglect the work that is at hand.

This quality is opposite to the sattva guna. God has created every creature with a certain amount of energy which they can spend towards attaining enlightenment. Where we spend that energy is important. whether we spend it on activities for reaching God, or activities for self or for activities that dies nothing is the choice the person must choose. The energy and time given to a person are limited. what a person makes use of those energies is his choice.

Chapter 14, Verse 9

In this shloka Lord Krishna gives a comparison of the three qualities . Sattva, rajasic and Tamo and what they do initially in a human being. Sattva binds a person to the happiness and rajsic binds a person to fruitive activities and tamo guna binds person to ignorance. This is not only binding the person but also binding the soul. the soul through these qualities gets bound to the body.

Chapter 14, Verse 10

Lord Krishna talks about the interaction between the three gunas. These three guna’s are the basic building blocks of material nature. One quality prevails over another at any given point in time. The three qualities are dynamically interacting with each other. One equality prevails over other two at any point in time and causes its manifestation. The manifestation of these qualities is seen in the mind. if the sattva guna prevails over other two then the person is happy, if the Tamo guna prevails over other two then the person becomes lazy, sleeping and does bad deeds.

Chapter 14, Verse 11, 12 & 13

In these shlokas, Lord Krishna reiterates what has been told in the earlier stanzas. When the Guna of the sattva predominates the person then he will be happy and when the guna of the tamas predominates then the person is dull, unhappy, lazy and tends to commit sins of intoxication, violence etc. This basically proves that if we can change the nature of the qualities with which the body is made up of then the nature of the behaviour can be changed.

Chapter 14, Verse 15

In this shloka, Lord Krishna says where the rebirth will occur for people having the qualities of rajasic and tamasic. People having rajasic qualities will be born among people having passions and enjoying worldly qualities. The tamsic people will be reborn as animals.

If we can take the same analogy and apply to daily life, for the person having tamsic quality every day will be like being born as an animal. Every new day starts with living life as an animal and living with animal instincts. Only the person lives to satisfy the carnal urges (food, sleep, sex). There is no purpose for such a person.

For a rajasic person, every day will be like working for some goal. The goal that is being pursued is the satisfaction of the person. actions and their fruits are the goals of the person.

For a sattvic person, every new day is the life of happiness and higher knowledge. He spreads happiness in him and the people around.

Chapter 14, Verse 16

The result of activities conducted in the mode of sattva is purity and goodness. that means whatever activity is conducted when the body and mind in the mode of sattva will lead to conducting activities that are in sattva.

The activities done when the boy and mind are in the mode of rajasic will lead to actions of passion and will ultimately cause sadness or sorrow to the person. The rajasic activities look good in the beginning, the results tend to yield favourable results and gives a sort of adrenaline rush for the person. Ultimately when we analyse these activities give sadness of the person.

When a person does tamsic activities (violence and satisfying carnal activities) will lead to lack of knowledge and absolute sorrow.

Chapter 14, Verse 17

From the sattva guna develops knowledge /wisdom. from the rajasic guna the quality of greed develops. The state of greed will make the person try for more and more actions of passion. From the state of tamasa develops the state of illusion. The illusion will make a person pursue activities that completely blind him to the truth.

Chapter 14, Verse 18

This shloka on the first reading feels like where the people will go after life because of respective natures. It is said that people with sattvic qualities go to heaven, and rajsaic people to middle planets and tamsic people will go to hell. If we can apply the same logic to daily life act, we can see that sattvik people living in a higher state of existence and are usually happy. Rajasic people are usually happy when they get desired results and are unhappy when results don’t happen as per their wishes. Tamsic people are causing not only unhappiness to themselves but also others chasing the animal desires.

Chapter 14, Verse 19

Lord Krishna explains how to achieve the divine nature. he explains it in two simple steps. first, the person must realize by his experience of life, the existence of three modes of Gunas. Then once the realization has come to the person then he should try to lead sattvic life and try to remain in sattva as long as possible.

The three Guna’s drive the person to act in a certain manner. The relative mixture of these three Guna’s creates different personalities of people. We should know that these Guna’s are part of material nature.

Chapter 14, Verse 20

When the person raises above the three gunas means rising above the material nature. The person who has moved beyond the material nature will reach the realm of supreme consciousness.

Chapter 14, Verse 21

In this Shloka Arjuna asks the question what the procedure is he can transcend the three modes of existence. How can a person know that he has transcended the three qualities of the material world? Arjuna is asking the practical aspect of what Krishna has said so that he can practice what has been preached.

Chapter 14, Verse 22 & 23

The person who has risen beyond Guna ’s, the person who treats “illumination” born out of sattvik, “activities” born out of rajasic, “delusion” formed out of tamasic, equally. The person who does not hate “illumination, activities, delusion”, The person who does not long for “illumination, activities, delusion” is the saintly person.

The person who realizes that the Guna’s are the one that performs the action and remains neutral to their actions will develop equanimity.

In these two shlokas, Lord Krishna is basically explaining to us how to develop equanimity. Equanimity is developed through being equal to whatever happens in our life. We should not react to external events or people because we should see that it’s not the people that are doing the actions but the Guna’s of them that are doing the actions. if we react to actions of people we are reacting to their Guna’s and nothing else.

Chapter 14, Verse 24 & 25

In this shloka, Lord Krishna explains further about equanimity. Equanimity is the state where everything is treated equally irrespective of its worth. whatever event happens in life it is treated with equal intensity. The response to whatever event in life will be the same irrespective of the outside happenings in life. A person who is equanimous in his approach to life will treat a stone and gold equally. The person gives equal importance/unimportance to a stone or gold. this means the person values every moment equally and lives life equally.

The person remains same in both pleasant and unpleasant situations. whatever happens in his life, the person takes them equally. Accepts both blame and praise equally, meaning he responds to both opposing events with the same response. They respond equally to honour and dishonour. The emphasis that is given here is equality of response. equality if a response comes from taking things equally. the body should treat things equally. this will stem from changing the inner value system of a person.

The person treats both his friends and foe alike and does not give any special treatment to any person. All are treated equally. this may lead to the situation of having no close friends, but there are enemies neither.

Chapter 14, Verse 26

In this shloka, the method of overcoming the three Guna’s is given. Lord Krishna says that whoever does bhakti-yoga and renders unadulterated service to him will overcome the three Guna. Bhakti yoga is performing yoga with the help of devotion to the God. The act of uniting the individual consciousness with supreme consciousness with devotion to the God. The final objective is the union of two consciousness and the method for that union is bhakti. devotion to the God should be the base for yoga.

Lord Krishna also mentions that there should be unadulterated service to him. Unadulterated service in this shloka means service/actions rendered by a person not for the person himself but for the God / fellow human beings. The action should not bring any personal benefit for the person doing it, but it should be for the higher goal.

Such a person who does these two acts will in due course of time overcome the Guna’s that make up the material nature. It means the person will overcome the material nature and reaches the God.

Chapter 14, Verse 27

The reason why the person should forego all the pleasures of the material world and indulge in loving devotional, selfless service to God is given in this shloka.

The reason is that God is the source of all universes and he is the absolute truth. All the things/events/actions happening in our life are not the real truth. The real truth is the God. Taking refuge in him, working for him will yield real dividends for a human being. Instead of wasting the limited time given to us on this planet we can very well work selflessly for the God. God is the absolute truth.

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