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Bhagavad Gita Chapter 14: Three Gunas, the Qualities of Nature

May 12, 2022

Krishna now started His exposition on the supreme wisdom, which can save people from the birth-death cycle and unite with Him. “Prakriti, the material substance is the womb, which I impregnate with individual souls and cause births; I thus remain the seed-giving Father. The material energy contains 3 Gunas, the characteristics – Sattva, the goodness; Rajas, passion; and Tamas, ignorance, which bind the immortal soul to the transient body. The illuminating Sattva creates attachment to knowledge and happiness; the desire-driven Rajas to fruitful actions; and the delusory Tamas to laziness, negligence, and sleep. While these contribute to material joy, activities, and delusions, respectively, at any time, one quality can prevail over the other two. When goodness predominates, there will be the illumination of knowledge; when passion rules, it can be greed and craving for worldly gains; and when ignorance reigns, it can be inertia and illusion. Likewise, the fruits of actions performed in Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas modes can bestow purity, pain and darkness and also give rise to knowledge, greed, and negligence, respectively. Likewise, those dying with a dominant Sattva quality are reborn among the learned; those dying with an overpowering Rajas, among the work-driven ones; and those with a marked quality of Tamas are born in the animal species. There is none other than the Gunas operating in any activity, while I transcend these, too. By going beyond these modes of body-related material nature, one can be relieved of the cycle of birth-death-old age-misery and attain immortality. Those who transcend the Gunas neither seek nor abjure the Sattva-resultant illumination, Rajas-resultant activities, or even the Tamas-resultant delusion. Knowing the play of the Gunas, they remain undisturbed in the self. Those who have moved beyond the 3 Gunas value everything equal, treat everyone alike and accept whatever comes with equanimity. People who do service to Me with pure devotion can go past these qualities of material nature and rise to the heights of Brahman. And I remain the basis of that immortal Brahman, representing eternal Dharma and divine bliss.”

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