Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga

discourse xiv

The description of prakriti naturally leads on to that of its constituents, the gunas, which form the subject of this discourse. And that, in turn, leads to a description of the marks of him who has passed beyond the three gunas. These are practically the same as those of the man of secure understanding (II. 54-72) as also those of the ideal bhakta(XII. 12-20).

The Lord Said:
1. Yet again I will expound the highest and the best of all knowledge, knowing which all the sages passed hence to the highest perfection.

श्रीभगवानुवाच | परंभूय: प्रवक्ष्यामिज्ञानानांज्ञानमुत्तमम् | यज्ज्ञात्वामुनय: सर्वेपरांसिद्धिमितोगता: || 1||


2. By having recourse to this knowledge they became one with Me. They need not come to birth even at a creation, nor do they suffer at a dissolution.

इदंज्ञानमुपाश्रित्यममसाधर्म्यमागता: |
सर्गेऽपिनोपजायन्तेप्रलये न व्यथन्ति च || 2||


3. The great prakriti is for me the womb in which I deposit the germ; from it all beings come to birth, O Bharata.

ममयोनिर्महद्ब्रह्मतस्मिन्गर्भंदधाम्यहम् |
सम्भव: सर्वभूतानांततोभवतिभारत || 3||


18. When the seer perceives no agent other than the gunas, and knows Him who is above the gunas, he attains to My being.

ऊर्ध्वंगच्छन्तिसत्वस्थामध्येतिष्ठन्तिराजसा: |
जघन्यगुणवृत्तिस्थाअधोगच्छन्तितामसा: || 18||

As soon as a man realizes that he is not the doer, but the gunas are the agent, the ‘self’ vanishes, and he goes through all his actions spontaneously, just to sustain the body. And as the body is meant to subserve the highest end, all his actions will even reveal detach¬ment and dispassion. Such a seer can easily have a glimpse of the One who is above the gunas and offer his devotion to Him.


19. When the embodied one transcends these three gunas which are born of his contact with the body, he is released from the pain of birth, death and age and attains deathlessness.

नान्यंगुणेभ्य: कर्तारंयदाद्रष्टानुपश्यति |
गुणेभ्यश्चपरंवेत्तिमद्भावंसोऽधिगच्छति || 19||


21. He, O Pandava, who does not disdain light, activity, and delusion when they come into being, nor desires them when they vanish;

अर्जुनउवाच |
कैर्लिङ्गैस्त्रीन्गुणानेतानतीतोभवतिप्रभो |
किमाचार: कथंचैतांस्त्रीन्गुणानतिवर्तते || 21||


22. He, who seated as one indifferent, is not shaken by the gunas, and stays still and moves not, knowing it is gunas playing their parts;

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
प्रकाशं च प्रवृत्तिं च मोहमेव च पाण्डव |
न द्वेष्टिसम्प्रवृत्तानि न निवृत्तानिकाङ्क्षति || 22||
उदासीनवदासीनोगुणैर्यो न विचाल्यते |
गुणावर्तन्तइत्येवंयोऽवतिष्ठतिनेङ्गते || 23||


23. He who holds pleasure and pain alike, who is sedate, who regards as same earth, stone and gold, who is wise and weighs in equal scale things pleasant and unpleasant, who is even-minded in praise and blame;


24. Who holds alike respect and disrespect, who is the same to friend and foe, who indulges in no undertakings - that man is called Gunatita.

समदु:खसुख: स्वस्थ: समलोष्टाश्मकाञ्चन: |
तुल्यप्रियाप्रियोधीरस्तुल्यनिन्दात्मसंस्तुति: || 24||
मानापमानयोस्तुल्यस्तुल्योमित्रारिपक्षयो: |
सर्वारम्भपरित्यागीगुणातीत: स उच्यते || 25||

Shls. 22-25 must be read and considered together. Light activity and delusion, as we have seen in the foregoing shlokas, are the products or indications of sattva, rajas and tamasrespectively. The inner meaning of these verses is that he who has transcended the gunaswill be unaffected by them. A stone does not desire light, nor does it dis­dain activity or inertness; it is still, without having the will to be so. If someone puts it into motion, it does not fret; if again, it is allowed to lie still, it does not feel that inert­ness or delusion has seized it. The difference between a stone and a Gunatitais that the latter has full consciousness and with full knowledge he shakes himself free from the bonds that bind an ordinary mortal. He has, as a result of his knowledge, achieved the purpose of a stone. Like the stone he is wit­ness, but not the doer, of the activities of the gunasor prakriti. Of such jnanione may say that he is sitting still, unshaken in the knowl­edge that it is the gunasplaying their parts. We who are every moment of our lives act­ing as though we are the doers can only imagine the state, we can hardly experience it. But we can hitch our wagon to that star and work our way closer and closer towards it by gradually withdrawing the self from our actions. A Gunatitahas experience of his own condition but he cannot describe it, for he who can describe it ceases to be one. The moment he proceeds to do so, ‘self’ peeps in. The peace and light and bustle and inertness of our common experience are illu­sory. The Gita itself has made it clear in so many words that the sattvikastate is the one nearest that of a Gunatita. Therefore every one should strive to develop more and more sattvain himself, believing that some day he will reach the goal of the state of Gunatita.


25. He who serves me in an unwavering and exclusive bhaktiyoga transcends these gunas and is worthy to become one with Brahman.


26. For I am the very image of Brahman, change¬less and deathless, as also of everlasting dharma and perfect bliss.

मां च योऽव्यभिचारेणभक्तियोगेनसेवते |
स गुणान्समतीत्यैतान्ब्रह्मभूयायकल्पते || 26||

Thus ends the fourteenth discourse, entitled ‘GunatrayaVibhaga Yoga’ in the converse ofLord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as part of the knowledge of Brahman, in the Upanishad called the Bhagavad Gita.