Bhagavad Gita: 14. Three Modes (Gunas) Of Nature


Three Modes (Gunas) Of Nature

The Supreme Lord said: I shall further explain to you that supreme knowledge, the best of all knowledge, knowing which all the sages have attained supreme perfection after this life. (14.01) They who have taken refuge in this transcendental knowledge attain unity with Me and are neither born at the time of creation, nor afflicted at the time of dissolution. (14.02)

All beings are born from the union of spirit and matter
My material Nature is the womb of creation whereinI place the seed of consciousness from which all beings are born, O Arjuna. (See also 9.10) (14.03) Whatever forms are produced in all different wombs, O Arjuna, the material Nature is their body-giving mother; and I am the life-giving father. (14.04)

How three modes of material nature bind the soul to the body
Goodness, passion (or activity) and ignorance (or inertia)--- these three modes (or ropes, Gunas) of material Nature (Prakriti) fetter the eternal individual soul (Jeeva) to the body, O Arjuna. (14.05) Of these ,the mode of goodness is illuminating and good because it is pure. It fetters the living entity by attachment to happiness and knowledge, O sinless Arjuna. (14.06)Know that the mode of passion is characterized by intense craving and is the source of desire and attachment. It binds the living entity by attachment to the fruits of work. (14.07) Know, O Arjuna, that the mode of ignorance--- the deluder of living entity --- is born of inertia .It binds the living entity by carelessness, laziness, and excessive sleep. (14.08) O Arjuna, the mode of goodness attaches one to happiness (of learning and knowing the Eternal Being); the mode of passion attaches to action; and the mode of ignorance attaches to negligence by covering Self-knowledge. (14.09)

Characteristics of three modes of nature
Goodness prevails by suppressing passion and ignorance; passion prevails by suppressing goodness and ignorance; and ignorance prevails by suppressing goodness and passion, O Arjuna. (14.10) When the light of Self-knowledge illuminates all the senses (or gates) in the body, then it should be known that goodness is predominant.(14.11) O Arjuna, when passion is predominant, greed, activity, undertaking of selfish work, restlessness, excitement, etc. arise. (14.12) O Arjuna, when inertia is predominant, ignorance, inactivity, carelessness, delusion, etc. arise. (14.13)

Three modes are also the vehicles of transmigration for the individual soul
One who dies when goodness dominates goes to heaven--- the pure world of knowers of the Supreme. (14.14)One who dies when passion dominates is reborn attached to action (or the utilitarian type). One who dies in ignorance is reborn as a lower creature. (14.15) The fruit of good action is said to be beneficial and pure; the fruit of passionate action is pain; and the fruit of ignorant action is laziness. (14.16) Self-knowledge arises from the mode of goodness; greed arises from the mode of passion; and negligence, delusion, and slowness of mind arise from the mode of ignorance. (14.17) They who are established in goodness go to heaven; passionate persons are reborn in the mortal world; and the ignorant, abiding in the lowest mode of ignorance, go to lower planets or hell (or take birth as lower creatures). (14.18)

Attain Nirvāna after transcending three modes of material nature
When visionaries perceive no doer other than the three modes of material Nature and know the Supreme, which is above and beyond these modes, then they attain salvation(Mukti). (See also 3.27, 5.09, and 13.29) (14.19) When one transcends (or rises above) the three modes of material Nature that create (and/or originate in) the body, one attains immortality or salvation(Mukti) and is freed from the pains of birth, old age, and death. (14.20)

The process of rising above the three modes
Arjuna said: What are the marks of those who have transcended the three modes of material Nature, and what is their conduct? How does one transcend these three modes of material Nature, O Lord Krishna? (14.21)The Supreme Lord said: One is said to have transcended the modes of material Nature who neither hates the presence of enlightenment, activity, and delusion; nor desires for them when they are absent; who remains like a witness without being affected by the modes of material Nature; who stays firmly attached to the Lord without wavering --- thinking that only the modes of material Nature are operating. (14.22-23) And one who depends on the Lord and is indifferent to pain and pleasure; to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are alike; to whom the dear and the unfriendly are alike; who is of firm mind; who is calm in censure and in praise, and indifferent to honor and disgrace; who is impartial to friend and foe; and who has renounced the sense of doership.(14.24-25)

Bonds of three modes can be cut by devotional love
One who offers service to Me with love and unswerving devotion transcends the three modes of material Nature and becomes fit for BrahmaNirvāna. (See also7.14 and 15.19) (14.26) Because I am the basis of the immortal Eternal Being, of everlasting order (Dharma), and of the absolute bliss. (14.27)