Adhyaya 14 : Gunatraya
The creation of objects, living as well
as nonliving, with their functions are the doings of Prakriti, the nature in its
creative form, and Brahman standing aloof and action less is a mere Witness. In the
same way in human body all actions and reactions are born out of the play of Gunas
of Prakriti and the Ãtman is a mere witness also
standing aloof and action less. The first is referred to as Kshara and Akshar
- the perishable and the non-perishable and the second one is referred to as kshetra
and kshetradnya - the field and the knower of the field. Both are in fact one and the
same, only knowledge can give this perception.
The knowledge of God taught in the 9th Adhyaya
was object of human eye and the knowledge of the Lords cosmic form disclosed in XI Adhyaya
was possible only with divine eyes. In 14th Adhyaya the Lord talks about his source
of creation called Prakriti and the Gunas that play part in creating variety
of natures of the things and living beings.
Verses 1 to 20
The Lord tells Arjuna that he
would again impart to him that knowledge of the highest kind knowing which all sages
reached perfection from this world. Taking shelter of this knowledge and made like
Gods nature they are not born at the time of creation and are not hurt at the time
of dissolution. The Lord says that Prakriti, known as Mahad-Brahma is
His source from where all entities are born. Whatever forms are born in all types of
wombs, the Prakriti called Mahad Brahma is the original source
and the Lord is the seed - giving father.
Here the Lord suggests that Prakriti
is not an independent entity but an integral power of the Supreme. The process of creating
objects of different variety is being described detailing the qualities of three Gunas.
Three Gunas namely sattva,
rajas and tamas are produced from Prakriti and they
bind the changeless indwelling Ãtman to the body.
Sattva, being pure is
illuminating and blameless becomes the cause of binding the Self to happiness and
Rajas of passionate nature
causes thirst and attachment. It binds the Self to action.
Tamas is delusion created by
ignorance. It binds all men to wrong doing, sluggishness and sleep
Sattva creates attachment to
happiness, rajas to actions and tamas to evil by, shoudding
Occasionally sattva dominates
over rajas and tamas, sometimes rajas rules over
sattva and tamas and at time tamas prevails over sattva
When the light of knowledge sprouts through
all the gates of the body it is the sign of sattva growing.
When rajas grows then greed,
activity, new ventures, restlessness and intense desires are born.
When tamas growes darkness,
inertia, foolishness and delusion develop.
After describing how human nature
changes according to the dominance of a particular Guna the Lord explains the
condition of the Self after mans death depending upon the Guna influence.
The man who meets his death during sattva
- predominance goes to pure region of the wise people who have knowledge of the Highest.
He Who dies in rajas dominance, takes the rebirth among those who are
obsessed by activity. And he who dies in tama-dominance is reborn in the
wombs of the dullards. The Lord sums up saying that the result of the noble action of Sattva
nature is purity, the fruit of rajas is agony and that of tamas
is ignorance. From sattva knowledge is born, from rajas greed
and from tamas bewilderment, delusion and ignorance.
Men of sattva go rising up,
men of rajas stay in the midplane and men of tamas busy with
horrible deeds, sink to the lower plane.
The Lord glorifies the man who is above
these three categories. He says : But one who has an eye of wisdom sees that these three Gunas
are the only doers and none else. He also knows Him who is beyond the Gunas
thus he attains the nature of the Lord.
When the dweller in the body transcends
these three Gunas which are the product of the body then he becomes free
from birth, death, old age and pain. He attains immortality. Arjuna must have
remembered the man of steady wisdom described in the 2nd Adhyãya and also the
ideal devotee described in 9th and 12th Adhyãyas. The Lord had glorified their
characters earlier. Arjuna now puts up a question to the Lord about him who has
transcended three Gunas. Arjuna asks:
"How to know him Who has transcended
three Gunas? How does he behave ? How does he overcome these three Gunas?
The Lords answer is on the same
lines. He describes:
A man is said to have transcended the Gunas,
When he feels no hatred for light, activity
and delusion arising (out of sattva, raja and tama
respectively) and does not long for them in their disappearance. When he sits unconcerned,
and remains aloof not getting disturbed by the Gunas thinking that the Gunas
only are acting.
When he remains at ease treating pleasure
and pain alike, Mud, stone and gold are equal to him. Pleasant and unpleasant make him no
difference, fame and infamy considered the same. He is so courageous. And when his
behaviour remains the same either in honour or dishonour, either with friends or foes, and
who has forsaken all fruitive activity.
He who renders unfaltering devotional
service to the Lord he is said to have transcended the Gunas and becomes fit
to be one with Brahman.
Thus the Lord expresses his appreciation of
this state by equating him with Brahman Then he states :-
" I am the last resort of Brahman,
the deathless and the unchanging. I am the abode of eternal Dharma, and I am
also the abode of highest bliss.