Gita series - 44. Bhagavad Gita Chapter III. 27 –29:
In all respects, all actions unfold due to the attributes (gunas) of prakriti (primordial nature). But the ignorant, deluded by ego thinks ‘I am the doer’. Oh! The mighty armed (Arjuna)! The one who is aware of the truth about the divisions of gunas and karmas, realising that all the gunas (sensory attributes) operate only in guans (sensory objects) remain unattached to them. But, the wise men should not influence those who are overwhelmed by the gunas arising out of prakriti and indulging in gunas (sensory attributes) and karmas. The three gunas are satwic, rajo and tamo. The whole universe remains in a potential state within prakriti so long as the three gunas remain in equilibrium. When the equilibrium of the gunas is disturbed, metaphysical creation starts unfolding. The gunas can be generally explained as the inherent qualities of the nature or prakriti. These three gunas give rise to 23 tatwas or attributes. These tatwas are five basic elements – five jnanendriyas (organs of perception) – five cognitive faculties (knowledge) – five karmendriyas (organs of action) – five action faculties along with mind, intellect and ego.
Prakriti can be explained as follows: The soul or purusha can manifest only if it interacts with prakriti, which is also known as the nature or creative self-unfolding act. It is only the prakriti that unfolds the act of creation. The prakriti is potentially a powerful tool that binds the soul to manifest in the form of bodies, just to unfold the karmas embedded in the soul. When the soul is under the influence of prakriti, the soul that is part of the Supreme Brahman forgets its own nature, and identifies itself with ego. The deceptive and illusionary nature of prakriti engulfs the soul with all sorts of addiction, affliction and confusion and makes the soul totally bewildered. The pure soul now stands veiled by the effects of prakriti called maya or illusion. Those persons who are afflicted by maya or illusion are called ignorant. Such ignorant men, deceived by ego think that they are responsible for the acts of prakriti. The ego makes them to think ‘I am the doer’. Ego is the pernicious enemy while pursuing the path of spirituality.
A man acting through his unique free will creates his own karmas that unfold through the three gunas acting through prakriti. `Unaware of this fact, an ignorant man thinks that he is responsible for all the actions that unfold through him. This egotism gives rise to attachments towards his senses. Senses excogitate their influence through their dimensions on sensory objects thereby making a man attached to such objects. But a man of knowledge, possibly a yogi understands the truth behind this reality. He is not bewildered by the effects of maya. He understands that the three gunas acting in different proportions is responsible for all the karmas that unfold around him. Since he understands this truth, he remains unattached to sensory objects or sensory attributes. He is fully aware that his body is perishable like sensory objects. His consciousness would be with the eternal Brahman. Krishna says that such realized persons should not influence the ignorant men. This can be looked at from two different angles. From the perspective of the first angle, such ignorant men as long as they do not indulge in unlawful activities, are a necessity for carrying out other actions for human sustenance. If everyone is involved in pursuing spiritual activity, there will be none left for carrying out other activities, though this is a remote possibility.
Krishna has already said that irrespective one’s advancement in spiritual pursuit everyone has to perform the prescribed actions. From the second point of view, if such materialistic persons are initiated by realised persons, there is a possibility of misapprehending the path of spirituality. Such sort of initiation should be gradual and final initiation could be done only if such materialistic persons become receptive to the knowledge of the Brahman. If an active materialistic person is told that the existence of the universe is illusory, his alert mental state could transform into mental inertia. Most of the men during the course of their evolution and after going different experiences begin their search for eternal truth. That could be an appropriate time for proper initiation. Meanwhile, the realised person should continue his efforts to progress further in self-realisation. The end to the road of spirituality is like a mirage. Only persistent practice (meditation) alone helps to make substantial spiritual progress. For further reading: E-book titled ‘principles of creation’ to be published shortly through Google books which can be checked under e-books in the side bar of this site.