Gita Series – 141: Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIV. Verse 19 – 27:

When one understands that there is no factor other than the three guṇas and realises Me beyond these guṇas, enters My being. When he transcends these three guṇas, the cause for physical body, he is freed from birth, death, old age and all kinds of sorrows and his soul attains immortality.”

Arujna now asks Kṛṣṇa, “How to recognize a person who has transcended these three guṇas and what will be his behaviour? How he has transcended the three guṇas?”

Kṛṣṇa replies, “When one is indifferent, whether guṇas are present in him or not, realising that guṇas pervade the entire creation, without wavering mind and always established in the Lord, unaffected by dyads such as pleasure and pain, considers a mass of earth, a stone and a piece of gold as equal in value, possessing wisdom, unaffected by either by appreciation or criticism and pleasant or unpleasant experiences, treats alike a friend or enemy, who has renounced the doership is said to have transcended the three guṇas. He who worships me through firm devotion and transcending these guṇas becomes eligible to attain the Brahman. For, I am the abode of the imperishable, immortal, everlasting dharma and the eternal Bliss.”

The Brahman is the Ultimate and He is the cause of everything, be it good or bad. Brahman has two aspects, one is the illuminating aspect, and the other is the illusionary aspect. It depends upon a person whether to look at the illuminating side of the Lord or the illusionary side of the Lord. The one who sees the bright side of the Lord gets illuminated and the one who sees the darker side of the Lord, the cause of illusion, remains deluded in darkness of ignorance. Illusion and ignorance can be compared to a projector that beams images on a screen. The beam from the projector is the illumination of the Lord. What one sees on the screen is only illusionary, though appears to be real. When a character in the screen cries, the audience also cry, and where there is a comedy scene on the screen, audience also laugh with the characters. Though fully aware, that what one sees on the screen is nothing but images, still audience get entangled with the characters on the screen, failing to realize that the images are only the beams that come out of the projector. None of the audience thinks about the projector in a cinema hall. But the one, who knows that the projector is the cause of images, is a realised person and those who get involved with the characters of the movie are submerged in delusion.

The one, who thus understands that the Lord alone is the cause of guṇas, who simply sits and watches the guṇas unfolding in men and causing the formation of their gross bodies, become eligible for liberation. The primary condition for liberation is to transcend the guṇas and look beyond. It was discussed earlier, the equilibrium of the three guṇas is disturbed when a soul unites with prakṛti, causing the formation of a physical body. Therefore, one has to understand that cause for the soul as well as prakṛti is only the Lord who creates, sustains and dissolves the universe. If the omnipresence nature of the Lord is believed, one has to believe that the Lord is the embodiment of illumination and darkness. The one, who understands this fundamental principle, attains liberation.

At this point, Arjuna has a doubt. He wanted to know how to identify a person who has transcended the three guṇas and how does he behave? Arjuna also wants to know from the Lord, his practical guidance to go past these guṇas.

Kṛṣṇa begins to clarify Arjuna’s doubts. All the three guṇas always pervade the universe (in prakṛti), as the quality of a living being is determined on the basis of predominance of a particular guṇa. A lion cannot be of sattvic guṇa and by nature it has to be rajasic. Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest is based on these guṇa-s only. Only in the human beings, one has the option of choosing either one of the guṇas. The one with knowledge go past these guṇas and make efforts to realize the source of these guṇas, the Brahman. A wise man fights against his underlying human nature by controlling his senses, purifying mind, etc only to get liberated. The thought of attaining liberation dawns in one’s mind, only he has acquired sufficient knowledge to purse the path of spirituality. This thought attains gigantic proportions over previous births and is implemented during this birth to cease his shunting up and down all the time.

Kṛṣṇa now begins to elucidate the qualities that are necessary to transcend the guṇas, to become one with the Lord. Irrespective of the nature of one’s own guṇa and considering it as the one that pervades every being, one should fix his concentration on the Lord all the time with unshakable faith. He should ensure that his mind does not oscillate between any of the extremes, for example, emotionally charged during the moments of joy or sorrow. Serenity of the mind is an essential feature of spirituality. During rituals, one uses his senses and during spiritual practice one has to necessarily use, only his mind. Unless the sensory afflictions are controlled, cleansing of the mind is not possible. Emotiveness is the inherent factor and one has to fight it out to purify his mind. For him, a piece of gold and a mass of earth do not make any difference, as he is unconcerned with their values. This aspirant is not concerned with mercenary values as he has the capacity and ability to discriminate between what is Real and what is illusionary. He knows that Reality is beyond guṇas and what he sees with his biological eyes is nothing but the illusionary world. In view of his true spiritual knowledge about the divine, he is not deluded by dyads, as his mind firmly fixed on the Lord all the time.

The aspirant also fulfils yet another primary condition in spiritual progression, the surrender of his ego. He truly understands the omnipresence of the Lord and for his convenience, he adores the Lord within. He knows that his soul within is the Lord Himself. He has become genuinely wise in not seeking Him elsewhere. He knows that the Lord pervades in the form all the beings, both sentient and insentient. He worships Him all the time in his mind and not considering the Lord as someone extraneous to him. He knows that the Lord walks when he walks and the Lord speaks when he speaks and the Lord sleeps when he sleeps. His mind and body is totally submerged in the blissfulness of the Lord, all the time. He also knows that his external form or the physical body is nothing but superimposition on the Lord.

The aspirant becomes aware that Lord is the embodiment of imperishable dharma or virtuousness. His devotion has culminated into pure love for Him and his body becomes a vehicle for the Lord to move about. His body radiates with the effulgence of the Lord within. In spite of all this, he continues to live just as an ordinary person, one among the beings. He completely conceals his oneness with the Lord. He is endowed with supernatural powers, but he does not use them. He knows that future should always remain as divine secret. The soul of this sage merges with the Brahman to become one with Him.


Further Readings:

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIV. 9 - 13

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XIV. 14 - 18

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XV. 1 - 2