Gita Series – 165: Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. Verse 26 – 28

The doer, if free from attachment and ego, full of firmness and enthusiasm, unconcerned with success and failure is sattvic. The doer, who is full of attachment and greed, with intent on fruits of his actions, impure, vicious and affected by happiness and sorrow is rajasic. The doer, who is devoid of self-control, arrogant, deceitful, indulges in robbery, lazy, despondent and procrastinating is tamasic in nature.”

Krishna further explains about the characteristics of three types of doers. All the actions depend upon the nature of the doer. When a person performs an action without the thought of the doership, with determination and with vibrancy and without concern for its result, he is said to be of sattvic quality. He fully understands the impermanency of his physical body. He also knows that neither his body nor the Self within is the doer. He is fully aware that all his actions are due to his karmic account. What he had sown in his previous births is being reaped by him, either good or bad in the present birth. He also knows that by staying connected to the Lord all the time, he does not accrue further karmas. He is a man of knowledge and is said to be sattvic in nature. One should not give room for malefic thoughts, as they are more dangerous than malefic actions.

When one performs an action with full of attachment and greed with impure and vicious mind and with intent on the fruits of his actions, he is said to be rajasic. He allows his mind to stay connected only with the results of his actions. If the result is not in his favour, he becomes angry and expresses his anguish in different ways. If the result of his action turns out to be in his favour, he becomes jubilant and expresses his happiness also in different ways. He is concerned only with the end result of an action and not with the action itself. He is always concerned with his ill-founded pride. If one decides to renounce the fruits of actions, a rajasic person becomes tamasic in nature.

The third category is the one who is devoid of self-control, full of egoistic arrogance. They are like animals and indulge in beastly actions. They are unfit to be classified as humans, as they are unable to control their senses. Self control is the quality that is unique to humans, which they are devoid of. They make their living by laying their hands on others hard earned money. They have no inclination to work and remain sedentary. They postpone all the actions indefinitely out of lethargy and laziness. They are classified as tamasic in nature. They are beyond salvation.

Kṛṣṇa classified all the actions under three guṇas in the previous section. In the present section, He classifies doers under three guṇas. Action is not possible without a doer. Action and the actor together determine the quality of an action. All the three guṇas are present in all the beings. But, one of the three guṇas alone predominates. A man is known by the predominant guṇa in him.

Further Readings:

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. 17 - 22

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. 23 -25

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVIII. 29 - 32