Gita series – part 22. Bhagavad Gita Chapter II - Verses– 45:
Krishna continues to talk about the deceptive qualities of Vedas. “Vedas discuss about the practice and effects of three attributes or gunas (satwic, tamo and rajas). Arjuna! Free yourself from the clutches of these gunas and its effects that cause material comforts and dualities (opposites). Nurture no thoughts of material gains and safely and firmly establish your mind on the eternal Self” (verse 45). Krishna continues to talk about the gross interpretation of Vedas that refers to external rituals. Let us take an example. If a person goes to a place of worship, his focus is not merely on the God, but scatters everywhere. In the process he does not accomplish the purpose of his visit, possibly missing out his plan of establishing his contact with God. The internal worship which is otherwise known as meditation is a powerful tool to realize the Self. If we learn the right means to effectively utilize the internal instrument called anthakkaranam (mind, intellect, consciousness and ego) substantial spiritual progress can be achieved. Prakriti (nature) remains in an inherent state when all the three gunas contributing in equal proportion.
As long as these three gunas remain undisturbed and continues to remain in the same proportion, nothing happens. When the proportion is modified, prakriti begins to unfold thereby causing creation. In such a situation, the purusha or the individual soul gives the first impetus and thereafter stays merely as a witness and all further actions take place only in the prakriti. The results of such actions lead to either material gains or spiritual progress. In reality, the true nature of gunas can be realized and understood only during spiritual progress. Krishna talks more on these gunas in subsequent chapters. But why Krishna tells Arjuna to free himself from the clutches of these gunas? Brahman is pure consciousness and when reflected in individual souls or jivatma, it is subjected to the afflictions of gunas. The imbalance of the gunas causes manifestations at the gross level of the prakriti leading to microcosmic changes in the soul thereby causing evolution and unfolding of karmas. That is why Krishna asks Arjuna to free himself from the clutches of the three gunas or attributes.
When one continues to get associated with the three gunas, then he is subjected to the effects of opposites. Opposites mean happiness and sorrow, pleasure and pain, etc. Krishna further says that as long as one continues to seek material gains, it is difficult to get away from the clutches of the three gunas. When the imbalance of gunas occurs, the soul develops a desire to seek only pleasure and happiness and in the process forgets that, pain and sorrow are sure to follow. Generally these opposites unfold in the form a cycle. When the mind continues to concentrate on these material comforts or the opposites, it has no inclination to realize the Supreme Truth in the form of the eternal and omnipresent Self or the Paramatma or the Brahman or God. These names are not important but what is important is the underlying facts of Krishna’s teachings.