SRIMAD BHAGAVAD-GITA: CHAPTER FOURTEEN
The Three Divisions of Material Nature
sri-bhagavan uvacha–The Supreme Lord said: bhuyah–Again; (aham) pravaksyami–I shall speak; param–the supreme; jnanam–knowledge, teaching; uttamam–the highest; jnananam–of all fields of knowledge; jnatva–knowing; yat–which; sarve–all; munayah–the sages; gatah–attained; param–ultimate; siddhim–perfection; itah–beyond this mundane plane.
1 The Supreme Lord said: Again, I shall describe to you the supreme teaching, the highest of all fields of knowledge, knowing which the sages attained the ultimate perfection beyond this mundane plane.
idam jnanam upasritya, mama sadharmyam agatah
upasritya–Taking refuge in; idam–this; jnanam–knowledge; (jivah)–the living being; agatah (santah)–attaining; sadharmyam–the same (spiritual) nature; mama–as Mine; na upajayante–is neither born; sarge api–in the universal manifestation; na vyathanti–nor suffers; pralaye cha–in the universal dissolution.
2 By taking refuge in this knowledge, the soul attains to My nature. Then he is neither born in the cosmic manifestation, nor does he suffer (death) in the cosmic dissolution.
mama yonir mahad-brahma, tasmin garbham dadhamy aham
(he) bharata–O Arjuna; mahat-brahma–primordial matter; mama yonih–is My place of impregnation; tasmin–into which; aham–I; dadhami–cast; garbham–the seed. tatah–From there; sambhavah–the birth; sarva-bhutanam–of all living beings; bhavati–occurs.
3 O Bharata, I place the seed within My womb of primordial matter from which all living beings take birth.
sarva-yonisu kaunteya, murtayah sambhavanti yah
(he) kaunteya–O son of Kunti; yah murtayah–of all forms which; sambhavanti–are born; sarva-yonisu–of the wombs of all species; tasam–their; yonih–womb; mahat brahma–is primordial matter; aham–and I; bija-pradah–the seed-giving; pita–father.
4 O Kaunteya, primordial matter is the original womb of all life-forms that are born of the wombs of all species, and I am the seed-giving father.
sattvam rajas tama iti, gunah prakrti-sambhavah
(he) maha-baho–O mighty hero; gunah–the qualities; sattvam rajah tamah iti–known as goodness, passion, and ignorance; prakrti-sambhavah–manifest from material nature; nibadhnanti–bind; avyayam–the immutable; dehinam–resident of the body; dehe–within the body.
5 O mighty hero, Arjuna, the three modes of goodness, passion, and ignorance, born of material nature, bind the immutable spirit soul within the body.
tatra sattvam nirmalatvat, prakasakam anamayam
(he) anagha–O sinless one; tatra–among these three; nirmalatvat–due to purity; sattvam–the mode of goodness; prakasakam–illuminating; anamayam–and wholesome; badhnati–binds; (dehinam)–the embodied living being; sukha-sangena–with happiness; jnana-sangena cha–and knowledge.
6 O sinless one, of these three modes, due to its purity, the mode of goodness is illuminating and wholesome, conditioning one to happiness and knowledge.
rajo ragatmakam viddhi, trsna-sanga-samudbhavam
(he) kaunteya–O son of Kunti; viddhi–know; rajah–the mode of passion; ragaatmakam–as the embodiment of desire; trsna-sanga-samudbhavam–born of hankering and attachment. tat–That rajo-guna mode of passion; nibadhnati–binds; dehinam–the embodied; karma-sangena–by action.
7 O son of Kunti, know the mode of passion to be the embodiment of desire. Born of hankering and attachment, it conditions one to action.
tamas tv ajnana-jam viddhi, mohanam sarva-dehinam
(he) bharata–O Arjuna; viddhi tu–and know; tamah–the mode of ignorance; ajnanajam–born of darkness; mohanam–the delusion; sarva-dehinam–of all the embodied beings; tat–that; nibadhnati–binds; (dehinam)–the living being; pramada-alasyanidrabhih–with delusion, laziness and sleep.
8 And, O Bharata, know the mode of ignorance, born of darkness, to be the ignorance of all the embodied beings, conditioning them to delusion, laziness and slumber.
sattvam sukhe sanjayati, rajah karmani bharata
(he) bharata–O Arjuna; sattvam–the mode of goodness; sanjayati–dominates; (dehinam)–the embodied living being; sukhe–with happiness; rajah–and the mode of passion; karmani–with action; tu–but; tamah–the mode of ignorance; avrtya–covering; jnanam–knowledge; sanjayati uta–binds one; pramade–with illusion.
9 O Arjuna, the mode of goodness conditions the embodied being to happiness, and the mode of passion conditions him to action. But the mode of ignorance covers his knowledge and traps him in illusion.
rajas tamas chabhibhuya, sattvam bhavati bharata
(he) bharata–O Arjuna; sattvam–the mode of goodness; bhavati–appears; abhibhu ya–defeating; rajah tamah cha–the modes of passion and ignorance. rajah–The mode of passion; (bhavati)–appears; (abhibhuya)–defeating; sattvam tamah eva cha–goodness and ignorance too. tatha–Similarly; tamah–ignorance; (abhibhuya bhavati)–defeats; sattvam rajah–goodness and passion.
10 O Bharata, goodness overcomes passion and ignorance, passion overcomes goodness and ignorance, and ignorance overcomes goodness and passion. Each mode in turn defeats the others in an unending battle for supremacy.
sarva-dvaresu dehe 'smin, prakasa upajayate
yada–When; prakasah–illumination; jnanam–of knowledge; upajayate–appears; sarva-dvaresu–in the gateways (the senses); asmin dehe–of this body; tada–then; vidyat iti uta–know by that symptom; sattvam–the mode of goodness; vivrddham–has increased.
11 When the gateways of the body are illuminated with knowledge, know this to be the manifestation of the mode of goodness.
lobhah pravrttir arambhah, karmanam asamah sprha
(he) bharatarsabha–O most noble of the Bharata dynasty; rajasi vivrddhe–with a predominance of the mode of passion; etani–all these symptoms; jayante–are manifest: lobhah–greed; pravrttih–exertion; arambhah–undertaking; karmanam–of activities; asamah–unrest; sprha–and hankering.
12 O Arjuna, most noble of the Bharata dynasty, know that when the mode of passion predominates in a person, greed, exertion, undertaking of activities, unrest and hankering become manifest.
aprakaso 'pravrttis cha, pramado moha eva cha
(he) kuru-nandana–O descendant of Kuru; tamasi vivrddhe–by the force of the mode of ignorance; etani–all these symptoms; jayante–are manifest: aprakasah–dullness; apravrttih cha–inactivity; pramadah–delusion; mohah eva cha–and bewilderment.
13 O Kurunandana, by the influence of the mode of ignorance, all the symptoms of dullness, inactivity, delusion and bewilderment become manifest.
yada sattve pravrddhe tu, pralayam yati deha-bhrt
yada–When; deha-bhrt–the embodied; pravrddhe (sati)–having developed; sattve–goodness; yati–reaches; pralayam–death; tada tu–then; amalan–the pure; lokan–planes; uttama-vidam–of persons of higher knowledge (worshippers of Hiranyagarbha [Brahma], etc.); pratipadyate–are attained.
14 If a person dies in a state of the mode of goodness, he goes to the pure planes where those who have higher knowledge reside.
rajasi pralayam gatva, karma-sangisu jayate
(jivah) pralayam gatva–When a person dies; rajasi (pravrddhe)–with a predominance of the mode of passion; jayate–he is born; karma-sangisu–as a human attached to action. tatha–Similarly; pralinah (san)–dying; tamasi (vivrddhe)–when the mode of ignorance predominates; jayate–one takes birth; mudha-yonisu–in the lower species.
15 When a person dies in the mode of passion, he takes birth as a human attached to worldly activity. If one dies in the mode of ignorance, he takes birth in the lower species.
karmanah sukrtasyahuh, sattvikam nirmalam phalam
(panditah)–The learned; ahuh–proclaim; phalam–the fruit; sukrtasya karmanah–of good works; nirmalam–is pure; sattvikam–and of the nature of goodness; tu phalam–and the fruit; rajasah–of passionate action; duhkham–is sorrow; phalam (cha)–and the fruit; tamasah–of ignorant action; ajnanam–is ignorance.
16 It is said by the learned that good actions result in purity, passionate actions result in sorrow, and ignorant actions lead to darkness.
sattvat sanjayate jnanam, rajaso lobha eva cha
sattvat–From goodness; jnanam–knowledge; cha eva–and; rajasah–from passion; lobhah–greed; sanjayate–is born; tamasah (cha)–and from ignorance; pramadamohau–delusion and bewilderment; bhavatah–arise; ajnanam eva cha–and a lack of knowledge; (bhavati)–ensues.
17 From the mode of goodness, knowledge arises; from the mode of passion, greed; and from the mode of ignorance, delusion, bewilderment and a lack of knowledge ensue.
urdhvam gachchhanti sattva-stha, madhye tisthanti rajasah
sattva-sthah–Persons situated in the mode of goodness; gachchhanti–go; urdhvam–up (to Satyaloka). rajasah–Those in the mode of passion; tisthanti–remain; madhye–in the middle (as humans). tamasah–Persons in the mode of ignorance; jaghanya-gunavr tti-sthah–tending to lower qualities; gachchhanti–go; adhah–down (suffer).
18 Persons in goodness ascend (up to Satyaloka), those in passion remain in the middle (as humans), and the unfortunate, ignorant persons fall to the lower planes (of suffering).
nanyam gunebhyah kartaram, yada drastanupasyati
yada–When; drasta–the living being, the witness; anupasyati–sees; na anyam–nothing else; gunebhyah–but the three modes of nature; kartaram–as the doer; cha–and; vetti–is able to know; param–the Lord, transcendental; gunebhyah–to the modes; (tada)–then; sah–he; adhigachchhati–attains; mat-bhavam–My nature (My bhava-bhakti).
19 When a person sees the three modes to be the only impetus of this world, and knows the Supreme Lord, transcendental to the modes, then he comes to love Me with devotion.
gunan etan atitya trin, dehi deha-samudbhavan
dehi–The embodied living being; atitya–transcending; etan trin gunan–these three modes of nature; deha-samudbhavan–that appear in the body; vimuktah (san)–being liberated; janma-mrtyu-jara-duhkhaih–from the miseries of birth, death and old age; asnute–knows the joy of; amrtam–immortality, love transcendental (nirguna-prema).
20 Transcending these modes manifest in the body, he is liberated from the miseries of birth, death and old age, and knows the joy of immortality.
arjunah uvacha–Arjuna said: (he) prabho–O Lord; kaih lingaih–by what symptoms; bhavati (jneyah)–can be known; atitah–a person who has transcended; etan–these; trin–three; gunan–modes? kim acharah–How does he behave? katham cha–and how; ativartate–does he transcend; etan–these; trin gunan–three modes?
21 Arjuna said: O Lord, what are the symptoms of a person transcendental to these three modes of material nature? How does he behave, and how does he transcend the modes?
sri-bhagavan uvacha–The Supreme Lord replied: (he) pandava–O son of Pandu; yah–one who; na dvesti–neither resents; prakasam cha–illumination (the effect of goodness); pravrttim cha–activation (the effect of passion); moham eva cha–and delusion (the effect of ignorance); sampravrttani–when they appear; na kanksati–nor hankers for them; nivrttani–when they disappear; yah–one who; asinah (san)–remaining; udasina-vat–as unconcerned; na vichalyate–is not perturbed; gunaih–by the modes; avatisthati–remains poised; na ingate–without wavering; iti evam (jnatva)–knowing that; gunah–the modes; vartate–are engaged in their functions; (yah)–one who; samaduh kha-sukhah–is equipoised in happiness and unhappiness; sva-sthah–is situated within the self; sama-lostra-asma-kanchanah–with the vision of equality towards earth, stone, or gold; tulya-priya-apriyah–equipoised in desirable and undesirable circumstances; dhirah–wise; tulya-ninda-atma-samstutih–balanced with regard to abuse and praise; tulyah mana-apamanayoh–balanced in honour and dishonour; tulyah–balanced; mitra-ari-paksayoh–toward friend and foe; sarva-arambha-parityagi–and is a renouncer of all mundane endeavours; sah–that person; uchyate–is described; gunaati tah–as transcendental to the modes of material nature.
22-25 The Supreme Lord replied: O Pandava, it is said that a person who has transcended the three modes of material nature neither resents illumination, activation, and delusion when they appear, nor does he hanker for them when they withdraw. Poised in the knowledge that the modes are engaging, he is not distracted by them; he remains unperturbed, unconcerned. Remaining self-satisfied, he sees joy and sorrow equally; he sees earth, rock or gold with the vision of equality; he is wise, equipoised in desirable and undesirable circumstances, abuse and praise, honour and dishonour; he behaves fairly with friend and foe alike, and he renounces all mundane endeavours.
mam cha yo 'vyabhicharena, bhakti-yogena sevate
yah–One who; bhakti-yogena–by the yoga of devotion; avyabhicharena–without deviation; sevate–renders service; mam cha–unto Me (the Supreme Lord Syamasundara); sah–that person; samatitya–transcending; etan–these; gunan–modes; kalpate–becomes qualified; brahma-bhuyaya–to know his internal divine identity (chit-svarupa-siddhi).
26 A person who, without deviation, serves Me with devotion, transcends the three modes of material nature and becomes qualified to know his internal divine identity.
brahmano hi pratisthaham, amrtasyavyayasya cha
hi–For; aham pratistha–I am the basis; brahmanah–of the Absolute Truth; avyayasya cha–and of the inexhaustible; amrtasya–nectar; sasvatasya cha–and of the eternal; dharmasya–divine pastimes; aikantikasya sukhasya cha–and of the ultimate ecstasy of divine love.
27 I am the basis of the Absolute Truth, the inexhaustible nectar, the eternal pastimes and the ultimate ecstasy of divine love.
iti sri-mahabharate sata-sahasryam samhitayam vaiyasikyam
End of Chapter Fourteen
The Three Divisions of Material Nature
from the conversation
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