Article Index

Bhagavad Gita: Chapters 14 - 16

Chapter 14: Yoga of the Three Gunas of Nature

The Lord said: I shall further explain to you that supreme knowledge, the best of all knowledge, knowing which, all the sages have attained supreme perfection after this life. (14.01)

Those who have taken refuge in this knowledge attain unity with Me, and are neither born at the time of creation nor afflicted at the time of dissolution of the universes. (14.02)

O Arjuna, My Creative Energy (or the material nature) is the womb wherein I place the seed (of spirit or Uncreate Energy) from which all beings are born.(14.03)196

Whatever forms are produced in all different wombs, O Arjuna the great Creative Energy is their body-giving Mother, the Uncreate Energy is the life-giving Father. (14.04)

Sattva or goodness, Rajas or activity, and Tamas or inertia; these three Gunas, born of Creative Energy, bind the imperishable embodied one (Jivatman or spirit-soul) fast to the body, O Arjuna. (14.05)

Of these, Sattva, being stainless, is luminous and non-obstructing. It binds, by creating attachment to happiness and attachment to knowledge, O Arjuna. (14.06) 197

O Arjuna, know that Rajas is characterized by selfish activity and is of the nature of passion. It is the source of desire and attachment; it binds fast the embodied one by attachment to action. (14.07)

Know, O Arjuna, that Tamas, this deluder of Jivatman (embodied beings) is born of ignorance and a desire for return to this earth. It binds by negligence, ignorance, laziness, and excessive sleep. (14.08)

Sattva binds one to happiness, Rajas to action, and Tamas to ignorance by pulling a veil over knowledge. (14.09)

When Sattva dominates it suppresses Rajas and Tamas; When Rajas dominates it suppresses Sattva and Tamas; and When Tamas dominates it suppresses Sattva and Rajas, O Arjuna. (14.10)

When the lamp of knowledge shines through all the nine gates of the body, then it should be known that Sattva is predominant. (14.11) 198

Greed, activity, restlessness, passion, and undertaking of (selfish) works arise when Raja is predominant, O Arjuna. (14.12)

Ignorance, inactivity, carelessness, and delusion arise when Tamas is predominant, O Arjuna. (14.13)

One who dies after a life during which Sattva dominated one goes to heaven, the pure world of the knowers of the Supreme. (14.14)

When one dies after a life during which the dominance of Rajas, one is reborn as attached to action; and dying after the dominance of Tamas, one is reborn as ignorant. (14.15)

The fruit of good action is said to be Sattvika and pure, the fruit of Rajas action is pain, and the fruit of Tamas action is ignorance. (14.16)

Wisdom arises from Sattva, desires and greed from Rajas; and negligence, delusion, and ignorance arise from Tamas. (14.17)

Those who are established in Sattva go upwards (to heaven); Rajas persons remain in the middle (are reborn in the mortal world); and the Tamas persons, abiding in the functions of the lowest Guna, go downwards (to hell as they are repeatedly born as lower creatures of their kind, being more and more severed from the Light and the kinship with God and deity). (14.18)

When seers perceive no doer other than the Gunas (or the Creative Energies), and know that which is above and beyond the Gunas (Uncreate Energies); then they attain ecstasy. (14.19) 199

When one transcends (or rise above) the three Gunas that originate in the mind and from which the human evolves; one is freed from birth, death, old age, and pain; and attains ecstasy. (14.20)

Arjuna said: What are the characteristics of those who have transcended the three Gunas, and what is their conduct? How does one transcend the three Gunas, O Lord Krishna?(14.21)

The Lord said: One who neither hates the presence of enlightenment, activity, and delusion nor desires for them when they are absent; and (14.22)

theone who remains like an unconcerned witness; who is not moved by the Gunas, knowing that the Gunas only are operating; who stands firm and does not waver; and (14.23)

the one who depends on the Lord and is indifferent to pain and pleasure; to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are alike: to whom the agreeable and disagreeable are alike; who is of firm mind; who is calm in censure and in praise; and (14.24)

the one who is indifferent in honour and disgrace; who is the same to friend and foe; who has renounced the senses of undertakings: is said to have risen above the Gunas. (14.25)

The one who offers service to Me with love and unswerving devotion transcends Gunas, and becomes fit for realizing God. (14.26)200

Because, I am the abode of the immortal and eternal God, of everlasting Law of Right Action, and of the Absolute Bliss. (14.27)

Chapter 15: Yoga of the Supreme Spirit

The Lord said: They speak of the eternal Ashvattha tree having its roots above (in unmanifest God) and its branches below ( in the cosmos). Its leaves are the hymns and chants. One who understands this is a knower of the Scriptures.(15.01) 201

The branches (of this tree of Illusion) spread below and above (or all over the cosmos). The tree is nourished by the Gunas; sense pleasures are its buds; and its roots (of ego and desires) stretch below in the human world causing bondage to action. (15.02)

Neither its (real) form nor its beginning, neither its end nor its existence is perceptible here on the earth. Having cut these firm roots of the Ashvattha tree by the mighty ax of non-attachment; (15.03)

Then the Goal should be sought for, reaching of which one does not return again; thus thinking: In that Uncreate Energy I take refuge from which this Creative Energy comes forth. (15.04)

Those who are free from pride and delusion, who have conquered the evil of attachment, who are constantly dwelling in the Spirit with all Desire completely stilled, who are free from the dualities known as pleasure and pain; such undeluded persons reach the eternal goal. (15.05)

Where the sun does not cast its light, nor the moon, nor the fire. That is My supreme Abode. Having reached there they do not come back. (15.06)

An eternal portion of Myself having become the Soul in the world of souls, attracts the senses, with mind as the sixth, abiding in Creative Energy. (15.07)

As the air takes away the aroma from the source (or flower), similarly spirit takes the six sensory faculties from the body which it casts off (during death) to the (new) body it acquires when incarnating again. (15.08)202

The Jivatman enjoys sense pleasures with the help of six sensory faculties: hearing, touch, sight, taste, smell, and mind. (15.09)

The ignorant do not perceive the soul departing from the body, or remaining in the body and enjoying sense pleasures by associating with the Gunas. Those with the eye of knowledge can see. (15.10)

The yogis striving for perfection behold spirit abiding in their heart; but the ignorant, whose hearts are not pure, do not perceive it even through striving. (15.11)

The light coming from the sun illumines the whole world; and that which is in the moon, and in the fire; know that light to be Mine. (15.12)203

Entering the earth I support all beings with My Energies; and having become the sap-giving moon energy I nourish all the plants. (15.13)

Becoming the digestive fire, I remain in the body of all living beings; uniting with vital breaths, the Prana and Apana, I digest all four varieties of food; and (15.14)

I am seated in the hearts of all beings.204 The memory, knowledge, and the removal of doubts and wrong notions about the Spirit, by reasoning or revelation, come from me. I am verily that which is to be known by (the study of) all the Scriptures. I am, indeed, the author and the knower thereof. (See also 6.39) (15.15)

There are two Uncreate Energies which I activate in this world: the perishable and the imperishable. All beings are perishable, and the spirit is imperishable.(15.16) 205

There is another supreme Spirit called The Lord, who pervades the three Worlds and sustains them. (15.17) 206

I am beyond the perishable body and higher than the imperishable spirit; therefore I am known in this world and in the Scriptures as the Holy Spirit. (15.18)

The wise one who truly knows Me as the Holy Spirit, knows everything and worships (or surrenders to) Me wholeheartedly, O Arjuna.(15.19) 207

Thus this most secret science has been explained by Me, O sinless Arjuna. Having understood this, one becomes enlightened and all duties are thus accomplished. (15.20)

Chapter 16: Yoga of division between Divine and Demoniacal qualities

The Lord said: Fearlessness, purity of heart, perseverance in the yoga of knowledge, charity, sense restraint, selfless duty, study of the Scriptures, humility, honesty; (16.01)

Non-violence, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, equanimity, abstaining from malicious talk, compassion for all beings, freedom from greed, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness; (16.02)

Vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of malice, and absence of pride; these are the qualities of one reborn to the divine path, O Arjuna. (16.03)

Hypocrisy, arrogance, pride, inner harshness and anger, ignorance; these are the marks of those who are born to the demoniac path, O Arjuna. (16.04) 208

The divine path is deemed to liberation, the demoniacal path is said to be for bondage. Do not grieve, O Arjuna, you are born with divine qualities. (16.05)

There are two types of human beings in this world the divine, and the demoniacal. The divine has been described at length, now hear from Me about the demoniacal, O Arjuna. (16.06)

Persons of demoniacal nature do not know what to do and what not to do. They neither have purity or good conduct nor truthfulness in them. (16.07)

They say “the world is unreal, without a moral basis, without a God, and without an order. The world is caused by passion alone and nothing else”. (16.08) 209

Adhering to this view these ruined souls, with small intellect and cruel deeds, rise as enemies for the destruction of the world (16.09)

Filled with insatiable desires, hypocrisy, pride, and arrogance; holding wrong views due to delusion; they act with impure motives. (16.10)

Beset with anxiety ending only with death, regarding gratification of desires as the highest aim, and feeling convinced that that is all; (16.11)

Bound by ties of hope, given over to lust and anger, they strive to secure by all means hoards of wealth for sensual enjoyment, holding that as their highest aim. (16.12)

“This has been gained by me today, I shall fulfill this desire, this is mine and this wealth also shall be mine in the future”; (16.13) 210

”That enemy has been slain by me, and I shall slay others also. I am the lord over my own life, I am the enjoyer, I am successful, powerful, and happy;” (16.14)

“I am rich and born in a good family. Few are equal to me. I shall perform sacrifice, I shall give charity, and I shall rejoice.” Thus deluded by ignorance; (16.15)

Bewildered by many fancies; entangled in the net of delusion; addicted to the enjoyment of sensual pleasures: they fall into a foul hell. (16.16)

Self-conceited, stubborn, filled with pride and intoxication of wealth; they perform Service only in name for show, and not according to scriptural injunction. (16.17)

Clinging to egotism, power, arrogance lust, and anger; these malicious people hate Me, the One who dwells in their own body and others’ bodies. (16.18)

I hurl these haters, cruel, sinful, and mean people of the world, into the worlds of demons again and again. (16.19)

O Arjuna, entering the wombs of demons birth after birth, the deluded ones sink to the lowest hell without ever attaining Me.(16.20)

Lust, Anger, and Greed are the three gates of hell leading to the downfall (or bondage) of souls. Therefore, one must (learn to) give up these three. (16.21)

One who is liberated from these three gates of darkness, O Arjuna, does what is best, and attains the Supreme Goal. (16.22)

One who acts under the influence of their desires, disobeying Scriptural injunctions, neither attains perfection nor happiness nor the Supreme Goal. (16.23)

Therefore, let Scripture be your authority in determining what should be done and what should not be done. You should perform your duty according to the Scriptural injunctions - these should guide your actions. (16.24) 211