Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 14 Gunatraya Vibhaaga Yogah- Yoga of the Division of the three Gunas


This Chapter explains why the same Spirit when  expressed through matter manifests itself in different ways. Although the same  water is poured in different bottles, it will look different not because of the  water but because of the color of the glass out of which the bottles were made.  Similarly, the one Eternal Principle expresses itself differently in various  matter equipments as different individuals even though the elements  constituting matter are the same.  This  is due to Gunas born of Prakriti.

Gunas indicate not the properties of a material but  the attitude with which the mind functions. These attitudes are three in number  viz. Sattva - Unactivity, Rajas - Activity and Tamas - Inactivity. These three  qualities influence the mind and intellect of every individual in different  proportions at different times. Although all these three Gunas are always  present in everybody their proportions differ from individual to individual. It  is these diversities that differentiate one person from the other in character,  conduct and behavior etc.

The three Gunas – sattva,  rajas and tamas – together constitute every human being. Sattva is  stainless, pure and brilliant. When this predominates over the other two Gunas,  a person’s wisdom shines in his expression. Rajas is of the nature of passion  which creates a craving for what you do not have and attachment to what you  possess. When this Guna dominates over the other two, the person develops  greed, becomes involved in endless activity and suffers from mental unrest.  Tamas arises out of ignorance which manifests as delusion, inertia and  heedlessness.  Sattva binds people  through attachment to knowledge, and happiness. Rajas binds through attachment  to action. Tamas binds through heedlessness, indolence and sleep. 

This Chapter helps us to find out for ourselves the  powerful tendencies that rule our minds (influences of Gunas) and take remedial  measures wherever called for. A seeker who recognizes the influences under  which he is forced to function at different times can take timely steps to  arrest the wrong impulses, unethical urges and animal tendencies in order to  keep himself fully under self-control and equanimous in all situations in life.  The discussion is concluded with a description of the person who has risen  above the Gunas and realized God. As this Chapter is entirely dealing with the nature  and working of the Gunas as also the methods to give up all connections with  them, it is entitled as “Yoga of the  Division of the three Gunas”.

In the  previous Chapter the Lord stated that the attachment to the three Gunas alone  was responsible for one’s repeated birth in good and evil wombs (13.22). This  statement will raise questions about diverse characteristics of the Gunas, how  they bind the Jivatma to the body, the result of such attachment, the means of  ridding oneself of the three Gunas and the marks and conduct of the soul who  has given up such attachments. Krishna  personifying Brahman elucidates all these points. The Chapter concludes  with a detailed exposition on the most important philosophic concept of the  embodied transcending the Gunas and  becoming Brahman.
Bhagawan Sri Krishna assures that a seeker can reach  that exalted state through unswerving yoga of devotion to Him, thereby crossing  the Gunas and reaching the Abode of the immortal, immutable Brahman.  This is the state of eternal righteousness,  absolute bliss.

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