Influences, Bhagavad Gita, Ch 14, Vs 10-13

Rajas, intense. Sattva, peaceful. Tamas, deluded.
From left to right: Rajas, avid. Sattva, peaceful. Tamas, confused.

10
Sometimes sattva prevails over rajas and tamas. Sometimes rajas prevails over sattva and tamas, and sometimes tamas prevails over sattva and rajas.

  • sattva – pleasant (easy and happy)
  • rajas – stimulating (desire and passion)
  • tamas – ignorant (not enlightened)

This verse is demonstrating the influence of one guna predominating over the others. Even though the other gunas are present, their influence is overshadowed by the predominant guna.

11
When through all the gates of the body illuminating knowledge becomes evident, know for certain that sattva is predominant.

The gates of the body refers to the five senses. The sense organs are considered to be gates, or doors, of the physical body. Their job is to perceive things so that you can be conscious of them.

The Five SenssThe Attention goes out through the sense organs (gates, doors) to perceive things in the environment, and the Life Energy (prana) follows as it goes. The Attention then brings back to the mind, what has been perceived.

Your senses can bring in anything from soup to nuts, but when it brings you illuminating knowledge, this is because your state is one in which sattva is predominant over the other gunas. 

“Illuminating knowledge becomes evident (manifest).” This suggests that it is possible to know things that are not illuminating or correct. In fact, this is most common. But when knowledge is true and correct, it is because your state is predominantly sattva 

Why is this so important? 

You, a Divine Individual dwelling in a body, are attempting to get yourself as a Being into sync with your True Self, but all kinds of things are constantly coming and going via the senses and making this difficult. Earlier we learned that the quality of sattva is closest to what you really are, so this state is ideal for matching yourself as a human being to the Real You. This is achieved by mastering universal spiritual principles, yama niyama.

The good news is that mastering these principles will powerfully advance you as a human being, and guarantee both spiritual and material success. To master them requires studying them in depth, and practicing them in daily life. Each principle is stated in one word loaded with meaning.

By aligning what you do with the Real You, you will have a happier and more satisfying life.

12
When greed, desire, cravings, and undertaking willful actions for the purpose of getting desired results, one is under the influence of predominant rajas, Bull of the Bharatas.

Greed, desire, cravings, and undertaking willful actions for the purpose of getting desired results” is often the way we deal with anxiety, fear, anger, despair, etc. It feels lousy, so we take action and try to get something we want, thinking that this will make us feel better. Sometimes this works for a little while, but it is only a temporary fix. You are going to have to discover what is behind the these things, and work your way to the other side of them. This is done by separating yourself from the state you wish to conquer.

You can’t be what you’re looking at.

You can't be what you can see.By noticing and watching your state, you automatically separate yourself from it. Once separated, you can put your Attention on it and see what’s going on. Once you know, you can use your innate power of choice to decide to either ignore it, experience it, or drum it out of the house (your body and brain).

This process can also be applied to tamas:

13
Ignorance, inertia, carelessness and confusion prevail when tamas is dominant, Descendent of Kuru. 

It is interesting to note that in these three verses on the predominance of sattva, rajas and tamas, only in the verses on rajas and tamas does Lord Krishna address Arjuna with an epitaph. With rajas, the epitaph is Bull of the Bharatas. With tamas the epitaph is Descendent of Kuru.

Rajas:  Bull of the Bharatas suggests someone (Arjuna) who is going to go forward like a bull to get more knowledge from Lord Krishna, put it into practice, and succeed. This is how this chapter started. Arjuna wants the Highest Knowledge, and to be enlightened and liberated. Bharata, the name of India, means ‘always seeking enlightenment’.

Tamas:  Descendent of Kuru suggests someone who has come from ego, the unenlightened state of taking the role of the doer of action. Kuru means ‘doer’. This tells us that seeing ourselves as doers is the unenlightened state in which tamas is prominent. At first, Arjuna was not enlightened (kuru), but now he is. He is an ordinary guy like the rest of us. If he made it past ignorance to enlightenment, so can we. Once this is accomplished, the real journey begins. 

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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