Action – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 23-28

Action

Previously:
Knowledge, Action and Agent are of three kinds according to the three gunas. — Verse 19

Three Kinds of Action

23 — Sattvic Action (pleasant and illuminating)
Action that is in accordance with scripture and free of attachment and aversion, which is performed without motivation for the results, is said to be sattvic.Meditation is a sattvic action

When one discovers Truth contained in scriptural injunctions, one becomes free of attachment, for attachment is no longer relevant. Then, attachment no longer determines action, and like and dislike also become irrelevant. Then one naturally performs action without consideration of self, and is headed for Liberation.

24 — Rajasic Action (passionate and excited)
Rajas - ExcitementBut self-motivated action performed with effort of will for the purpose of fulfilling desires, is declared to be rajasic.

When action is performed for the purpose of personal gain, the will is automatically engaged. This is what ‘will’ is. Acting to fulfill a desire, no matter what it is, always engages the will. 

25 — Tamasic Action (dark, prone to error)Tamas, dark and prone to error
Action undertaken out of ignorance with no consideration of the consequences of loss or injury to others, is tamasic.

A tamasic person is not self-motivated. His actions do not include pursuing interest in God/Truth. He may like the idea of having a spiritual experience, but he will only credit it if someone else gives it to him. Even if he finds a teacher who inspires him, he may return to that teacher, not for more knowledge or guidance, but for more inspiration.


Using willpower always produces imbalance in the body, feelings and mind. Trying to recover it, we engage our willpower, increasing the imbalance, and causing us to force or resist. Forcing and resisting are two sides of the same coin, and both are either rajasic or tamasic

In Surrender Meditation we surrender the use of our will to God — “Thy will be done, O Lord, not mine.”  The use of willpower in meditation is not in our best interest, and affect others as well … even people we don’t know. So even though we may reclaim the use of our will outside of meditation, we know where to put it when we meditate: outside the meditation room.

Three Kinds of Agents

The following three kinds of Agents address people who see themselves as doers of action, which we now know is not real. Nevertheless, it seems like we are doers of action, so we are going to see how this looks with the gunas, the real cause of action, running the show. 

26 — Sattvic Agent (pleasant, kind, illuminating)
Sattva - pleasant & kindFree of attachments and self-praise, resolved and not affected by success or failure, such an agent is sattvic.

You are a sattvic Agent when, free of considerations of success or failure or self, you will quit all attachments and pride. Until this time, the gunas rule. But when you are in sync with the Real You (the eternal non-doer), you are no longer subject to the sirens of ignorance, and the gunas bow at your feet — they are still there, but they no longer control you.

27 — Rajasic Agent (recklessly excited, self-serving)
Rajas - Ambitious & AgressivePassionately desiring the results of their actions, greedy, violent-natured and impure, influenced by happiness and unhappiness, such an agent is rajasic.

You’ll do it if you like it, you won’t if you don’t. If this fits you, you are a rajasic agent, and your karmic bondage rules. Even though it is the gunas that cause all action in nature, you experience action as your own doing. You have made yourself a slave to the influences of the gunas, and are bond by your karma.  

28 — Tamasic Agent (dark, lazy, procrastinating)
Tamas - lazy & procrastatingUndisciplined, unrefined, inflexible, wicked, overbearing, slothful, noncommittal and procrastinating, such an agent is tamasic.

It goes without saying that you are not one of these people! But you probably know someone who is, or know of them. These are people who never change, and never in their lifetime will they ever change. And they’re proud of it. They may call it tradition, or they may say, “That’s what the Good Book says,” all the while remaining ignorant of its meaning out of pure laziness. Or they say, “Like father like son” and brag about it. They beat their wives and children because they were beaten. And on it goes. This is tamasic action.

Knowledge, action and agent are of three kinds because there are three gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas

In this world, nature is always active in these three ways to greater and lesser of degrees and combinations. When we believe ourselves to be the doers of actions, we acquire karma of three kinds according to these three modes of nature. We are responsible people, and we hope we are good enough to acquire good karma.

But there is a trick here, for by identifying yourself as responsible, you identify yourself as the Agent of Action. This keeps you in bondage and compelled to return again and again, life after life, and always short on happiness. But what else is there? What are we to do?

There is only one escape from this continued cycling: You must become a serious seeker of Truth/God, and practice the ‘God-practice’ Lord Krishna is teaching Arjuna in this Gita. You must attain enlightenment, and you must create a regular meditation practice to put your knowledge into action and allow for the Real You to emerge.   

All action occurs in nature, and You are not nature. You are You. Period.

The Real You 

You are a god in a body made of God being human.

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

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Beyond Bondage, Bhagavad Gita, Ch 14, Vs 21-27

Yogini liberated from bondage of the gunas

21
Arjuna spoke:
What are the signs of those who have gone beyond the three gunas? How do they act? How do they get beyond these three gunas?

Alternate translation:
What are the characteristics of someone who has transcended the three gunas? How do they do it, and what does it look like?

22 – 23
The Blessed Lord spoke:
He neither likes nor dislikes the presence or absence of illumination, passion or ignorance. Situated in the neutrality of sameness, he knows that these are merely the gunas in motion, and unshaken, he stands firm.   

One who has transcended the three gunas has transcended the like or dislike of the enlightenment of sattva, the desire-driven activities of rajas, and the non-enlightenment of tamas. Knowing all this to be merely the gunas in action, one is not fooled by them, but remains firm in the practice of yoga (union). 

24 – 25
He is self-composed and the same in difficulty and ease, equally disposed toward the desirable and the undesirable, and looks upon a clod, a stone, and a piece of gold as the same. He remains the same in pleasant and unpleasant circumstances. He is intelligent, and accepts both praise and blame with equanimity. He remains the same in honor and dishonor, treats both friend and enemy alike, and avoids new undertakings. Thus he is said to have transcended the guṇas. 

Anandamayi Ma
Anandamayi Ma

I can see how people might stop their sadhana when reaching this point. This is not familiar territory. One feels like a failure and is self-critical for being useless and not getting anything done. One feels apathetic, and it seems as if one were steeped in tamas. However, this turns out to be the sameness, or indifference, mentioned in these verses, but it is so unfamiliar that it looks like tamas. So it can take a while to see it for what it really is: the onset of trigunatita (‘three-gunas-gone-beyond’).

Shirdi Sai Baba
Shirdi Sai Baba

Have you ever felt intimidated by God, imagining that seeing God, He would be stoic and immovable, and a little inaccessible? I know what you mean. I think about my lineage and see them this way. And yes, I feel … well, I don’t know whether to say ‘humble’ or ‘overawed’ or a little of both. But it turns out that what I am really seeing is a group of people who have transcended the three gunas. There is a striking difference between stoicism or aloofness and trigunatita — they have ‘gone beyond the gunas‘. Nothing rattles them. They fit the descriptions in these verses.

26 – 27
Serving Me with undeviated devotion and transcending the gunas, he becomes absorbed into Brahman (Absolute God). 
For I stand firmly in immortal imperishable Brahman, and the eternal dharma of unending Happiness.

  • Undeviated devotionbhakti (devotion) yoga (uniting) seva (service to guru, the teacher).
  • I – Lord Krishna
  • Eternal dharma – the way things are in the Absolute
Swami Kripalvananda (Kripalu)
Swami Kripalvanandaji (Kripalu)

These verses tell us how we can become absorbed into Brahman: By singular devotion to God to the extent that everything you do in your life is in service to God and Guru. You are fixed on That, so what other outcome could there possibly be?

You become what you worship.

In this way, you become absorbed into Absolute God, and the activities of the gunas no longer have any effect on you. Then, because Absolute God is beyond the gunas, your absorption into God is inevitable. 

To apply this to your own situation, just remember who Krishna really is: He is Arjuna’s guru, so by devotion and service to your guru you can overpower the influences of the gunas and become absorbed in Brahman (Absolute God). Without taking this road, there is no escaping the gunas for human beings. The best most of us can do is to aspire to become more sattvic overall, for sattva is the guna closest to what we are really like as Divine Individuals.

There is, however, this state of trigunatita (‘three-gunas-gone beyond’) in which one is not in a state produced by any of the gunas. Instead, one’s state is Real rather than phenomenal. This state can be experienced in yoga meditation done correctly: the surrender of oneself to Absolute God in meditation.

All actions are the interactions of the gunas of Nature. 

All action occurs in Nature, but the Real You is not Nature, and is therefore not involved in action. It is the predominance of a guna that causes certain actions, not You. What You really are is an eternal non-doer.

This chapter gives examples of what causes certain actions to take place, and how you can rise above these guna influences. The state that is beyond them all surfaces when the individual is not in a state of doership — when there is no sense of ‘doing’ going on. This takes place in small bites through meditation practiced correctly, and eventually becomes the full and complete state of trigunatita.

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

Surrender Meditation

Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga
Spontaneous Experiential Meditation

Slip into a natural state of meditation with ease. Experience the relief of effortlessly reaching a true meditative state without using your will.

Receive shaktipat and become initiated into the original meditation of ancient masters from which meditation techniques were derived.

Increase your knowledge base and begin Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga: Surrender Meditation. Though correct knowledge you will increase your progress by a thousand times, and bring about even deeper meditation and amazing experiences.

Shaktipat Intensives with Durga Ma are held in Phoenix, Arizona


“Every step you take pulls every one of us with you.”

The Whole World Is One Family

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

Surrender Meditation

Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga
Spontaneous Experiential Meditation

Slip into a natural state of meditation with ease. Experience the relief of effortlessly reaching a true meditative state without using your will.

Receive shaktipat and become initiated into the original meditation of ancient masters from which meditation techniques were derived.

Increase your knowledge base and begin Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga: Surrender Meditation. Though correct knowledge you will increase your progress by a thousand times, and bring about even deeper meditation and amazing experiences.

Shaktipat Intensives with Durga Ma are held in Phoenix, Arizona


“Every step you take pulls every one of us with you.”

The Whole World Is One Family