Baghawad Gita, Class 185: Chapter 19, Verses 13 to 19


Shloka # 14.13:

O descendant of the Kuru dynasty, when tamas predominates these surely [i.e. without exception.-M.S.] come into being: non-discrimination and inactivity, inadvertence and delusion.


Continuing his teachings Swamiji said today, analyzing the three Gunas Sri Krishna has dealt with three topics: Lakshanam; Bandha Prakaraha; and Lingam.

Finally Sri Krishna discussed the topic of lingam, the indicator to find out which particular guna is dominant in us. And there, he pointed out that when satva guna is dominant Gyanendriyas will be more operational, whereas when rajo guna is dominant, karmendriyas will be more functional; whereas when tamo guna is dominant, neither Gyanendriyas nor karmendriyas will be operational. I hope you remember that Gyanendriyas means instruments responsible for knowledge and karmendriyas means instruments responsible for activity; therefore Sri Krishna said in the 13th verse, Tamo guna will suppress the Gyanendriyas and therefore all the Gyanendriyas will be dull. And similarly when Tamo guna is predominant, it will suppress the karmendriyas also, and there will be no dynamism and there will be no activity and there will be no ambition as well and laziness will dominate. Therefore a tamo guni should never attempt to directly become satva pradhana. For, him only Karma can help where he has to start with Sakama Karma then graduate to Nishkama Karma. 

Now Sri Krishna is going to discuss the fourth topic, Gathihi, what happens to Each Guna pradhana jiva after death?

Shloka # 14.14:

When an embodied one undergoes death while sattva is exclusively prodominant, then he attains the taintless worlds of those who know the highest (entities).

Here Satvagati is discussed. Dehabhrta in shloka means Jivatma; Pralayam means death. Suppose a Jivatma dies when Satva is dominant in it, is it a Gyani or Agyani?

Now, a Gyani does not travel at all. His sukshma sharira does not travel at all. He just dissolves. So, here, we are dealing with an Agyani (Satva Guni). He will go to higher lokas. He will enjoy greater level of happiness. He reaches Loka of great Upasakas; of Saguna Ishvara Upasakas; so he has upward travel.

Shloka # 15:

When one dies while rajas predominates, he is born among people attached to activity. Similarly, when one dies while tamas predominates, he takes birth among the stupid species.

Here travel of Rajo guna and Tamo guna Pradhana Jivatma is discussed.

Rajo Guna Pradhana Jivatma, after death, will be reborn in a loka where people are given to karma or Manushya Loka or Bhu Loka. In Upper Lokas one can only exhaust Punya karmas but one cannot earn Punya or Papa Karmas. It is the same with lower Lokas as well.

Now if a Tamo Guna Pradhana Jivatma dies, he will be reborn in lower planes of existence; the seven lower lokas are: athala, vithala, suthala, rasatala, mahatala, talatala and pathala; either the people will go to the lower lokas, or even if they are born in Bhu loka, they will not get manushya janma where free will and buddhi are there; but they will be born as animals or plants where also they will never have a freewill to acquire fresh karmas and that is why they are called mudhayoni.

Thus Gathihi of the three Gunas has been discussed.

Shloka # 16:

They say that the result of good work is pure and is born of sattva. But the result of rajas is sorrow; the result of tamas is ignorance.

Here Sri Krishna comes to the fifth topic of Phalam of each Guna.

Now, Gathihi is consequence after death whilePhalam is consequence felt in this life itself.

A Satvik person’s activities are Punyam (balance, tranquility, purity etc); one can feel shanti when in front of such a person while his house is a home.

Rajasik person has great activity; but there is tension, anxiety and intolerance. Sri Krishna says Dukham is present; flare ups occur; Himsa is present; it is not a happy home; it is just a house. Home means a place where there is harmony amongst its members. In a house, material prosperity may be there but inner peace does not exist. Nimmadi ( tamil word for inner peace) is not there. In a Satvic person material accomplishments are fewer but there is greater inner peace.

Tamasic person; here ignorance is perpetuated; advantage of human birth is lost; they live like animals.

These are the three Phalams of each respective guna. Thus fifth topic is also over.

Shloka # 17:

From sattva is born knowledge [Knowledge acired through the sense-organs.], and from rajas, verily, avarice. From tamas are born inadvertence and delusion as also ignorance, to be sure.

So the same idea is repeated in this verse also. That is the consequence of the predominance of the three gunas in this life itself.

Out of satva guna Gyana is born, because when satva guna is dominant, the Gyanendriyas are all operational and bright, and therefore the learning capacity; the absorbing capacity; the retaining capacity; the building up capacity, everything is high. Therefore, knowledge increases in leaps and bounds, whether it is material knowledge or even spiritual knowledge; for both knowledge; satva is required. So sattvatsanjayate Gyanam.

With Rajo Guna, persons’s Lobha (greed, ambitions) are dominant. He has no Tripti.

With Tamo Guna, Pramadha is born in person. Pramadha means he becomes delusional, he has ommisions, conflicts, and is indecisive; and perpetuation of ignorance continues.

Shloka # 18:

People who conform to sattva go higher up; those who conform to rajas stay in the middle; those who conform to tamas, who conform to the actions of the lowest ality, go down.

Here Sri Krishna is talking of Gathihi topic again.

People with Satva Guna go to higher Lokas. Six higher lokas are: bhuvah, suvah, mahaha, janaha, tapaha, and satyam. Out 14 lokas, 6 are up, 7 are down. Do not ask about the missing one.

What about the rajasic people? They neither go up nor down, they remain in the manushya loka or bhu loka and they stagnate; here plus point is that they have not come down; the minus point is that they have not gone up; therefore both are there.

Those who continue in the Tamo guna, they continue downwards.

Incidentally we should remember, when we say svarga loka is higher, patala loka is lower etc. the word higher and lower do not indicate any spatial location.

The higher and lower discussed is a relative thing; it means in a different time and space. So, for the people who are in America, higher is different from for those who are in India.

Therefore, higher and lower have nothing to do with particular time and space, because according to shastra, each loka has a different time and space. So we can never locate another loka in terms of our time and space. If you have to understand this, it is like our dream objects. So you experience objects in dream, they are all located in dream-time and space; you can never talk about the location of dream object in terms of this particular time and space.

You can never locate the objects of one loka in the time and space of another loka. Then how do you say svarga is higher? There, the higher, does not mean spatial location at all. And similarly, time location also we cannot talk about and that is why in dream, you obtain months of experience, in terms of waking time, in 1-1/2 minutes. During that brief time itself, your grandson is married and had children and they also got married. Why so? because dream time is different from our time. That is why when we offer food etc. for the pitrus or devas, we do not have to feed them every 3 hours; as in this loka. For the deva lokas, our one year is just 1 day for them. That is why the word higher is not in terms of time and space but in terms of quality. higher loka means qualitative superior loka, which means the body and sense organs enjoyed by them is of a higher refinement. And similarly the sense objects also are of higher refinement. Like within the earth itself, in some country’s, everything is good, including water. They say in some other country, they can drink water directly from the tap. Here, even if you buy Bisleri, one has to suspect. Why? We are in this loka.

So, therefore, when we find the relative refinement within the bhu loka itself, what to talk of higher loka? where is this Loka? Svarga is here and now, you cannot say beyond the cloud, etc.  In fact, you are able to change this body even while here; suppose you can remove this physical body and put on Indra Shariram, then, here itself you can experience svarga, therefore the field of experience depends upon the type of medium that you use. So if you have got a top body, then you hear certain sound, which you do not hear now. Now even the normal sound is itself difficult to hear. If you have ‘dog-ears’; when everybody says it is silent for you it will be very noisy. And therefore remember, different lokas are different planes of experience. It has nothing to do with our time and space and that is why, by travelling in this loka, you can never reach svarga loka. Just as by taking the vehicle of the jagrat avastha, can you travel and reach the Kasi of the dream; there is no corridor or road connecting the jagrat prapancha and svapna prapancha; by travelling any amount of distance in svapna, you cannot reach jagrat avastha; by travelling any amount of distance in waking state, you cannot reach svapna loka, there is no corridor connecting these two lokas. Any amount of travel, you cannot reach svarga. For reaching svarga, what is the first qualification?

One has to die. With this body; in this time and this space and this vehicle, you can never, because it is in a totally different plane. Thus, they are all in terms of the quality, not in terms of spatial location.

Shloka # 14.19

When the witness sees none other than the alities as the agent, and knows that which is superior [i.e. different from.] to the alities, he attains My nature.

So with the previous shloka Sri Krishna completes the analysis of the three gunas, which he started from verse 5. Through this analysis, he revealed some fundamental points; the first point is that nobody can escape from these three gunas. The body mind complex is called the ahamkara, with the reflected consciousness, the cidabhasa.

This ahamkara, which is my lower I, which is called the ego, can never escape from these three gunas. Either I have to be satva pradhana or I have to be Rajo pradhana or I have to be Tamo pradhana; you can only reshuffle the gunas; the ahamkara cannot escape from the gunas. That is point No.1.

And the second important point that Sri Krishna indicated is, whatever is the type of guna, bondage cannot be avoided. Because each guna binds a person and that is why the second topic discussed was as to how each guna binds a person. So, from that it is clear, each guna will bind; only difference is the method of binding would be different; like a person asking should I kill by shooting or cutting the head; which is better; this is better or that is better; the result is still death only. The mode of destruction may vary. Therefore all these three gunas are going to bind me, how the three gunas bind we saw, and a satvic ahamkara will naturally be addicted to a particular type of environment and if that is not available, it will be disturbed. And what is the environment we seek; one that is knowledge-friendly environment.

Similarly rajasic ahamkara is going to seek another type of set up; it will be attached to; it will be addicted to; if not, it is going to be unhappy. You ask him to remain in a room for a long time; he will break down the wall.

Similarly tamasic person; expects his own environment; and therefore all the three gunas are going to bind;

And therefore what is the solution; the only solution is I should transcend the three gunas. I should transcend the three gunas; I should become guna athitha; that is the only solution.

Now the question is: How can I become guna athithaha? guna athithaha, is another word for Nirguna, remember. Now here alone, we face the problem. Ahamkara is nothing but the body-mind complex with the reflected consciousness and therefore ahamkara can never become guna athithaha. So the distressing news is that ahamkara can never escape from the three gunas. Ahamkara by a process of change can become only a satva guna pradhana to rajo guna pradhana to tama guna pradhana; therefore ahamkara cannot become guna athithaha.

Now the next question is other than ahamkara, is there another entity in me? What is the other entity other than the body-mind complex and the reflected Consciousness?

What else is there? Do not say there is nothing. If there should be a reflected consciousness, (if the mirror and reflected face are there, there must be something other than the mirror and the reflected face); what is that? It is the original face, without which reflection is impossible. That original one, is called the chit, the original consciousness which I called sakshi chaitanyam; the higher nature of the personality.

And this higher I, the sakshi has got what guna; or Consciousness has got which guna?

The consciousness fortunately or unfortunately is free from all the gunas and therefore, the higher I, is nirgunaha; and therefore the question is can the sakshi become gunathithaha? That is the question; What did we ask first? Can ahamkara become guna athithaha? The answer was ahamkara couldn’t become gunathithaha.

Now the question is: Can Sakshi become guna athithaha? What will be the answer?

If you say it cannot, it is wrong; if you say, it can, it is also wrong. You cannot say that Sakshi cannot become guna athitha, you cannot say sakshi can become guna athitha, because there is no question of becoming guna athitha, because Sakshi is already guna athitha; therefore it need not become guna athithaha.

So, ahamkara cannot become guna athithaha, sakshi need not become guna athithaha and therefore who becomes guna athitha. Nobody becomes guna thitha; therefore the very question how to become guna athitha is wrong.

OK. Now I have understood. Now tell me: how to become guna athithaha? If you insist upon an answer to that question, I can give you only a compromised version of the answer: you become guna athithaha, by shifting your identification from ahamkara to sakshi. You become guna athihaha, “become” in quotation, you become guna athithaha, when you shift your identification from the lower I; the ego to the higher I; the consciousness; From anatma to atma; from body to consciousness; from kshetram to KshetraGnya. As long as I take myself to be the bodymind complex, I will be saguna ahamkara. As long as I identify, with my body-mind complex, I will be saguna ahamkara, and as along as I am saguna ahamkara, I can never escape from samsaara.

Therefore the only way is, to shift the identification from the body-mind-complex to the sakshi chaitanyam. Instead of saying I am the body with a sakshi, you have to practice, reversing the statement; saying, I am the sakshi, with an incidental and temporary body given by the Lord.

And, incidentally, for the sake of transaction, there is nothing wrong in identifying; but this is done with an awareness; just like an actor identifies with the role; with the awareness that I am not the role.

So therefore you need not disclose this outside, but you remember the fact that I am ever the guna athitha sakshi, and I am functioning in the world through the saguna ahamkara, and as long as I am playing the role, I have to do everything properly, and therefore the only solution is knowing the higher nature and identifying with it.

And therefore, in these two verses; which are the most important verses of the 14th chapter, namely 19 and 20th, Sri Krishna tells you can become guna athithaha only by knowing your higher nature and it is not enough that you know, but you should learn to identify with your higher nature; and look upon the ahamkara as a temporary vesha. Make your life into a drama with the ahamkara role. ahamkara is only the vesha. Ahamkara atma viveka is going to be discussed in the next two verses.

Take Away:

When we say svarga loka is higher, patala loka is lower etc. the word higher and lower do not indicate any spatial location.

The higher and lower discussed is a relative thing; it means in a different time and space.

All the three gunas bind us. And therefore the only solution is I should transcend the three gunas.

How to transcend is addressed below:

As long as I take myself to be the bodymind complex, I will be saguna ahamkara. As long as I identify, with my body-mind complex, I will be saguna ahamkara, and as along as I am saguna ahamkara, I can never escape from samsaara.

Therefore the only way is to shift the identification from the body-mind-complex to the sakshi chaitanyam. Instead of saying I am the body with a sakshi, you have to practice, reversing the statement; saying, I am the sakshi, with an incidental and temporary body given by the Lord.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy