Baghawad Gita, Class 187: Chapter 14, Verses 22 to 27


Shloka 14:21

14.21 Arjuna said O Lord, by what signs is one (known) who has gone beyond these three alities? What is his behaviour, and how does he transcend these three alities?

Continuing his teachings Swamiji said today,after elaborating about the three gunas, and how they bind a human being, Sri Krishna pointed out the method of becoming gunathitha which is the only means to liberation and that method was given to us in the two important verses of 19 and 20. The anatma cannot become gunathitha while the atma is ever gunathitha; and through knowledge and by using the saguna anatma as a medium of transaction, I come to know that I am everthe gunathitha.

Now, Arjuna raised a question in the verse # 21 that we saw in the last class. His question has three parts: the first part is gunathitha lingam; the second part of the question is gunathitha acharaha; and the third part of the question is gunathithava sadhanam. Gunathitha lingam means what is the indicator by which I can know whether I have become gunathitha?

The second question is what are the gunathithaha acharaha or the way of the life, or the conduct of the gunathitha purusha or the Gyani?

The third question is: What are gunathithatva sadhanam or the means by which one can become a gunathithaha?

Sri Krishna now gives the answer in the following verses.

Shloka # 14.22:

14.22 The Blessed Lord said O son of Pandu, he neither dislikes illumination (knowledge), activity and delusion when they appear, nor does he long for them when they disappear.

In the first two verses, that is 22 and 23, Sri Krishna answers the first question related to gunathitha lingam; then in verses, 24 and 25, he talks about the gunathitha acharaha, the conduct, and then in the 26th verse, Sri Krishna answers the last question gunathithatva sadhana.

Regarding the indicator to know whether I am gunathitha or not, Sri Krishna says a gunathitha is one who is detached from his own body-mind complex. So gunathitha is one, who is detached from this own body-mind complex, and therefore, he is able to look at his own body-mind complex as part of the world and therefore he enjoys objectivity with regard to his own body-mind complex. So this objectivity, freedom from too much worry and anxiety with regard to one’s own body-mind complex is the indication of gunathitha. This Gyani, or this gunathitha, because of his very source of sadhana, enjoys a better health at the body and mind level, because he has gone through karma yoga, upasana yoga, etc. and therefore his mind is predominantly a satvic mind. A Gyani’s mind is a predominantly satvic mind, which he has attained through sadhana. And because of the very same sadhana, Gyani has got a strong mind, a refined mind, and a mind, which is free from violent reactions. In fact that is the definition of the satva pradhana mind and therefore, the reactions are less, to life’s situations, and even if there are reactions in the mind, they are milder and even if they are milder reactions, he has the capacity to recover quickly from them, as well. Thus a Gyani enjoys a healthy mind. But he knows that even if I enjoy a healthy mind as a result of the sadhanas, a 100% healthy mind is not possible even as there is no possibility of a 100 % healthy body.

Gyani accepts the fact that his mind is subject to the fluctuations of the three gunas. Even towards such a mind, Gyani does not violently react or get upset. And therefore, he has got objectivity with regard to his own mind, and therefore, if the mind has got certain problems, Gyani always has a healthy response.

What do you mean by healthy response? He is neither too indifferent nor inactive. At the same time if mind has certain disturbances he is not going to be over-reactive to that situation. He remembers the fact that the conditions of the mind have nothing to do with my purnathvam, because I am the atma who is different from the mind.

And therefore Sri Krishna says his mind enjoys prakasham, that is predominantly satva guna although Raji Guna and Tamo Guna also occur. Even a Gyani’s mind has satva, rajas and tamo gunas; the only difference is that his mind is dominantly satvic. He realizes that his mind is not 100% satvic. For that matter, no mind is 100% satvic. He realizes that there are times when tamo guna is predominant; and other times when  rajo guna is predominant. However, most of the time, he is satvic. And because of this the appreciation he does not hate his mind, based on its guna.

Furthermore, he is neither attached to satva guna or rajo guna or tamo guna, nor does he hate any of them; he knows these three gunas are inevitable compositions of everything including my own mind. And therefore he is able to accept his own mind. Accepting one’s own body and accepting one’s own mind is the indication of gunathithatvam.

Shloka 14.23:

14.23 He who, sitting like one indifferent, is not distracted by the three alities; he who, thinking that the alities alone act, remains firm and surely does not move;

Sri Krishna explains the same idea in this verse again. What do you mean by the acceptance of one’s own body-mind-complex; or objectivity, or a healthy response?

Generally, the problem an agyani faces is extreme response to situations. One extreme response is total indifference. It is a tamasic response. When the physical body has got some disease or sickness, imagine I do not feed the body at all; I am not careful at all, indifferent or carelessness or inaction is one extreme response, which is called tamasic response.

Then there is another extreme response, the moment the doctor says that you will have to go through the blood test, this fellow presses the panic button, this fellow is extremely worried about the body, the moment the body is sick, he imagines only the worst possible disease; would it be cancer etc?

So one extreme is inaction; another extreme is reaction. What is a healthy response; it is neither inaction nor reaction, but healthy action to improve the situation. If the body has some problem, there is no panic; at the same time there is no complacency as well; what needs to be done, I do.

Similarly, the mind is there; it is not going to be all the time sama, the mind will have disturbances and that I have to handle, neither inaction nor reaction, but whatever can be done to improve.

While the mind can be infinitely improved there is no question of 100% perfection of the mind, No Jivan muktha has got 100% perfect mind, just as he does not have 100% perfect body.

And therefore Sri Krishna says: Gyani appears as though he is indifferent, because when the body falls sick he does not violently react to the sickness, it appears as though he is indifferent to his health. But Sri Krishna says he is not indifferent; he is “as though” indifferent; as though indifferent, means there is no violent reaction but at the same time, there is no inaction also; whatever is to be done; he will do to the body; therefore, udasinavat means he is balanced with regard to his own body mind complex.

So even with the fluctuation of the three gunas he is not disturbed.

Then what is his attitude when these three gunas are there and fluctuate?

Even with this knowledge he remains balanced; without self-criticism, without self-judgment and without a low self-image. He remains with a balanced mind; So this objectivity with regards one’s own body and mind, is the indication of the gunathitha or a Gyani.


Shloka 14.24:

14.24 He to whom sorrow and happiness are alike, who is established in his own Self, to whom a lump of earth, iron and gold are the same, to whom the agreeable and the disagreeable are the same, who is wise, to whom censure and his own praise are the same;

So with the previous two verses, Sri Krishna has answered the first question. Now he answers the second question.

The second question is: How does he respond to the worldly situation? And answer is the same. Just as the body mind complex is made up of the three fluctuating gunas, the entire world is also made up of the three gunas alone and therefore you will have to interact with people who are satvic, which will be a happy interaction and you will have to interact with rajasic people, who are all the time tense and angry and irritable and you will also have to interact with those people who will not move at all. After half an hour of repetition, they will just ask what did you say? You will have to wait for eons for them to complete any job.  

So, these three types of people will be there eternally in the world; and not only that; one and the same person, himself or herself, will not be satvic all the time, or rajasic all the time, and therefore the people in your own family will change. And that is why they said with regard to marriage: Do not choose based on the character because nobody’s character will remain the same; Marriage is dharma based and not compatibility based according to our Shastra, because compatibility is impossible; and even if there is a compatibility, husband is also changing, wife is also changing, after a few years, the compatible couple would have changed sufficiently to become an incompatible couple.

Therefore different people are different, and the situations are also made up of the fluctuating prakrti; therefore situations will change. And Gyani accepts this fact of the creation and the very acceptance gives him a balanced state of mind.


And therefore Sri Krishna says Gyani is one who always abides in his higher nature that is Guna athita.

So he always abides in gunathitha atma svarupam. And what do you mean by abiding in atma? Abiding in the atma means not forgetting the fact that I am gunathithaha. Self-abidance is not forgetting one’s real nature. Just as a sangita vidhvan, whatever song he sings, one corner of the mind is aware of the tampura sruti. It is not that he thinks of sruti alone;  it is just that in one corner of the mind he is aware of the sruti and whenever there is a doubt he will go behind and check up. So, just as a musician is aware of the sruti, Gyani is aware of the sruti. What is sruti, here? Vedaha and what is the teaching of the sruti? It is that, I am not the changing guna. While the body is saguna and world is saguna, I am different from both the saguna body and saguna world. This constant awareness is called svasthaha.

And because of this awareness, he is samadukhasukha. There is no resistance to favorable and unfavorable situations, which are inevitable in life. Now desha, kala and prarabhdha, these three things will affect our life all the time. Desha: if you are in a tropical country, you are affected by weather.

Kala, the time will affect the situation, the body will grow older and the people around will grow older.

Finally our own prarabhdha karmas will also affect us.

So the prarabhdha will also fluctuate and they are bound to bring sukham and dukham. Health and ill health; financially better or adverse situation; they are bound to happen; and when such situations come; he is samaha. Samaha, is not indifference to the situation, nor is it overreaction to the situation but it is doing whatever can be done to improve the situation, all done with poise.

Therefore samadukhasukha; he will have neither raga nor dvesha, because things will come and go; gold will come; gold will go; wealth will come, wealth will go.

Previously, it was said that he was balanced towards sukham and dukham, now he says, he is balanced towards the sukha dukha sadhanams or things that are the cause of sukham and dukham; pleasant and unpleasant situations.

He is balanced towards criticisms and glorification coming from people. Whatever you do some people will glorify; and there will be some other people to criticize, if you want 100% approval from all people, you can never do anything in life. Therefore, approval seeking is an indication of low self-image. And therefore a Gyani whatever be the course of action he has to take, he will see the pros and cons, the demerits and merits, and if he has to take opinion from known people, he will take, perhaps he will consult shastra, and thereafter, once he has decided a course of action, he will plunge into that; whatever be the opinion of others.

Sri Rama has been criticized; Sri Krishna has been criticized; Shankaracharya has been criticized. Nobody can escape the criticism of others; and therefore do not be carried away by ninda and stuti. And if somebody criticizes and enjoys in the process he says, you be happy, because at least somebody is happy criticizing me.

So he is one who is balanced in censure and praise.

Shloka 14.25

14.25 He who is the same under honour and dishonour, who is eally disposed both towards the side of the friend and of the foe, who has renounced all enterprise,-he is said to have gone beyond the alities.

Samatvam is further explained here.

Again you cannot escape maanam or apamanam. Thus a a sambhandi may feel he is not respected.

The difference between Nindha sthuthi and Mana apamana is: Ninda Sthuti is at verbal level while mana apamana is at Kayika or body level.

Gyani is samaha or equanimous with both.

Again he is the same towards friends and foes.

While a Gyani does not have enemy, but there are people who look upon Gyani as their enemy.

Towards both types of people, he maintains samatvam.

He has given up binding activities.

Arambhaha means all the binding activities; and parityagi means the one who has given up. What do you mean by binding activity? A binding activity is that by the fulfillment of which I consider that I will become purnaha. When I expect purnatvam through an activity, it is a binding activity, because there are expectations.

Non-binding activity is one which is done out of purnatvam. And therefore the success of the activity and the failure of the activity has nothing to do with my purnatvam. At the anatma level activities are going on; but whatever happens at the anatma level, aham purnaha asmi. Even the activity to improve your own body mind should not be a binding activity. I should remember I tried to improve the body and mind, but that also has nothing to do with my purnatvam.

With this awareness, I enjoy improving everything, including the improvement of the body mind complex. Such a lifestyle is a game.

This is the life of a jivan muktha. For him, whole life is a game; both the success and failure has nothing to do with my purnatvam.  So, he has samatvam and freedom from binding activities.

Shloka 14.26:

14.26 And he who serves Me through the unswerving Yoga of Devotion, he, having gone beyond these alities, alifies for becoming Brahman.

The third question as to what is the means of ‘becoming’ gunathitha is answered here. In fact, Sri  Krishna has already answered that question in verse No.19 and 20. He says Gyanam is the only means of “becoming” (becoming within quotes) gunathitha.

Arjuna’s present question is what is the means of getting Gyanam; or what is the means of becoming Gunathita. What do we have to do?

Question can also be stated as how to attain Gyanam by which one can become gunathitha.

And Sri Krishna says the means of Gyanam is bhakthi. So bhakthi yoga consisting of karma and upasana, which we have, saw in the 12th chapter; that consists of five levels of bhakthi.

That bhakthi yoga is the sadhana.

Suppose a person worships me with bhakthi yoga consisting of five levels as explained in the 12th chapter, and and he worships me with unflinching devotion he will certainly cross over the three Gunas.

And what do you mean avyabhichara bhakthi? For that you have to go to the 7th chapter, where he talked about arta bhakthi, artharthi bhakthi and jignasu bhakthi.

That jignasu bhakthi is here called avyabhichari bhakthi. A bhakthi through which I seek the Lord and Lord alone; through that one who worships me that person will certainly cross over the three gunas. In this Bhakti, he will be going through all levels of sadhana consisting of karma, upasana and the finally vedanta sravana, manana and nidhidhyasana.

Going through all these levels, he becomes eligible to become one with Brahman.

Brahma bhava means Brahma svarupam. Brahma svarupa means nirguna svarupam, because Brahman is nirgunam. Nirguna svarupam means gunathithatvam. Such a person will attain Gyana and become gunathitha.

With this all the three questions are answered. Now Sri Krishna concludes the teaching:

Shloka 14.27:

14.27 For I am the Abode of Brahman-the indestructible and immutable, the eternal, the Dharma and absolute Bliss.

Here Sri Krishna says: Arjuna, that Brahman which you want to attain which is gunathitha is none other than I myself. So I myself am the embodiment of that Brahman.

What type of Brahman am I? He is one who is immortal, free from decay, changeless and free from all forms of modifications. One who is beyond time, and one who is reached through dharma. One who is the goal of dharma. And the word dharma here means the vedic teaching. So, he is the one who is the destination of all the scriptural teachings and one who is unmixed with sorrow or the ananda swarupa.

So such a changeless and ananda svarupam Brahman,

I am, and that I, you will reach by following this sadhana.

So with this Sri Krishna concludes the teaching.

Thus is concluded the 14th chapter of the Gita, which is happily titled gunathraya vibhaga, the classification of the three gunas, satva, rajas and tamas, and also guna athitham brahma. Guna thraya, guna athitha vibhaga yoga.

Take Away:

The three gunas and marriage:

Marriage is dharma based and not compatibility based according to our Shastra, because compatibility is impossible; and even if there is a compatibility, husband is also changing, wife is also changing and after a few years, the compatible couple would have changed sufficiently to become an incompatible couple.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy