Chapter XIV: 11-13
|When through every gate
(sense) in this body, the wisdom-light shines, then it may be known that sattva is
Greed, activity, the undertaking of actions, restlessness, longing - these arise when rajas is predominant, Oh Arjuna.
Darkness, inertness, heedlessness and delusion - these arise when tamas is predominant, Oh Arjuna.
Here and in the seventeenth (and part of the eighteenth) chapter, Krishna classifies the three gunas in great detail. Our endeavor should always be to keep clear of unnecessary tamas (sleep, for instance, may be necessary), and turn even rajasa energy sattva-ward. Even sattva is not the goal; but it is the quality nearest the center. It is a transparent veil and hence allows a full vision of the reality. In all that we engage ourselves in, if we avoid the tamasa category and increase the sattva in us, so that it will utilize the rajasa energy for our own and others' spiritual evolution, we shall soon discover the path to sattva-transcendence.
When sattva prevails, there is wisdom and light in all the senses. They do not distract the mind. Knowledge of this will help us utilize these periods for meditation on God (which will sustain the sattva) and for spiritual ministry.
When rajas prevails, there is restlessness within and the urge to be active. One may not be able to completely avoid this, nor is it always necessary to avoid it. Narada in his Bhakti Sutras assures us that even desire, egoism, and so on can be directed towards God. When there is longing for a worldly object, it is possible with good preliminary training, to turn the longing Godward!
When tamas prevails and there is stupidity in the mind, we should avoid its expression in actions and, by various methods like yoga asana, pranayama, a brisk walk, and so on, drive tamas away.
Knowledge of the gunas for understanding of oneself is a great help.
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