Post By: Vishwanath Iyer Published on: December 13, 2016 Reading time: 28 minutes
School of Yoga is profoundly grateful to Saṃskṛta scholars and academics Pijus Kanti Pal (email@example.com) and Dolon Chanpa Mondal for their support in Saṃskṛta transliteration and quality control.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa said: I will now teach you that knowledge of the Self (jñāna) which will enable you to merge with the source (Brahman).
Example: A person is using an ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) for the first time after the bank issued an ATM card to him. Let us imagine the person’s state of anxiety when he/she stands in front of the ATM.
Consequently, an awareness of having found a solution builds in the person. This is vijñāna. This results in increased confidence in the Self, an increase in asmitā (I am this or self-esteem) which is called jñāna.
Tamas (Inertia): This aspect is characterised by fear, laziness, indolence, confusion, delusion etc. A person with a predominance of this state is generally vacillatory, lethargic, prone to giving excuses and, indecisive.
Rajas (Passion): This state governs nearly all forms of passion and is driven primarily by desire. As a result, a person in this state would typically focus on personal achievement and gratification, be result oriented, dominating, aggressive, impatient etc.
Sattva (Harmony): This state is characterised by harmony. It is demonstrated when a person tries to balance result with resource or process, task with quality and relationships etc. A person in this state avoids confrontation, but in a conflict situation, is calm, absorbs emotional outburst and remains objective.
Obviously, no one is endowed with one attribute only. The mix of attributes changes according to the situation, desires, perception of threat and this changes continuously as the situation unfolds. This means that the three attributes constantly change in composition with each other, with each attribute trying to gain ascendancy over the other, depending on the quality of change and its impact on one’s self-worth (asmitā).
Arjuna said: What are the characteristics of him who has transcended the guṇa-s? How does one rise above the guṇa-s?
Śrī Kṛṣṇa said: The qualities of a person who has transcended the guṇa-s are;
From first principles, we know that;
How does puruṣa stop experiencing?
Since Yoga is from India, it seems appropriate that one should explore the possibility of applying Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s advice in all the above chapters to India. Obviously, once this is done, the litmus test for Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā would be its applicability to humanity as sanātana-dharma.
What is a country? What would constitute the personality of a country? How would the principles of guṇa apply to a collective society of people such as a country?
To start, a country is established by a group of people with a common culture and purpose. The individuality/ personality (sva-tantra) of a country is the way it is perceived by its people, other peoples and countries. However, this perception is an outcome of the way people perceive their own country which would be reflected in the way they carry themselves and behave.
For example, if the people had a balanced view of themselves and behaved in a responsible manner, that country would be considered to be in harmony with its own nature (sāttvika). Next, if the people of a country behaved in an aggressive manner and bullied others, they would be considered as a volatile or greedy country (rājasika). Finally, if the people of a country were deluded, confused and weary or if the people did not resonate with their government, it would be a deluded country (tāmasika). Obviously, no single guṇa would dominate public discourse, but people’s conditioning (dharma) would determine their individuality (sva-tantra) which would get reflected in the way the citizens and the country behaved in the environment.
Since people live in the country for betterment and harmonic living, is there a template on which a country’s development could be based? Ancient texts from the sub-continent talk about puruṣārtha-s (puruṣa = human + artha = reason) which means reason-for-living or raison-d’etre of human existence.
Puruṣārtha principle states that people live for artha = material gain, kāma = sensual pleasure, dharma = harmony, mokṣa = freedom from seeking. Importantly, for balanced living, dharma must be resident in artha = material gain and kāma = sensual pleasure.
The question that needs answering is, does freedom-from-seeking (mokṣa) fit? Absolutely! After people have achieved material (artha) enjoyment and sensual pleasure (kāma) in harmony (dharma), they begin to look for an answer to the question, “What is life?”, “Why am I alive?”, “Does life have a purpose?” etc. This takes them into an esoteric world that culminates with absolute freedom from materiality (māyā). This freedom comes when the person has cognised the Self and results in the person having no further desire-to-seek (mokṣa).
Therefore, any country that wishes to exist as a balanced individual (sātvika-sva-tantra) must be able to create for its citizens, circumstances for them to comprehend their Self, the reason thei are alive. Not encouraging people to seek freedom from materiality (mokṣa) would condition people into viewing materiality as life’s sole objective. Also, practice of mokṣa brings with it, finer altruistic sentiments (bhāva) of charity (dāna), tolerance (kṣamā), non-violence (ahiṃsā) etc.
So, any society that wishes to develop its personality must develop the finer qualities of behaviour control (yama) and self-restraint (niyama) of its people, as detailed in rāja-yoga (check Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā, chapter 17 for more on yama and niyama).
Obviously, behaviour control (yama) and self-restraint (niyama) cannot be taught overnight, so they need to be inculcated in children when they are young. This means that the education system of the country must systematically teach yama (behaviour control) and niyama (self-restraint) and encourage its citizens to discuss its values as well as practice the concept in civic life. This will condition people to live a life of natural peace (dharma) while they are enjoying material (artha) and sensual (kāma) pleasures and prepare them for absolute freedom (mokṣa) later.
How can the principles of puruṣārtha-s (reason for human existence) be applied to the management of the country? Artha is obviously material well-being, availability of food, shelter, clothing and infrastructure such as transport, electricity, availability water etc., kāma is the softer aspects of artha. For example, while shelter might be available, if it is designed and constructed in a haphazard manner, badly designed or dilapidated, there can be no positivity about the place and residents would be unhappy. If food is spoiled, cold, unappetising or lacking in nutrition, then there is no pleasure derived in eating. This means that both hardware (artha) and software (kāma) are required for a society to be a functional and happy place. So, we can see that material aspects (artha) and sensual aspect (kāma) of a country cannot function independently.
Additionally, material aspects (artha) and sensual aspect (kāma) cannot be independent of order and harmony (dharma). For example, even if food and shelter were to be made available in a country, if there is no order, harmony or peace, then material aspects (artha) and sensual aspect (kāma) become irrelevant.
So, we can also see that for a country (kṣetra) to experience it individuality (sva-tantra) with complete awareness (prajñā), its society (kṣetra) must be conditioned for a life of harmony (dharma) which must be a weave of its material (artha) and sensual (kāma) aspects in the gross/ visible/ overt (sthūla) as well as subtle (sūkṣma) states. This knowledge of how to manage a country is called (kṣetrajña) and is completely dependent on sincere and diligent application (śraddhā) of the policies, systems, processes and rules (dharma) by its rulers as well as citizens.
If we accept that the principles of kṣetra as espoused by Śrī Kṛṣṇa in chapter 12 can be applied to an individual as well as a country, then we can apply the principles of individuality (sva-tantra) to a country because the individual is the unit of a country. To begin, the person and country are both living entities, both have prāṇa. Consequently, this means that a country can die, just like a person. For example – Czechoslovakia split into Czech and Slovakia while North and South Vietnam merged into Vietnam. All these countries displayed different personalities (sva-tantra) before and after their change in composition. So, countries can die and when they do, the personality dies with them. Similarly, when countries are born, they get a new personality (svatantra) as defined by their region (kṣetra) and citizens (jana).
We also know that all entities have five vital airs (vāyus),
So, how does samāna-vāyu work?
In the body (kṣetra), samāna-vāyu is centred around the abdomen. Resources such as food, water and air enter the body. Air goes to the lungs, after which oxygen impregnated blood is brought to the abdomen. Food and water enter the stomach where they are broken down, digested and absorbed into the blood for transportation to organs as nourishment for work or waste for disposal.
Similarly, in country (kṣetra), resources come into a country in the form of goods, services and ideas where they are converted by citizens of the country. What do people need to convert resources into goods?
Dharma, good constitution, governance, law and order and a citizenry that understand as well as follow dharma. Conditioning (dharma) is determined by the quality of attributes (guṇa) that are encouraged and practiced by the people of the country (kṣetra), which is also known as culture (saṃskriti), life-event management (saṃskāra) and practices (sampradāya) of a people.
Additionally, we need to cycle back to the definition of individuality (sva-tantra) and knowledge of the region (kṣetrajña).
For example – when passion (rajas) is tempered with indolence (tamas) every citizen will be given fish to eat. However, when passion (rajas) is tempered by balance (sattva), citizens will be taught and encouraged to fish so that they stop being dependent on others for free fish, as this makes them vulnerable to power, pressure and influence and weakens their individuality (svatantra). The latter method is harder and more painful, but leads to a self-reliant and stronger country.
How does samāna-vāyu affect people in various stages of their existence (āśrama)?
The universality of the Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā and sanātana-dharma.
Conclusion – the principles in Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā can be extended to a country, where each citizen contributes to build an orderly, harmonic, strong and resilient dhārmika society which ultimately becomes recognised as its individuality (sva-tantra).
Some contradictions to accepted positions
There is no other world, everything is here, on this Earth. There is no past or future, there’s only the present, and this is situational awareness (sthita-prajñā). Total situational awareness (sthita-prajñā) gives control over all variables that affect a person, thereby ensuring complete free-will.
In India, apāna-vāyu (the force of excretion and waste management) has always been casually managed.
Lessons learned in Chapter 14.
Principles of Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā are universal, like sanātana-dharma. It can be applied to any society, region or country also.
The transliteration and translation of Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā, chapter 14 follows,
The Sanskrit diacritic words are in red italics.
परं भूयः प्रवक्ष्यामि ज्ञानानां ज्ञानमुत्तमम् ।
यज्ज्ञात्वा मुनयः सर्वे परां सिद्धिमितो गताः ॥ १४-१॥
इदं ज्ञानमुपाश्रित्य मम साधर्म्यमागताः ।
सर्गेऽपि नोपजायन्ते प्रलये न व्यथन्ति च ॥ १४-२॥
Śrī Kṛṣṇa said (1-2) Again I will declare the supreme of all wisdom, the knowledge of the highest degree, which after cognising, all sages have attained supreme perfection after leaving life (paraṃ bhūyaḥ pravakṣyāmi jñānānāṃ jñānamuttamam । yajjñātvā munayaḥ sarve parāṃ siddhimito gatāḥ ॥ 14-1॥). Having taken refuge in this wisdom and having attained one-ness with me, one is not born at creation, nor disturbed at dissolution (idaṃ jñānamupāśritya mama sādharmyamāgatāḥ । sarge’pi nopajāyante pralaye na vyathanti ca ॥ 14-2॥).
मम योनिर्महद् ब्रह्म तस्मिन्गर्भं दधाम्यहम् ।
सम्भवः सर्वभूतानां ततो भवति भारत ॥ १४-३॥
सर्वयोनिषु कौन्तेय मूर्तयः सम्भवन्ति याः ।
तासां ब्रह्म महद्योनिरहं बीजप्रदः पिता ॥ १४-४॥
(3-4) In my womb is the great Brahma in whose womb, I place at his birth creation of all beings thereafter (mama yonirmahad brahma tasmingarbhaṃ dadhāmyaham । sambhavaḥ sarvabhūtānāṃ tato bhavati bhārata ॥ 14-3॥). In all wombs where creation occurs embedded in the womb of great Brahma, I am the seed-giving father (sarvayoniṣu kaunteya mūrtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ । tāsāṃ brahma mahadyonirahaṃ bījapradaḥ pitā ॥ 14-4॥).
सत्त्वं रजस्तम इति गुणाः प्रकृतिसम्भवाः ।
निबध्नन्ति महाबाहो देहे देहिनमव्ययम् ॥ १४-५॥
तत्र सत्त्वं निर्मलत्वात्प्रकाशकमनामयम् ।
सुखसङ्गेन बध्नाति ज्ञानसङ्गेन चानघ ॥ १४-६॥
(5-6) Satva, rajas, tamas, these attributes which are born out of prakṛti bind within the body, the indestructible embodiment (sattvaṃ rajastama iti guṇāḥ prakṛtisambhavāḥ । nibadhnanti mahābāho dehe dehinamavyayam ॥ 14-5॥). Of these, sattva displays stainlessness, luminosity, health, bias towards happiness and binding to wisdom (tatra sattvaṃ nirmalatvātprakāśakamanāmayam । sukhasaṅgena badhnāti jñānasaṅgena cānagha ॥ 14-6॥).
रजो रागात्मकं विद्धि तृष्णासङ्गसमुद्भवम् ।
तन्निबध्नाति कौन्तेय कर्मसङ्गेन देहिनम् ॥ १४-७॥
तमस्त्वज्ञानजं विद्धि मोहनं सर्वदेहिनाम् ।
प्रमादालस्यनिद्राभिस्तन्निबध्नाति भारत ॥ १४-८॥
(7-8) Cognise rajas to be the nature of passion, the source of attachment, which binds the embodied to action (rajo rāgātmakaṃ viddhi tṛṣṇāsaṅgasamudbhavam । tannibadhnāti kaunteya karmasaṅgena dehinam ॥ 14-7॥). But cognise tamas to be born out of ignorance, with stronghold of being confused when dealing with others, negligent, lazy and somnolent (tamastvajñānajaṃ viddhi mohanaṃ sarvadehinām । pramādālasyanidrābhistannibadhnāti bhārata ॥ 14-8॥).
सत्त्वं सुखे सञ्जयति रजः कर्मणि भारत ।
ज्ञानमावृत्य तु तमः प्रमादे सञ्जयत्युत ॥ १४-९॥
रजस्तमश्चाभिभूय सत्त्वं भवति भारत ।
रजः सत्त्वं तमश्चैव तमः सत्त्वं रजस्तथा ॥ १४-१०॥
(9-10) Sattva attaches one to happiness, rajas to action by truly shrouding wisdom but tamas attaches one to heedlessness (sattvaṃ sukhe sañjayati rajaḥ karmaṇi bhārata । jñānamāvṛtya tu tamaḥ pramāde sañjayatyuta ॥ 14-9॥). Overpowering rajas and tamas, sattva rises; similarly rajas rises over sattva and tamas; and tamas over rajas and sattva (rajastamaścābhibhūya sattvaṃ bhavati bhārata । rajaḥ sattvaṃ tamaścaiva tamaḥ sattvaṃ rajastathā ॥ 14-10॥).
सर्वद्वारेषु देहेऽस्मिन्प्रकाश उपजायते ।
ज्ञानं यदा तदा विद्याद्विवृद्धं सत्त्वमित्युत ॥ १४-११॥
लोभः प्रवृत्तिरारम्भः कर्मणामशमः स्पृहा ।
रजस्येतानि जायन्ते विवृद्धे भरतर्षभ ॥ १४-१२॥
(11-12) When every sensory aperture in the body shines with the light of wisdom then this wisdom is predominantly sattva indeed (sarvadvāreṣu dehe’sminprakāśa upajāyate । jñānaṃ yadā tadā vidyādvivṛddhaṃ sattvamityuta ॥ 14-11॥). When greed, restlessness and longing predominate in any undertaking of action, these arise from rajas (lobhaḥ pravṛttirārambhaḥ karmaṇāmaśamaḥ spṛhā । rajasyetāni jāyante vivṛddhe bharatarṣabha ॥ 14-12॥).
अप्रकाशोऽप्रवृत्तिश्च प्रमादो मोह एव च ।
तमस्येतानि जायन्ते विवृद्धे कुरुनन्दन ॥ १४-१३॥
यदा सत्त्वे प्रवृद्धे तु प्रलयं याति देहभृत् ।
तदोत्तमविदां लोकानमलान्प्रतिपद्यते ॥ १४-१४॥
(13-14) No clarity, inertness and heedlessness, even delusion, these arise when tamas becomes prominent (aprakāśo’pravṛttiśca pramādo moha eva ca । tamasyetāni jāyante vivṛddhe kurunandana ॥ 14-13॥). In fact, if sattva becomes prominent at time of dissolution, the spotless embodied then attains the highest world (yadā sattve pravṛddhe tu pralayaṃ yāti dehabhṛt । tadottamavidāṃ lokānamalānpratipadyate ॥ 14-14॥).
रजसि प्रलयं गत्वा कर्मसङ्गिषु जायते ।
तथा प्रलीनस्तमसि मूढयोनिषु जायते ॥ १४-१५॥
कर्मणः सुकृतस्याहुः सात्त्विकं निर्मलं फलम् ।
रजसस्तु फलं दुःखमज्ञानं तमसः फलम् ॥ १४-१६॥
(15-16) At dissolution in rajas, the person is born among those attached to action, those dying in tamas are born in the womb of the deluded (rajasi pralayaṃ gatvā karmasaṅgiṣu jāyate । tathā pralīnastamasi mūḍhayoniṣu jāyate ॥ 14-15॥). The outcome of sāttvika action is pure, the fruit of rājasika action is pain and ignorance is the fruit of tāmasika action (karmaṇaḥ sukṛtasyāhuḥ sāttvikaṃ nirmalaṃ phalam । rajasastu phalaṃ duḥkhamajñānaṃ tamasaḥ phalam ॥ 14-16॥).
सत्त्वात्सञ्जायते ज्ञानं रजसो लोभ एव च ।
प्रमादमोहौ तमसो भवतोऽज्ञानमेव च ॥ १४-१७॥
ऊर्ध्वं गच्छन्ति सत्त्वस्था मध्ये तिष्ठन्ति राजसाः ।
जघन्यगुणवृत्तिस्था अधो गच्छन्ति तामसाः ॥ १४-१८॥
(17-18) From sattva rises wisdom, from rajas it’s surely greed, heedlessness and delusion rise from tamas and also gives rise to ignorance (sattvātsañjāyate jñānaṃ rajaso lobha eva ca । pramādamohau tamaso bhavato’jñānameva ca ॥ 14-17॥). Upward go those seated in sattva, those of rajas remain in the middle, those abiding in the lowest of attributes which is tamas, go downward (ūrdhvaṃ gacchanti sattvasthā madhye tiṣṭhanti rājasāḥ । jaghanyaguṇavṛttisthā adho gacchanti tāmasāḥ ॥ 14-18॥).
नान्यं गुणेभ्यः कर्तारं यदा द्रष्टानुपश्यति ।
गुणेभ्यश्च परं वेत्ति मद्भावं सोऽधिगच्छति ॥ १४-१९॥
गुणानेतानतीत्य त्रीन्देही देहसमुद्भवान् ।
जन्ममृत्युजरादुःखैर्विमुक्तोऽमृतमश्नुते ॥ १४-२०॥
(19-20) When the seer beholds no agent higher than the attributes, and goes beyond the qualities of the attributes, he attains my state (nānyaṃ guṇebhyaḥ kartāraṃ yadā draṣṭānupaśyati । guṇebhyaśca paraṃ vetti madbhāvaṃ so’dhigacchati ॥ 14-19॥). The embodied that has transcended the three attributes out of which the body is evolved is freed from birth, death, ageing and pain, and attains immortality (guṇānetānatītya trīndehī dehasamudbhavān । janmamṛtyujarāduḥkhairvimukto’mṛtamaśnute ॥ 14-20॥).
कैर्लिङ्गैस्त्रीन्गुणानेतानतीतो भवति प्रभो ।
किमाचारः कथं चैतांस्त्रीन्गुणानतिवर्तते ॥ १४-२१॥
Arjuna asked (21) what are the indicators of one who has transcended these three attributes? what is the conduct and how can one go beyond the three attributes (kairliṅgaistrīnguṇānetānatīto bhavati prabho । kimācāraḥ kathaṃ caitāṃstrīnguṇānativartate ॥ 14-21॥).
प्रकाशं च प्रवृत्तिं च मोहमेव च पाण्डव ।
न द्वेष्टि सम्प्रवृत्तानि न निवृत्तानि काङ्क्षति ॥ १४-२२॥
उदासीनवदासीनो गुणैर्यो न विचाल्यते ।
गुणा वर्तन्त इत्येवं योऽवतिष्ठति नेङ्गते ॥ १४-२३॥
(22-23) Śrī Kṛṣṇa replied – He neither hates nor longs for light or activity or even delusion. He does not dislike it when it is available or long for it when it is absent (prakāśaṃ ca pravṛttiṃ ca mohameva ca pāṇḍava । na dveṣṭi sampravṛttāni na nivṛttāni kāṅkṣati ॥ 14-22॥). Sitting indifferent among attributes, who operates unmoved by attributes, who is centred within and not shaky (udāsīnavadāsīno guṇairyo na vicālyate । guṇā vartanta ityevaṃ yo’vatiṣṭhati neṅgate ॥ 14-23॥).
समदुःखसुखः स्वस्थः समलोष्टाश्मकाञ्चनः ।
तुल्यप्रियाप्रियो धीरस्तुल्यनिन्दात्मसंस्तुतिः ॥ १४-२४॥
मानापमानयोस्तुल्यस्तुल्यो मित्रारिपक्षयोः ।
सर्वारम्भपरित्यागी गुणातीतः स उच्यते ॥ १४-२५॥
(24-25) Alike in pain and pleasure, secured in the Self, regarding mud, stone and gold alike, balanced with liked and disliked, steadily balanced Self in censure and praise (samaduḥkhasukhaḥ svasthaḥ samaloṣṭāśmakāñcanaḥ । tulyapriyāpriyo dhīrastulyanindātmasaṃstutiḥ ॥ 14-24॥). Balanced in honour and dishonour, balanced with friend and foe, abandoning motivation of starting anything, such a person is said to have transcended attributes (mānāpamānayostulyastulyo mitrāripakṣayoḥ । sarvārambhaparityāgī guṇātītaḥ sa ucyate ॥ 14-25॥).
मां च योऽव्यभिचारेण भक्तियोगेन सेवते ।
स गुणान्समतीत्यैतान्ब्रह्मभूयाय कल्पते ॥ १४-२६॥
ब्रह्मणो हि प्रतिष्ठाहममृतस्याव्ययस्य च ।
शाश्वतस्य च धर्मस्य सुखस्यैकान्तिकस्य च ॥ १४-२७॥
(26-27) He that unswervingly practices yoga of dedication and serves me, he crosses beyond the attributes and becomes fit to become Brahman (māṃ ca yo’vyabhicāreṇa bhaktiyogena sevate । sa guṇānsamatītyaitānbrahmabhūyāya kalpate ॥ 14-26॥). Indeed, Brahman is the abode, I exist in immortal, immutable and everlasting natural state of absolute bliss (brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāhamamṛtasyāvyayasya ca । śāśvatasya ca dharmasya sukhasyaikāntikasya ca ॥ 14-27॥).