Post By: Vishwanath Iyer Published on: December 13, 2016 Reading time: 18 minutes
School of Yoga is profoundly grateful to Saṃskṛta scholars and academics Pijus Kanti Pal (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dolon Chanpa Mondal for their support in Saṃskṛta transliteration and quality control.
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.
Can a person increase divine qualities and become a puruṣottama (perfect person)?
The performance code of ancient India was a simple but complete system which conditioned society and the individual into a cohesive lifestyle system called “dharma“. This was called ṛta or code of excellence.
Introduction to the performance code of India (ṛta).
During the Trojan wars (around 1000 BC), hero Achilles refused to fight in the early days, alleging that King Agamemnon had faulted the Law of arête, the ancient Greek law of excellence. Arête defined that men or women of Arête were people of the highest effectiveness, who used their capabilities to achieve tangible results.
Arête is a cognate of Sanskrit “ṛta”, a cognate of the Persian word “asa” which, in Avestan means righteousness and a cognate of the Latin word “ariete” which means battering ram – which breaks down obstacles and ensures effectiveness of purpose.
Obviously, the ancient world lived by a common, well-defined and codified ideal of performance, which subsequent civilisations found unfashionable and subjugated. In India, ṛta was woven into the fabric of ancient Indian society at a people and personal level, as dharma or what is today known as righteousness.
The basis of ṛta came from the assumption that performance comes from sacrifice or yajña.
Yajña was considered to have three components.
The first component of ṛta is recognising what needs to be done and why. Once a person is able to discriminate between truth and perception, clarity of goal is achieved and effort is maximised to achieve the goal.
First and foremost, all projects need a sponsor. A sponsor is one who determines the need, provides the resources and defines the system. The sponsor is called yajamāna (the sponsor of the sacrifice) in ṛta.
Example – In the case of a football team, the yajamāna or sponsor is one who pays the bills and under whose colours the team plays. The yajamāna decides where the team shall play. Obviously, if the estimation is incorrect, the team will either lose or not play to its full potential.
Once the yajamāna decides on the activity to be performed, the execution of the sacrifice can start.
Clearly, the quality of outcome would depend on the competence of the guru who would need to know how to manage a project or sacrifice (yajña).
Example – Continuing with the above example, once the sponsor or yajamāna forms a football team, the key to its success of the team would be the quality and capability of the Team manager or Coach.
Firstly, the sponsor (yajamāna) and guru would need to bring the members together and explain to them, the objectives of the activity (yajña). This will bring the team members into alignment with the goal and enable focus for a successful completion of the activity.
Once the team has been selected and aligned to the goal, the conversion of intent to outcome requires the following inputs;
Communication is the lifeblood of any activity. Instructions cannot be passed and feedback cannot be received without communication. Clearly, no activity can be successful if there is a breakdown in communication between the team members. This consists of;
Ṛta acts hierarchically. Firstly, the yajamāna becomes the initiator and employs the guru. Next, the guru becomes the yajamāna for the next level, but becomes a role model in addition to being a sponsor. This is then carried to the next level until finally, there was no one left to instruct. This is very similar to today’s organisational structure.
The ancients realised that quality and motivation had to be conditioned into every activity and individual for ensuring performance. These elements had to be made the highest ideals worth aspiring for, the existential lifeblood or dharma of their society.
Ṛta is derived from the syllable “hṛ” which means dynamism, vibrancy, seasoning and ownership. The derived noun “hṛtam” means order, rule or divine law. To make ṛta an unassailable concept, the ancients equated it with divinity (daivam).
They gave ṛta a mythical status and equated it with a role model of impeccable standing – the Sun. Ṛta was equated with the Sun’s rays or uṣas to make it the part of their existence dharma (existential natural state) and made savitṛ (deity that signifies energy of the Sun) as the presiding deity.
In conclusion, by codifying ṛta, ancient South Asian cultures institutionalised and integrated purpose, quality and commitment to every activity. Even today, 6000 years on, the principle of ṛta are valid, reinforcing the sagacity of the ancient ancestors of the land.
Lessons learned in Chapter 16.
The Sanskrit diacritic words are in red italics.
अभयं सत्त्वसंशुद्धिर्ज्ञानयोगव्यवस्थितिः ।
दानं दमश्च यज्ञश्च स्वाध्यायस्तप आर्जवम् ॥ १६-१॥
अहिंसा सत्यमक्रोधस्त्यागः शान्तिरपैशुनम् ।
दया भूतेष्वलोलुप्त्वं मार्दवं ह्रीरचापलम् ॥ १६-२॥
तेजः क्षमा धृतिः शौचमद्रोहो नातिमानिता ।
भवन्ति सम्पदं दैवीमभिजातस्य भारत ॥ १६-३॥
Śrī Kṛṣṇa said (1-3) Fearlessness, balanced internal purity, steadfast in yoga of wisdom, charity, control of the senses, sacrifice and introspection, austerity and straightforwardness (abhayaṃ sattvasaṃśuddhirjñānayogavyavasthitiḥ । dānaṃ damaśca yajñaśca svādhyāyastapa ārjavam ॥ 16-1॥). Non-injury, truth, non-anger, renunciation, tranquillity, absence of crookedness, compassion towards creation, non-covetousness, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness (ahiṃsā satyamakrodhastyāgaḥ śāntirapaiśunam । dayā bhūteṣvaloluptvaṃ mārdavaṃ hrīracāpalam ॥ 16-2॥). Vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of hatred, not too much pride are the qualities of divine born (tejaḥ kṣamā dhṛtiḥ śaucamadroho nātimānitā । bhavanti sampadaṃ daivīmabhijātasya bhārata ॥ 16-3॥).
दम्भो दर्पोऽभिमानश्च क्रोधः पारुष्यमेव च ।
अज्ञानं चाभिजातस्य पार्थ सम्पदमासुरीम् ॥ १६-४॥
(4) Hypocrisy, arrogance, self-conceit and wrath, harshness also and ignorance are the qualities of the demonic born (dambho darpo’bhimānaśca krodhaḥ pāruṣyameva ca । ajñānaṃ cābhijātasya pārtha sampadamāsurīm ॥ 16-4॥).
दैवी सम्पद्विमोक्षाय निबन्धायासुरी मता ।
मा शुचः सम्पदं दैवीमभिजातोऽसि पाण्डव ॥ १६-५॥
द्वौ भूतसर्गौ लोकेऽस्मिन्दैव आसुर एव च ।
दैवो विस्तरशः प्रोक्त आसुरं पार्थ मे शृणु ॥ १६-६॥
(5-6) Divine state is deemed for liberation; the demonical state is deemed fit for bondage (daivī sampadvimokṣāya nibandhāyāsurī matā । mā śucaḥ sampadaṃ daivīmabhijāto’si pāṇḍava ॥ 16-5॥). Two types of creations in this world are divine and demonical and divine has been described at length, hear from me about demonical (dvau bhūtasargau loke’smindaiva āsura eva ca । daivo vistaraśaḥ prokta āsuraṃ pārtha me śaṛṇu ॥ 16-6॥).
प्रवृत्तिं च निवृत्तिं च जना न विदुरासुराः ।
न शौचं नापि चाचारो न सत्यं तेषु विद्यते ॥ १६-७॥
असत्यमप्रतिष्ठं ते जगदाहुरनीश्वरम् ।
अपरस्परसम्भूतं किमन्यत्कामहैतुकम् ॥ १६-८॥
(7-8) Action and inaction and people the demonical do not cognise, not purity also, right conduct or truth is in them (pravṛttiṃ ca nivṛttiṃ ca janā na vidurāsurāḥ । na śaucaṃ nāpi cācāro na satyaṃ teṣu vidyate ॥ 16-7॥). Without Truth, without value, they say that there is no īśvara and the world was brought about by mutual union with desire as the cause (asatyamapratiṣṭhaṃ te jagadāhuranīśvaram । aparasparasambhūtaṃ kimanyatkāmahaitukam ॥ 16-8॥).
एतां दृष्टिमवष्टभ्य नष्टात्मानोऽल्पबुद्धयः ।
प्रभवन्त्युग्रकर्माणः क्षयाय जगतोऽहिताः ॥ १६-९॥
काममाश्रित्य दुष्पूरं दम्भमानमदान्विताः ।
मोहाद्गृहीत्वासद्ग्राहान्प्रवर्तन्तेऽशुचिव्रताः ॥ १६-१०॥
(9-10) Holding this view, ruined soul of fickle intellect come forth with fierce deeds of destruction as enemies of the world (etāṃ dṛṣṭimavaṣṭabhya naṣṭātmāno’lpabuddhayaḥ । prabhavantyugrakarmāṇaḥ kṣayāya jagato’hitāḥ ॥ 16-9॥). Holding insatiable desires, full of hypocrisy, pride, arrogance, delusion, holding malicious ideas they work with impure resolve (kāmamāśritya duṣpūraṃ dambhamānamadānvitāḥ । mohādgṛhītvāsadgrāhānpravartante’śucivratāḥ ॥ 16-10॥).
चिन्तामपरिमेयां च प्रलयान्तामुपाश्रिताः ।
कामोपभोगपरमा एतावदिति निश्चिताः ॥ १६-११॥
आशापाशशतैर्बद्धाः कामक्रोधपरायणाः ।
ईहन्ते कामभोगार्थमन्यायेनार्थसञ्चयान् ॥ १६-१२॥
(11-12) With immeasurable cares that end only in death, regarding gratification of desire as the highest goal, that is all that they are sure of (cintāmaparimeyāṃ ca pralayāntāmupāśritāḥ । kāmopabhogaparamā etāvaditi niścitāḥ ॥ 16-11॥). Bound by hundred expectations, bound completely by desire and anger they strive for materiality of desire by unjust hoarding of material (āśāpāśaśatairbaddhāḥ kāmakrodhaparāyaṇāḥ । īhante kāmabhogārthamanyāyenārthasañcayān ॥ 16-12॥).
इदमद्य मया लब्धमिमं प्राप्स्ये मनोरथम् ।
इदमस्तीदमपि मे भविष्यति पुनर्धनम् ॥ १६-१३॥
असौ मया हतः शत्रुर्हनिष्ये चापरानपि ।
ईश्वरोऽहमहं भोगी सिद्धोऽहं बलवान्सुखी ॥ १६-१४॥
(13-14) Today, by me this has been gained, I shall fulfil this desire. This is mine; this wealth shall also be mine (idamadya mayā labdhamimaṃ prāpsye manoratham । idamastīdamapi me bhaviṣyati punardhanam ॥ 16-13॥). That enemy has been slain by me; I shall slay others also. I am īśvara, I am the enjoyer, I am perfect, powerful and happy (asau mayā hataḥ śatrurhaniṣye cāparānapi । īśvaro’hamahaṃ bhogī siddho’haṃ balavānsukhī ॥ 16-14॥).
आढ्योऽभिजनवानस्मि कोऽन्योऽस्ति सदृशो मया ।
यक्ष्ये दास्यामि मोदिष्य इत्यज्ञानविमोहिताः ॥ १६-१५॥
अनेकचित्तविभ्रान्ता मोहजालसमावृताः ।
प्रसक्ताः कामभोगेषु पतन्ति नरकेऽशुचौ ॥ १६-१६॥
(15-16) I am rich and wellborn, who else is equal to me? I will sacrifice, I will give charity, I will rejoice, thus deluded by ignorance (āḍhyo’bhijanavānasmi ko’nyo’sti sadṛśo mayā । yakṣye dāsyāmi modiṣya ityajñānavimohitāḥ ॥ 16-15॥). Bewildered by many options, caught in the web of delusions, addicted to gratification of desire, they into foul torment (anekacittavibhrāntā mohajālasamāvṛtāḥ । prasaktāḥ kāmabhogeṣu patanti narake’śucau ॥ 16-16॥).
आत्मसम्भाविताः स्तब्धा धनमानमदान्विताः ।
यजन्ते नामयज्ञैस्ते दम्भेनाविधिपूर्वकम् ॥ १६-१७॥
अहङ्कारं बलं दर्पं कामं क्रोधं च संश्रिताः ।
मामात्मपरदेहेषु प्रद्विषन्तोऽभ्यसूयकाः ॥ १६-१८॥
(17-18) Absorbed in themselves, stubborn, intoxicated by wealth, full of arrogance, they perform sacrifices out of hypocrisy without understanding of the concepts (ātmasambhāvitāḥ stabdhā dhanamānamadānvitāḥ । yajante nāmayajñaiste dambhenāvidhipūrvakam ॥ 16-17॥). Thoughts of being the doer, addicted to power, haughtiness, desire, wrath and obsessed with “me” and others, constantly judging and envious (ahaṅkāraṃ balaṃ darpaṃ kāmaṃ krodhaṃ ca saṃśritāḥ । māmātmaparadeheṣu pradviṣanto’bhyasūyakāḥ ॥ 16-18॥).
तानहं द्विषतः क्रूरान्संसारेषु नराधमान् ।
क्षिपाम्यजस्रमशुभानासुरीष्वेव योनिषु ॥ १६-१९॥
आसुरीं योनिमापन्ना मूढा जन्मनि जन्मनि ।
मामप्राप्यैव कौन्तेय ततो यान्त्यधमां गतिम् ॥ १६-२०॥
त्रिविधं नरकस्येदं द्वारं नाशनमात्मनः ।
कामः क्रोधस्तथा लोभस्तस्मादेतत्त्रयं त्यजेत् ॥ १६-२१॥
(19-21) Those that hate, are cruel in society, wretched, I throw them in perpetuity only in the vicious wombs of demons (tānahaṃ dviṣataḥ krūrānsaṃsāreṣu narādhamān । kṣipāmyajasramaśubhānāsurīṣveva yoniṣu ॥ 16-19॥). Entering into demonical wombs, deluded birth after birth, not attaining me ever, thereafter they fall into lower states (āsurīṃ yonimāpannā mūḍhā janmani janmani । māmaprāpyaiva kaunteya tato yāntyadhamāṃ gatim ॥ 16-20॥). These three gates of hell destroy the Self, desire, anger and greed and these three should be abandoned (trividhaṃ narakasyedaṃ dvāraṃ nāśanamātmanaḥ । kāmaḥ krodhastathā lobhastasmādetattrayaṃ tyajet ॥ 16-21॥).
एतैर्विमुक्तः कौन्तेय तमोद्वारैस्त्रिभिर्नरः ।
आचरत्यात्मनः श्रेयस्ततो याति परां गतिम् ॥ १६-२२॥
यः शास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्य वर्तते कामकारतः ।
न स सिद्धिमवाप्नोति न सुखं न परां गतिम् ॥ १६-२३॥
तस्माच्छास्त्रं प्रमाणं ते कार्याकार्यव्यवस्थितौ ।
ज्ञात्वा शास्त्रविधानोक्तं कर्म कर्तुमिहार्हसि ॥ १६-२४॥
(22-24) When a person gets freed from the gates of darkness by practice of these three that are good, then he goes to the supreme goal (etairvimuktaḥ kaunteya tamodvāraistribhirnaraḥ । ācaratyātmanaḥ śreyastato yāti parāṃ gatim ॥ 16-22॥). He that acts without understanding of process but is driven by impulsive desires, he does not attain perfection or happiness or the supreme goal (yaḥ śāstravidhimutsṛjya vartate kāmakārataḥ । na sa siddhimavāpnoti na sukhaṃ na parāṃ gatim ॥ 16-23॥). Therefore, follow standard operating procedures to know what should be done and ought not to be done. After understanding the standard operating procedures, perform all your actions (tasmācchāstraṃ pramāṇaṃ te kāryākāryavyavasthitau । jñātvā śāstravidhānoktaṃ karma kartumihārhasi ॥ 16-24॥).