*10.12 The Atman has no beginnings nor any of the discriminating characteristics of the three gunas. Though it apparently dwells in the body, Arjuna, IT is not the doer, nor does it give birth, nor is IT affected by any actions.
The Unborn Lord sustains the human-construct but also allows it either full liberty, or to identify itself in the temporal fields of the composed. The motionless-Lord is unaffected by creature-motives and thus is transcendent from all limiting attributes.
10.13 Just as the all-pervading ether (akasha) permeates the cosmos yet remains unsullied, just so the Atman can never be tainted although IT is free to frequent the composed.
10.14 Arjuna, the forces of the gunas that are inherent in prakriti—sattva, rajas, tamas—can still bind the spirit to the composed.
The gunas are the very nature of prakriti. They constitute a continuous shifting shape from one into the other within the unstable state of samsaric-existence.
10.15 Although the sattvic-guna is luminously pure it can still bind the host-body to states of temporary fixation on fleeting happiness.
The bliss of wisdom belongs to the soul, but through delusion this guna can entrap it into an amnesia that blocks True Blissfulness in the One Spirit of the Absolute.
10.16 The passionate-seed of the rajas (restless activity), Arjuna, gives rise to an insatiable thirst and the eventual bondage of self-attachment.
This guna incurs self-transfixiation that harbors on rabidity of spirit in a fanatical fashion. THE seed of undue anxiety and nervous exhaustion.
10.17 The seed of tamas binds the mind in a state of ignorance that is indicative of carelessness, laziness, and an overtly stupid and dull-spirit.
The state of being irresponsible and lax, like being held-captive to an evil spirit of fatigue.
10.18 Excessive-sattva binds you to a form of pseudo-bliss, rajas binds you to compulsive-behavior, and tamas can condemn you to a confused state of senility.
Knowledge of the gunas is very useful, because you can see that a person is not always sattvic, rajasic or tamasic. The mind is tossed by all three gunas. We should know that we are just sitting in the midst of it. Unfortunately, we tend to identify with the movements of the gunas. The correct understanding is: “My mind (not I) is in a beautiful, sattvic state. And other times it’s revolutionary. It creates all kinds of problems. It’s rajasic.” Whenever you are disturbed or worried, or whatever the condition, immediately sit back and analyze. Is my mind tamasic or rajasic? By knowing this, you separate yourself from the colored mind and see what’s really happening. It will help you not to blame yourself totally or blame someone else. Just know it is all part of the dance of nature.
So, by observing our moods, we can understand which guna is predominant in us at the time.
Satchidananda, Sri Swami (2013-09-16). The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita: a Commentary for Modern Readers (p. 207-208). Integral Yoga Publications. Kindle Edition.
10.19 Those dying in a predominately sattvic state of mind will attain the pure-realms of the Shining Ones.
10.20 Those dying in a predominately rajasic state of mind will be reborn among those who are attached to nervous and compulsive actions.
10.21 Those dying in a predominately tamasic state of mind will be reborn among those who are ignorant [of the truth] and who are entombed in self-delusion.
These three verses are excellent in making one aware of what can transpire when one is attached in a predominant fashion to any one of the three gunas at the time of death. As we shall see, the best course is to work-at becoming transcendently beyond any of them.
10.22 Arjuna enquired from the Blessed One: Lord, what are the signs of those who have passed beyond these three gunas? How does one rise beyond their influence?
10.23 The Blessed Unborn Lord replied: Although these qualities are present when one’s spirit is embodied in the state of the composed, one should not become attached to, nor should one take compulsive notice of and attempt to disperse any of them.
10.24 Because one becomes acutely aware of their symbiotic infrastructure, one remains centered in the Unborn and thus not ruled by any of them.
10.25 Those who maintain a spirit of equanimity in the midst of honorable or dishonorable circumstances, who maintain a steadfast repose whether in the presence of friend or foes, and who have relinquished any thought of self-gain, rises above these winds of change and remains thus immovable in the Unborn.
10.26 By remaining steadfastly True in My Unborn Spirit, one transcends the influence of the gunas.
10.27 For I AM the Unborn, the Unchanging and Deathless One, the Everlasting Dharma-Lord, the Eternal Source of Unending Bliss.
10.28 Arjuna then proclaimed, “By your Grace, O Lord, have my delusions and doubts been dispelled. OM shanti, shanti, shanti!”
*This section on the three gunas was taken out of sequence. Originally they constitute the Fourteenth Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. For our purposes in composing this Unborn Gita, this completes the series. We concluded with the section on the gunas because it reveals their incessant foreplay on one’s spirit. As they were first portrayed in our series on the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali in clinical-fashion, within the Gita they are portrayed as how they experientially affect and interact with the subject. At any time one can become acutely aware of which one is predominating at the moment. Thus this chapter is a vital resource on how to counteract their effects in Light of the Unborn.
Words could never convey the full import that resides and is being conveyed in these passages, but try we must. The epical and universal message of the sublime essence of the Gita is that through Right Action and nonattachment to the allures of samsara, the well-disciplined yogin develops Right Union in mystical-equipoise with the Unborn. What is perhaps the most intimate portrait in this entire noble enterprise is how the Absolute Unborn Lord Self-recognizes and actually pays tribute to an adept’s sincere devotion, even referring to him as friend. Yea, as was stated early on in the series, “is there any better, or for that matter, more intimate friend than the Unborn Itself?”
As a recap, our chapter-heads in this series are as follows: Prelude: The Call to Arms; The Yoga of Discernment; The Yoga of Action; The Yoga of Gnosis; The Yoga of Renunciation; Dhyana Yoga; Gnosis of the Absolute; Dharmakaya Yoga; Mysterium Regium; Unborn and Beginningless. For the Unborn Mind Zen adept, the Eighth Chapter entitled Dharmakaya Yoga is of particular import as it conveys Mind’s preparation for the final encounter—death and dying—with a Liberative Dharmakayic Technique that compliments the Bardo-process that was articulated in our series, The Lankavatarian Book of the Dead.
Embryonis Spíritus Dómini sit semper vobíscum.