Let’s correct Ourselves !
E very person has a viewpoint. According to each person’s values and experiences and the circumstances surrounding that person, this viewpoint changes. Let’s give an example. There is a river that is flowing. Some enjoy the sounds of the ripples it creates. Some enjoy the flow of the river through nooks and crannies. Some appreciate the purity of water, and others measure the length and breadth of the same. Some say, the flow is the nature of water, and some like to use it for agriculture, some like to use it for drinking water. Some would like to generate electricity using water, and some like to use it as a paper mill.
Here although everyone’s thoughts are their own, every one’s thought is their truth. At the same time, the person who views other people’s thoughts as not true is ignorant. Such a person is always devoid of peace. He is always quarrelling about differences with other people and will become a loner. Whoever gives value to other people’s thoughts and thereby makes his viewpoint wide open, is one who is closer to truth, and will be looked upon as a gnani or knowledgeable person. We will examine this point through Ra:ma:yaNa.
Ra:ma and Si:ta leave Ayo:dhya to the forest along with Lakshmana. Bharata after learning this, unable to be in Ayo:dhya without Ra:ma, decides to go along with the people and an army to the forest in search of Ra:ma to bring him back. Guha saw them from a distance and feared that they may be coming to harm Ra:ma. When Bharata approaches Guha, he expresses his doubts to Bharata. Bharata feels sad and clears Guha’s doubts. Then Bharata goes to sage Bha:radwa:ja’s Ashram. After receiving the sages’s hospitality and resting, Bharadwaja asks Bharata if he intends to harm Ra:ma. Bharata feels sad and tells him the reason for his arrival. This is the character of Bharata. Rama knew this from a correct angle and had this viewpoint about Bharata’s character.
In creation, there are hundreds of living objects, and man has to co-exist with them after observing them closely. Only then he will be able to make steady progress. Sri Krishna Bhagawan having observed these millions of objects including man, has described the behavior and nature of man under 3 categories. These modalities of man are also existent in Nature, the five elements being a combination of these 3 Gunas, called Tamas, Rajas and Sathva. Every object, every living being is manifested as a result of the combination of these 3 gunas. What is manifested is dictated by what of these 3 gunas are dominant. If one guna is predominant, the other 2 are subdued. Even in man, as he gets older, there is a shift in what gunas predominate him. Or they can vary with circumstance in a given day. So what is the nature of these 3 gunas? Can we describe ourselves as coming under a guNa? Can we transform ourselves from one guna to another? Bhagavad Gita chapter 14, Guna traya Vibhaga Yoga talks about this and describes how each guna appears.
A man whose nature is predominantly Tamas, will appear as dull, lazy and sleepy. He does things that will permit defeat. He is envious. Does not like to work. He is selfish and ignorant. He does not have discipline in his daily activities. He is not careful, always fearful, dirty and indifferent. He does not have self confidence, is miserly and has a slavish attitude. Makes fun of actions following scriptures.
Rajas Guna is characterized by a frenzy of desires, anger, sorrow, tiredness, not doing anything that does not benefit him directly. Cant sit without doing anything, acts as a tyrant, thoughts keep racing at every minute. Constantly works to get power, and money. Ego, and jealousy always are vying with each other. Wants to be independent, does not like to take anybody’s help for their progress, always work as if they are revolting against you. I know everything is the attitude he has, and shows conditional love. (meaning they love someone as long as there is something they can receive from them, once that is over, they stop loving them), and finally they are In sorrow
Sathva guna is stable, loving, being always cheerful, being in the moment, wise, wanting to learn every day, friendly nature, progressing with the help of others, self-inspiring and power to motivate oneself, tact and diplomacy, truthful, wanting quiet time, being happy and content with what one has, showing unconditional love are their traits. Sri Krishna Bhagava:n states that one must not stop at these 3 gunas, but go beyond them towards a noble existence. He is imploring us to be in a state beyond these 3 gunas. Showing equanimity, in joy and sorrow, towards friends and enemies, towards gold and mud. Bhagavad Gi:ta describes this as Gunateetam. Can man reach this state? Why not? Our Purvacharya, Bhagavad Ramanuja viewed all atachments as blades of grass (vya:mo:hastastaditara:ni truna:yame:ne).
Why one must come to this state? To have the knowledge to understand the person one is dealing with, to let the other person understand you, thereby both are happy in the interaction. Only one who is happy can make others happy. One knows how pitiable it is to be born as a pauper and die as one, similarly it is deplorable to be born with a certain nature and not develop it. Animals are born with a specific nature and die with the same nature. Only man Is capable of lifting his nature and transforming himself.
One who has a predominantly Tamo, Rajas guna must study the Bhagavad Gita – the substance of the Upanishads, which is also considered as the Panchama Veda or Fifth Veda. One must opt to be on the spiritual path. The path is very deep, broad, complex, mysterious. Since our grasp or observation is not as keen, one must approach an A:cha:rya and follow their teachings to become a noble man or Purusho:ttama.
We all have an A:tma. And that A:tma is the one and the same. However, it is not as luminous as in another person. Just as the electricity that flows in all bulbs is the same, based on what kind of bulb, the filament, and the shape of the bulb dictates how bright the light that emanates from it. Similarly, although we have the same A:tma within each one of us, the bodies surrounding our A:tma are based on the pancha bhutas and the nature of our gunas. To polish this soul is the aim of Bhagavad Gi:ta. To follow that is our duty and responsibility.
– By Lakshmi Samudrala translated from Telugu BN