I’m continuing to read the Bhagavad Gita and am realizing that I’m understanding a little more of it each time I pick it up (or maybe I just think I am, but I feel like I am for the time being, so I’m going with that feeling).
I particularly like the part when Krishna talks to Arjuna about the enlightened person and the three Guṇas of prakṛti, tamas rajas and sattvas.
Reading those verses was another aha moment.
These are they:
“What are the characteristics of those who have gone beyond the gunas, O Lord? How do they act? How have they passed beyond the gunas’ hold?”
“They are unmoved by the harmony of sattva, the activity of rajas, or the delusion of tamas. They feel no aversion when these forces are active, nor do they crave for them when these forces subside.
They remain impartial, undisturbed by the actions of the gunas. Knowing that it is the gunas which act, they abide within themselves and do not vacillate.
Established within themselves, they are equal in pleasure and pain, praise and blame, kindness and unkindness. Clay, a rock and gold are the same to them. Alike in honor and dishonor, alike to friend and foe, they have given up every selfish pursuit. Such are those who have gone beyond the gunas.
By serving me with steadfast love, a man or woman goes beyond the gunas. Such a one is fit for union with Brahman. For I am the support of Brahman, the eternal, the unchanging, the deathless, the everlasting dharma, the source of all joy.”
(Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14, verses 21-27; from the Eknath Easwaran translation)
How many times have I been out of balance, with respect to the three gunas? Probably lots. Probably right this moment. Those times when I’m tending more towards sattva are not to concerning to me, but I know that I tilt daily to the rajas, and occasionally to the tamas. I seems to me, though, that here Krishna is saying that the difference between plain old me and someone beyond the gunas isn’t that they see those three move and fluxuate in their lives, but that their actions aren’t determined by them. Each one is what it is, part of this material existence, but doesn’t have to dictate our actions.