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The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

Last night in the satsang, ‘S’ who has come from Australia asked me a very significant question. It was about sattvaguna which is supposed to be the best and the most spiritual in its effect and influences. It is through sattvaguna that we try to overcome the effects of tamas and rajas to the extent it is necessary. That sattvaguna is also binding. It has got its binding effect. How to overcome that? How does sattvaguna overcome itself and one becomes a gunātīta? I don’t know whether she exactly meant this and spelt out the question properly but this is the intention is what I could understand. Nutan Swamiji had discussed the subject about sāttvic qualities.

सुखसङ्गेन बध्नाति ज्ञानसङ्गेन चानघ ।।

sukha-saṅgena badhnāti jñāna-saṅgena cānagha ||

(Bhagavad Gita 14.6)

He was discussing perhaps discussing the fourteenth chapter of Bhagavad Gita in which he was saying sattvaguna also has its binding effect and it has to be overcome. That was what triggered the question in ‘S’. I was very happy that even being a foreigner, she could raise such a question. It is a question which every good seeker, committed and deep will confront. Any mind that confronts this question has to be complimented is what I feel. So I was explaining.

I went to the eighteenth chapter of Bhagavad Gita where this categorization in the nature of guṇās is mentioned and various kinds of propositions are there. Wisdom or knowledge is of three kinds. Performer or doer or actor, he is also of three kinds. All are categorized into three. It all started from Arjuna asking a question. What is the truth about tyāga and sannyāsa? Tyāga means sacrificing or leaving, sannyāsa means renouncing. This does mean that throughout the Bhagavad Gita, the only subject discussed is renunciation and sacrifice, renunciation and sacrifice. Krishna has been making this proposition right from the third chapter in various ways. So Arjuna in the concluding chapter also raises the question: ‘Please tell me clearly about the true principle of sacrifice and renunciation.’ While discussing tyāga and renunciation – sannyāsa, Krishna started saying, he set forth the other's views on the subject and finally he said:

त्यागो हि पुरुषव्याघ्र त्रिविधः सम्प्रकीर्तितः ।।

tyāgo hi puruṣa-vyāghra tri-vidhaḥ samprakīrtitaḥ ||

(Bhagavad Gita 18.4)

Leaving, abandoning or sacrificing - this is also of three kinds, he said. What are they? Tāmasic, Rājasic and Sāttvic. So in every kind of a virtue, critical virtue or embellishment, you can have a bodily and sensory level, a slightly mental level and finally in the intelligence level. Intelligence is the only faculty which is given to wisdom and the excellence of wisdom. Mind is still bound to have impurity, stain and blemish.

So he first of all speaks about sāttvic kartā, the enlightened and pure performer. Spiritual enlightenment is had by the operation and function and display of sattvaguna and this sattvaguna can take you to any height, any level. I don’t know whether this example will be all right. An article is brought before you, let us say a wooden table. It is worked well by the carpenter, all the joints are alright. There is no gap. Everything is properly done. A good table, we had a box made. In that box, there was no nail at all. Everything was dovetail joints. Without a nail, a wooden box with a cover has been made. I think it is still there in the Ashram. So it is a dovetail joint without any nail, wooden nail. It is a very good handiwork. It is very well done. It is polished. Now if you have to look at it and enjoy the manner in which it has been done, a good finish, you have put on the light. When you put on the light, the box shows off. How well it is done, how beautiful are the joints, perfect, no gap, everything is well done. You touch it and see. Now in clean light you will find while the beauty of the box is revealed, there are some points where here and then some dots unpolished.

The sattvaguna makes you understand the soul, makes you attain purity, but you will find the same sattvaguna reveals the imperfections in the process and the degrees of attainment you still have to have. So you put on the light and examine it very closely; you find that there are a few more imperfections or perfection to be done. Now that is also handled and finally it becomes a beautiful product. No defect at all to be noticed visually. It is something like this - you become sattva, pure and in the purity you find some things are still hurting you. This is what he says:

मुक्तसङ्गोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वितः ।

सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योर्निर्विकारः कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ।।

mukta-saṅgo’nahaṁ-vādī dhṛty-utsāha-samanvitaḥ |

siddhy-asiddhyor-nirvikāraḥ kartā sāttvika ucyate ||

(Bhagavad Gita 18.26)

I think all of you should make a note of this verse and try to match your perfection or pursuit with the message contained there. He says mukta-saṅgaḥ, When sattvaguna becomes prominent, you first of all know that you have delusional clinging to matters. The very knowledge strikes you because of the sātvic influence. Now once you know that you have delusional clinging, you try to remove it, remove it, remove it. Understand that, that it is possible, this is a potential and possibility that we have. And after understanding that potential and possibility, try to apply and attain it. So the last vestige of delusional clinging is removed by sattvaguna itself.

Then the second point he says is anahaṁ-vādī. What does it mean? It means that any kind of an ego-centric note about whatever you are, whatever you do and whatever you have, everything is removed. You become like the free air that blows or the beautiful river that flows. The earth goes on revolving on its own axis and around the sun but it does not have any ego in the matter. We are earth’s children. So let us be like the Mother Earth. So there is no ego-centric feeling about anything that you do, you have or you are.

Then the third point, dhṛti utsāha samanvitaḥ. Now this kind of a sāttvic refinement, sublimation that you have, will it promote your efficiency in work, activity and interaction, if you ask, he says 'yes', 'yes', a thousand times. Dhṛti means you will have ample resolution in you. Dhṛti actually means the power of will. Simply you sit, try to examine your own inner personality and you find some defects are there. The very knowledge that they are defects will instantly remove them. So sensitive the will becomes. Utsāha means fervor, enthusiasm, drive. Dhṛti and utsāha you will always have in your activity. It is not anything like depression or discouragement. Anything that has to be done before you, will have all the drive and enthusiasm to do it. Some people say that spirituality breeds dispassion, dispassion means indifference, indifference means lethargy, distance etc. It is not at all right. Dhṛti utsāha samanvitaḥ.

Siddhy-asiddhyor nirvikāraḥ. We are always acting, one action after the other will be done. Every action is designed to bring about a certain outcome. The outcome of an action we call a result. But I don’t think it is a result. It is just an outcome. When you walk, with every step you cover a distance and you go forward. Is it anything very special? When you place your foot forward, automatically a distance will be covered and you will go forward. Suppose you reach the destination, that is also a result of walking. You call it destination and you have reached, but nothing other than placing one step after the other has taken place. So where is the question of calling it a result? It is not a result at all. It is the beginning of the next phase of activity. It is not an end. In one sense, it is an outcome. In another sense, it is a motivation and it marks the beginning of another endeavor.

So whether your action fructifies, fruitions or not, you will have the same level of mind. Suppose it does not fruition, you will examine why it is so and then do it in a better manner or redress the causes of hindrance. It will always be a knowledge level of activity, knowledge-enriched. Now sattvaguna is capable of cultivating these refined qualities, very, very subtle qualities by a process of examination and enrichment, by a process of reinforcement and rebuilding up.

So sattvaguna not merely enables you to become better, to find the further defects and lack of embellishment and finally you outgrow everything. And in that outgrowing, you will find you become a mukta saṅga and nirvikāra. Mukta saṅga means free from the delutional clinging; nirvikāra means free from the conventional modifications the mind puts you to in the form of dvandva, the pairs of opposites. So, the mind becomes free, pure and resplendent. The intelligence becomes knowledge-full and you have enough of fervor, enthusiasm and drive in whatever you do and a high level of resoluteness or will.

I would like you to reflect upon this verse, understand that these are the very fine, subtle and high level of performential excellence that is reserved for the human, especially the intelligent, the spiritual and the sublimating individual.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

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