The Bhagavad Gita – Capsule 14

The Bhagavad Gita in Capsules – Chapter 14

The book “The Prasthānatraya – An Introduction” by Revered Swami Harshananda, President of Ramakrishna Math, Bengaluru was published in 2001. The Swami has bestowed on us a summary of the 18 chapters of the Bhagavad Gita of Lord Krishna. I bow my head in reverence and in praise of Swamiji and pray for his blessings in my taking the liberty of retyping the summary from the book and posting it in my blog.

This is the Summary of the fourteenth chapter, Gunatraya Vibhāga Yoga


Srīkrishna now promises to expound para-jnāna or the highest knowledge by attaining which the sages got perfection.

Creation proceeds as a result of the placing of the seed by Him (the Lord) in the mahat-prakriti or nature. He is the father of all beings and mahat prakriti is the mother.

This prakriti gives rise to the three gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas. Sattva is pure and bright, produces pleasure and knowledge, and binds the soul through them. Rajas is of the nature of passion, produces desire and attachment and binds the embodied soul through action. Tamas, born out of ignorance, deludes beings through inadvertence, sloth and sleep.

Sattva creates attachment for happiness, rajas for actions and tamas, covering knowledge, binds one to inadvertence. The three gunas are constantly acting on one another.

The rise of sattva can be inferred by the rise of jnāna or knowledge, of rajas by the rise of greed and activity and of tamas by the rise of inadvertence and delusion.

Death at the time when sattva is on the ascendant takes one to the pure realms. Ascendance of rajas and tamas at the time of death leads one to birth in the families of those addicted to actions and in subhuman bodies. Anyone who realizes that it is the gunas that act and knows the Self untouched by them, attains to my being.

At this point, Arjuna desires to know the characteristics of the gunātīta, or one who has transcended the gunas. Srīkrishna replies that one who is unmoved by the effects of the three gunas (like knowledge or action or delusion) is the gunātīta. He is indifferent to the activities of gunas. He is equanimouse in sorrow and happiness, looks upon a clod of earth or stone or gold as of equal worth, is unmoved by the pleasant and the unpleasant or by praise or blame. He is the same to enemies and friends. He abandons all undertakings. He serves me (the Lord) with undeviating love. Such a one is a gunātīta and becomes fit to attain Brahman.


Courtesy: Swami Harshananda  (emphases, if any, are mine. – nytanaya)

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