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Influence of Gunas–Are we helpless?

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

16 August 2021

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It is guṇas alone that make you question, discriminate. It will continue, till by the same guṇa-propulsion, the seeker or enquirer retires from the process of seeking and enquiring.

Respected Swamiji,

…Man has no control over his life and actions. His body and senses perform their functions on their own and man cannot change them at all. Actions are performed by the guṇas.

We claim that we are the doers of actions, while the fact is we have no say over anything. It is the Will of God that prevails. We are not the performers, nor do we have control over the senses. The senses work according to one’s nature. If this be so, then how can one seek Self-realization till he is destined for it?

I would be grateful if you can help me to gain Self-realization.

Yours affectionately, V

* * *

Dear and blessed Soul V: 

Hariḥ Om Tat Sat.

  1. Do not mix up propositions. Husk of every cereal is finally to be discarded because it cannot be used as food. Does it mean that it was not needed earlier also during the growth of the grain? Each class in the school or college is ultimately to be left behind. Can we say then that we need not enter each? You get into a bus to reach your destination, and you get down at your place leaving the bus to its own course. Does it mean you need not board the vehicle at all?

Everything is the effect of guṇas. Work, cessation, dream, sleep, wakefulness — all. But within these, the guṇas alone make you think, enquire, seek etc. See all as guṇas and flow with them. Do when you feel like doing. Stop and leave when you feel so. Be natural.

Whether I should do or not, the question will not arise then. But you will still be doing whatever comes your way.

  1. It is guṇas alone that make you question, discriminate. It will continue, till by the same guṇa-propulsion, the seeker or enquirer retires from the process of seeking and enquiring.

Everything has its place. If your mind is in a questioning mood under the guṇa influence, let it do so. When later, it withdraws by the same guṇas, then withdraw also, naturally.

  1. Where is the conflict? Only immaturity and incompleteness is there in understanding. When you take your stand on the ‘guṇas’ and their inevitable influence, you must do so with full reconciliation, surrendering all other views and needs at its altar. You should no more have any ego or ego-centric outlook.

The sattva guṇa in you should not bring in any sense of undue comparison with others and elation. Equally so, the rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa you notice in others outside, should not bring any note of condemnation or dislike. Your sattva and others’ rajas and tamas belong to prakṛti, Nature. Look at everyone, the guṇa expression in him, as a creation of prakṛti alone. Nature is at fault or praise everywhere. The habit of separating individuals from Nature should completely cease. All individuals, including yourself, are part of one aggregate Nature.

Nature, through her guṇas, motivates or compels you. Equally so, the same guṇas compel others also. Before Nature, you and others stand as equal heirs. No special praise for anyone, no special blame for anyone.

  1. Every time the mind resents or gets allured or disturbed, the thought of the all-fold prakṛti and the all-fold guṇas must come in to dissolve and replace all these notes with one single note of sublimity and fullness.

“You make me eat, and so I eat. You make me speak, and so I speak. You lead me to enquire and meditate and I do so.” OK. The question and urges stop thus. Heart will still beat and lungs breathe, blood circulate, mind think and the body work. Earth will revolve. Moon will wax and wane. Will not lives prevail and move?

उदासीनवदासीनो गुणैर्यो न विचाल्यते ।
गुणा वर्तन्त इत्येव योऽवतिष्ठति नेङ्गते ॥

udāsīnavad-āsīno guṇair- yo na vicālyate.
guṇā vartanta ity- eva yo’vatiṣṭhati neṅgate.. Bhagavad Gita

Seated firmly (like a witness) – uninvolved person –he who does not get unsettled by the play of guṇas, knowing clearly that guṇas alone act (and not the higher central identity), he who remains well established in this knowledge, is unshaken to the core.

Understanding thus that the guṇas of Nature alone are behind every cause and effect, be indifferent to everything, thereby transcending the very guṇas. The vairāgya that then dawns will make you a guṇa-atīta.

The poise is in the deepest personality, the nucleus of your being. Till that comes, have all fretting and fuming, and finally the calm. Look for that supreme harmony.

Love and āśīrvād.

Your own Antāratmā, Swamiji

– From the book–“Dear and Blessed Soul”

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“He who does not get unsettled by the play of guṇas, knowing clearly that guṇas alone act (and not the higher central identity), he who remains well established in this knowledge, is unshaken to the core.”

“Understanding thus that the guṇas of Nature alone are behind every cause and effect, be indifferent to everything, thereby transcending the very guṇas.”

“Look at everyone, the guṇa expression in him, as a creation of prakṛti alone. Nature is at fault or praise everywhere. The habit of separating individuals from Nature should completely cease. All individuals, including yourself, are part of one aggregate Nature.”

“Nature, through her guṇas, motivates or compels you. Equally so, the same guṇas compel others also. Before Nature, you and others stand as equal heirs. No special praise for anyone, no special blame for anyone.”

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