Triguna (Three Modes of material Natures)

Triguna (Three Modes of material Natures)

By Padma Devi 

Understanding the Three Modes

The Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad-Bhagavatam both contain extensive descriptions of the three material modes, also referred to as the three qualities of material nature. Fundamentally, the three qualities compose a tripartite system of influence on all materially embodied beings, as well as on all aspects of the material creation. This includes the bodies and the mental and intellectual capacities of human beings, demigods, and all other living beings.

In the Bhagavad-gita (3.27) Lord Krishna says, prakriteh kriyamanani: one acts according to the particular modes of nature he has acquired. And in Message of Godhead Srila Prabhupada writes, “As long as the living entity remains conditioned by material nature, he has to act according to his particular mode of nature.” The influence of the three material qualities on the materially embodied individual is both psychological and biological. But while the three modes influence the body and mind of the embodied soul, they never change the soul itself.

Within the hierarchy of the three, sattva-guna, the mode of goodness, is superior to the modes of passion (raja-guna) and ignorance ( tamo-guna). The mode of ignorance is inferior to the mode of passion. This hierarchy is necessarily so, as the characteristics of the mode of goodness enable a person to peacefully focus on higher spiritual goals. In the mode of passion, one fervently endeavors to attain material prosperity to increase one’s sense gratification, thus to focus on spiritual goals is extremely difficult. In the mode of ignorance there is no interest in spiritual goals, what to speak of any favorable circumstances within which to cultivate such interest. As such, characteristics of the material mode of goodness endow one with a higher quality of consciousness than do the modes of passion and ignorance.

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Looking into the Structure of Bhagavad-gita

Looking into the Structure of Bhagavad-gita

By Isvara Krishna Dasa

Understanding the levels of instruction in the Bhagavad-gita can help us comprehend the overall unity of Lord Krishna’s message.

The Bhagavad-gita is no doubt a major spiritual treatise and one of the world’s greatest classics. Understanding that a hierarchical concept of reality characterizes the Gita can help us see coherence of the Gita’s message.

The Bhagavad-gita speaks on two major levels of reality and a third, intermediate, one. We can use the Sanskrit words dharma and moksha to treat the two main levels, and the word yoga for the third. Dharma refers to a set of values representing duty, religion, morality, law, order, and justice, which together sustain civilized human life. Yoga refers to the attempt to detach oneself from worldly life while trying to yoke oneself to the liberated state. Moksha refers to the liberated state of perfection and eternal existence in pure devotional service to the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna. The level of dharma represents the human or worldly condition, the level of moksha represents the real or absolute condition (liberation), and the level of yoga is intermediate. We can also define these three levels as the finite, the intermediate, and the infinite.

We can distinguish each level in terms of values and “being.” For dharma, the general rule in terms of value is to prosper. At this level, one desires worldly happiness and prosperity, seeing these as good. In terms of being, one see the living entity as the body, whether as a human being or as some other species.

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The King who had four wives…

 

By Subhadra Devi Dasi

Once upon a time there was a rich King who had four wives.

He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to the finest of delicacies. He gave her nothing but the best.

He also loved the 3rd wife very much and was always showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he feared that one day she would leave him for another.

He also loved his 2nd wife. She was his confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with him. Whenever the King faced a problem, he could confide in her, and she would help him get through the difficult times

The King’s 1st wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the first wife. Although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her!

One day, the King fell ill and he knew his time was short. He thought of his luxurious life and wondered, I now have four wives with me, but when I die, I’ll be all alone.”

Thus, he asked the 4th wife, “I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”

“No way!” replied the 4th wife, and she walked away without another word.

Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart.

The sad King then asked the 3rd wife, “I loved you all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”

“No!” replied the 3rd wife. “Life is too good! When you die, I’m going to remarry!”

His heart sank and turned cold.

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