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Bhagavad Gītā 14

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Chapter 14



Union by separation from the three qualities


(Sanskrit terms and names can be clicked for explanation)



The Holy One said:

I shall again declare [to you] the supreme, the best knowledge of all knowledge, knowing which all munis have reached perfection beyond this. (1)

Having recourse to this knowledge, having [thus] attained to my own being [sādharmyamāgatāḥ], they are not reborn even at the new emanation [sarge], nor are they disturbed during the pralaya [dissolution]. (2)

My womb is great brahman. In it I place the embryo [of the universe]. Thence the production of all beings, O son of Bharata. (3)

O son of Kuntī, of whatever forms are brought forth in all wombs, great brahman is the womb. I am the seed-bestowing sire. (4)

Sattva, rajas, tamas, these are the guṇas brought forth by prakṛti. O you of mighty arms! These [guṇas] ensnare the embodied one [dehinam] in the body. (5)

Among these, sattva [truth, goodness], from its stainless nature a giver of light and free from ills, ensnares [the undecaying one: the dehin] through attachment to pleasure and attachment to knowledge also, O sinless One! (6)

Know rajas [passion] to be of the nature of longing, spring from thirst and attachment [association]. This, O son of Kuntī, ensnares the embodied one [dehinam, undecaying one] by bonds of action. (7)

Know tamas [darkness, gloom, therefore error, ignorance] to be born of ignorance; it bewilders all embodied ones. This, O son of Bharata, ensnares by stupefying, sloth, and sleep. (8)

Sattva causes clinging to pleasure; rajas to action, O son of Bharata. But tamas having enshrouded knowledge, causes clinging to indifference. (9)

Rajas and tamas being overcome, sattva springs forth, O son of Bharata. Rajas and sattva, then tamas; tamas and sattva, then rajas, in turn. (10)

When in this body, the illumination [which is knowledge] comes forth from all [its] portals, then one should know that sattva hath grown [there]. (11)

When rajas has grown, O Bull of Bharata’s race, these come forth: greed, activity, exertion in [performance of] acts, disquietude, envy. sattva (12)

Gloom and inactivity, confusion, and also bewilderment, these come forth in the growth of tamas, O child of Kuru’s race. (13)

When, with sattva full-grown, the body-holder [soul] goes to dissolution [of the body and lower parts], then he reaches the stainless worlds of those who know the highest [uttamavidām]. (14)

Going to dissolution [pralayam] in rajas, he is born among those engaged in works; dying too, in tamas, he is born in wombs of ignorance. (15)

Of good action, they say the fruit is of the nature of sattva, and stainless. But of rajas the fruit is sorrow. Ignorance is the fruit of tamas. (16)

From sattva is brought forth knowledge, from rajas comes greed. Confusion and bewilderment and ignorance spring from tamas. (17)

Upwards go they who adhere to sattva, in the middle are they who are of the nature of rajas, downwards go they of the nature of tamas who adhere to the ways of the lowest guṇa. (18)

When the seer recognizes that there is no actor other than the guṇas, and knows that which is beyond the guṇas, he approaches to my being. (19)

Transcending these three guṇas which bodies bring forth, the embodied one, freed from birth, death, old age, and sorrow, attains immortality. (20)

Arjuna said:

By what characteristics is the one who has transcended these three guṇas [known], O lord! What [is his] conduct? And how does he overcome these three guṇas? (21)

The Holy One said:

He who do not hate illumination, nor progress, nor bewilderment too when they prevail, O son of Pāṇḍu, nor longs for [them] when vanished, (22)

Who, sitting as one unconcerned, is not shaken by the guṇas, who abides and is not moved, [saying] ‘It is the guṇas which function,’ (23)

Who is the same in sorrow and pleasure, who is self-contained, to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are as one, to whom the loved and unloved are as one. Who is steadfast, to whom censure and praise of himself are as one, (24)

Who is the same in honor and disgrace, the same to the parties of friends or foes, who has abandoned all exertion [for self], – he is said to have transcended guṇa. (25)

And he who serves me with unswerving devotion by yoga, completely transcending these guṇas, accommodates himself to the nature of brahman. (26)

For I am the dwelling place of the brahman, of immortality, of the undecaying, of perpetual law [dharmasya] and unalloyed bliss. (27)


Thus in the Holy

Bhagavad-Gītā. fourteenth

chapter, by name —


Union by separation from the three guṇas (qualities)