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Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita, English translation and commentary by Swami Swarupananda, [1909], at

p. 308


The Blessed Lord said:

1. Again shall I tell thee that supreme knowledge which is above all knowledge, having known which all the Munis have attained to high perfection after this life. 1

p. 309

2. They who having devoted themselves to this knowledge, have attained to My Being, are neither born at the time of creation, nor are they troubled at the time of dissolution.

3. My womb is the great Prakriti; in that I place the germ; from thence, O descendant of Bharata, is the birth of all beings. 3

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4. Whatever forms are produced, O son of Kunti, in all the wombs, the great Prakriti is their womb, and I the seed-giving Father.

5. Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas,—these Gunas, O mighty-armed, born of Prakriti, bind fast in the body the indestructible embodied one. 5

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6. Of these Sattva, from its stainlessness luminous and free from evil, binds, O sinless one, by attachment to happiness, and by attachment to knowledge. 6

7. Know Rajas to be of the nature of passion, giving rise to thirst and attachment;

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it binds fast, O son of Kunti, the embodied one, by attachment to action. 7

8. And know Tamas to be born of ignorance, stupefying all embodied beings; it binds fast, O descendant of Bharata, by miscomprehension, indolence, and sleep. 8

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9. Sattva attaches to happiness, and Rajas to action, O descendant of Bharata; while Tamas, verily, shrouding discrimination, attaches to miscomprehension.

10. Sattva arises, O descendant of Bharata, predominating over Rajas and 'Tamas; and Rajas over Sattva and Tamas; so, Tamas over Sattva and Rajas. 10

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11. When through every sense in this body, the light of intelligence shines, then it should be known that Sattva is predominant. 11

12. Greed, activity, the undertaking of actions, unrest, longing—these arise when Rajas is predominant, O bull of the: Bhâratas. 12

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13. Darkness, inertness, miscomprehension, and delusion,—these arise when Tamas is predominant, O descendant of Kuru. 13

14. If the embodied one meets death when Sattva is predominant, then he attains to the spotless regions of the worshippers of the Highest. 14

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15. Meeting death in Rajas he is born among those attached to action; so dying in Tamas, he is born in the wombs of the irrational. 15

16. The fruit of good action, they say, is Sâttvika and pure; verily, the fruit of Rajas is pain, and ignorance is the fruit of Tamas. 16

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17. From Sattva arises wisdom, and greed from Rajas; miscomprehension, delusion and ignorance arise from Tamas.

18. The Sattva-abiding go upwards; the Râjasika dwell in the middle; and the Tâmasika, abiding in the function. of the lowest Guna, go downwards.

19. When the seer beholds no agent other than the Gunas and knows That which is higher than the Gunas, he attains to My being. 19

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20. The embodied one having gone beyond these three Gunas out of which the body is evolved, is freed from birth, death, decay and pain, and attains to immortality.

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Arjuna said:

21. By what marks, O Lord, is he (known) who has gone beyond these three Gunas? What is his conduct, and how does he pass beyond these three Gunas?

The Blessed Lord said:

22. He who hates not the appearance of light, (the effect of Sattva), activity (the effect of Rajas), and delusion (the effect of Tamas), (in his own mind), O Pândava, nor longs for them when absent; 22

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23. He who, sitting like one unconcerned, is moved not by the Gunas, who, knowing that the Gunas operate, is Self-centred and swerves not;

24. Alike in pleasure and pain, Self-abiding, regarding a clod of earth, a stone and gold alike; the same to agreeable and disagreeable, firm, the same in censure and, praise; 24

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25. The same in honour and disgrace, the same to friend and foe, relinquishing all undertakings—he is said to have gone beyond the Gunas. 25

26. And he who serves Me with an unswerving devotion, he, going beyond the Gunas, is fitted for becoming Brahman. 26

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27. For I am the abode of Brahman, the Immortal and Immutable, of everlasting Dharma and of Absolute Bliss. 27


The end of the fourteenth chapter designated, The Discrimination of the Three Gunas.


308:1 After this life—after being freed from this bondage of the body.

309:3 Brahma: This word is derived from Brimh, 'to expand,' and means here the vast seed or womb (the Prakriti) out of which the cosmos is evolved or expanded.

I place the germ: I infuse the reflection of My Intelligence, and this act of impregnation is the cause of the evolution of the cosmos.

310:5 These Gunas—are the primary constituents of the Prakriti and are the bases of all substances; they cannot therefore be said to be attributes or qualities inhering in the substances as opposed to the substances.

Embodied one: he who abides in the body as if identified therewith.

311:6 Binds by attachment to happiness &c.: Binds the Self by the consciousness of happiness and knowledge in the shape of 'I am happy,' 'I am wise,' which belongs properly to the Kshetra, but which is associated with the Self, the Absolute Intelligence and Bliss, through Avidyâ.

312:7 It binds &c.—Though the Self is not the agent, Rajas makes Him act with the idea 'I am the doer.'

312:8 Stupefying: causing delusion or non-discrimination.

313:10 When one or the other of the Gunas asserts itself predominating over the other two, it produces its own effect. Sattva produces knowledge and happiness; Rajas, action; Tamas, veiling of discrimination &c.

314:11 Every sense—lit., all the gates. All the senses are for the Self the gateways of perception.

314:12 Unrest—being agitated with joy, attachment &c.

315:13 Darkness, inertness: Absence of discrimination, and its results, inertness &c.

315:14 Spotless regions: The Brahma-loka and the like.

The Highest—Deities such as Hiranyagarbha.

316:15 Meeting . . . Rajas: If he dies when Rajas is predominant in him.

316:16 Rajas—means Râjasika action, and Tamas,—Tâmasika action, as this section treats of actions.

317:19 The Gunas—which transform themselves into the bodies, senses and sense-objects, and which in p. 318 all their modifications constitute the agent in all actions.

Knows . . . the Gunas: Sees Him who is distinct from the Gunas, who is the Witness of the Gunas and of their functions.

319:22 This answers Arjuna's first question. The man of right knowledge does not hate the effects of the three Gunas when they clearly present themselves as objects of consciousness; nor does he long after things which have disappeared.

320:24 Self-abiding: He remains in his own true-nature.

321:25 Inclining to neither of the dual throng, he firmly treads the path of Self-knowledge, and rises above the Gunas.

These three Slokas are in answer to Arjuna's second question.

321:26 This answers Arjuna's third question.

322:27 I—the Pratyagâtman, the true Inner-Self.

Next: Fifteenth Chapter. The Way to the Supreme Spirit