You must realize that this body is meant to meditate and to get liberated. It is very difficult to get this body of a human being. ~Swami Lakshmanjoo

In the latest Bhagavad Gita Sangha (#85 Chapter 14 verse 19-25) we learned from Swamiji about the gunas in Kashmir Shaivism versa traditional Vedic literature. A very important question came up: “How does sattvaguna binds the individual?” As we had just learned that sattvaguna is considered to be pure.

In this unpublished excerpt from an earlier audio recording of the Bhagavad Gita, Swamiji explains this in great detail. And ends with an important appeal!


Bhagavad Gītā audio (1978)

Abhinavagupta’s commentary

(chapter 14, verses 5-9)

dehi cāyamātmatayā sattvarājastamobhirdharmair-

apabargaparyantāya bhogāyanibaddhyate // (comm. 5)

Dehi, this possessor of the body, who is in fact immortal, ātmatayā sattva-rājas-tamobhir, he believes that “I am the body”, because of these sāttvaguṇa, rājoguṇa and tāmoguṇa. Three guṇas make him understand that you are body, you are not immortal.

Apabarga paryantāya bhogāya-nibaddhyate, so he is bound, he is entangled until he is liberated in the end. Till then he is bound, he is entangled by these three guṇas.

How sāttvaguṇa binds you, how rājoguṇa binds you, and how tāmoguṇa binds you; he explains this now in another śloka.

तत्र सत्त्वं निर्मलत्वात्प्रकाशकमनामयम् 

सुखसङ्गेन बध्नाति ज्ञानसङ्गेन चानघ  ॥६॥

tatra sattvaṁ nirmalatvāt-prakāśakam-anāmayam  /

sukha-saṅgena badhnāti jñāna-saṅgena cānagha  //6//

O Arjuna! For instance this sāttvaguṇa, nirmalatvāt, it is absolutely pure, prakāśam, it gives you light, it produces light in your brain.

What? – Sāttvaguṇa.

Sāttvaguṇa produces light in your brain because of its being pure. And anāmayam, it is anāmayam without any worries, it has no worry, sāttvaguṇa does not produce any worries. Sukha saṅgena badhnāti jñāna saṅgena cānagha and it binds you.

How sattvaguṇa binds you?

“I am really filled with consciousness of God!”

“I am always filled with ānanda, with bliss!”

This kind of knowledge binds you because when you confirm in your brain that “you are joy (sukha)!”, [then] you are discarding pain (duḥkha), you are discarding sadness. You are not sadness because you are joy, you are bliss, you are not the negation of bliss.

So that is bondage.

When there is complete knowledge and complete absence of knowledge – that is complete knowledge – that is fullness of knowledge.

Fullness of knowledge is not fullness of knowledge. Fullness of knowledge is: when you are full and you are not full – both – that is full.

STEPHANIE: So sāttvaguṇa is the only one.

SWAMIJI: Only one so it binds you. It binds you and it keeps you centered in only joy. It keeps you away from pain. It keeps you away from worry, torture. It keeps you away from torture. So that is bondage.

Is not torture the reflection of Lord Śiva?

That torture is also the reflection of Lord Śiva – that is also divine.

ERNIE: But don’t all the scriptures and all of the Vedas, don’t they want you to have sāttvaguṇa?

SWAMIJI: Yes in the beginning we do that. We possess sāttvaguṇa in the beginning just to get fitness in meditation. When you get fitness in meditation through sāttvaguṇa, then, in the end, you realize that sāttvaguṇa, rājoguṇa, tāmoguṇa is only the expansion of Lord Śiva. It is nothing other than Lord Śiva.

So this is bondage, when you are sentenced to some limited point, that is bondage. There you are away from God consciousness. God consciousness does not recognize only sāttvaguṇa and discards rājoguṇa and tāmoguṇa.

God consciousness is filled in all the three guṇas.

It is why guṇātīta, you must achieve the state of guṇātīta. Guṇatīta is above these three guṇas. Above these three guṇas where there is the impression of sāttvaguṇa also, rājoguṇa also, tāmoguṇa also, in its divine way. That is the real nature of Lord, of your Self.

So it is bondage nirmalatvāt, because it is pure impurity is absent there; prakāśakam it is the giver of light, so darkness is not there; and there is joy (sukha), so sadness is not there. And by these three things, it entangles you in its own way.

We’ll go to rājoguṇa now.


रजो रागात्मकं विद्धि तृष्णासङ्गसमुद्भवम् 

तन्निबध्नाति कौन्तेय कर्मसङ्गेन देहिनम्  ॥७॥

rajo rāgātmakaṁ viddhi tṛṣṇā-saṅga-samudbhavam  /

tan-nibadhnāti kaunteya karma-saṅgena dehinam  //7//


And rājoguṇa is rāgātmakaṁ, it is the embodiment of attachment; when you are attached to something that is rājoguṇa. And it rises tṛṣṇā-saṅga-samudbhavam-by being attached to tṛṣṇā,desire’. When you are attached to desire then this attachment rises.

Tat nibadhnāti kaunteya karma saṅgena dehinam, and this rājoguṇa binds this individual, who is in fact pure and universal, this rājoguṇa binds him in such a way that karma saṅgena, he is attached to this and that work.

“He has to feed Viresh, he has to go to the factory, he has to make money, he has to fix his car, all of these things entangle him in this way by these actions, various actions. This desire . . .

BRUCE P: . . . pulls him into this action.


When there is desire, you are residing in rājoguṇa. When there is detachment – altogether detachment – then you are residing in sāttvaguṇa. When there is desire, you are in rājoguṇa, and that binds you too.


तमस्त्वज्ञानजं विद्धि मोहनं सर्वदेहिनाम् 

प्रमादालस्यनिद्राभिस्तन्निबध्नाति भारत  ॥८॥

tāmastva-jñānajaṁ vidhi mohanaṁ sarvadehinām  /

pramādālasya-nidrābhis-tan-nibadhnāti bhārata  //8//


And O Arjuna! Now there is tāmoguṇa.

Tāmoguṇa also binds you, entangles you. And it comes out from ajñānajaṁ, i.e., from ignorance, it rises from ignorance.


DEVOTEES: Tāmoguṇa.

SWAMIJI: Tāmoguṇa.

Mohanaṁ sarva dehināṁ, and it deludes everybody, it puts everybody in delusion, in the ocean of delusion.

Pramādālasya-nidrābhiḥ, and that too binds you by:

  • pramāda – by forgetfulness;
  • ālasya – by sluggishness;
  • nidrābhi – and by sleeping, drowsiness.

Nidrā is just negligence; nidrā is not sleeping, nidrā does not mean here ‘sleep’, nidrā is just negligence.

So, tāmoguṇa also binds you: by forgetfulness, by sluggishness, and by drowsiness. So taking these drugs will carry you to tāmoguṇa. You will find that you are blissful, but you are not blissful, you are residing in the surface of tāmoguṇa there.

durlabhasyāpi ciratarasañcitapuṇyaśatalabdhasyāpa-vargaprāptāvekakāraṇasya mānuṣyakasya vṛthātivāhanaṁ–pramādaḥ  /  (comm. verse 8)

And pramādaḥ . . . pramād is negligence.

Negligence is not to neglect your kitchen work; when you neglect your kitchen work, when you neglect your household work, that is not negligence.

Abhinavagupta explains, real negligence is:

ciratara sañcita puṇyaśata labdhasya apavarga prāptāu-ekakāraṇasya mānuṣyakasya, (comm. verse 8)

This body, which you have gained, which you are possessing – this body – and this body you have possessed, ciratara sañcita-puṇyaśata labdhasya, after adopting thousands and thousands and lakhs of good actions; after doing thousands and lakhs [100,000] of good actions you have gained this body; you have gained this body, which is apa-varga-prāptāu-eka-kāraṇasya, which is the only way to reach the state of God consciousness and final liberation.

Which is the only way?

ERNIE: The body.

SWAMIJI: The body.

And vṛthā-ativāhanam, and to just waste it in other ways is pramādaḥ, is negligence.

You must realize that this body is meant to meditate and to get liberated. This body cannot be repeatedly bestowed to you. It is very difficult to get this body, this body of a human being.

You must realize that this body is meant to meditate and to get liberated. It is very difficult to get this body of a human being. ~Swami Lakshmanjoo

A bird you can . . . the body of a bird you can get, but what is the use of a bird. There is no this intellect, intelligence, to find the reality of Lord. The intelligence is only seen in this body, and to waste it in other activities of the world, this is negligence.

ERNIE: But yet this Gītā is about Arjuna who has to perform his duty of being a warrior and fight, and so he neglects it in one way . . .

SWAMIJI: No, just watch your breath in each and every action of the world.

ERNIE: Even when you are driving the car, or working in factory, or driving the children?

SWAMIJI: Yes, yes . . . then that is not wastage. When you waste it by all of these other activities it is wastage and this is proper negligence. And this takes rise from tāmoguṇa.

Abhinavagupta explains: “I have also said in some śloka what negligence is.”

‘āyuṣaḥ kṣaṇa eko pi sarva-ratnairna labhyate’  /

For instance, one breath is gone, one breath you have exhaled, and you are inhaling now, while exhaling you were not aware of watching your breath, and that is one kṣaṇa ‘one moment’ of your life. Sarva-ratnairna, if you will try and spend all your money to get that moment back it will never come.

That moment is gone, wasted!

Sa vṛthā nīyate yena, and the person who wastes the whole life in this way sa pramādī, he is filled with negligence, narādhamaḥ, and he is to be pitied.

DENISE: He is what?

SWAMIJI: To be pitied.

Find out, don’t waste your time of this precious life. This precious life, it won’t be repeated to you every now and then. You have got it by, I don’t know how many good actions of your past lives.


सत्त्वं सुखे सञ्जयति रजः कर्मणि भारत 

ज्ञानमावृत्य तु तमः प्रमादे सञ्जयत्युत  ॥९॥

sattvaṁ sukhe sañjayeti rajaḥ karmaṇi bhārata  /

jñānam-āvṛtya tu tamaḥ pramāde sañjayatyuta  //9//


O Arjuna! Sāttvaguṇa will insert joy in you, rajaḥ karmaṇi bhārata, rājoguṇa will insert action in you, jñānam āvṛtya tu tamaḥ pramāde, and tāmoguṇa will envelop your internal knowledge of God consciousness and give you negligence.

These are the actions that are produced by these three guṇas.

[ END ]

Source: Bhagavad Gita Sangha #85 Chapter 14 verse 19-25,
Bhagavad Gita in the Light of Kashmir Shaivism revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo

Copyright © John Hughes

Write a comment:


Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copyright © 2022 John Hughes Family Trust All Rights Reserved