Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga
(Classification of the Three Basic Qualities)
1. The Blessed Lord said: "I shall proclaim again that Supreme
Knowledge, the greatest of all wisdoms grasping which sages have
been liberated from bondage and have attained the highest of
2. "They who dwelling in this Wisdom
are united with Me, are neither born when the Universe is recreated
at the beginning of every Cosmic cycle, nor are they affected when
it is dissolved.
3. "In that [symbolic] womb called [Mother] Nature (Prakriti),
I place My seed; and from it 68
O Bharata, issue forth all beings.
4. "O Kaunteva, whatever be the physical wombs from which beings
actually emerge, [Mother] Nature is the primordial womb of all, and
I am the ultimate, seed-giving Father.
5. "Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas - these are the three basic Gunas, O
Mahabahu, that are intrinsic to Nature; and to the body of the
physical being, these qualities bind the embodied one (soul).
6. "Of these, Sattva is luminous and flawless; and yet, O sinless
one, it in its own way also binds by creating attachment to
happiness, as well as to knowledge.
7. "Rajas, on the other hand, is the source of desire and
passion; and it binds man through attachment to action [and the
8. "But Tamas, the product of ignorance, stupefies the senses in
embodied beings; it binds fast, O Bharata, through heedlessness,
indolence and sloth.
9. "Sattva promotes happiness and Rajas stimulates vigorous
action, while Tamas, verily obscuring knowledge, induces laziness
and triggers wrong action.
10. "Sattva prevails by predominating over Rajas and Tamas;
likewise Rajas asserts itself by prevailing over Sattva and Tamas,
and Tamas over the other two.
11. "When the radiance of Knowledge gleams forth from all the
gates of the body, be aware that it is Sattva, which prevails.
12. "When Rajas is predominant, greed, vigor, restlessness, and
craving are very much in evidence, O Bharatarishabha.
13. "Indiscrimination, inertia, ignorance, frivolity, sloth and
rashness - these are the hallmarks of Tamas, O Kurunandana.
14. "The man in whom Sattva prevails, attains on death the pure
ethereal world (heaven)
of noble souls.
15. "When a man dominated by Rajas expires, he is born into an
environment of vigorous activity; and if Tamas rules, rebirth would
be as a lowly and ignorant species.
16. "Purity is the fruit of actions Sattvik, pain, sorrow and
misery that of actions Rajasik, and ignorance that of actions
17. "From Sattva springs Wisdom
and from Rajas avarice; Tamas, on the other hand, is the source of
delusion, ignorance and heedlessness.
18. "Those abiding in Sattva rise upwards; those of Rajasik
disposition remain in the middle, while those of Tamasik temperament
19. "When a man understands that everything [in Prakriti]
is but a play of the Gunas and also clearly perceives Him who is
above the Gunas, he attains My Divine nature.
20. "Transcending the three constituent Gunas which give the body
its existence, the embodied one (soul) is then freed from the pangs
of birth, death and old age, and wins Immortality."
21. Arjuna asked: "What are the marks, O Lord, of him who has
transcended the three Gunas? How does he behave? And how does he
rise above the three Gunas?
22. The Blessed Lord said: "Such a one, O Pandava, disdains not
the quality which is present - be it Sattva, Rajas or Tamas - nor
yearns for it when absent.
23. "Indifferent [to the pairs of opposites], unshaken by the
Gunas, while watching as a silent witness their play 69
24. "Responding alike to pleasure and pain, regarding gold and
clay to be the same, accepting similarly both things pleasant and
unpleasant, as well as praise and blame;
25. "Reacting similarly to honor and disrespect, same to friend
and foe, and who has also relinquished the sense of doership in all
undertakings - such a one may be said to have transcended the three
26. "He who, treading the path of devotion, serves Me
unswervingly, is qualified, upon transcending the Gunas, to merge in
27. "For I am the Abode of Brahman,
of the Immortal and the Immutable, of Eternal Dharma
and Supreme Bliss."
Thus in the Bhagavad Gita, the Essence of the Upanishads,
the Science of Brahman,
the Scripture of Yoga, the Dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna,
ends the fourteenth chapter, entitled:
GUNATRAYA VIBHAGA YOGA
68The union of Spirit and
69i.e., of the Gunas.