Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha

11 – Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 18 – by Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha – The Way to Freedom

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In this discourse, Swamiji analyses the classification of knowledge (Jnanam), action (Karma) and performer (karta) into three gunas.

Knowledge: The sattvika knowledge is that by which a person sees the one, undivided, imperishable reality in all diverse living beings. The knowledge which gives a separative and differential notion of creation is rajasa knowledge. The knowledge based on delusion and untruth is tamasa.

Action: Action done without attachment and desire is sattvika karma. Action that is prompted by selfish desire, pride, and which is full of stress is rajasa. Work which is done without a proper plan, without estimating one’s own ability and which is injurious to others is tamasa in nature.

Performer: The best performer is one who does work without ego and expectation and is not affected by success or failure. A rajasa performer is result oriented, covetous, violent-natured, impure and is moved by joy and sorrow. One who is undisciplined, vulgar, stubborn, deceitful, slothful, despondent, and procrastinating is a tamasa performer.

Summarizing the session, Swamiji says that gunas are most essential for the sustenance of the creation but when it works through human personality in association with ego and desire it becomes impure and degrading. This classification helps a seeker to recognize his/her own unwelcome traits, eliminate them and live a peaceful and contented life.

Slokas Discussed: 18.14 to 18.28

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