The Bhagavad Gita helps achieve excellence in the world. And takes us beyond, to the state of Enlightenment. The Gita makes a thorough analysis of the human personality, and identifies your strengths and weaknesses. It helps leverage the strengths and marginalise the weaknesses.
Every human being is made of matter and Spirit. The Bhagavad Gita helps refine and sieve out matter. What remains is Spirit. Matter is of three distinct hues called gunas or qualities. They are sattva (purity), rajas (passion) and tamas (ignorance). The gunas determine the quality of thoughts, emotions and actions in a person. They are like the genetic code in you. Together they bind us to the world. Just as the three primary colours red, yellow and blue mix to create all colours, the combination of gunas creates the infinite variety of beings in the world.
Tamas is a state of inertia and indifference resulting from ignorance. In this state the best qualities get shrouded and our inherent talent is prevented from manifesting. Rajas is a state of discontent and stress brought about by greed, craving and lust. The incessant desire-driven activity and the resultant turbulence in the mind make for mediocrity. Sattva is tranquillity of mind when one operates at one’s best. The mind is calm and contemplative. This is the state of effortless excellence. All executives, sportspersons and professionals in every field of activity strive for it– being in the ‘zone’, performing at peak levels. However, nobody knows how to achieve it, much less remain in this superlative state of being. The Bhagavad Gita spells it out clearly and simply so that everyone can operate out of one’s sattva while isolating and eventually eliminating the rajas and tamas within.
The 14th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita deals with the three gunas. It details the traits of sattva, rajas and tamas and how they bind the human being. ‘Guna’ means rope in Sanskrit. Everyone has all three gunas. As long as you remain oblivious of their nature and influence you get bound by them. When you understand them and their role in your life you can change the guna mix within.
You come up with peak performance when sattva predominates. When rajas prevails greed, disquiet and hankering weigh you down. And when tamas reigns supreme you are overcome with delusion, heedlessness and inertia. However talented you may be, a high degree of rajas or tamas will result in failure. Hence it is imperative to increase your sattva, refine the rajas and declare war on the tamas in you.
The relative strengths of the gunas also determine the environment one goes to after death. A sattvika person is born in a spiritual family where the sattvika content blossoms in the ambience of purity and tranquillity. Pure sattva catapults him to the state of Realisation. The rajasika one is born among people who are attached to action. He gets further ensnared in the world. The tamasika one is born to dull, foolish people. It is only the sattvika person who makes progress. The rajasika one moves within a narrow band while a tamasika person goes downhill.
The mission of life is to go beyond the three gunas and get liberated from the traumatic cycle of birth, death, decay and sorrow. You are born in the world only to attain Immortality. Understand the three gunas and how they function in your life. Promote sattva. Control rajas and the force of desire. Make a determined effort to eliminate tamas. See the difference in your life.
The last portion gives the traits of a person who has transcended the gunas. It tells us how to become Brahman. When you see the play of the gunas and remain undisturbed by their effects you understand That which is beyond them and reach the exalted state of Enlightenment.