18 October 2020
Transcend the three Modes of Material Nature
Hare Krishna! Devotees from 727 locations are chanting with us right now.
We shall continue yesterday's topic. We were discussing the three modes of nature.
daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te
This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.[ BG 7.14]
Nature is made up of 3 modes. It is very difficult to overcome these 3 modes. But Krsna says, “Those who surrender unto Me, can easily be freed from the clutches of Maya.” We become conditioned by the influence of Maya. Maya entangles us. We have to understand which energy is bounding me. We have to understand this Maya so that we can become free. People are not even aware that they are under the influence of Maya. They don't know that they are bound by the clutches of Maya. If a fish can be asked how is the water? The fish can ask which water as the fish always remains in the water and doesn't think much about it. Similarly, people are under the influence of Maya, but they don't think much about it. A Krsna consciousness person can only know about Maya. When a person becomes advanced in Krsna consciousness then slowly he can identify Krsna and Maya. This is also knowledge. Krsna also explained this in the 14th chapter of Bhagavad Gita entitled "Three modes of material nature". Faith depends on these three modes.
The instructions that Krsna gave to Arjun are very important. It is not a routine or general leisure time talk. This talk is between two large armies on the battlefield just before the great battle was about to start. There cannot be gags and gossips or unimportant talks at such time.
This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings. By its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.[ BG 9.10].
Krsna says, “I am the Master of Nature. All the moving and immobile are controlled by Me.” They are controlled under the mastership and supervision of Krsna. What is nature? It is the external energy of Krsna. It is very powerful. We are all mere puppets, and Krsna is our controller. The master controls the puppets using thin invisible threads. These three modes of Nature are these threads. The puppets are not free or independent to move or take any step. Similarly whatever we do, is only out of the dominance of any of these three modes of Nature.
gunaih karmani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate
The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.[ BG 3.27]
Whatever we do in the material world is under the influence of the three modes of material nature, but foolish people think that we are the doers. The person who reads Bhagavad Gita knows this easily.
Based on these qualities dominated by the three modes of nature, society is classified into 4 Varnas - Categories.
atur-varnyam maya srstam
tasya kartaram api mam
viddhy akartaram avyayam
According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me. And, although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable.[ BG 4.13]
Also, there is a mixture of the three modes. Varna also means colour.
1. Sattva - White
2. Raja - Red
3. Tama - Black
These are the colours that symbolize these gunas/modes. There are 3 main colours. I remember when we had Art class at school, we would carry 3-4 colours with us and then make more colours by mixing them in different proportions. Similarly, every person has all these three Gunas in different proportions. All actions are based on the qualities dominated either by the mode of goodness, passion or ignorance. These three modes are everywhere and accordingly, the 4 Varnas have been categorised. Even the 4 Yugas are divided according to the dominance of different Gunas. In Satya - Sattva Guna is prominent. In Treta - Sattva Guna is lessened and Raja Guna enters. And in Dwapare yuga, Tama Guna enters. Then there is no sign of Sattva guna in Kaliyuga and Sudras can be found everywhere. Not only in India, but in every part of the universe. Because of 3 Gunas, three Loks are made. In Swarga Lok mode of goodness is prominent, Passion is prominent in Mrityu Lok, mode of ignorance is prominent in Patal Lok or it is also called hell.
urdhvam gacchanti sattva-stha
madhye tisthanti rajasah
adho gacchanti tamasah
Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets; and those in the mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds.[ BG 14.18].
Above these planets, there is one more planet which is the abode of the Lord, Vaikuntha Dhama, which is free from the three modes. If a living entity is free from the three modes then he goes back home, back to Godhead. These Gunas are like a rope. If we are in the mode of ignorance then we are bound by three ropes, similarly, if we are in a mode of passion then we are bound by two ropes and similarly by 1 rope if we are in a mode of goodness. We have to free for Sattva Guna also and we have to reach suddha satva stage. Then we can go to Vaikuntha.
Those who have taken shelter of the name are taken the shelter of the Lord. When we do Japa we become Japa Yogi. When we do Japa Yagya then we become free from the three modes of material nature.
Questions and Answers session
Question 1: If a soul comes to this material and if the parents give only the goodness environment to the child then will it get influenced by other modes because of Maya? Can we again bring him to the mode of goodness? (Paramkaruna Prabhu, Nagpur)
Gurudev Uvaca: Being in the mode of goodness is not our motive. ISKCON has been formed to bring people out of the clutches of Maya beyond the three modes of Nature. When we associate with the devotees we will be free from these three modes.
When you churn the yogurt well in essence the butter separates and starts floating. Similarly, after achieving perfection by practice we will be separated from this Maya, though we will be in this world. When you will do sadhana, Japa and Kirtana you will be not affected by the three modes.
Question 2: How much time does it take for a grhasta to become free from all the modes? Is it possible? (Vamana Prabhu, Nigidi)
Prabhupada said that in this life only you have to attain perfection. You have to become Krsna conscious. Raja Parakshit was also a grhasta and many such grhastas attain perfection. Those who are taking training, will not remain grhasta for a lifetime, they will become vanaprastha. They will take sannyasa. At least that mood will be there. They will be free from lust. In one lifetime, you have to become brahmachari, grhasta, vanaprastha, and sannyasi.
In Kaliyuga people don't go further than the grhasta ashram. When we do sadhana and become initiated then we should not stick to grhasta ashram, we have to become vanaprastha. It's not necessary that you have to go the forest. You can be at the home and do all the activities. After taking sannyasa we have to free from lust. All these you have to do in this lifetime. Prabhupada would say that businessmen expect the profit on the same day. He doesn't wait for the next year. Similarly, we have to attain Krsna prema in this life only. Make a goal to make this life your last life.
Like Khatwanga Muni had just 48 minutes and he did it. We have 1 lifetime. Make your devotion very intense. We have to increase the intensity and frequency. Ahaituki apratihata Intense and continuous devotional services are the solution. If you do so, you should not wait for the last moment, before that itself you will become liberated. We will be ever ready. Whenever we leave the body we will go to back home, back to Godhead. Don't postpone it. Now and here we have to become Krsna conscious.