Swami Ramakrishna on the 3 gunas

Discussion in 'Hindu Saints' started by Amit, Dec 28, 2015.

  1. Amit

    Amit New Member

    "Let me tell you a story. Once a rich man was passing through a forest, when three robbers surrounded him and robbed him of all his wealth. After snatching all his possessions from him, one of the robbers said: 'What's the good of keeping the man alive? Kill him.

    ' Saying this, he was about to strike their victim with his sword, when the second robber interrupted and said: 'There's no use in killing him. Let us bind him fast and leave him here. Then he won't be able to tell the police.' Accordingly the robbers tied him with a rope, left him, and went away.

    "After a while the third robber returned to the rich man and said: 'Ah! You're badly hurt, aren't you? Come, I'm going to release you.' The third robber set the man free and led him out of the forest. When .they came near the highway, the robber said, 'Follow this road and you will reach home easily.'

    'But you must come with me too', said the man. 'You have done so much for me. We shall all be happy to see you at our home.' 'No,' said the robber, 'it is not possible for me to go there. The police will arrest me.' So saying, he left the rich man after pointing out his way.

    "Now, the first robber, who said: 'What's the good of keeping the man alive? Kill him', is tamas. It destroys. The second robber is rajas, which binds a man to the world and entangles him in a variety of activities. Rajas makes him forget God. Sattva alone shows the way to God. It produces virtues like compassion, righteousness, and devotion.

    Again, sattva is like the last step of the stairs. Next to it is the roof. The Supreme Brahman is man's own abode. One cannot attain the Knowledge of Brahman unless one transcends the three gunas."

    Source: from book "Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna"

    the 3 gunas forming Antah-karan
    Antah-karan (अन्तःकरण) is a hindi term used for the 3 internal instruments of man viz., the Intellect, the Mind and the Ego.

    here ego does not mean pride, but the feeling of being separate from other forms of Brahman. This is generated by a layer of ego covering a fragment of brahman which makes that fragment of brahman feel that it is distinct from the entire brahman and therefore that fragment of brahman becomes Jeeva.

    Jeeva devoid of ego realizes its quality of being Brahman.

    Among the 3 instruments, Intellect is a function of Sat-guna
    Mind is a function of Rajo-guna
    Ego is a function of Tamo-guna.

    If we read the pdf file carefully and try to grasp the qualities of each guna, we will see that Sat guna relates to the spiritual knowledge of being One with the brahman, and all good qualities, conscience, the ability to curb negative tendencies and do good deeds. We are guided by the intellect in doing so.

    Rajo-gun is related to doing tasks, performing good/bad actions with the aim of obtaining their fruits. The Mind is the seat for performing the action of thoughts, good/bad. Mind has no decision making ability to see what is right/wrong, it simply thinks.

    Tamo-gun is related to IGNORANCE, darkness, and deludes the person and does not let him see the truth, ie, the real Self.
    The ego performs exactly that function. That is why one needs to stay away from ego as far as possible.

    When this ego grows, it turns in to pride or ahankaar, and then it leads to wrong actions, which fall under the category of tamsik acts.
    Therefore one needs to have control over ego and pride, and keep them as low as possible. When we win over pride, the subtle ego remains (feeling of being distinct), which gets removed only by grace of God.

    Always let the intellect rule, reign over you mind, and kill the ego

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