Effects of 3 Gunas on Your Behavior, Thinking and Afterlife (152)


Lesson 152 shows what behaviors 3 gunas cause while living. What happens to guna-dominant mind after death?

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14, Verse 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

TOPIC 3: Signs which Guna is dominant (Verse 10-13)

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14, Verse 11:

sarva-dvāreṣu dehe asmin prakāśaḥ upajāyate ।
jñānam yadā tadā vidyāt vivṛddham sattvam iti uta ॥ 14-11॥

When illumination, that is knowledge, is born in all the sense organs, in this body, then may one know indeed that sattva is predominant.

  • VERSE: Jnana-Indriyani are dominantly sattva guna based. Consequently sattva-oriented ahamkara will have the 5 sense organs engaged. Meaning absorbing capacity goes up.
  • Meaning that captivation or pull towards working with, rearranging, organizing, reframing information/data… indicates presence of sattva-dominant antahkarana.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14, Verse 12:

lobhaḥ pravṛttiḥ ārambhaḥ karmaṇām aśamaḥ spṛhā ।
rajasi etāni jāyante vivṛddhe bharatarṣabha ॥ 14-12॥
Greed, physical restlessness, undertaking of activities, mental restlessness, longing—these are born when rajas has increased.

  • VERSE: Rajas leads to greed, restlessness, longing.
  • Raja dominance causes need to INITIATE new activities and stay engaged in them.
    • Mind is restless and impatient. Expects others to do it with same efficiency and speed.
    • Easily irritable and disappointed.
    • Attachment to one’s triumphs. High degree of narcissism is prevalent (self-glorification + mostly about me).
    • If someone doesn’t listen to Rajasic-oriented ahamkara > anger/passive-aggressiveness awaits. Because understanding another’s point of view requires single-pointed consideration (time). But the train-of-thought is moving too fast. Thus causes person to quickly project their shallow conclusion.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14, Verse 13:

aprakāśaḥ apravṛttiḥ ca pramādaḥ mohaḥ eva ca ।
tamasi etāni jāyante vivṛddhe kuru-nandana ॥
Dullness, absence of activity, indifference, and indeed delusion—these are born, when tamas has increased.

  • VERSE: Tamas leads to dullness, absence of activity, indifference, delusion.
  • Tama-oriented ahamkara generally shuns both input of information AND output of actions. Because discriminative power is under-utilized. Thus lack of initiative, alertness and zest.
    • From position of:
      • Spirituality: Adapts fatalism to justify his/her inertia. Fantasy (lazy way to enjoy and not do).
      • Employee: Wants to be TOLD exact instructions. Inadequate capacity to think of consequences, connections, and beyond what’s assigned. Thus inflexible/rigid. You may say “I should’ve done it myself”.
  • CONCLUSION OF V10-13: Use these indicators to see where you’re at. Not to compare yourself to others, nor judge others.
  • NEXT VERSE: TOPIC 4: How each guna affect afterlife? V14-15.

TOPIC 4: How Guṇa dominant mind affects Afterlife (Verse 14-15)

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14, Verse 14:

yadā sattve pravṛddhe tu pralayam yāti deha-bhṛt ।
tadā uttama-vidām lokān amalān pratipadyate ॥ 14-14॥
When the embodied one dies, when sattva has increased, then he gains the worlds of those who know the highest, that are free from impurity.

  • VERSE: Death in respect to Sattva leads to gaining higher worlds.
  • Verse is not referring to jnani, because after death “I remain as Brahman and Ishvara. Omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent”.
  • For ajnani whose ahamkara is sattva-oriented, either:
    • One’s antahkarana travels to loka higher then bhu loka (earth), to exhaust punya (acquired on earth).
    • Antahkarana gains a gross body on earth in a highly religious, discerning family.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14, Verse 15:

rajasi pralayam gatvā karma-saṅgiṣu jāyate ।
tathā pralīnaḥ tamasi mūḍha-yoniṣu jāyate ॥ 14-15॥
Having died when rajas is predominant, one is born amidst those who are attached to action. Likewise, having died when tamas is predominant, one is born in the wombs of those who have no discriminative faculty (deluded beings).

  • VERSE: Death in respect to Raja cause one to born in family of DOERS. Tamas cause one to be born in a dull family (little value in independent thinking, high priority on survival).
  • Raja-oriented ahamkara, upon death, is born on bhu loka in family of doers.
    • They can’t be born in any other loka then earth, because all other lokas (except earth) are to either exhaust punya (in upper 6) or exhaust papa (in lower 7). About lokas.
  • Tama-oriented ahamkara, upon death, is either:
    • Born on lower 7 lokas, to exhaust papam (acquired on earth).
    • Born on earth either as plant or animal. Meaning one’s freewill and sophisticated buddhi is stripped since they were underutilized in previous life (as a human).

TOPIC 5: Effect of 3 Gunas while living (Verse 16-18)

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14, Verse 16:

karmaṇaḥ sukṛtasya āhuḥ sāttvikam nirmalam phalam ।
rajasaḥ tu phalam duḥkham ajñānam tamasaḥ phalam ॥ 14-16॥
(Scriptures) say that the result of sattvic action is pure puṇya (a result that is free from any distress). The result of rajasic (action) is pain. Whereas the result of tamasic (action) is ignorance.

  • VERSE: Sattva coloured actions cause punya. Rajas: sorrow. Tamas: Ignorance.
  • If jiva’s actions are sattvik (EG: forgiveness, empathy, charity) – it’ll produce punyam in future.
    • Sattva-oriented jiva’s actions throw light onto matters. Peace/acceptance is felt in their presence.
    • Within home/family, democracy, resolution and harmony are highly regarded.
  • If actions are rajasic – It’ll produce an interesting/charismatic/fun personality. But behind the appearance, there is tension, self-esteem complications, anxiety (because so much to DO in so little time).
    • Within home there can be state of chaos, heated arguments, lack of order, short tempers.
    • Inner peace is foreign or segregated (isolated) to specific times/domains.
  • If actions are tamasic – results are of perpetual ignorance. Actions are repetitive/monotonous. Actions don’t produce inspiration/excitement.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14, Verse 17:

sattvāt sañjāyate jñānam rajasaḥ lobhaḥ eva ca ।
pramāda-mohau tamasaḥ bhavataḥ ajñānam eva ca ॥ 14-17॥
Knowledge is born out of Sattva, Greed (is born) out of Rajas. Negligence and delusion along with ignorance are born out of Tamas.

  • VERSE: From sattva is born: Knowledge. Raja: Greed. Tamas: Apathy/delusion.
  • Satvic ruled antah karana is bright, curious and wants to learn, discover, grow. Working with knowledge (whether material/spiritual) is paramount daily.
  • Rajasic ruled antah karana is greedy for results. Ambitious. Passionate. Forward-moving energy. However shanti is superficial (manufactured by food, substances, holidays).
  • Tamasic ruled antah karana is ridden by conflicting thoughts, contradictions, and unfinished todo’s.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14, Verse 18:

ūrdhvam gacchanti sattvasthāḥ madhye tiṣṭhanti rājasāḥ ।
jaghanya-guṇa-vṛttisthāḥ adhaḥ gacchanti tāmasāḥ ॥ 14-18॥
Those abiding in sattva go (to the worlds) higher up, those belonging to rajas remain in the middle and those belonging to tamas, having the nature of the lowest guna, go down.

  • VERSE: Also in V14/15. Upon death: Sattva dominant > higher worlds. Raja > remain in middle. Tamas > lower loka.
  • Sattvika dominant: go to 6 higher lokas (greater pleasures / subtler gross-body then on earth).
  • Rajasika dominant: Doesn’t travel up, nor down. Stays on earth.
  • Tamasika dominant: Go to 7 lower.
  • NOTE: Higher/lower means parallel-reality in different time-space domain. Just like different TV channels can co-exist.
      • From standpoint of your dream, no amount of traveling will ever get you to waking-state. They co-exist, but are of different time-space reality.
      • Just like someone dreaming now is in different time-space domain then us in waking-state. For them the dream is real as much as is waking-state for us.
      • Or plant journey lasting 30 minutes earth-time, seems like hours.
      • Or NDE (near death experience) lasting 30 sec earth-time, can seem like eons from the afterlife perspective
      • From mosquito’s standpoint (lives 7 days), a human living 80 years is incomprehensible.
  • CONCLUSION V5-18 (Analysis of 3 gunas):
    • Purpose of analysis is to identify how the 3 gunas bind the whole world. By knowing about their mechanism, we can negate them as anatma. Thus they lose their grip in our life.
  • NEXT VERSE: Krishna in following verses turns attention how to free ourselves from bondage of the gunas.


Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Paramarthananda & Chinmaya Mission.

Recorded 30 Nov, 2021


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