Arjuna asked “Why does man get compelled towards sins even when he doesn’t want to do them? As if he is being forced by some unseen power?” ||36||
Sri Bhagavan said “Oh Arjuna! Its cause is lust born by contact with rajo guna which becomes anger later on and which is all-devouring enemy of this world||37||
–Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, Karma Yoga
In the battlefield of Kurukshetra Arjuna who was dumbfounded by overwhelming emotions is being addressed by Krishna. Krishna tells him why he must perform his duties without attachment. When Arjuna asked about sins, Krishna tells him that it’s lust born when senses come in contact with rajo guna which is the root cause of all sins.
Let’s discuss what Rajo Guna is and how it works.
Vedic sages have classified primordial elements differently from modern science. Nature functions by using three modes as per vedas. These are modes of goodness(sato guna), passion(rajo guna) and inertia(tamo guna).
The word guna means mode or nature. Rajo Guna means passionate nature. The mode of passion is dominant mode in psyche on earth. As per Vedic literature this realm is dominated by the excess of mode of passion. The theory of reincarnation says that a man takes birth in a realm according the dominant mode of nature in him. If at the time of death there is an excess of passion along with some favorable karmas, this realm again becomes the abode of reincarnating soul. Whereas in case of mode of goodness in excess the soul travels to any one of the seven realms which exist above this one and takes birth there. In case of mode of inertia being dominant the birth is taken either in lower life forms(such as birds or insects) or in any one of the seven lower realms.
How Does Rajo Guna Cause Lust?
Rajo guna has a power to cause increase in perceptions. Passion creates excessive number of thoughts per unit time. When there are too many ideas your senses come in contact with too many objects. When this contact is persistent there arises desire to possess those objects. The pleasure principle drives all of us towards those things which we think might give us pleasure and when passion is in excess there is intense desire to possess objects of contemplation. This restlessness of mind is prime cause of lust. Now a passionate person works to get objects of his desire and since world is a flux it’s impossible to get all desires fulfilled. When desire is not fulfilled anger arises. This anger causes forgetfulness in him. All wisdom and sense is lost because of the anger. Then he does things which he shouldn’t. Anger is a property of mode of ignorance(inertia) When mode of darkness takes over a person he loses all sense of balance and justice and his deeds bring pain to him and to people around him. This is how sins are committed.
How To Overcome Rajo Guna?
Vedic literature emphasizes it again and again that peace of mind is possible only when two lower modes of nature, i. e. rajo guna and tama guna have been subdued. There is only one way to win over them: it’s to increase the mode of goodness. In all humans these 3 modes exist in certain proportions. In some people mode of goodness is dominant, in others mode of passion and in some others mode of ignorance is dominant. These keep changing with the passage of time. A sincere seeker or spiritual person strives to make mode of goodness dominant in his nature. It’s easy to identify the modes by simple observation. When you feel very pessimistic and lethargic you are being dominated by the mode of ignorance. Depression, alcoholism and anger are all signs of mode of inertia. When you are very active and restless, maybe suffering from hypertension and can’t be at rest without medications–it’s mode of passion. Too many thoughts cause waste of energy and drive you towards sins. When mind is full of light, you feel that senses are functioning properly and you are calm, the mode of goodness is dominating.
To increase mode of goodness–prayer, meditation, selfless service are to be performed. It’s also important to be in good company. A certain induction effect is at work at all the times so you get affected by your company and they get affected by you. It’s important to stay in company of calm, positive and vibrant people, music and books. It’s also important to only consume positive food and beverages. Alcohol, caffeine and nicotine drive you towards passion and ignorance in a quick succession. Eating moderate quantities of food is important. Drinking a lot of water and eating food which was cooked recently and without too many spices or bitter things is important to increase mode of goodness. Stale food, spices and food which is too much in quantity can’t go together with meditation and prayer. You might keep wondering why your efforts at meditation fail but unless you change your overall lifestyle there will not be a great success in meditation.
Did you like reading about rajo guna? What do you think about modes of nature and this article? Please let me know via comments. Thanks for reading.