Knowledge is defined as apprehension of the Supreme Spirit who is the end of the quest for truth. Knowledge makes its advent only after the distinction between kshetr and kshetragya, matter and spirit, is comprehended. Knowledge is not logical arguments and neither is it just the memorizing of holy texts. That state of practice is knowledge in which there is awareness of truth. The experience that is had with direct perception of God is knowledge, and whatever is opposed to it is ignorance.
Even after having dwelt upon all this, however, Lord Krishn tells Arjun that he will again explain that sublime knowledge to him. He is going to repeat what he has already said. This is so because, as it has been rightly said, we should time and again turn to even well studied scriptures. Moreover, the further a worshiper proceeds on the path of spiritual quest the nearer he goes to the desired goal and has new experiences of God. This awareness is made possible by an accomplished teacher that is, a realized sage who has attained to the Supreme Spirit and who stands inseparably with the worshiper’s Self. It is for this reason that Lord Krishn is resolved to enlighten Arjun again on the nature of true knowledge.
Memory is a film on which impressions and influences are constantly recorded. If the awareness that takes one to the supreme goal is blurred, nature which is the cause of grief begins to be imprinted on the slate of memory. So the worshiper should constantly revise the knowledge pertaining to realization of the final goal right till the moment of attainment.
Memory is alive and strong today, but the same might not be the case with progress to further stages. It is for this reason that the revered Gurudev used to say, “Tell your beads at least once everyday to refresh your awareness of God. But these beads are told in thought rather than externally by audible voice.”
This is recommended for the seeker, but they who are accomplished teacher-preceptors are constantly after the seeker to acquaint him with novel situations by arising from his Soul as well as by the example of their own conduct. Yogeshwar Krishn was such a teacher-sage. Arjun who occupies the position of his pupil has beseeched him to support him. So Yogeshwar Krishn says that he will tell him again of the knowledge which is the most sublime of all knowledge.
Lord Krishn sings:
“I shall tell you again that supreme knowledge
which is the noblest of all knowledge and,
having possessed which sages have escaped from worldly bondage
to achieve the ultimate perfection.”
“They who have achieved my state by seeking shelter
in this knowledge are neither born at the beginning of creation
nor alarmed in the event of doom.”
They who are close io this knowledge and have taken refuge in it by attaining to Lord Krishn’sstate through treading the path of action are neither born nor frightened by the prospect of death, because the physical entity of the sage ceases to be at the very moment when he attains to the state of the Supreme Spirit. His body is henceforth a mere dwelling.
Now which is that point up to which men are reborn?
This is the question Lord Krishn next takes up.
“Like the great Creator, O Bharat, is my eight-propertied primal nature,
the womb of which I fertilize with the seed of consciousness
by which all beings are shaped.”
Lord Krishn’s eight-part primal nature, is the womb in which he sows the seed of consciousness, and all beings are born from this union of the insensate and the conscious.
“The eightfold nature, O son of Kunti, is the mother
that bears all the beings of different births
and I am the father that casts the seed.”
There is no other mother except this primal nature, and no other father except Lord Krishn. No matter who the root is, there will be births so long as there is meeting of the insensate and the conscious.
But why is the conscious Self bound to insensible nature?
Lord Krishn adds:
“The three nature-born properties (sattwa, rajas, and tamas),
O the mighty-armed, bind the imperishable Self to the body.”
The following verse throws light upon how this is effected.
“Know, O son of Kunti, that the property of rajas,
born from desire and infatuation,
binds the Self with attachment to action and its fruits.
Rajas, an embodiment of passion, inclines one to action.”
“And, O Bharat, know that the property of tamas,
which deludes all beings, arises from ignorance and binds the Soul
with carelessness, sloth, and slumber.”
Tamas binds the Self with laziness, the tendency to put off a task to the next day, and with sleep. “Sleep” here does not mean that a man possessed of tamas sleeps too much. It is not a question of the body sleeping at all. As Lord Krishn has said, the world itself with its ephemeral pleasures is like night in which the man endowed with the property of tamas ever toils in a state of unconsciousness of the effulgent God. This is the slumber of tamas and one who is trapped in it sleeps.
Lord Krishn now discourses on the collective form of the three properties.
“And, O Bharat, just as sattwa grows by overcoming
properties of rajas and tamas,
tamas grows by overpowering rajas and sattwa,
and property of rajas grows by suppressing tamas and sattwa.”
But how should we know which property is dominant at a certain time?
“When the mind and senses are suffused
with light of knowledge and consciousness,
it should be taken as a sign of the growing strength of sattwa.”
“When the property of rajas is ascendant,
O the best of Bharat, greed, worldly inclination,
tendency to undertake action , restlessness,
and desire for sensual pleasures arise.”
What happens, however, when tamas grows dominant?
Lord Krishn sings:
“If the Soul departs when the property of sattwa is dominant,
it attains to the pure worlds of the virtuous.”
“If he meets with death when rajas is presiding,
he is born as one of humans who are attached to action;
and he is born in the form of unintelligent beings
if he leaves the body when tamas is prevailing.”
So of all properties man should be endowed with sattwa. The bank of nature refunds the earned merits even after death.
Now let us see its consequence.
“While righteousness is said to be the pure outcome of action
that is governed by sattwa, the outcome of rajas is sorrow,
and the outcome of tamas is ignorance”.
Absolute happiness, knowledge, renunciation, and such other qualities are said to be outcome of action inspired by sattwa. On the other hand, sorrow is the outcome of action characterized by rajas, and ignorance of action dominated by tamas.
“Knowledge arises from the property of sattwa,
greed beyond any doubt from rajas, and carelessness,
delusion, and ignorance from tamas.”
What mode of existence does the generation of these properties result into?
“Whereas they who dwell in sattwa ascend to higher worlds,
they who sojourn in rajas remain in the middle (the world of men),
and they who abide in the meanest of properties tamas are doomed
to the lowest state.”
The current of life that is founded on sattwa flows towards the transcendental, primal God and the man with such a life attains to purer worlds. Souls who are dominated by rajas end up as common mortals. Lacking in discernment and renunciation, although they do not transmigrate into lower forms of life, they have to undergo rebirth. Ignorant and immoral men who are ruled by the rightly maligned tamas are reborn in the lowest forms. Thus the consequence of all the three properties is some kind of birth or the other. Only they who go beyond these properties are freed from the shackle of rebirth and they alone realize Lord Krishn’s sublime state.
Lord Krishn adds:
“When the Soul (that is a mere witness) does not see anyone
besides the three properties as doer and when he knows
the essence of the Supreme Spirit who is beyond these properties,
he attains to my state.”
The assumption that the three properties only duplicate themselves is not based on true knowledge. The process of accomplishment at last leads to the state in which after the perception of God no other agent except the three properties is visible, and in such a state a man goes beyond them. What Lord Krishn has to say about this next is a proof that this is not just a flight of fancy.
“Transcending the properties that are the germ of the gross,
corporal body and liberated from the miseries of birth,
death, and old age, the Soul achieves the ultimate bliss.”
After a man is liberated from the three properties, his Soul tastes the nectar of immortality.
~Revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans~