BG 14.5

सत्त्वं रजस्तम इति गुणाः प्रकृतिसंभवाः।निबध्नन्ति महाबाहो देहे देहिनमव्ययम्।।14.5।।

sattvaṁ rajas tama iti guṇāḥ prakṛiti-sambhavāḥ nibadhnanti mahā-bāho dehe dehinam avyayam

sattvam—mode of goodness; rajaḥ—mode of passion; tamaḥ—mode of ignorance; iti—thus; guṇāḥ—modes; prakṛiti—material nature; sambhavāḥ—consists of; nibadhnanti—bind; mahā-bāho—mighty-armed one; dehe—in the body; dehinam—the embodied soul; avyayam—eternal


These qualities, O Arjuna, born of Nature, bind fast in the body of the embodied, the indestructible: purity, passion, and inertia.


14.5 सत्त्वम् purity? रजः passion? तमः inertia? इति these? गुणाः alities? प्रकृतिसंभवाः born of Prakriti? निबध्नन्ति bind? महाबाहो O mightyarmed? देहे in the body? देहिनम् the embodied? अव्ययम् the,indestructible.Commentary Sattva is the best. Rajas comes next. Tamas is the lowest and the worst. The three alities indicate the triple mentality. They produce attachment in the individual souls? delude

them and bind them down? as it were? to Samsara. Just as the three conditions of childhood? youth and old age are found in the same body? so also the three alities inhere in the mind. The soul gets limited by identifying itself with body and the three alities. It is subject to birth and death and experiences happiness and misery? pleasure and pain? joy and sorrow till it realises its identity with

the supreme Self.The word Guna is usually translated as ality. It does not signify property? attribute or ality? such as the blue colour of a cloth. Gunas are really the primary constitutents of Nature and are the basis of all substances. Therefore it is not proper to call them alities inhering in substances.If you want to attain freedom or perfection? if you wish to become immortal? you must rise

above the modes of Nature. You must transcend the Gunas.If the water in the vessel is agitated? the reflected sun in the water also appears to be agitated through Pratibimba Adhyasa (superimposition of reflection on water). Even so the pure unchanging Self appears to be bound by the alities of Nature through superimposition. In reality the Self is ever free and untainted. It is beyond them.The Gunas

which are only forms of ignorance are ever dependent on the knower of the field. They bind? fast? as it were? the knower of the field. They have him as the basis of their existence.A knowledge of the Gunas and their operation is very necessary. Only if you have this knowledge can you free yourself from their clutches.Mahabaho Mightyarmed with strong and sinewy arms reaching down to the kness. This

is a very auspicious sign. Yogis and sages have such beautiful arms.These three Gunas are present in all human beings. No one is free from the operation of any one of the three alities of Nature. They are not constant. Sometimes Sattva predominates at other times Rajas or Tamas predominates.Sattva has the characteristic of effulgence. It is also harmony and goodness or purity. Rajas is passion or

activity. Tamas is inertia or darkness.Analyse all phenomena in terms of these three. Know their characteristics. Stand as a witness of these alities. Do not identify yourself with them. Separate yourself from them. Become a Gunatita. You will attain Supreme Peace? immortality and eternal bliss. (Cf.XIII.22)