Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

The Song of God (Daily Readings from the Bhagavad Gita) Chapter 14: 19-20

October 10, 2019

™nā ’nyam guṇebhyaḥ kartāraṁ yadā draṣṭā ’nupaśyati
guṇebhyaś ca paraṁ vetti madbhāvaṁ so ’dhigacchati (XIV-19)
™guṇān etān atītya trīn dehī dehasamudbhavān
janmamṛtyujarāduḥkhair vimukto ’mṛtam aśnute (XIV-20)

XIV/19. When the seer beholds no agent other than the guṇā
and knows that which is higher than them, he attains to my being.

XIV/20. The embodied one, having crossed beyond these three
guṇā, out of which the body is evolved, is freed from birth,
death, decay and pain, and attains to immortality.

Swamiji's Commentary

     When this dissociation of the self with the guṇā, or this disentanglement of the spirit from matter, or even this detachment is mentioned, modern man immediately jumps up and exclaims: “That will lead to callousness and disruption of the social structure.”

     The average man knows only three attitudes in personal relationship:

intense clinging, hateful kicking,
    and indifference, which is often the worst of the three.

There is a fourth, and that is called non-attachment. In non-attachment, love is not lost, but it is preserved from the corroding influence of selfishness and possessiveness. This love does not tire or overwhelm. Its soft touch does not hurt even a rose petal. It does not demand, but it gives. It does not cling to the personality, nor does is neglect the spirit that has made the personality its home. It is a wonderful relationship too sacred for words.

     This extends to all activities of the sage. He does not identify himself with the three guṇā, but for that matter does not forcibly restrain them. They work; and he knows their workings. He is the ever-blissful witness. He is conscious of his self which is the self of all. This realization flows through the guṇā, thus directing their operations towards the welfare of all beings. He is freed from thralldom to the guṇā. He is immortal. The guṇā gave birth to the body. When the body is dropped, the self remains as the universal self, infinite and all-blissful. When the body is living, the guṇā function on their own without his ego-interference, even as his breathing goes on! He is free.

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