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Samkhya – Right Understanding : 7.





The Teachings of the Bhagavadgita :


Now, here is an introduction given to right understanding. The mulaprakriti that I mentioned is constituted of three forces called sattva, rajas and tamas. We have heard in modern science words like ' statics' and 'kinetics', 'inertia' and 'action'. What you call ' statics' is something like inertia; we may equate it with tamas, non-action – and kinetics is rajas, movement, distraction, etc. But there is no such thing as sattva in the scientific language of modern times. There is either statics or kinetics – there is nothing else. But there is a third thing which is the balancing of the two. That is called sattva in the language of Indian philosophy; the condition of true being is called sattva. In Sanskrit, 'sat' means existence, being; and the condition of being is called sattva. The characteristic of being is sattva, and the characteristic of being is equanimity – not isolation, distraction and separation.


So, the nature of reality or true being is neither inert existence and loss or absence of consciousness, nor is it activity in the sense of distraction. Pure being, sattvaguna, is not rajas; it is not also tamas. This sattva is a power that connects the two extremes of inertia and activity – rajas and tamas; and the whole of the world is nothing but this threefold activity of nature – sattva, rajas and tamas – which is the structure, the constitution, the basic substance of the tanmatras, the five elements, this body, and all things in the world. This means that our body, this prana, the senses, the mind, the intellect, etc. are all somehow or the other manufactured, in some way, by an admixture of these forces – sattva, rajas, and tamas in some proportion – and by another admixture, in another way, the world outside is made. We are made as the final substance, as subjects, as individuals perceiving the world, identical with the substance of the world outside. 


When the senses perceive the world, the gunas move among gunas, prakriti contacts prakriti – it is the right hand touching the left hand, as it were, of the same body, perhaps more intimately and vitally than merely a contact of one limb of the body with another limb of the body. In the third chapter, this point is brought out. In all perception, the individual is not contacting a foreign element like the world outside, but 'one's own mother' is embraced by the child – not an ordinary embrace but a longing for union with 'That' from which it has been isolated, from which it has fallen. So, in all sense-perception there is an internal craving to unite with things on account of the fact being that the substance of the perceiver is the same as the substance of that which is perceived – so there is a philosophy behind desire, and there is also an error involved in the desire.


The justification and the philosophical implication of the manifestation or the working of human desire in the form of sense activity and perception is that we are basically one with all things. This is the reason we are impetuously pulled in the direction of the things of the world. The error of our desires is that they insist on convincing themselves that the world is a foreigner, it is outside. There is a double activity going on in our mind in every perception. On the one hand, a love for things is impossible unless we are united with things. You cannot desire a thing which is totally isolated from you. All desire implies a basic unity with all things, and also at the same time, all desire implies that the world is outside of oneself. Thus every desire is a contradiction, a psychic schizophrenia in a philosophical sense at least. There is a morbidity, there is an un-justification finally, an inscrutability in the activity of every desire which acts on one side as an indication of the basic unity of things, and on the other side performs the opposite function of insisting on the duality, the separation, and the isolation of the subject from the object. So we are living in a world of contradiction, psychologically speaking, and every desire is a psychic contradiction. This is the reason why great questions of life cannot be answered by an intellect which is subservient to the emotions, which again work in the light of the knowledge received through the senses, which, to repeat again, are not reliable for reasons already mentioned.


Next : 3.Duty: An Empirical Manifestation of True Being : 

Swami Krishnananda

To be continued  ...


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