Chapter 14: The Three Modes of Material Nature
Bg 14.22, Bg 14.23, Bg 14.24, Bg 14.25, Bg 14.22-25
prakasam ca pravrttim ca
moham eva ca pandava
na dvesti sampravrttani
na nivrttani kanksati
gunair yo na vicalyate
guna vartanta ity evam
yo 'vatisthati nengate
gunatitah sa ucyate
śrī bhagavān uvāca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; prakāśam ca—and illumination; pravṛttim ca—and attachment; moham—illusion; eva ca—also; pāṇḍava—O son of Pāṇḍu; na dveṣṭi—does not hate; sampravṛttāni—although developed; na nivṛttāni—nor stop development; kāṅkṣati—desires; udāsīnavat—as if neutral; āsīnaḥ—situated; guṇaiḥ—by the qualities; yaḥ—one who; na—never; vicālyate—is agitated; guṇāḥ—the qualities; vartante—is situated; iti evam—knowing thus; yaḥ—one who; avatiṣṭhati—remains; na—never; iṅgate—flickering; sama—equally; duḥkha—in distress; sukhaḥ—in happiness; svasthaḥ—being situated himself; sama—equally; loṣṭa—a lump of earth; aśma—stone; kāñcanaḥ—gold; tulya—equally disposed; priya—dear; apriyaḥ—undesirable; dhīraḥ—steadily; tulya—equally; nindā—in defamation; ātma-saṁstutiḥ—in praise of himself; māna—honor; apamānayoḥ—dishonor; tulyaḥ—equally; tulyaḥ—equally; mitra—friend; ari—enemy; pakṣayoḥ—in party; sarva—all; ārambhaḥ—endeavor; parityāgī—renouncer; guṇa-atītaḥ—transcendental to the material modes of nature; saḥ—he; ucyate—is said to be.
The Blessed Lord said: He who does not hate illumination, attachment and delusion when they are present, nor longs for them when they disappear; who is seated like one unconcerned, being situated beyond these material reactions of the modes of nature, who remains firm, knowing that the modes alone are active; who regards alike pleasure and pain, and looks on a clod, a stone and a piece of gold with an equal eye; who is wise and holds praise and blame to be the same; who is unchanged in honor and dishonor, who treats friend and foe alike, who has abandoned all fruitive undertakings-such a man is said to have transcended the modes of nature.
Arjuna submitted the three different questions, and the Lord answers them one after another. In these verses, Kṛṣṇa first indicates that a person transcendentally situated neither envies anyone nor hankers for anything. When a living entity stays in this material world embodied by the material body, it is to be understood that he is under the control of one of the three modes of material nature. When he is actually out of the body, then he is out of the clutches of the material modes of nature. But as long as he is not out of the material body, he should be neutral. He should engage himself in the devotional service of the Lord so that his identity with the material body will automatically be forgotten. When one is conscious of the material body, he acts only for sense gratification, but when one transfers the consciousness to Kṛṣṇa, sense gratification automatically stops. One does not need this material body, and he does not need to accept the dictations of the material body. The qualities of the material modes in the body will act, but as spirit soul the self is aloof from such activities. How does he become aloof? He does not desire to enjoy the body, nor does he desire to get out of it. Thus transcendentally situated, the devotee becomes automatically free. He need not try to become free from the influence of the modes of material nature.
The next question concerns the dealings of a transcendentally situated person. The materially situated person is affected by so-called honor and dishonor offered to the body, but the transcendentally situated person is not affected by such false honor and dishonor. He performs his duty in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and does not mind whether a man honors or dishonors him. He accepts things that are favorable for his duty in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, otherwise he has no necessity of anything material, either a stone or gold. He takes everyone as his dear friend who helps him in his execution of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and he does not hate his so-called enemy. He is equally disposed and sees everything on an equal level because he knows perfectly well that he has nothing to do with material existence. Social and political issues do not affect him because he knows the situation of temporary upheavals and disturbances. He does not attempt anything for his own sake. He can attempt anything for Kṛṣṇa, but for his personal self he does not attain anything. By such behavior one becomes actually transcendentally situated.