[Advaita-l] Re : Karma and Reincarnation (Chandrashekar)

Lakshmi Muthuswamy lakmuthu at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 21 05:14:53 CDT 2006

CAturvarNyam -Verse 4.13 Bhagavad Gita Home study by Swami Dayananada Sarasvati– Continued -1
  The Four groups of people according to guNa   
  The sattva-rajas-tamas composition is a very beautiful description of a person’s inner composition. A person can be predominantly contemplative, a thinking person, because of which certain things are very evident to him or her. Any emotionally mature person, any inquirer or philosopher, anyone who thinks predominantly about fundamental values, the ends in life, and so on, is naturally a combination of sattva-rajas-tamas in that order. In such a person sattva is predominant, backed by rajas in second place, tamas taking third place. This, then is one type of person.
  The second type will naturally have rajas predominant, the second can be either sattva or tamas. When rajas is predominant, the person is very active, fired by a certain ambition. When this ambition is directed to the welfare of others and to certain deals, there is a lot of thinking involved. There fore sattva is in second place, the person’s enthusiasm and actions being backed up by thinking. Such people generally become good teachers.
  Then we have the third group of people, those who are always active, having rajas predominant, but who have tamas rather than sattva in the second place. This means they have ambitions rather than thinking behind their actions. An example of ambition without thinking is when someone goes after money, power or whatever, without any consideration for others. Because such a person who has some sattva, some thinking capacity, he or she may not only be very active, but may also be very clever, very intelligent. But, because tamas is predominant over sattva, there will be a lot of scheming, manipulation, and exploitation of others.
  If, on the other hand, sattva is backing up the rajas, there will be consideration for other people. There will be respect for life and for wealth and for the freedom of others. Whereas when tamas backs up rajas, there is only disrespect for dharma, meaning there will be no regard for others. For such a person, individual ambition is the most important and he or she becomes a despot. If they do not become leaders, only their families and perhaps their neighbours suffer, whereas if they assume world leadership roles, the results can be devastating.
  The fourth type of person, wherein tamas predominates, presents no such problem. At worst these people are small-time criminals and at best, simple employees – not out of any real contentment or anything but simply because of dullness. Such people have no ambition whatsoever, not even to make money. In fact, they have already decided that they cannot make money. ‘If I could make money, I would have made it long ago,’ they will say. And then, to justify their laziness, they add, ‘Who needs money anyway?’ And if such a person has little ambition for something, he or she will not work to make it happen and will compromise at every turn. This, then. is what is meant by dullness, tamas.
  If tamas –rajas-sattva  wants to become sattva- rajas- tamas, he or she has to become rajas-tamas-sattva first, then rajas –sattva-tamas, and only then sattva-rajas-tamas. There is no jumping possible here. It is a process involving growth and that is what maturity is all about. This is also what we mean by karma yoga whereby one becomes mature by doing karma with a karma yoga attitude.
  Up to rajas –tamas –sattva growth is simply a matter of performing karma, pursuing one’s own ends according to dharma. Only when one performs karma with the attitude of karma yoga does the person become sattva-rajas-tamas. This is the person who can become a sannyAsi.
  Shades of difference exist within these four groups. For example, rajas-tamas –sattva can be criminal or just an ambitious sales person. When the later invites you to his or her place with a smile, you may end up paying for the smile too! There is a rank selfishness in this type of person that makes him or her convert every action into dollars and cents. Rajas – tamas –sattva people can follow either dharma or adharma, shades of difference being there. Once you reach rajas-sattva-tamas you autromatically follow dharma.
  The universality of the four-fold division
  These are the three qualities, which cause the differences in the groups of people, not only in India but all over the world. Sattva, rajas, tamas belong to prakrti, to nature, which belongs to BhagavAn alone. On the basis of this prakrti, then this division of people according to qualities, this guna vibhAga is done.
  All people come under the four groups formed by the possible combinations of the three guNas because everyone has to work his or her way through the four compositions in order to mature. In the Vedic context, the people having the first combination sattva – rajas-tamas are called brAhmaNAs, those having the second combination rajas – sattva – tamas are called kshatriyas, those having the third rajas –tamas –sattva are called vaishyas, and those having the fourth combination tamas-rajas-sattva are called shUdras. This, then, is the guNa vibhAga, the four-fold division based on qualities, referred to in this verse.
  To be continued
  om namo narayanaya
  Lakshmi Muthuswamy

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