(1882 - 1946)

• Chapter Fourteen •

“The Three Qualities”


1.  “Lord Shri Krishna continued:  Now I will reveal unto thee the Wisdom which is beyond knowledge, by attaining which the sages have reached Perfection.

2.  Dwelling in Wisdom and realising My Divinity, they are not born again when the universe is re-created at the beginning of every cycle, nor are they affected when it is dissolved.

3.  The Eternal Cosmos is My womb, in which I plant the seed, from which all beings are born, O Prince!

4.  O illustrious son of Kunti! Through whatever wombs men are born, it is the Spirit Itself that conceives, and I am their father.

5.  Purity, Passion and Ignorance are the Qualities which the Law of Nature bringeth forth.  They fetter the free Spirit in all beings.

6.  O Sinless One! Of these, Purity, being luminous, strong and invulnerable, binds one by its yearning for happiness and illumination.

7.  Passion, engendered by thirst for pleasure and attachment, binds the soul through its fondness for activity.

8.  But Ignorance, the product of darkness, stupefies the senses in all embodied beings, binding them by the chains of folly, indolence and lethargy.

9.  Purity brings happiness, Passion commotion, and Ignorance, which obscures wisdom, leads to a life of failure.

10.  O Prince! Purity prevails when Passion and Ignorance are overcome; Passion, when Purity and Ignorance are overcome; and Ignorance when it overcomes Purity and Passion.

11.  When the light of knowledge gleams forth from all the gates of the body, then be sure that Purity prevails.

12.  O best of Indians! Avarice, the impulse to act and the beginning of action itself are all due to the dominance of Passion.

13.  Darkness, stagnation, folly and infatuation are the result of the dominance of Ignorance, O joy of the Kuru-clan!

14.  When Purity prevails, the soul on quitting the body passes on to the pure regions where live those who know the Highest.

15.  When Passion prevails, the soul is reborn among those who love activity; when Ignorance rules, it enters the wombs of the ignorant.

16.  They say the fruit of a meritorious action is spotless and full of Purity; the outcome of Passion is misery, and of Ignorance darkness.

17.  Purity engenders Wisdom, Passion avarice, and Ignorance folly, infatuation and darkness.

18.  When Purity is in the ascendant, the man evolves; when Passion, he neither evolves nor degenerates; when Ignorance, he is lost.

19.  As soon as a man understands that it is only the Qualities which act and nothing else, and perceives That which is beyond, he attains My Divine Nature.

20.  When the soul transcends the Qualities, which are the real cause of physical existence, then, freed from birth and death, from old age and misery, he quaffs the nectar of immortality.

21.  Arjuna asked:  My Lord! By what signs can he who has transcended the Qualities be recognised?  How does he act?  How does he live beyond them?

22.  Lord Shri Krishna replied:  O Prince! He who shuns not the Quality which is present, and longs not for that which is absent;

23.  He who maintains an attitude of indifference, who is not disturbed by the Qualities, who realises that it is only they who act, and remains calm;

24.  Who accepts pleasure or pain as it comes, is centred in his Self, to whom a piece of clay or a stone or gold are the same, who neither likes nor dislikes, who is steadfast, indifferent alike to praise or censure;

25.  Who looks equally upon honour and dishonour, loves friends and foes alike, abandons all initiative, such is he who transcends the Qualities.

26.  And he who serves Me and only Me, with unfaltering devotion, shall overcome the Qualities, and become One with the Eternal.

27.  For I am the Home of the Spirit, the continual Source of Immortality, of Eternal Righteousness and of Infinite Joy.


Thus, in the Holy Book the Bhagavad Gita, one of the Upanishads, in the Science of the Supreme Spirit, in the Art of Self-Knowledge, in the colloquy between the Divine Lord Shri Krishna and the Prince Arjuna, stands the fourteenth chapter, entitled:

"The Three Qualities"


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