Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gunas in Right Balance

In Samkhya philosophy a guṇa is one of three "tendencies": tamas, sattva, and rajas. Each of the three gunas is ever present simultaneously in every particle of creation but the variations in equilibrium manifest all the variety in creation including matter, mind, body and spirit.
The following story illustrates the process of attaining this balance.

“Shiva wished to teach a lesson to the Rishis who were proud of their learning. Shiva took the form of a mendicant with a begging bowl in hand, accompanied by Vishnu disguised as Mohini. The rishipatnis (wives of the Rishis) were attracted by the sight of this beautiful pair. While Mohini enticed the sages by her voluptuous dances, the Mendicant appeared before their wives and started teasing them. The wives fell for the Mendicant and the sages went crazy over Mohini and forgot their wives for some time. When they saw their wives completely bowled over by the Mendicant, the sages got angry and scolded the Mendicant for his behavior. The Mendicant stated that he only wanted to lead an ascetic life along with his wife, Mohini, like the sages. He can’t help if the sages and their wives fell for them.
The Rishis grew angry and tried to destroy the pair. They performed a sacrificial fire and raised a tiger from the fire, which sprang at Shiva. Shiva pealed off the skin of the tiger and wrapped it round his waist. Then again the Rishis sent a poisonous serpent and Shiva tied it round his neck. Then the Rishis sent against Shiva an Apasmara Purusha (dwarf), Muyalaka, whom Lord Shiva crushed by pressing him to the ground with his foot.”

This story told many times has a deep significance to our own journey in our human life.
Shiva as the mendicant represents the transformative element of the unsullied human body and Vishnu as Mohini represents divine wisdom which always accompanies the human in this earthly manifestation.
The proud rishis and their consorts symbolize the worldly trappings, both in the physical and intellectual or wisdom dimension. The moment we undertake the earthly journey we come under the coveting influence of the factors that assail our mind and spirit. The higher the resistance we put up the higher the effort of the worldly forces to derail our spiritual progress. This process is attempted through the three gunas and their influence on our consciousness.
The tiger that is launched symbolizes the attribute of Rajas and a spiritual person must use it wisely to wrap it around himself in a single minded focus to attain a higher level of spiritual progress. You cannot allow rajas to devour you or consume you.
This is the reason that Jesus said, "Lucky is the lion that the human will eat (or conquer), so that the lion becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the lion still will become human." .... Gospel of Thomas saying 7
The snake that is produced from the fire symbolizes the worldly wisdom, which though is an integral part of divine wisdon has taken on the poison of illusion, and it has to be contained at the Vishuddha charka (throat) level to communicate divine wisdom through the worldly knowledge whose poison has to be eradicated. This is how sattvic attribute empowers a human to be in balance in this human existence.
Finally the world launches the dwarf Apasmara - Purusha (the man of forgetfulness) who embodies indifference, ignorance and laziness. Creation, indeed all creative energy is possible only when the weight of inertia (the tamasic darkness of the universe) is overcome and suppressed.
Lord Shiva represents the perfect balance of all the three gunas in a spiritually tuned person.

Love to you all

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