SATTVAGUNA
June 24, 2001
Des Plaines Mandira

Nirbhik asked, "What is sattvaguna, and what are its advantages and drawbacks?" In chapter 14 of the Bhagavad Gita, sattvaguna, rajoguna, and tamoguna are described as modes of nature corresponding to goodness, passion, and ignorance, respectively. The modes of nature correspond to qualities of devataas (demigods), humans, and asuras (demons), respectively. Everything under maayaa is under the three gunas.

Swaminarayan Bhagwan made two divisions in explaining sattvaguna: "regular" sattvaguna, and shuddha sattvaguna. Someone existing in sattvaguna would think of building hospitals and schools or feeding the poor. Someone existing in shuddha sattvaguna would think of being involved in things such as building temples. His primary concern is with the soul and attaching to God. Though someone in shuddha sattvaguna is not totally beyond the three gunas, he is next to the nirguna stage.

Within the two types of sattvaguna, there is an inherent conflict. Those existing in mainly sattvaguna would think saints are a burden to society, and instead they too should be helping to make hospitals, etc. Lord Buddha aptly expressed that most saints in fact give back to society in richer, spiritual ways. While Lord Buddha was in the jungles, he needed food. But the problem was that he had left his home, wife, etc., in order to concentrate on his saadhanaa. Thus, whenever he went for bhikshaa (food begging), he would respectfully say, "I am doing this penance so that society as a whole can progress. By giving me food, you participate in society's spiritual development."

If sattvaguna is used for one's own progress or introspection, it is beneficial. But it should not be used to fight with others. Vahevaareeka (social) sattvaguna consists of, e.g. giving the proper gift at a wedding or offering respect to those older than you. While it may be beneficial to do this, it is detrimental to feel hurt when others do not reciprocate the feeling. Spiritually, it is very detrimental when someone with sattvaguna only focuses on others' negative points.

Scriptures call sattvaguna "golden shackles." Rajoguna and tamoguna on the other hand are considered "iron shackles." Though all three are binding, with sattvaguna, it is difficult to let go of them.

Lastly, Dinkar Uncle explained that God and gunaateeta saints are beyond the three modes of nature, but behave in certain ways to uplift devotees. When Rama Bhagwan discovered that Sitaji was missing, he became so upset that he began crying [ref. Vachanamrut Gadhada Middle 10]. When Lord Shiva's wife, Parvati, witnessed this, she questioned Lord Shiva's belief that Rama Bhagwan was God. Lord Shiva explained to her that it was only a part of Rama Bhagwan's divine play on earth. But Parvati tried to test Rama Bhagwan by taking the form of Sitaji. Rama Bhagwan immediately told her, "Why have you left Lord Shiva and come here?" Realizing her mistake, Parvati returned to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva however said he could no longer accept her as his wife, since he considered Sitaji as his mother. Unable to be separate from Lord Shiva, Parvati passed away.

Once when Neelkantbhai (Mukundjivan Swamiji's older brother) and Kakaji were in public, Kakaji spit his paana (aftermint) on the carpet behind him. Neelkantbhai at first felt embarrassed at Kakaji's action, but when he looked at where Kakaji had spit, there was no spot! Saheb gave another example with Kakaji. Once, Saheb was with Kakaji and a devotee driver at a train gate. When the gate opened, the motorist behind them tried to overtake their car. The motorist and the devotee driver got into a very heated argument. At that time, Kakaji also got out of the car, rolled up his sleeves, and tucked in his dhotee. When Saheb asked what he was doing, Kakaji responded, "We may need to help the devotee in trouble!"

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