In the Bhagavad-gita, it is mentioned how we are spiritual beings residing in a material body. This material body is made up of various elements, that can be classified as:
and subtle elements:
- Mind (that does the thinking)
- Intelligence (that makes the right decisions)
- Ego (that gives us our sense of identity and direction).
But that’s just part of our body, which is just like a vehicle. The ‘real us’ is the Soul, that can be compared to the driver in the vehicle.Have a look at the picture. Simple, huh? All these elements and their interactions with the world combined with different experiences in life collectively contribute to framing our consciousness. The soul never dies, and death is just another change of body – much in the same way a person discards an old vehicle and gets a new one when it is no longer useful. Now, consciousness is something that is framed over a long period of time – months, years, and even lifetimes. Whenever we go through an experience, our consciousness gets molded in a certain way that becomes our basis for future interactions. The environment we live in, our friends, actions, desires, food – everything plays a part in molding our consciousness. As a result, everyone has a different mindset, but can be widely categorized into three types:
- Goodness, characterized by happiness, knowledge and satisfaction
- Passion, characterized by desires and unlimited longings
- Ignorance, characterized by illusion, lethargy and sleep
The manifestations of the mode of goodness can be experienced when all the gates of the body are illuminated by knowledge. Bhagavad-gita 14.11
O chief of the Bharatas, when there is an increase in the mode of passion the symptoms of great attachment, fruitive activity, intense endeavor, and uncontrollable desire and hankering develop. Bhagavad-gita 14.12
When there is an increase in the mode of ignorance, O son of Kuru, darkness, inertia, madness and illusion are manifested. Bhagavad-gita 14.13A person situated in the mode of goodness is usually unaffected by reversals in life. The symptoms of such a person are that he is satisfied, self-controlled, fearless, knowledgeable, truthful, peaceful, determined, and so on. A person situated in the mode of passion is usually affected by problems around him, but is quick to get into motion to correct them. As a result, his happiness is always wavering. Such a person is usually full of desires, attached to things and people, anxious over issues, expects returns and favours for everything he/she does, easily agitated by others’ behaviour, and so on. A person situated in the mode of illusion usually doesn’t like doing much. He/she likes avoiding work, gives improper charity, cheats, and is often situated in self-delusion. It is important to emphasize again that people cannot be labelled to belong to any one of these categories. We usually have an element of each, and it is the dominant one that determines the flow of our life. The Bhagavad-gita however, recommends rising to the mode of goodness for one who wants to have a consistent, steady lifestyle predominated by love, peace, and happiness. This can easily be achieved by practice, especially meditation. And with a few lifestyle changes, you’ll be surprised how much of a difference it makes to your life! If you are interested in finding out more, please get in touch with us by clicking HERE. We would love to hear from you!