सत्त्वं रजस्तम इति गुणा: प्रकृतिसम्भवा: |
निबध्नन्ति महाबाहो देहे देहिनमव्ययम् || 5||
sattvaṁ rajas tama iti guṇāḥ prakṛiti-sambhavāḥ
nibadhnanti mahā-bāho dehe dehinam avyayam
sattvam—mode of goodness; rajaḥ—mode of passion; tamaḥ—mode of ignorance; iti—thus; guṇāḥ—modes; prakṛiti—material nature; sambhavāḥ—consists of; nibadhnanti—bind; mahā-bāho—mighty-armed one; dehe—in the body; dehinam—the embodied soul; avyayam—eternal
O Arjuna! Born of Prakriti, the three Gunas, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas bind the imperishable Jivatma in the body.
The three Gunas, Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are born of prakriti. Atma is free from them. Atma is Nirguna, devoid of these qualities. It transcends them. Even so, the individual man having forgotten his Atma and its transcendental nature, associates himself with the Gunas, identifies himself with them, and binds himself to the inert perishable body. Thus the Imperishable ever-fee Atma is lost by the jiva who becomes an embodied being subject to all the ills of life and death. This mistaken identity is (avidya) ignorance. Man has to release himself from every one of these gunas, and rise to the Atmic plane which is free and perfect. The Sattva Guna which is free is also mentioned as one of the bonds, because it is only in the Nirvikalpa Samadhi that man goes beyond all the gunas and realises Paramatma. In that state, there are no qualities or states or thoughts. As the aspirant rises higher and higher, he finds that Sattva guna also is like a screen (a thin screen but yet a screen) between him and the ultimate.
The seekers must have a longing to march. Tamas has to be conqureed by Rajas; and Rajas has to be purified by Sattva and Sattva has to be discarded at the end to reach Atma. That is Moksha.
Mahabaho: Arjuna is addressed as the ‘Mighty armed’. He has, no doubt, defeated many powerful enemies in the world, but he has yet to conquer the internal enemies, the three gunas with greater strength and higher courage.
Dehe dehinam avyayam: Atma, the Lord, the Imperishable Light, is in the body, nearest to man. Therefore, by intense search and clear discrimination one has to discover this even in this life. It is Imperishable. Atma is changeless, has no birth and therefore it has no death. All the other things are ‘vyayam‘ perishable. Each man has to turn the searchlight on himself and know that he has his life and being, not in the perishable body but in the Imperishable Atma. He has to strive for purifying himself from the contaminating influence of the three Gunas and ascend to the plane of Atma. This is the fulfillment of life.
Question: What is the nature of Atma?
Question: What binds the Jiva?
Answer: Though the ‘jiva’ is really ‘Atma’, yet by his ignorance, he is bound by the three ‘Gunas’.
Question: What is the origin of the three Gunas?
Answer: ‘Prakriti’ (Prakriti – sambhavah).
Question: What is the way to attain liberation?
Answer: To reach ‘Paramatma’, who is beyond the three ‘Gunas’.