तमस्त्वज्ञानजं विद्धि मोहनं सर्वदेहिनाम् |
प्रमादालस्यनिद्राभिस्तन्निबध्नाति भारत || 8||
tamas tv ajñāna-jaṁ viddhi mohanaṁ sarva-dehinām
pramādālasya-nidrābhis tan nibadhnāti bhārata
tamaḥ—mode of ignorance; tu—but; ajñāna-jam—born of ignorance; viddhi—know; mohanam—illusion; sarva-dehinām—for all the embodied souls; pramāda—negligence; ālasya—laziness; nidrābhiḥ—sleep; tat—that; nibadhnāti—binds; bhārata—Arjun, the son of Bharat
And know further that tamas is born of ignorance and that it deludes all embodied creatures. It binds fast, Ο Bhārata, by inadvertence, indolence, and sleep.
Tamoguna is the direct effect of ignorance. It deludes man and throws him down into the dark prison-house of samsara. The state of the Jiva under its influence is like the sun being covered up by thick dark clouds, or like a light covered up by dark smoke-stained glass. Its deluding power is universally felt, by all, except the Jivanmuktas. That is why the word Sarvadehinam is used. Even the most intelligent are sometimes blind to the realities of a situation. They err, fall into lethargy, and forget themselves in beastly sleep. The common run of mankind is directly under its power. Sleep, idleness, incapacity, inefficiency, neglect of duty, shirking of work, all these are Tamoguna qualities. Each individual can easily find out for himself what his nature is. If he is negligent, idle and sleepy, it is a sure sign that Tamas predominates in his nature.
It is to be understood that no man is dominated only by one Guna. The three Gunas attending express themselves in the mind, at one stage or other. When Tamas dominates, he sleeps, when Rajas dominates he acts, and when Sattva comes up, he is calm and enjoys the bliss of power.
The seekers should first of all free themselves from Tamas and Rajas. These qualities bind man and fling him into the mire of samsara. By understanding the nature of these qualities, man should rise above them slowly and gradually.
Bharata: Arjuna is addressed as ‘Bharata’ five times repeatedly in this Discourse (verses 3,8,9,10 and 12). There should be some special significance to the repetition of this word ‘Bharata’. ‘Bha’ means Light, ‘rata’ means desire. So Bharata means one who desires to possess light i.e. Knowledge. The Lord inspires Arjuna to wake up and strive for true knowledge. “O Arjuna! Remember your true self, pure, luminous, and free from the taint of the three Gunas. You are not the body and mind, the Kshetra. You are the imperishable, ever-free and ever-perfect Atma. You are Sachidananda. Wake up from sleep. It does not befit you. Realise your true self and be free from all bondage.” Such is the Lord’s exhortation to his beloved disciple. Hence, probably, the Lord addresses Arjuna as ‘Bharata’ repeatedly.
Question: From what does Tamoguna arise?
Answer: From ignorance (Ajnana).
Question: What is its nature?
Answer: It deludes all men.
Question: How does it bind the Jiva?
Answer: By heedlessness. indolence, too much sleep, it binds the Jiva.