त्रैगुण्यविषया वेदा निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन |
निर्द्वन्द्वो नित्यसत्त्वस्थो निर्योगक्षेम आत्मवान् || 45||
trai-guṇya-viṣhayā vedā nistrai-guṇyo bhavārjuna
nirdvandvo nitya-sattva-stho niryoga-kṣhema ātmavān
trai-guṇya—of the three modes of material nature; viṣhayāḥ—subject matter; vedāḥ—Vedic scriptures; nistrai-guṇyaḥ—above the three modes of material nature, transcendental; bhava—be; arjuna—Arjun; nirdvandvaḥ—free from dualities; nitya-sattva-sthaḥ—eternally fixed in truth; niryoga-kṣhemaḥ—unconcerned about gain and preservation; ātma-vān—situated in the self
The first part of the Vedas (Karma Kanda) deal with material things pertaining to the three Gunas. One should transcend the three Gunas, become free from the operation of the pairs of opposites, take refuge in the pure sattvic state, and firmly establish himself in Atma.
Deal with things pertaining to the three Gunas: This should be understood from the context to refer only to the Karma kanda of the Vedas. The later parts in Upanishads deal with the Supreme Reality, beyond all conditions and states of mind, though here and there reference is made to the rites and rituals of Karma kanda. The material world comprehended by the senses is conditioned by the three Gunas or attributes of the mind. This world so comprehended is very limited, is transitory, and perishable. Atma, which is the seer of all objective phenomena is not conditioned by the gunas. It is beyond them. It is eternally perfect. The bondage of life is only for those who are subject to the influence of the three Gunas. Birth and death, sorrow and suffering, pleasures and enjoyments, all these do not affect the wise man who has rooted himself in Atma. Therefore the Lord exhorts Arjuna to transcend them and hold to the Supreme Self.
Taking refuge in the pure `Satvic’ state:- The sattva guna mentioned here is not misra satva which is mixed with the other two attributes, rajas and tamas. To transcend the three Gunas, one should overcome sattva guna also. In the early stages of the sadhana, the satvic state is colored by the inherent rajasic and tamasic qualities. As these later two are slowly eliminated, pure satva (sudha satva) alone remains, when the sadhaka experiences the bliss of Atma. But in the final state of realisation, even this is transcended, and Atma alone, unconditioned and attributeless, remains in its own purity and perfection. The mind which has acquired the power to contemplate the Infinite Atma is called Satva. So says Sage Vasishta. Since it is enjoined, nityasatvasthah, it is imperative that the seeker should hold on to that state always.
Having nothing to gain or retain in the world:- Yoga means the requisition of new things. Kshema means the preservation of the things required. The whole world is engaged in these two things, acquisition and preservation. Wealth, name, position, power, health, children, etc., are the things that man is constantly trying to acquire, and preserving them after they are acquired. The Lord’s injunction here is to give up both these things. For the man who firmly believes that Atma alone is the Reality, there is no such thing to possess or preserve, because Atma is everything and everything is Atma. He has nothing to gain or lose. Most worldly people desire to acquire wealth, possession, beauty, and so on. But who is there who desires to rest in Atma? To rest in Atma is the greatest achievement, and when this is achieved, supreme content descends on the man, and there is no restlessness. So the way to transcend the gunas is to hold on to the Atmic state, with perseverance and determination.
Swami Vivekananda Says —
“The Vedas only teach things belonging to the three gunas, to sattva, rajas, and tamas.” The Vedas only teach about things in nature. People cannot think anything they do not see on earth. If they talk about heaven, they think of a king sitting on a throne, of people burning incense. It is all nature, nothing beyond nature. The Vedas, therefore, teach nothing but nature. “Go beyond nature, beyond the dualities of existence, beyond your own consciousness, caring for nothing, neither for good nor for evil.”[Source]
“Go thou beyond the scriptures, because they teach only up to nature, up to the three qualities.” When we go beyond them, we find the harmony, and not before.[Source]
The greatest name man ever gave to God is Truth. Truth is the fruit of realization; therefore seek it within the soul. Get away from all books and forms and let your soul see its Self. “We are deluded and maddened by books”, Shri Krishna declares. Be beyond the dualities of nature. The moment you think creed and form and ceremony the “be-all” and “end-all”, then you are in bondage. Take part in them to help others, but take care they do not become a bondage.[Source]
Question: What is the Lord’s command?
- To transcend the three gunas,
- to be free from the pairs of opposites
- to give up thoughts of gain and loss,
- to remain in the state of satva
- to be established in the self.