The following two verses of the “Gita Shastra” were the favourites of Shri Swami Sacchidananda He used to say that they were the pivotal verses of the Bhagavad Gita. Chapter 14 verses 22 and 23: “Light, activity and dullness. O Arjuna, never become an object of his aversion when they are on in the mind of a yogi. When they are not present in his mind, he does not pursue them“.
“Prakasham (light)” means “sattva guna”. “Pravrittim (activity)” means “rajas”, and “moham (dullness)” means tamas. “When they assail him he does not look upon them with aversion”. Many of us, if we have impure desires, are upset; we say: “How sinful! How wrong I was to have those desires!” This is the attitude of the beginners. It is not wrong, but it is the attitude of the beginners.
To those who have acquired proficiency, the three gunas come and go in the antahkarana, but the Self remains unchanged and unaffected. If you see a magic show, you are one of the two: either you forget it is magic and believe in it, and when the actress plunges a dagger into her son, you cry or, if you remember it is magic and know it is not true, you enjoy it and say it is well done. If you watch Hamlet and see the stage littered with corpses, you say: “The acting is very good!” So one who wants to acquire proficiency in Yoga must detach himself from all these inroads of sattva, rajas and tamas into his antahkarana and not be upset by them.
Swami Nirbhyananda says: “In Chit or Consciousness, I enjoy the flight of my mind”. The mind is like a pet bird let loose, to the jnani. “As a wave will never overstep the boundary of the river, so my mind, go where thou likest, thou shalt never overstep the boundary of Chit or Atman. Therefore there is no reason for feeling pessimistic or sorry”.
“He sits indifferent (udasina) : he is not disturbed by the action of the gunas. The three gunas are acting in themselves. Knowing this, he remains in the contemplation of God.”Will a time ever come in the personal history of a Yogi when his mind will be always and absolutely unvisited by rajas, tamas and sattva? No, it will never come, because mind is made up of these three. There will always be a little play of rajas and the others. Who can know a Mahatma? Who knows the condition of the heart of a Mahatma? Shri Shankara says: “He who has known his Atman, he sees his own antahkarana and the whole of jagat with equanimity (sanyag darshana)”. The right Yogic attitude is equimindedness. He cannot be equiminded so long as he loves only the saints and hates the sinners. If sinners are so bad, then why did Christ come?
You cannot destroy the gunas, because they are Maya. It is like the man who says “I will kill the snake in the rope” and gets a stick and is full of perspiration, jumping here and there. The wise man is he who has heard from somebody who knows that it is only a rope and not a snake. This is called “the destruction of Maya” but Maya has no existence; how can you destroy it? Why spend your force in destroying what does not exist? Can you destroy the snake? No. Listen to one who tells you “the rope is real”. A Yogi has no time and no vritti to spare to consider antahkarana; he is established in Brahman.
The Mahatmas say: “It is the conviction (vishwasa) which really matters and the son of conviction is faith.” It does not proceed from mental analysis but from conviction. No one has absolute proof that his father is his father. No mental analysis will prove it but he is convinced and has faith in it that it is so. The “Ashtavakra Gita” (1.11) says: “He who knows himself to be bound, he is really bound. He who knows himself to be free (mukta) is really free. As your conviction is, so is your intellect.” Our state is governed by our conviction, which brings us faith. Because the Shastra says so, because the Guru says so, because it is the unanimous verdict of the Saints of God, do not think otherwise than “Aham Brahmasmi“.
Swami Sacchidananda used to say: “The expression ‘I will become Brahman; I will become spiritualised’ is erroneous.’ I am Brahman’ is correct’, so meditate on that. Consciousness is free from ‘becoming’; ‘becoming’ exists in Maya.” Let us mature and ripen this conviction.
Our life in its empirical form is a product of the sense of individuality, ahankara. The attainment of the highest good is through the destruction of the sense of individuality. We do not need to marshal an army. When you are attacking a fort, you want to know all about it. Ahankara is the fort. The yogi wants to destroy it. His investigations show that it is an illusion, that it has no real existence. Must he still attack it? No. The best way to conquer it is to mature the conviction that it is illusory: “Brahman sattyam jagan mithya” . He must mature the consciousness “Aham Brahmasmi” .
Sometimes it is said that jagat is all your own Self, sometimes it is said that it is illusory. Which is correct? Both. This is the teaching of the Mahatmas. No book will solve it. Take the dream-world: (1) it is illusory, or (2) it is you, you, you. Therefore both forms of meditation are correct. One explanation is that jagat is illusory. But if it is real, then it is I, my own manifestation. The house of the dream has not been built by anybody; no masons have erected it; it is a flash of your own antahkarana; the world is all a dream, so, either it is all your own Self or, if it is objective, it is illusory. What remains as the common denominator of these two fractions is Atman,