This is the third in a series of four talks titled “The Mind, Mindfulness, & Me”.

There are many external forces which affect my mind and emotions. We may be aware of some of them, like peer pressure, social media, advertising, societal pressures, etc..

However, the Vedas speak about three powerful, yet invisible, subtle energies which act on all beings. They are known as the “tri-gunas” in Sanskrit, or the three modes of material nature. It is these three forces which perhaps, more than anything else, cause the bondage of the soul to material nature. They are briefly presented in these verses from the Bhagavad-gita:
14.5 – Material nature consists of three modes-goodness, passion and ignorance. When the eternal living entity comes in contact with nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he becomes conditioned by these modes.

14.6 – O sinless one, the mode of goodness, being purer than the others, is illuminating, and it frees one from all sinful reactions. Those situated in that mode become conditioned by a sense of happiness and knowledge.

14.7 – The mode of passion is born of unlimited desires and longings, O son of Kuntī, and because of this the embodied living entity is bound to material fruitive actions.

14.8 – O son of Bharata, know that the mode of darkness, born of ignorance, is the delusion of all embodied living entities. The results of this mode are madness, indolence and sleep, which bind the conditioned soul.

Bg 14.9 – O son of Bharata, the mode of goodness conditions one to happiness; passion conditions one to fruitive action; and ignorance, covering one’s knowledge, binds one to madness.

14.10 – Sometimes the mode of goodness becomes prominent, defeating the modes of passion and ignorance, O son of Bharata. Sometimes the mode of passion defeats goodness and ignorance, and at other times ignorance defeats goodness and passion. In this way there is always competition for supremacy. Bhagavad-gita 14.5-10