The Invisible Ropes Three Modes of Material Nature Total Time 80 Mins


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The Invisible Ropes - Three Modes of Material Nature –

Total Time – 80 Mins

  1. Prayers 20 mins.

  2. Revision of JOSD 5 mins

  3. Families in modes, 5 mins

  4. Exercise of three modes – 5 mins

  5. Story of three hat sellers – 2 mins

  6. Animals in modes – 2 mins

  7. Three modes are like three colors – 1 min

  8. Leaders and Managers in modes – 5 mins

  9. Circle of concern and influence – 10 mins

  10. The three modes are three levels of covering on the soul – 5 mins

  11. Mode of goodness means balance – 10 mins

  12. Destiny v/s free will – 10 mins


  1. Chanting (small mala) + shloka reading together with purport 15/20 min

  2. We can choose BG 3.27

BG 3.27

prakåteù kriyamäëäni

guëaiù karmäëi sarvaçaù


kartäham iti manyate


prakåteù—of material nature; kriyamäëäni—being done; guëaiù—by the modes; karmäëi—activities; sarvaçaù—all kinds of; ahaìkära-vimüòha—bewildered by false ego; ätmä—the spirit soul; kartä—doer; aham—I; iti—thus; manyate—he thinks.


The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature.

Revision of JOSD

The material world is compared to a prison house. How are we bound up in the prison house. The chain which binds us are the three modes. The three modes are compared to three types of chains that bind us.




A class jail

B class jail

C class jail

Golden Chain

Silver Chain

Iron Chain

Characteristics :

Freedom from sins

Sense of Happiness

Characteristics :

Unlimited Desires

Opposite Sex Attraction

Characteristics :

Sleep & Laziness


The three modes act in every stage of our life. In our food habits, in music, etc.

Eg – Ravana, Kumbakarna and Vibhishan – modes within a family.


Bhagavad-Gita teaches us five principle subject matters which are 1) God (Ishvara), 2) Soul (Jiva), 3) Time (Kala), 4) Activities (Karma) and 5) Prakriti or Nature.

Prakriti or Nature is classified principally into three –

1) Para Prakriti (Superior nature of spiritual energy, also called Yogamaya) – Presided by Radharani or Lakshmi.

2) Apara Prakriti (Inferior nature of external energy, also called Mahamaya) (jail) – Presided by Durga devi.

3) Tatastha Prakriti (Marginal energy consisting of the living entities, called jivas.)

They jivas must live under the shelter of the spiritual energy or the material energy. They have no independent existence of their own. Eg. The shore of the ocean is connected more to the beach in low tide and more to the ocean during high tide. The shore has no independent existence on its own.

In this example the shore is compared to the living entities, the beach is compared to the inferior material energy and the ocean water is compared to the spiritual energy. Just as the shore or the bank has to be connected to either the beach or the water, Similarly the jivas have to take shelter of the material or spiritual energies. Wherever the living entity surrenders, it lives there. If the soul surrenders to the suprerior energy (in a spirit of service) then it lives there and if it surrenders to the inferior energy (in the spirit of exploitation) then it lives there.

Q) What are the 3 modes of material nature?

The external energy or material nature consists of 8 elements. 5 gross (WAFERS) – Water, Air, Fire, EaRth, Space/ Ether. And 3 Subtle (EMI) – Ego, Mind, Intelligence.

These 8 elements are dead material energy. They are controlled by the three modes, or gunas are: (i) Sattva guna {mode of goodness} (ii) Rajo guna {mode of passion} (iii) Tamo guna {mode of ignorance}. The shackles of these modes of the nature, bind every living entity and every object in this material world.

Eg. The three modes can be compared to the 3 invisible ropes that bind every puppet to the puppeteer.

Eg. The 3 modes can be compared to the 3 gears of a car. The car is a dead machine. However when we want to make it move, it can move at different speeds based on the gears that the car is in. Similarly, everything in this material world moves according to the direction of the 3 invisible modes that control material nature. The Superintendent of the 3 modes is Durga devi.

Eg. Three modes can be compared to the three basic colors.

As a simple example we can consider the three primary colours, yellow, red and blue. By combining these three colours one can produce the entire colour spectrum, and paint pictures which can arouse many emotions. Pots of paint do not usually inspire emotion but, manipulated by an artist, a painting appears to possess its own special potency to enchant the hearts. Pots of paint don’t drag our minds, but an artist’s painting can drive us mad.

Similarly, the Supreme artist, Lord Krishna, His assistants to create this material world. Lord Brahma expertly designs the material world using the 8 material elements. Then Durgadevi (maya) colours the material objects with unlimited colour combinations of the 3 basic colours or modes of nature. What is its purpose? To attract us to a perverted reflection of the spiritual reality and to entice us with its false charm. Thus the living entity gets trapped in the jail of the material world because of the attraction to these 3 modes.

Q) How to clearly identify the 3 modes? Or What are the characteristics of the 3 modes?

The modes of material nature are identified by their distinct characteristics.

1) Mode of goodness being purer than the others, gives more freedom to act and it frees one from all sinful reactions. Those situated in that mode become conditioned by a sense of happiness and knowledge (Bg.14.6).

2) The mode of passion is born of unlimited desires and longings and because of this the embodied living entity is bound to material fruitive actions (Bg.14.7). It is characterized by the attraction between man and woman and when it is increased, one develops hankering for material enjoyment. He wants to enjoy sense gratification.

3) 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. The mode of ignorance is just the opposite of the mode of goodness.

Q) How do the 3 modes cover the living entity’s inner voice?


1) The mode of goodness conditions one to happiness; When one is contaminated by goodness, he is too self-satisfied to follow the dictates of the Supersoul.

2) Passion conditions one to unlimited desires. When one is contaminated by the mode of passion, his desires speak too loudly and he cannot hear the voice of his dear friend, the Supersoul.

3) Ignorance, covering one's knowledge, binds one to madness. If one is contaminated by the mode of ignorance, he is too inert, ignorant and mad to hear the Supersoul. Thus the modes of nature condition the living entity and keep him satisfied in different encasements as he pursues pleasure in the material world.

The three modes are three levels of covering on the soul

Embryo, fire and mirror

(a) Comparisons of 3 levels of covering:

· Smoke/fire – beginning of Krishna consciousness

· Mirror/dust – cleansing by spiritual methods

· Embryo/womb – knowledge completely covered

(b) Also another category of comparison:

· Smoke/fire – consciousness of human beings

· Mirror/dust – consciousness of birds and beasts

· Embryo/womb – helpless like trees

Q) Do we have one mode controlling us or is it a mixture of modes?


The modes are not constant in their influence upon the living entity. According to our karma, our work, our association, our choice of food and so on, a particular mode becomes predominant within us. Sometimes the mode of goodness becomes prominent, defeating the modes of passion and ignorance. 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.

The animals are in the mode of ignorance. Still within that predominant mode we find some of them still having some goodness, passion and ignorance.

For example,

· The Elephant is in mode of goodness. It eats only fresh vegetarian food, grass. It is a large, strong and gentle animal. It has the intelligence to work well with humans. On the other hand,

· The Tiger is in the mode of passion. It is fierce, restless and aggressive by nature and kills and eats flesh of other animals.

· The Jackal is an animal in the mode of ignorance. Rather than seek its own food, it eats whatever is left over after another animal has eaten. It tends to be fearful and lazy. Being a nocturnal animal it shuns daylight.

Q) What is the result of acting in certain modes?

1) The result of pious action is pure and is said to be in the mode of goodness. From the mode of goodness, real knowledge develops. Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets.

2) Action done in the mode of passion results in misery. From the mode of passion, greed develops; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets;

3) Action performed in the mode of ignorance results in foolishness. From the mode of ignorance develops foolishness, madness and illusion. Those in the abominable mode of ignorance are born in the animal kingdom after going down to the hellish worlds.


Families in modes

Example of a Family in Mode of Goodness

Dr. and Mrs. Bright and their two children have a small home, just suitable to their needs, in a peaceful country town. Dr.Bright is the local M.D., a thoughtful, qualified man, respected for doing his job honestly and selflessly. His hobby: reading books of philosophy, poetry and science. Mrs. Bright and the children (when the children aren't in school) engage in farm and garden around the house and care for the family cow. The Brights are mildly prosperous people who give thanks to God for the things they have and take their religion as a serious duty. By almost anyone's standards, they would have to be considered exceptionally pious. They don't gamble, and for them intoxicants are strictly prohibited, they don't smoke, and, what to speak of liquor, they don't even drink coffee or tea. Dr. Bright has seen too many of his patients bring trouble to themselves through extramarital affairs, so he has always been faithful to his wife; and she, too, has always been faithful to him. The Brights decided long ago that killing animals is barbaric, so they never eat meat, fish, chicken or even eggs. All in all, the Brights lead a clean, simple and happy life. But the Brights are conditioned by a sense of happiness and knowledge. They are attached to their harmonious world. Therefore they are bound by the mode of goodness.

Example of a Family in Mode of Passion

The Smiths, live in suburbs in a stylish home filled with modern conveniences. Each morning Larry Smith gulps down breakfast in time to fight traffic to the office. There he sits all day dealing with different "headaches", as he calls them. A hard job, but worth it, he figures, since it lets him afford the luxuries he enjoys and still have some money left over for the stock market and some rather shady business schemes he has going on the side. "Money is the honey", Larry says. Gloria, his wife, wakes up in time to see that the two older children look decent (family prestige is important to the Smiths) and sends them off to school. She spends most of her day with the baby ("the one we didn't expect", says Larry). Either Gloria's in the house with the TV going, in the playground with the other housewives and children, in the beauty salon, or (sometimes it seems like forever) shopping. All day the Smiths are active, on the go. At night they relax, but sometimes their minds are just so wound up that they can't get a good night's sleep. They squabble with each other, and sometimes they are depressed, but as Larry jokingly philosophizes,"There is no problem so great that sex can't solve it". On the weekends the Smiths make a show of being religious, but it is more or less a social affair, since in fact they generally disregard the guidelines of their scriptures. This family is typical of the mode of passion.

Example of a Family in Mode of Ignorance

The mode of ignorance is exemplified by the lives of John Dull and Betty Grumble. They never got married, but they live together, in squalor, in a cheap apartment in New York City. John earns by peddling drugs. Religion, they both decided long ago, is something they want no part of. They spend their time sleeping (at least 10 or 12 hours a day) or else getting high on drugs, feasting on beer and salami, and languishing in their apartment. For years they have dreamed about starting a commune in Spain.

Why different people behave differently?

Three glasses – concept

Three gloves

Story of three hat sellers

A cap seller tired of long distance walk, kept his basket aside and slept off Under the shade of a banyan tree, that was full with a group of mischievous monkeys. After a while he got up from his sleep, and found his basket was totally empty. The monkeys had picked up each one a cap, and wearing on their heads soon climbed up the tree.

How would one behave in such a situation, if one was in goodness, ignorance or passion?

Individual Quiz Answer:

· One who is in ignorance would beat on his chest, scream, yell, faint and weep without rest

· One in mode of passion would flair up in anger, and whirl a stick driving monkeys hither and thither

· One in goodness thinks calmly about the matter, he knows that monkeys are always good imitators. He would take off his cap and throw it in the basket, while all monkeys on the tree repeat the same act

· Calm, clear and creative, thinking is the sign, of one in mode of goodness—the quality that shines.

Q) Which mode gives us the maximum freedom to act?

Eg. If a cow is tied to a pole with a 5m, 10, 15m radius then she has the freedom to graze in that much radius only.

1) 5m is compared to the mode of ignorance. Very little freedom…. And so on.

When the rope is completely removed then that is pure goodness, the original free nature of the soul.

DIAGRAM OF DAY 1 JOSD. With three modes shown controlling from the top.

Eg. A person in the mode of ignorance is a compulsive alcoholic. In the mode of passion he can choose which drink he prefers to have and may be able to abstain during Diwali or Navaratri or Shravan or on Fridays etc. in the mode of goodness one may abstain from drinking completely. In pure goodness one will take foods that are only offerable to the Lord.

Leaders or Managers functioning in three modes

When a leader is situated in Ignorance

· He feels tired all over. He collapses in his chair/sofa at night.

· His fatigue is mixed with nervousness, tension or anxiety.

· He is not pleasant and often there is a sense of low esteem and of life being a burden. Depression may be triggered or worsened. He feels negative thoughts and dysfunctional behaviour and takes drug or alcohol to alter mood.

When a leader is situated in Passion

· He has a stress-driven mood characterised by almost pleasant sense of excitement and power

· His physical energy feels high, even though he may face high levels of stress or strain from long hours of hectic schedule

· He tends to impatiently push himself towards one objective after another rarely pausing to rest or reflect.

· His efforts are infused with a moderate to severe level of physical tension, which after a while may be imperceptible to him.

· Without realising it, by allowing this situation to persist, he blunts his ability to pay deep, genuine attention to his own needs, other people’s needs, project needs and

· He can suddenly wake up to find himself at the edge of burnout and exhaustion

When a leader is situated in Goodness

· feels low tension and high energy; feels remarkably serene and under control

· Replaces tense energy with an alert, more optimistic presence of mind, peaceful

· experiences pleasurable body feelings, deep sense of physical stamina and well being.

· experiences best combination of healthy vitality and increased creative intelligence; feels a state of relaxed alertness.

· gets an extra gear to do just as much or even more but with less struggle/stress

Mode of goodness behaviour

Fatigued people make errors, work slowly and less effectively and do things the long and routine way and fail to see efficient short cuts. Without alertness, there is no attentiveness. Without attentiveness, there is no performance.

A leader who desires smooth and creative functioning has to cultivate mode of goodness behavior. Such qualities mentioned above are desirable for efficiency and performance.

Everyone in this world is subjected to some stimulus or the other at different times. Between stimulus and response is a human being’s greatest power the freedom to choose. We may feel like responding in a certain way but when we live our lives, close to our values, we can subordinate our feelings to values. This will make us act responsibly. Look at the word “response-ability” – the ability to choose your response. A God conscious person never blames anything – circumstances, conditions or other people for his actions. He is aware that he has chosen to respond pro-actively (based on chosen values) rather than re-actively (allowing the stimulus to dictate his response). It is not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us.

When we study the behaviour of leaders in different modes, we can easily see the behaviour in mode of goodness is desirable to be successful in the long run. Mode of passion is good to begin or create, but in the long run one who lacks mode of goodness, leads himself to burnout and concomitant failure.


1) Focus on CID circle.

2) BALANCE your physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs.

Problem solving through mode of goodness behaviour

We can apply this new ability of focussing on our area of influence when we deal with problems. Whether a problem is direct, indirect, or no control, we have in our hands the first step to the solution. Changing our habits, changing our methods of influence and changing the way we see our no control problems are all within our circle of influence.

The Problems we face fall in one of the three areas:

· Direct control – problems involving our own behaviour

· Indirect control – problems involving other people’s behaviour

· No control – problems we can do nothing about such as weather, things of the past etc.

F Direct control problems are solved by working to improve our own habits like avoiding being aggressive, judgmental, making snap decisions without hearing both sides, downplaying, being sarcastic, impatience in listening, being egomaniac etc. Don’t argue for other people’s weakness. Don’t argue for your own weakness. Replace the word ‘weakness’ with ‘room for improvement’. When you make a mistake, admit it, correct it, and learn from it—immediately. Don’t get into a ABC mode (accusing, blaming, criticizing) or BMW mode (blaming, mourning, weiling). Work on things you have control over. Look at the weaknesses of others with compassion, not accusation. It is not what they are not doing or should be doing that is the issue. The issue is your own chosen response to the situation and what you should be doing. If you start to think the problem is “out there” stop yourself. That thought is the problem.

F Indirect control problems are solved by improving our methods of influence, thereby increasing our circle of influence, (inside-out not outside-in) like Understanding the individual, paying attention to details, keeping commitments, showing integrity, apologizing sincerely when we commit mistakes and Clarifying expectations etc lead to a positive deposit in the emotional bank of those who may cause us problems.

F No control problems involve taking responsibility to change the line on the bottom of our face – to smile – to genuinely and peacefully accept these problems and learn to live with them. There are things beyond human control and one has no other refuge other than the Lord Himself who is the source of everything.

One who acts proactively can appreciate the prayer, “O Lord, give me the courage to change the things which can and ought to be changed, the serenity to accept the things which cannot be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control – myself. I can stop trying to shape up my wife/subordinate/friend and work on my own weaknesses. I can focus on being a great partner, a source of unconditional love and support. Hopefully, that person will feel the power of proactive example and respond in kind. But whether that person does or doesn’t the most positive way I can influence my situation is to work on myself, on my BEING.

There are so may ways to work in the Circle of Influence – to BE better listner, to BE more loving marriage partner, to BE a better student, to BE a more cooperative and dedicated employee. Sometimes the proactive thing we can do is to BE happy, just to genuinely smile.

Which is the best mode to be in? How to transcend the 3 modes?

We have learnt that we are not this material body. We are the spirit souls. The soul is superior spiritual energy and the body is inferior material energy. If I have understood that I am the superior spirit soul then I should be able to leave the body whenever I want. However I am bound. How is it that the inferior material body is able to bind the superior spiritual soul?

This is because both the material body and the spiritual soul are controlled by the Supreme Lord!

Eg the body is compared to a jail cell and the should is compared to the prisoner. Just because a prisoner has realized his mistake and desires to get out, he is not free to go. When the jail authorities are convinced that the prisoner has really reformed then they will free him. Similarly even if one has understood that I am the spirit soul, still one has to act to please the Supreme Lord. When the Lord is pleased with our endeavors then He orders the material energy to release us and then we shall join back into the eternal pastimes of the Lord in the spiritual world.

Eg. STORY : once upon a time there was newspaper boy who would come to the mansion of an elderly gentleman to daily deliver newspapers. He would always throw the newspapers from outside the gate since it would be closed and there was big sign hanging there : Beware of dogs. One day the gate was open so he decided to politely come and keep the newspaper at the doorstep of the elderly man. Suddenly a huge dog started barking and running towards him. Terrified this boy started running around the mansion. The more he tried to run then more the dog followed him fiercely. The boy called out to the master in a very prayerful mood. Fortunately the owner saw the predicament of the boy and shouted “Tommy Stop!”. Immediately the dog stopped dead in his tracks. The dog was still snarling and barking but he could not move since the master had ordered him to stop and release the boy.

The boy in this story is compared to the living entity. The dog is compared to maya or the illusory material energy (controlled by the three modes). The master is compared to the Supreme Lord. Just as the boy could not escape from the clutches of the dog on his own, similarly, when the living entity is under the clutches of the material energy, he cannot escape on his own. Also just as when the master ordered the dog to stop, then only the boy was released, similarly, when the Lord orders the material energy to release the soul from it’s clutches, then the soul is actually free to enter the spiritual world.

The Lord is more eager for the soul to return to the spiritual world that we are eager to go back. It is said that “If you take one step towards God, He takes ten steps towards us!”. As we show some eagerness to surrender to the Lord, immediately the Lord takes steps to give us some spiritual association by which we can learn to come closer to Him. We can show our practical surrender unto the Lord by (ABCD) Associating with His devotees regularly, Studying books like Bhagavad Gita or hearing classes and kkirtans, Chanting His Holy Names and Diet - Eating only food offered to Him. Then the Lord will be pleased and we will be released from this prison of the material world.

Does that mean that we must give up all our duties and simply do bhakti (or chant the Holy Names of the Lord) 24 hours of the day?

Definitely not! The Lord is not so foolish to make such impractical suggestions. He wants us to spend some time of the day to purify ourselves by focusing on Him fully. And then He wants that we perform our duties throughout the day in that divine consciousness for His pleasure.

Eg. Once upon a time there was a rich man who used his fortune to make a huge mansion in his village. He was frustrated with the many posters and spit marks on the outer wall of His mansion. Thus he got the outer wall of the mansion freshly painted and then made an announcement. He said, “If anyone is found sticking posters or bills or writing anything on the outer wall then he would personally break the feet of that person and hand him over to the police.

At the corner there were two kids who heard this announcement. One child challenged the other, “If you can write something on this wall, I shall give you 50/- rupees. The other boy took up the challenge. He went out, brought a ladder and paint. He climbed the ladder and busily started painting something on the wdall. When he was about to finish and come down the other boy thought, “Oh! If he finishes then I shall lose the challenge and will have to pay up 50/- rupees.” So he ran to the owner’s door, called him out and showed him what that other boy was doing. The owner saw what the boy was doing. He held the boy by his hand and took him inside the house.

The other boy was excitedly waiting outside the house for half an hour. He was expecting a good thrashing for his friend! To his great surprise, his friend came out of the house with a mithai box in his hands with 500 rupees on it. How did this happen. The boy told his friend to look up and see what he had painted on the wall. He had written, “Do not stick posters. By order!”

So the activity of painting is not bad. For whom it is done is important. An activity done with a selfish motive can bring our downfall and the same activity done for the pleasure of the owner can reward one.

Revise the soldier and cashier eg from josd.

So one should continue to perform one’s duties for the pleasure of the Lord. To be able to remain in that consciousness one should spend some quality time in the day to absorb our consciousness purely on the Lord.

In this way we can transcend the 3 modes. That means, whichever mode we are in, when we connect it to the Lord’s service then we may be acting in that mode be we are freed from the reaction of that mode. We get a transcendental reaction, which liberates us from the cycle of birth and death.

Q) Can we give some examples of people who performed their duties and still perfected their lives?

Eg. Arjuna was fighting and Duryodhana was also fighting. Now fighting requires one to be in the mode of passion. So both were acting in the mode of passion. But the effect or the reaction on both of them was different. One was getting liberated and the other was more and more bound in the reactions. Arjuna was following the instructions of Krishna so fighting was purifying him. Duryodhana was getting more and more entangled in the reactions by the same fighting.

Eg. Two spools of the cassette are moving the same direction. One is becoming more and more bound and the other is becoming more and more liberated as it moves forward in the same direction. Similarly the devotee is becomes liberated by the same actions that a non-devotee is contaminated. This is because externally the actions are the same but for a devotee these actions have been sanctioned and connected to the Lord.

Eg. Two students or housewives…..

Q) Arjuna had Krishna to tell him what to do and what not to do. How will we come to know what actions we must perform so that we can also become liberated while doing our practical day to day duties in the world?

Ans- Krishna recommends that one approaches the Guru, Sadhu and Sastra to learn this art of working. Krishna is Himself acting as Arjuna’s guru in this case. Krishna personally instructed Arjuna for our benefit.

Eg. In cultured homes, when the mother-in-law wants to instruct the daughter-in-law, she does it through the medium of the daughter. For example, imagine a scene where the daughter-in-law has put too much salt in the dal. The mother-in-law would tell her daughter, “Why have you put so much salt in the dal today. You have been helping with cooking in this house for so many years. You very well know that in this house we all have much less salt in the dal.” She speaks loud enough so that daughter-in-law can hear. The daughter-in-law gets the message. She knows that she had cooked the dal today and she had put the extra salt.

Since the mother and daughter have a good relationship over the years, so the daughter will not feel bad to be corrected. However, since the daughter-in-law is new to the house and the relationship is sensitive so she is careful to correct her through the daughter.

In this example, the mother-in-law is compared to the Supreme Lord. The daughter is compared to pure devotees of the Lord. They have an intimate relationship with the Lord. The daughter-in-law is compared to the conditioned souls who have just begun to practise bhakti. If the Lord directly chastises the living entities then they may run away from the Lord. So the Lord instructs His pure devotees like Arjuna and through him, the Lord instructs all of us. Thus we may take advantage of the scripture, especially Bhagavad Gita to learn how to live our lives.

Also the Lord directs us to approach a spiritual authority (in BG 4.34)

Q) We are in the material world and we are dealing with the material energy all the time. How do these material things become spiritual simply by connecting them to the Lord? What is the logic behind this?


1) One name of the Lord is “nirguna”. Guna – means rope and nirguna - means He is beyond the 3 ropes or modes of material nature. We have studied that He has a completely spiritual body. All His activities and desires are totally spiritual. So when one performs activities for the pleasure of the lord then one gets benefit of the spiritual association of the Lord.

Eg. When an iron is put into fire, then it gradually becomes red hot. If we bring a paper or a piece of cotton near it then it catches fire. So is it an iron rod or is it fire? If we say it is an iron rod then look at its qualities. It acts just like fire and burns the paper. If we say it is fire, and then if it is removed it again takes the qualities of iron. The fact is, that it is actually iron but in the association with fire it gets the qualities of fire. Similarly we may need to use the modes for certain activities. When we do them for the pleasure of the lord we get purified from the reaction of those modes. Rather we get a spiritual reaction.

Thus one may use whatever modes of material nature are required to perform activity but one should offer it to the Lord to remain free of them and transcend them. When material things are in contact with spirit, they become spiritualized.

Q) Can we give some examples to show how one can use the modes in the Lord’s service?

Eg. Sleep is in the mode of ignorance. Everyone needs to sleep for 6-8 hours depending on his or her particular need. If one uses that time to refresh and rejuvenate the body so that we can engage in the Lord’s service then we are using the mode of ignorance in the Lord’s service.

Eg. One may have to perform many duties in the day, which may require dynamic activity in the mode of passion. If one uses the fruits of that labor in the service of the Lord then the mode of passion is used in the service of the Lord. Then the activity is in the mode of passion but the consciousness is transcendental.

Eg. When Arjuna heard the news that his son abhimanyu was killed in the battle, he was aggrieved. He lamented that his dear son, who was also a great devotee was dead. Still he continued his devotional service to the lord. He service was to fight the battle of Kurukshetra. So Arjuna used the mode of passion for fighting and was influenced by the mode of ignorance while lamenting. Still he was transcendental to the modes. What is the proof? The proof is that pleasure or pain, his service to the Lord continued.

So it is natural even for great souls to feel emotions and perform activities in the practical world. However they remain transcendental since in every situation, they see the loving hand of the Lord and endeavor to serve Him.

On the other hand, when Drona heard that his son Ashwatthama was dead, he stopped fighting. Why? Because he was very attached to his son. If his son was dead then all his inspiration to fight was finished. So, Dronacarya was influenced by the mode of ignorance when lamenting for his dead son. However since he had yet to develop love for God, he could not transcend it. He was so much absorbed in ignorance and lamentation that he just could not act. He stopped fighting and was killed by Dhrstadyumna.


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