God lies dormant in all of us. In our normal life we are governed by the guna consciousness that is composed of sattvic, rajasic and tamasic mentalities. This guna consciousness is a spiritual aspect of God’s creation.
There is a lot of debate between atheists and theists on whether evolution of organism occurs and if so by what means. Evolution does occur and has been doing since life first began on Earth 3.5 billion years ago but it takes place within an environment of a three-fold (sattva, rajas and tamas) consciousness regulating the process. This means that there are natural forces within consciousness that regulate the behaviour of organisms and affect their lives including reproductive behaviour. These alter the evolutionary pathways through which organisms are propagated through history and which has led to the present diversity observed in nature as well as in the organisms of the past that have become extinct.
The consciousness mechanism is an act of God that is not well studied but is understood to have sattva, rajas and tamas characteristics as discussed in Hinduism. These broadly reflect the triad forces of divine, semi-divine and evil components that act upon organisms to regulate their behaviour. The three-fold creation also incorporates qualities of creating, preserving and destroying respectively and is how Hindus know God to be represented as the Trimurti in Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Preserver) and Shiva (Destroyer). Additionally, Shiva is associated with procreation, that is regulating the reproductive behaviour of organisms. The arena of existence is like a equilateral triangle of consciousness, with one corner (Brahma) generating the sattva guna, another corner (Vishnu) generating the rajas guna and the third corner (Shiva) generating the tamas guna. There is no apex to the symmetrical three faces of guna consciousness. This threefold guna is the also reason that the symbol Om in Hinduism is symbolised with the No 3 extended to incorporate the worship of God’s creation of Nature. God Sri Krishna surrounds and permeates the gunas so can influence the behaviour of organisms.
All organisms live by one or the other guna or a mixture of the three gunas (property/energy/force of nature) that is derived from this consciousness and therefore they exist somewhere within the arena of consciousness. The closer they are to their corner of the triangle of consciousness the more of that attribute they will acquire. In this way they evolve over historical time according to their consciousness during their time of existence. In higher animals these gunas manifest themselves through thoughts that make animals act in particular manners according to the nature of the gunas.
The gunas are therefore natural forces of consciousness that act upon organisms. If an organism has the biological make up and upbringing (nature and nurture) to be influenced by a particular mix of these consciousness gunas it will act in that way in its life. Tamas is basic animalistic living that is haphazard existence with no sense of duties and direction; rajas is living to a meaningful life in the material world as a karma yogi doing things to satisfy one’s five senses; and sattva is the highest level of mental attainment that resuls in a life that is serene with blissful truth as a gyan yogi which combines the elements of karma yoga and dharma yoga. At the peak of sattva exisitence there is hardly any tamas guna existing and vice versa. In humans the person can move around within the triangle of gunas, that is he can ‘transcend’ from tamas living to a rajas living or even a sattva living by effort and education or for that matter move towards the other gunas depending on the adverse influences that takes place in his life.
Very few people are born who are at sattva guna corner of the sattva, rajas and tamas triangle. Those who are will always attain work of the highest quality and will not engage in work that does damage to the environment that sustains mankind. Those at the rajas guna corner will do work without due consideration of what is good or bad and may generate lots of goods and services some of which people may want. Those at the tamas corner are good for nothing. In reality a lot of people will be somewhere in the middle of the triangle and have all three gunas to varying degrees.
It is incorrect to think of the three gunas as representing the body, mind and heart in that body is tamas, mind is rajas and heart is sattva and the three have to be transcended if one has to rise higher, those higher levels being Chit Kosha and Sat Kosha, the higher levels of attainment. By heart is meant the character of the person. The gunas do not directly represent these aspects of the jiva/human’s being. The mind alone has either one or the other of the three gunas or a combination. Mind is where the brain links up with consciousness. The mind alone has the heart which could be either sattavic, rajasic or tamasic. The rest of the body is affected by the state of this mind as to where it lies in the guna-consciousness triangle. Sattva is the creative force because it is based on truth, knowledge and reality while tamas is inertia, and rajas does the mundane preservation work. For example, the body operates according to the nutrition it receives, and from any direction to do things that is received from the mind. Thus the mind chooses what food is eaten which will direct the functionality of the body whether in a good way or a way that will lead to disease. The body does not decide anything to become tamasic or rajasic or sattvic. It is the mind that is sattvic, rajasic or tamasic according to its character – which equivalent to the heart. Divinity does not reside in every heart, only in the sattvic heart and to a limited extent in the rajasic heart which is more governed by the five senses in a reactionary manner. The tamasic heart is evil and causes the mind to do all the horrible things that people do in this world, including lying and deceiving, murdering and molesting.Only the sattvic heart is purely divine because it relates to truth consciousness. There is no distinction between the heart and the soul both of which determine the character of the person. The mind is where the heart and guna-consciousness meet and decide the actions of the person.
Guna transcendence Since the consciousness triangle is surrounded and permeated by God Sri Krishna the organism can interact for specific bits of information that the divine heart needs to survive in this world with the madness of the rajasic and tamasic-generated problems. This only happens when the person gives himself to God which is the mechanism for transcending the gunas. God as Sri Krishna can come through to people but this practically only happens when the person is living at the sattva guna apex of existence because tamasic and rajasic persons cannot realise God let alone live in faith of God and in submission to God. When it does Sri Krishna can make the person do particular things in their lives that will help them survive with dignity. People at all planes of existence may realise the existence of God but only those towards the corner of the sattva plane of living will live in devotion and submission to the will of God and will benefit from correspondence with Sri Krishna. When he does and lives in submission to Sri Krishna the transcendence is complete. When this happens the person lives from perceived instructions and guidance from God. Since tamasic and rajasic people cannot realise God in this way, the sattva corner of the triangle is in fact the point where the interaction with God takes place. People with all three guna characteristics may believe in a superior power that they call God, but their worship practices would be classified as Brahmanism, Vaishnavism or Shaivism for the sattvic, rajasic and tamasic gunas respectively and there will be overlaps for people who fall in between these positions in the guna trimurti.
There is therefore something higher than the sattva plane of living, which in humans is attained through satya-advaita or truth accommodation, the transcendence to the submission to God in devotion being that higher plane of living. In this mode of living the gunas are entirely transcended and we humans live spiritual lives and merely exist in the material plane with detachment to all ones points of interactions just fulfilling our sattvic duties as dharma to survive for as long as God decides. At the heights of sattva living the person produces divine creative work that pleases God Sri Krishna and which he will assist in through revelations of what is appropriate to do. In this way He descends through the consciousness mechanism to assist the process of total transcendence in which Chit Kosha and Sat Kosha are part of the sattvic existence of experiencing reality. Thus Sri Krishna as Supreme God resides above the guna-consciousness and as the transcendent reality, and the person is totally at one with Sri Krishna with whom he can communicate. This is above the peak of sattva existence and at the apex of human existence. He knows that he continues to live life by just going through the motions for the ultimate Being is God Sri Krishna who can affect ones life and hence the direction of evolution of all organisms living at all combinations of guna mix by altering their behaviour and their biology through the consciousness mechanism and altering inanimate objects also if He chooses to do so.
The phase of total transcendence of gunas in submission to the wishes of God will be permanent but it has advaitic and satya-advaitic aspects (http://satyaadvaita.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/advaita-and-satya-advaita-in-brahmanism/). This is because God is disinterested in any individual attaining advaitic communion but determines His blessings and protection of the individual through divine protection by judging how the person relates to his fellow human beings in his or her pursuit of truth-based dharma (duties and righteous actions). Further, God is disinterested in allowing anyone to live to apparent total permanent submission to Him. God will not protect such individuals even if He may allow some to gain the irreversible realisation that He is there all powerful and good. Any person who assumes that God will always be there for him or her advising him or her on what to do in life is deluding himself or herself. God is God, we are human beings and we need to live human lives knowing that the life that He favours with divine blessings is the sattvic mode of existence. Exceptionally, for those who have transcended and remain in that mode God does do things for them in an intricate way: they are avatars who God has usurped for His own purposes.
Meditation A human being cannot be free from the gunas by meditation, no matter what level of meditation is undertaken. The only way to transcend the gunas is to submit oneself to God Sri Krishna and live life in devotion according to his judgements on what actions to take on various decisions of life. Brahman is an imaginary Being in the minds of those who are atheistic. A person can migrate between the gunas. When a person reaches the apex of the sattva guna and stays there persistently, the Almighty God Sri Krishna will make Himself known to the person. Thus, the focus on meditation is wrong teaching. The correct teaching is to do yoga in which you start with bhakti yoga, and move to combination of karmayoga, dharmayoga and especially gyan yoga and live to the reality that you reveal from your studies. At enlightenment one has perfected the art of living in performing ones duties and responsibilities because one lives in realisation of God Sri Krishna to whom one is devoted and who one pleases with what one does in life.
Thoughts arise in the mind from two aspects of reality, the external one that one witnesses through ones senses; and the inner consciousness one that the body has no control over. The inner consciousness gives rise to the majority of one’s waking thoughts in highly active minds and may account for up to 90 per cent of one’s thoughts and day dreams. Even in the sleep state the inner consciousness causes visions and dreams. People with highly active minds are those with sattvic nature that seeks truth and when the person is very sattvic the mind is so active that the person’s mental state is said to border on insanity, that is said to be a mental disorder. That is what has happened to mental patients who suffer from schizophrenia and delusional disorders in which there is some DNA-associated difference from normal brain function that makes the mind highly active in terms of seeking truth such that the person cannot ignore the thoughts, visions and voices that come to him or her from inner consciousness. But one needs to confront ones mental demons and whilst this can be done through meditation that is only massaging the symptoms. If one is after seeking a cure for the condition meditation to quell the thoughts for peace of mind is not the answer. Instead, one has to confront ones delusional thoughts by investigating them through fact-finding studies and then developing the correct understanding of life and the universe, that is of the external and internal reality.
Edited: 24 June 2014
25 August 2014 Update: I have today come across this article on the gunas (http://www.thenewyoga.org/GUNAS.pdf). Signficantly, Peter Wilberg says that Gu in Guru refers to transcending the Gunas, whilst the syllable Ru means devoid of form or quality. So Guru is one who transcends the gunas or qualities.
As discussed by me above transcending the gunas is only achieved by submitting to God (through direct correspondence) who will reveal the truth about our existence, dharma, and ultimately, Sri Krishna’s Vishwaroopa as the reality. Then one has become a Guru, a know-all.
Hindus are a people who have been bestowed with a wealth of knowledge and techniques (a) for probing out truth for the realisation of the nature of existence through gyan yoga for which there are concepts to be studied in ideas concerning reality of advaita, dwaita, vedas, Gita; (b) for living productive lives through dharma, karma, bhakti, raja, and hatha yogas that gives an individual health and mental satisfaction with his or her life; and (c) for developing a productive and just society through the morals and social norms implicit in the epics (Mahabharatta and Ramayana) and other mythological stories.
Taking these three components together we see that Hinduism is a description of a complete way of life for the individual as well as for society. The triple layer of knowledge, religious practice and construction of society developed over time has been passed down to us during thousands of years of Hinduism as a way of life. But is there something even more fundamental about Hinduism that defines it? There is indeed: it is ‘realisation’, constituting the process of truth discovery. The heights of Hindu beliefs and practices is summed up in ‘Satyamev Jayate’ as representing the basis for society as well as the pursuit of an individual satyagrahi in search for accommodation of truth into his life.
As Providence would have it the Indian nation has these words from Mundaka Upanishad enshrined as an emblem that is printed in coins and in all official documents of the Indian government. So Hindus everywhere are guided afresh by these words to embark on their individual journeys. The rest of Indian mythology-based spiritualism are incidentals to the great struggle for ascertaining truth. At a personal level one is never entirely satisfied until one has raised all the questions that can guide one along the path to truth. It is a fearless obsession, fearless of consequences, fearless of failure. It is a struggle that God can facilitate if the path chosen is right and one has not sacrificed truth for material gains or expediency. For the individual it constitutes the process of realisation that no other people of the world have come across as a spiritual pursuit.
The path to realisation is difficult and unless one gives up everything to keep oneself firmly on the truth path it does not materialise fully but truth pursuit is an end in itself. This represents the essential feature of Hinduism. Hinduism has many other beliefs and practices but without truth discovery and accommodation they do not complete a persons living potential. And this is the greatness of Hinduism that a person can start from a clean slate with no holy books, preachers and gurus have the chance to realise God and in the process discover how best to lead his or her life in the way that God will approve. Hinduism says that truth cannot be sacrificed and will always triumph by surfacing and enlightening.