Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 14, Verse 11-13

सर्वद्वारेषु देहेऽस्मिन्प्रकाश उपजायते |
ज्ञानं यदा तदा विद्याद्विवृद्धं सत्त्वमित्युत || 11||
लोभ: प्रवृत्तिरारम्भ: कर्मणामशम: स्पृहा |
रजस्येतानि जायन्ते विवृद्धे भरतर्षभ || 12||
अप्रकाशोऽप्रवृत्तिश्च प्रमादो मोह एव च |
तमस्येतानि जायन्ते विवृद्धे कुरुनन्दन || 13||

sarva-dvāreṣhu dehe ’smin prakāśha upajāyate
jñānaṁ yadā tadā vidyād vivṛiddhaṁ sattvam ity uta
lobhaḥ pravṛittir ārambhaḥ karmaṇām aśhamaḥ spṛihā
rajasy etāni jāyante vivṛiddhe bharatarṣhabha
aprakāśho ’pravṛittiśh cha pramādo moha eva cha
tamasy etāni jāyante vivṛiddhe kuru-nandana

sarvaall; dvāreṣhuthrough the gates; dehebody; asminin this; prakāśhaḥillumination; upajāyatemanifest; jñānamknowledge; yadāwhen; tadāthen; vidyātknow; vivṛiddhampredominates; sattvammode of goodness; itithus; utacertainly; lobhaḥgreed; pravṛittiḥactivity; ārambhaḥexertion; karmaṇāmfor fruitive actions; aśhamaḥrestlessness; spṛihācraving; rajasiof the mode of passion; etānithese; jāyantedevelop; vivṛiddhewhen predominates; bharata-ṛiṣhabhathe best of the Bharatas, Arjun; aprakāśhaḥnescience; apravṛittiḥinertia; chaand; pramādaḥnegligence; mohaḥdelusion; evaindeed; chaalso; tamasimode of ignorance; etānithese; jāyantemanifest; vivṛiddhewhen dominates; kuru-nandanathe joy of the Kurus, Arjun

sarva-dvareshu dehe ’smin prakasha upajayate
jnanam yada tada vidyad vivriddham sattvam ity uta
lobhah pravrittir arambhah karmanam ashamah spriha
rajasy etani jayante vivriddhe bharatarshabha
aprakasho ’pravrittish cha pramado moha eva cha
tamasy etani jayante vivriddhe kuru-nandana


BG 14.11-13: When all the gates of the body are illumined by knowledge, know it to be a manifestation of the mode of goodness. When the mode of passion predominates, O Arjun, the symptoms of greed, exertion for worldly gain, restlessness, and craving develop. O Arjun, nescience, inertia, negligence, and delusion—these are the dominant signs of the mode of ignorance.


Shree Krishna once again repeats how the three modes influence one’s thinking. Sattva guṇa leads to the development of virtues and the illumination of knowledge. Rajo guṇa leads to greed, inordinate activity for worldly attainments, and restlessness of the mind. Tamo guṇa results in delusion of the intellect, laziness, and inclination toward intoxication and violence.

In fact, these modes even influence our attitudes toward God and the spiritual path. To give an example, when the mode of goodness becomes prominent in the mind, we may start thinking, “I have received so much grace from my Guru. I should endeavor to progress rapidly in my sādhanā, since the human form is precious and it should not be wasted in mundane pursuits.” When the mode of passion becomes prominent, we may think, “I must surely progress on the spiritual path, but what is the hurry? At present, I have many responsibilities to discharge, and they are more important.” When the mode of ignorance dominates, we could think, “I am not really sure if there is any God or not, for no one has ever seen him. So why waste time in sādhanā?” Notice how the same person’s thoughts have oscillated from such heights to the depths of devotion.

For the mind to fluctuate due to the three guṇas is very natural. However, we are not to be dejected by this state of affairs, rather, we should understand why it happens and work to rise above it. Sādhanā means to fight with the flow of the three guṇas in the mind, and force it to maintain the devotional feelings toward God and Guru. If our consciousness remained at the highest consciousness all day, there would be no need for sādhanā. Though the mind’s natural sentiments may be inclined toward the world, yet with the intellect, we have to force it into the spiritual realm. Initially, this may seem difficult, but with practice it becomes easy. This is just as driving a car is difficult initially, but with practice it becomes natural.

Shree Krishna now begins to explain the destinations bestowed by the three guṇas, and the need for making it our goal to transcend them.