In Bhagavata Purana, Sri Krishna and Uddhava Conversation:
SKANDHA XI. CHAP. 22.
Uddhava asked: —
“Those that are turned away from Thee take on and give up bodies. Tell me something about rebirth.”
Sri Krishna replied: —
“The mind of men imprinted with karma moves with the five senses from body to body. Âtmâ (under the denomination of ‘I’) accompanies the mind.
“The mind (after death) thinks of such seen and unseen objects as the karma of men places before it. It awakes (unto those objects, it thinks of) and fades away (in respect of previous objects). The memory (connecting the present with the past) dies away in consequence.
“When one loses all thoughts of one’s body on account of close application to another object (body), through some cause or other, that utter forgetfulness is his death.” (By karma, man gets after his so-called death either a deva body, or a body of inflictions. In the former case, it is through pleasure and desire and in the latter case, through fear and sorrow, that the Jiva utterly forgets his former body. That is the death of the Jiva who used to identify himself with the former body and not the destruction of Jiva as of the body. Śridhara.
The Deva-body is the phenomenal basis of the Jiva in Svarga Loka. The body of inflications is the astral or Kâmic body, in Bhûta, Preta and Pisâcha Loka, where the Jiva undergoes inflictions. The Jiva identifies itself with these new bodies or new states in such a way as to forget completely its former physical body. The connection with the former body is thus completely cut off in the mind. This is the death of the Jiva in relation to its previous body.)
“The birth of a Jiva is the acceptance of a body as one’s own self. It is even like dream or fancy. In dream or fancy, a man does not know his present self as the former self. The mind by its application to a new body causes a birth into that body, and the ideas of good, bad and indifferent crop up in self.
“Though a father may have neither friend nor enemy, he is affected by the connections formed by his vicious son, even so it is with Âtmâ. Growth and decay are happening every moment in the body. But they are hardly perceptible owing to the extreme subtlely of time.
“The burning lamp, the flowing current, the ripening fruit, pass through stages, as all beings also pass through the stages of childhood, youth and age. We say it is the same fire, it is the same water (though the particles of fire and water are continually changing.) So we say, it is the same man. The understanding and the words of ignorant men are all confounding (for they speak and think assuming that the same body continues). But even the ignorant man does not acquire birth or death, by Karma engendered by self, for the self is immortal and the notion of birth and death is itself a delusion with reference to self. Fire, as an element lasts through out the Kalpa. But it seems to come into existence or to become extinguished. Fecundation, foetal state, birth, childhood, grown up childhod, youth, ripeness, age and death are the nine states of the body. These states of the body which is other than self are only fancies of the mind (so far as self is concerned). Some accept them as their own, by contact with Gunas and some reject them to some extent (by discriminating knowledge). From the death of the body inherited from the father and the birth of another child body, one can infer the birth and death of his body only, he the knower not being affected by either birth or death. The seer of the growth and decay of the tree is different from the tree itself, so the seer of the different states of the body is different from the body itself. One is bound down to the wheel of rebirths, by want of discrimination. One becomes Deva or Rishi by the action of Satva, Asura or man by the action of Rajas and Bhûta or animal by the action of Tamas. As a man seeing the performance of singers and dancers involuntarily imitates them (in the mind) even so Âtmâ follows the actions of Buddhi. The tree seems to move when the water is moving. The earth seems to roll when the eyes are rolling. Births and rebirths are as unreal to Âtmâ as are dreams but they have an existence even as objects in dream have an existence so long as the mind thinks of those objects.
“Whatever others may say or do unto you, do not care the least about that, but with single minded devotion restore self by self.”
Uddhava said: —
“Human nature is human nature, O Lord. Hew can one bear all that is said or done by the impious?”
SKANDHA XI. CHAP, 23.
Sri Krishna said: —
“In days of yore, there was a wealthy Brâhmana in the Malava regions. He earned money by the evil ways of the world, but did not spend any thing on charity. In time the wealth was all gone. He repented and felt disgust for wealth. He renounced the world and became a wandering Bhikshu. He went to villages for alms. People called him all sorts of names — thief, hypocrite and so on. Some pelted him, others abused him, others put him to chains and confined him.
“He bore all this with perfect calm. This is how he used to reason within himself: —
“These men, the Devas, self, the planets, Karma and Kâla (periodicity) none of them is the cause of my happiness or misery. Mind is the one cause, which causes the wheel of births to move. They make friends and enemies, who do not conquer the mind. The connection with the body is only an act of the mind. Deluded men however think, this is my body and they go astray.
“One man can not be the cause of grief and joy to another. Âtmâ in all men is not the doer. All acts proceed from the gross and the subtle body. If the tooth bites the tongue, who should you be angry at?
“If the Devas (the Adhidevas) be the cause of sorrow, it is not their Âtmâ that is so but their bodily transformations. And the Devas (who guide the senses) are the same in all beings. If one limb causes pain to another limb, who should be the object of anger?
“If self is the cause of joy and sorrow, then you have not to look to the outside world. But every thing else besides Âtmâ is only a seeming existence. Therefore there is no real existence of any cause of joy or grief and there is no joy or grief.
“If the planets by their position at birth bring about joys and sorrows, then no body is to blame for that. And the planetary Purusha is separate from the bodies of the planets. There is none to be angry at. Karma can not be the cause of Joy and sorrow. Karma has its sphere in which there is both a conscious and an unconscious element. The unconscious element undergoes transformation and the conscious element in search for the desired object leads to action. But the body is absolutely unconscious. And Purusha (or Self) in man is absolutely conscious. There is no root of Karma either in body or in Purusha.
“Kâla is part of Âtmâ, for Kâla is an aspect of Íshvara. Fire does not destroy its spark, snow does not destroy its flakes.
“One who is awakened to his real self has fear from no one else. Purusha has no connection with the pairs of opposites.” (Cold and heat, happiness and misery &c.)
SKANDHA XI. CHAP. 24.
“There is only one perception and one undivided object of perception, when there are no Yugas (i.e. in Pralaya), in Satya Yuga, as well as for men skilful in discrimination, that object of perception is Brahmân, the absolute Truth, beyond the reach of worlds and of mind. I became two fold, by means of Mâyâ. Of the two one is Prakriti consisting of causes and effects. And the other is Purusha.
“Following the Kârmic record of Jivas, I disturbed Prakriti, and Satva, Rajas and Tamas became manifest. The Gunas gave rise to Sutra or Thread (which represents Kriyâ Śakti). Mahat (Jnâna Śakti) is not separate from Sutra (Sutra and Mahat form one Tatva. It is two-fold, on account of its double aspect of Jnâna and Kriyâ or knowledge and action).
“Ahankâra is the transformation of Mahat. It is three-fold, Sâtvic or Vaikâric, Râjasic or Taijasa and Tâmasic.
“The Adhi-daivas and Manas came from Sâtvic Ahankâra, and the 5 Tanmâtras from Tâmasic Ahankâra.. The five Mahâ bhutas came from the five Tanmâtras.
“Prompted by Me, all these principles united together to form the Egg which was My own abode. I incarnated in that Egg which was immersed in the (Pralayic) water (as Sri Nârâyana or Virât Purusha).
“Out of my navel grew the Lotus called the Universe. Brahmâ was manifested in that Lotus.
“He brought into manifestation the Lokas (Bhûr, Bhuvar &c.,) and the Lokapâlas.
“Svar was the abode of the Devas, Bhuvar of the Bhûtas, Bhûr of men, the higher Lokas of the Siddhas and the Lower Lokas of the Asuras and Nâgas.
“All actions (Karma) bear fruits in the Trilokî. Mahar, Jana and Tapas are attained by Yoga, Tapas and Renunciation. My abode (Vaikuntha, which is beyond the Seven Lokas) is attained by Bhakti Yoga.
“All beings in this Universe wedded to karma are made by Me, who as Kâla am the Dispenser of all karma, to merge out of or to dive down in the flow of Gunas (i.e. they are made to go up to the higher Lokas or to come down to the lower Lokas).
“All things big or small, thick or thin are pervaded by Prakriti and Purusha.
“That which is at the beginning and at the end of a thing is also at the middle, as in the case of ornaments and earth-pots, the intervening transformations having a separate existence only for the sake of conventional use (thus the ornaments of gold are called by different names only for temporary uses. But they are gold when the forms are made and destroyed. The forms are all transitory and the ornaments are essentially gold).
“That is only Real which gives rise to the original transformation, which is at the beginning and at the end. Prakriti the material cause, Purusha — that pervades Prakriti and Kâla or periodicity which causes disturbance in the Gunas — these are three in one and I am that three-fold Brahmâ. The creative process flows on in order of succession without a break. The multifarious creation unfolds itself to serve the purposes of the jivas and it lasts so long as the period of Preservation continues and so long as Íshvara looks at it.
“The order is reversed in Pralaya, and transformations are merged in the principles from which they proceeded. The body merges in to the food grains. The food grains merge in to the roots of plants. The roots merge into the earth, The earth merges into smell, smell into water, water into Taste, Taste into fire, fire into Form, Form in to Air, Air into Touch, touch into Akâsa and Akâsa into sound.
“The Indriyas merge into the Adhi-daivas. The Adhi-daivas merge into the Manas. Manas merges into Ahankâra.
“Ahankâra merges into Mahat (i.e. gives up the unconscious portion and becomes Jiva Śakti and Kriyâ Śakti itself. Śridhara.)
“Mahat merges into the Gunas.
“The Gunas merge into unmanifested Prakriti. Prakriti merges into Kâla. Kâla merges into Jiva. Jiva merges into Âtmâ. Âtmâ rests in self.
“When these processes are meditated on, there is no delusion.”
SATVA RAJAS AND TAMAS
SKANDHA XI. CHAP. 25.
“Sama or Control of the mind, Dama or Control of the Senses, forbearance, discrimination, tapas, truthfulness, compassion, memory, renunciation, contentment, faith, shame and charitableness are the attributes proper of Satva. Selfish desire, Selfish exertion, pride, discontent, variety, selfish-invocation of the Devas, idea of separateness, material enjoyment, love of excitement, love of fame, derision, power and violence, are the attributes proper of Rajas.
“Anger, greed, untruthfulness, cruelty, begging, parading of religion, languor, quarrel, repentance, delusion, grief, dejection, sleep, helplessness, fear and indolence are the attributes proper of Tamas.
“The sense of I-ness and My-ness is produced by the mixture of the three Gunas (I have Sama, selfish desire and anger. My Sama, selfish desire and anger. Thus I and My are common to all the three Gunas. Śridhara) All our dealings having the elements of Manas (Sâtvic), the Tanmâtras (Tâmasic), the Indriyas and the Prânas (Râjasic) in them, proceed from a mixture of the three Gunas. Devotion to Dharma (Sâtvic), Kâma (Râjasic) and Artha (Tâmasic), that bears the fruits of faith (Sâtvic), attachment (Râjasic) and wealth (Tâmasic) is also based on a mixture of the Gunas.
“The performance of religion for the gratification of desires (Kâmya Dharma which is Râjasic), the performance of the duties of married life (Grihasta Dharma which is Tâmasic) and the performance of the daily and occasional duties assigned to one’s position in life (Svadharma which is Sâtvic) are based on a union of the three Gunas. Man is Sâtvic, when he has got the Sâtvic attributes. He is Râjasic when he has got the Râjasic attributes. He is Tâmasic when he has got the Tâmasic attributes.
“When a man or woman worships Me with unselfish devotion and by the performance of duties, he or she is Sâtvic.
“The person who worships Me, for the attainment of desires is Râjasic.
“The person who worships Me with a view to do injury to others is Tâmasic.
“Satva, Rajas and Tamas are attributes that grow in the minds of jivas, they are not My attributes.
“When Satva prevails over the other two Gunas, man acquires religiousness, wisdom, and other attributes, as also happiness. When Rajas prevails, it causes distraction, attachment and a sense of separateness. Man acquires karma, fame and wealth. But he becomes miserable.
“When Tamas prevails, delusion, inaction and ignorance follow.
“When the Mind attains calm, the senses become abstemious, the body free from fear and the mind free from attachments, Satva grows up and makes it easy to perceive Me.
“When the mind becomes distracted by actions, and desires multiply, when the senses of action become disordered and the mind always wanders away, Rajas has its hold over man.
“When the mind can not grasp, when it languishes, when even desires do not crop up, and there is indolence, melancholy and ignorance, they all proceed from Tamas.
“With Satva, the Deva element prevails, with Rajas, the Asura element prevails and with Tamas, the Râkshas element prevails.
“The waking is from Satva, dream from Rajas and deep sleep from Tamas.
“By Satva, people go higher and higher up, by Rajas they move about in the middle, and by Tamas they move lower down.
“Satva takes one to Svarga Loka, Rajas to human Loka and Tamas to Naraka. Those who are void of Gunas attain Me.
“Action that is offered up to Me or that is unselfish is Sâtvic. Selfish action is Rajasa. Heartless action is Tamasa.
“Sâtvic wisdom is that which relates to Âtmâ, as separate from the body.
“Râjasic is half perceived wisdom. Tâmasic is wisdom relating to the material universe.
“Wisdom centred in Me is Nirguna or without Gunas.
“Sâtvics like to reside in the forest. Râjasics in human habitations and Tâmasics in gambling houses. Houses where I am worshipped are beyond all the Gunas. Births are caused by Guna and Karma. Those who conquer these become devoted to Me and attain my state.”
SKANDHA XI. CHAP. 26.
“King Pururavas was forsaken by Urvasi. He then thought within himself what the body of a woman was composed of, where its beauty lay, and the origin and the end of that body. ‘Therefore’ said he ‘wise men should not associate with women or those that are addicted to women. By contact of the senses with their objects, mind gets disturbed, not otherwise. What you have not seen or heard of before can not disturb your mind. Let not the senses indulge in objects and mind will attain calm.’ Keep company with Sâdhus.
“Give up bad company. Acquire from the Sâdhus devotion to Me and you shall ultimately attain Moksha” (Excerpts from “A study of Bhagavata Purana or Esoteric Hinduism”).