Skip to main content

Glorian serves millions of people, but receives donations from only about 300 people a year. Donate now.

Krishna (Vishnu / Christ) Teaches Arjuna
Krishna (Vishnu / Christ) Teaches Arjuna

Three Ways of Worship, Eating, and Sacrifice in the Bhagavad-gita

Well friends, let's talk a little about the three gunas: Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.

Sattva, unquestionably, is harmony, beauty, authentic happiness. As for Rajas, it is animal passion, action. Tamas, properly speaking, is inertia. Thus Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are the three fundamental qualities of Prakriti. And what is "Prakriti"? You might ask me. Prakriti, then, is the great alaya of the universe, the cosmic mother, Maha-Kundalini, etc. in any case, it is the eternal feminine principle.

The Emergence of Existence

Before the dawn of the mahamanvantara [time of cosmic activity] began, it is clear that sattva, rajas and tamas, the three gunas, were in perfect balance, there was no decompensation whatsoever; then the mahapralaya [time of cosmic rest] reigned, the cosmic night.

In the bosom of the eternal common cosmic Father, during the mahapralaya, the Elohim are mere divine atoms, immersed within that which has no name. The alteration of the three gunas (sattva, rajas and tamas) is due to the fact that those primordial, divine atoms (Monads), or simply virginal sparks, yearn to be something, or someone.

Then, as an outcome of that yearning, an imbalance of the three gunas on the great plate of the cosmic scale is originated. Subsequently, as a result of such imbalance, karma enters into activity: and the First Logos initiates the electrical movement, the electrical whirlwind, and the atoms of the past universe (who previously slept between their laya centers), wake up for a new activity. This is how the dawn of mahamanvantara always begins.

But, obviously, the causal Logos would not enter into activity (initiating the electrical whirlwind, the electrical hurricane between the chaotic waters of life), if an imbalance of the three gunas had not previously occurred.

The very fact that the three gunas are unbalanced in the cosmic scale indicates, therefore, imperfection of the primordial, divine atoms, or virginal monads, which are at rest within the bosom of the eternal common cosmic Father.

If those primordial monads did not yearn to be something, or someone, the imbalance of the three gunas would not be feasible. For the three gunas to become unbalanced, there must be an innate cause, an unknown, profound motor principle. I find that causa causorum among the same virginal atoms or sparks that rest within the bosom of the eternal common cosmic Father. There must be some form of imperfection (incomprehensible to merely intellectual analysis), which naturally becomes that innate cause, which in turn makes the monads, submerged within the bosom of the eternal common cosmic Father, yearn to be something or someone. If those monads enjoyed absolute perfection, they would not want to be something, or someone, then the imbalance of the three gunas would not be feasible either.

Obviously, within the bosom of the eternal common cosmic Father, happiness reigns. When a virginal spark (whatever it is, that is submerged between that happiness), does not want life, let us say, of a self-centered type, it does not want to be something different from the Father, because, the Absolute is “life free in its movement” and not conditioned to “a self-centered life of imperfect monads”, since within the monad itself the different levels of happiness or better said, super-happiness levels, are found ...

Much has been said about the Being, and everyone yearns to know their own Self. When a monad has already known its Father, that monad is happy, but then when such monad wants to know more about its own Being, then only within oneself can such one find that "more".

The one who has managed to pass the door 13 of the Hebraic Kabbalah, plunges into the bosom of the eternal common cosmic Father. In doing so, that one finds there, the Being; But when that monad has managed to discover the Being, and to integrate with it, it turns out that the Being is deeper inside, and when, through some efforts, that monad has managed to surpass itself further, that monad finds that the Being is even deeper. Conclusion: the Being has no limits or borders. How could we put a limit on the Being? This is not possible!

But hey, let's specify a bit, so that this question can be better understood ...

Let us look at the human constitution with the Hebraic kabbalah, that we already know has ten sephiroth. If we start with Malkuth, it is the sephirah that corresponds to the physical body. If we continue with Yesod, we find the vital seat, where the creative energy is. The third sephirah is, of course, the astral body, which is Hod, and as for the fourth sephirah is concerned, which is the mental, we find Netzach; far beyond we have the fifth sephirah, which is the human soul: Tiphereth, the causal body; and even further, there is the sixth sephirah ... ... which is Geburah: the rigor, the law, the Buddhi, the beautiful Helen, etc .; the seventh sephirah ... ... is Gedulah, or simply Chesed, the Innermost; but beyond the Innermost is the Logos Binah which is the eighth sephirah ... ... the Holy Spirit; the ninth is the intimate Christ, the ninth sephirah: Chokmah; and as for the ancient of the centuries, Kether, he is the tenth sephirah.

Tower of Babel

When one has received the initiation of Kether, one obviously has achieved complete integration with the ancient of the centuries ... …but beyond that is the terrible eleventh gate, where the one who dares to knock at it is very rare, since the one who knocks without being prepared will die (that is the eleventh sephirah: the Ain Soph Aur).

When one achieves success, that one unites with something that is beyond the ancient of the centuries (which as I already said is the Ain Soph Aur). Ain Soph, the twelfth sephirah is different; and the thirteenth door is that of Ain. The one who has succeeded in integrating with Ain is therefore ready to immerse oneself within the bosom of the eternal common cosmic Father. But when one immerses one's Self within the bosom of the eternal common cosmic Father, that one finds that within one's Self, despite having integrated with the Ain, there is something else within one's Being, and that one works (naturally) to reach it, and when one achieves it, change happiness within the same bosom of the eternal common cosmic Father.

Then, by immersing within that absolute self, by not wanting to be anything or anyone, diving into the Absolute’s own depths, that one finds that one's Being is deeper inside, and upon discovering it, new changes of inexhaustible harmony and beauty take place in the process of the one who has no name (and as I already said it, has no limits or borders).

So that the glory within the bosom of the unknowable and pure being, really has no limits ever, never ever ... who could put limits to the Being? If the Being is God itself, who could limit God?

But when one wants to be something other than Being, when one wishes to exist, even as a cosmocrator, that one obviously falls, in fact, into the world of the 3 laws.

This is intriguing ... ... when, the ... ... longing of the monads of being something or someone, the first thing that gets unbalanced, naturally, are the gunas. If the gunas were not unbalanced, the causa causorum, the causal Logos of the first instant, the very law of karma, would not enter into activity. But there is an imbalance of the gunas, and the moment such imbalance begins, karma enters into activity and the manifested universe becomes.

Thus, the gunas become the causa causorum of all Logoic activity, because the causal logos would not come into action if the gunas were not unbalanced. The fact of unbalancing the gunas, shows an imperfection: the imperfection of the monads (that rest within the bosom of that which has no name), monads that long to be something, or someone. When they feel and think like this, obviously an imbalance occurs. Such imbalance is originated by those monads themselves, and that is why the manifested universe becomes, the mahamanvantara begins. Let us distinguish between mahamanvantara, which means "great cosmic day" and mahapralaya, which means "great cosmic night."

Understanding this, we can continue ...

Three Dispositions or Qualities

The three gunas, in and by themselves, are quite intriguing. The three gunas are clearly spoken of in Lord Krishna's book, the famous Bhagavad-gita. It is therefore worth it that we comment a little on these three gunas …

The Bhagavad-gita states the following:

“Arjuna said: Those who give up the commandments, but nonetheless continue doing the cults and worship you, what is their devotion O Krishna? Is it sattvic, rajasic or tamasic?

[Krishna / Vishnu / Christ] The lord supreme replied: It is threefold the devotion that the incarnated beings bring according to their own nature, namely, sattva, rajas and tamas.

Now, hear that from me what I will tell you about this: Oh Bharata the devotion of each person is according to his constitution; every person is the product of his shraddhā [disposition], he reflects his shraddhā (साद).

Sattvic devotees (that is, in whom the sattva guna predominates), worship the devas [that is, they worship the devas (celestial beings, because the devas are the same angels or divine beings]. The rajasics [worship] the yakshas यक्ष and rakshasas राक्षस [beings with supernatural powers], and the tamasics the pretas and bhutas [the dead, the spirits, hungry ghosts, dwellers of the underworld]...” - Bhagavad-gita 17

So we must not forget that completely sattvic people worship the devas, the divine angels, the ineffable beings, the Elohim. Those in whom the guna rajas predominate, which is that of passion or action, worship, I said, beings with supernatural powers; and the tamasics, in whom the guna of inertia naturally predominates, worship the spirits and the elements of nature.

"Those who practise severe austerities not enjoined by the Shâstras [scriptures], given to ostentation [showing off] and egoism [selfishness], possessed by the power of lust and attachment, senseless as they are, torture parts of the body, and Me dwelling in the body within; know them to be of Asurika [demonic] resolve." - Bhagavad-gita 17

This is well worth commenting on, isn't it?

Those who practice severe austerities, not recommended by the scriptures, go through terrible fasting, martyr themselves, in short; those who do violent things only to show off, and from selfishness, they are attached and lustful, devoid of sense, torture parts of the body, and Christ too, who dwells within the body. Recognize them! All of this is for demonic purposes... These are demons who torture themselves, these are demons who lead ascetic lives, these are demons who practice hatha yoga, and in the infernal worlds there are multitudes of them, and they always think that they are doing very well.

The food also which is liked by each of them is threefold, as also Yajna, austerity and almsgiving. Do thou hear this, their distinction.

The foods which augment vitality, energy, strength, health, cheerfulness and appetite, which are savoury and oleaginous (vegetables, fruits of all kinds, etc.), substantial and agreeable, are liked by the Sâttvika (that is, individuals in whom the guna sattva predominates).

The foods that are bitter, sour, saline, excessively hot, pungent, dry and burning, are liked by the Râjasika (that is, by the people in whom the rajas guna predominates, which is that of passion), and are productive of pain, grief and disease.” - Bhagavad-gita 17

This is worth pondering, isn't it? It is worthwhile for us to think that rajasic foods, whether they are very bitter –pay a lot of attention to this– acidic, salty, very hot, spicy, those with a lot of chile and such, dry and burning, produce grief, suffering and sickness... On the other hand, see for yourselves so that we reflect well, how different are the sattvic foods: "all those that are oleaginous, substantial and pleasant" - vegetables, fruits, all of that...

That which is stale, tasteless, stinking, cooked overnight, leftovers and impure, is the food liked by the Tâmasika (that is, by those people in whom the Tamas guna predominates).” - Bhagavad-gita 17

So that the people in whom the tamas guna predominates, the tamasic people, like "tasteless food - see by yourselves what a thing! - spoiled, smelly food, remnants from the previous day - leftovers or overheated, cold and unclean foods... those are foods, properly, of the Tamasic people. We must not forget this, this comment here, it is well worth reflecting on it and that, really... We choose our foods. As for me, frankly I say to you, that I do not like the Tamasic-type of foods: I don't like "tasteless foods, or spoiled or smelly foods, or the food from the day before, or cold food," unclean foods (such as pork, etc., etc.), I find them disgusting.

So it is worth looking at what people eat, right? And to choose one, rather, sattvic foods: fruits, vegetables, all that ...

Three Rites or Ways of Worship

That Yajna [rite] is Sâttvika which is performed by those desiring no fruit [results], as enjoined by ordinance [the commandments], with their mind fixed on the Yajna only, for its own sake (they are people who love worship, who adore it, but who do not want selfish results).

That which is performed, O best of the Bhâratas, seeking for fruit and for ostentation, know it to be a Râjasika Yajna.” - Bhagavad-gita 17

The rajasic yajna (that is, the passionate one), is done out of temptation and desiring the fruits, the merit; people who practice rites, but with some interest, not disinterestedly.

The Yajna [rite] performed without heed to ordinance, in which no food is distributed [to the poor], which is devoid of Mantras, gifts [of charity], and Shraddhâ [faith, respect, reverence, purity], is said to be Tâmasika.” - Bhagavad-gita 17

So, the rites of the tamasics are curious. They are practically black rites, right?

Three Austerities, Three Ways of Sacrifice

Worship of the Devas [gods], the twice-born, the Gurus and the wise, purity, straightforwardness, continence, and non-injury [ahimsa] are called the tapas [austerity] of the body.

Speech which causes no vexation, and is true, as also agreeable and beneficial, and regular study of the Vedas,— these are said to form the tapas [austerity] of speech.” - Bhagavad-gita 17

Verbal austerity consists of the way of speaking clearly, which does not produce any worries; in truthfulness, in a pleasant and beneficial way of speaking, and in the daily reading of the sacred texts... This is very important, my esteemed brothers and sisters. It seems to me that is worth having, verbal austerity. I have seen how people make words fly, how they hurt each other (it is as if they stabbed daggers, as if they enjoyed it). Someone says something, and it amazes me to see how the listener reacts and answers in a worse manner, right? That's painful! One must be austere in the word: speak clearly, do not cause worry in people when speaking; be truthful, do not lie. Have a pleasant way of speaking, a beneficial way, and read the holy scriptures daily ...

Serenity of mind, kindliness, silence, self-control, honesty of motive,—this is called the mental austerity.” - Bhagavad-gita 17

Mental austerity consists of serenity, piety, silence, self-control and purity of heart... It is very interesting to have mental austerity. How? By being serene: that if they insult you, remain serene; that if they praise you, remain serene; indifferent to praise and vituperation, to triumph and defeat...

"I am no more because they praise me or less because they blame me, because I am always what I am"... -Thomas a Kempis

Reflect like this (in that way), be pious, silent, never play with the word, because if one plays with the word, one is no longer austere with the word, and one needs to be austere, always self-control (one must always submit to self-control and keeping a pure heart). it is very interesting, then, mental austerity.

This threefold austerity practised by steadfast men, with great Shraddhâ, desiring no fruit, is said to be Sâttvika.

That austerity which is practised with the object of gaining welcome, honour and worship, and with ostentation, is here said to be Râjasika, unstable and transitory.

That austerity which is practised out of a foolish notion, with self-torture or for the purpose of wining another, is declared to be Tâmasika.” - Bhagavad-gita 17

This triple austerity, practiced with faith by the one who desires no merit, is considered "sattvic", that is, where there is verbal austerity, where there is mental austerity, where there is bodily austerity, there is naturally coexistent, inherently, the sattvic quality. Do not forget that corporeal austerity consists in the “adoration of the devas, of the brahmins, of the spiritual preceptors, of the sages; in purity, rectitude, continence, and harming no one”...

The three austerities - physical, mental and verbal - are necessary when one wants to have in one's nature the quality of the sattvic type.

Rajasic austerity is different: it is temporary, not very durable, since it is passionate; it is the one that people practice for showing off, in order to gain respect, honors and reverence, so that others might say, "What a devout person, how magnificent!", right?

As for tamasic austerity, it is done foolishly, causing suffering to oneself, or with the desire to harm the neighbor…

To give is right, charity given with this idea, to one who does no service in return, in a fit place and to a worthy person, that charity is held to be Sâttvika.

And what is given with a view to receiving in return, or looking for the fruit, or again reluctantly, that gift is held to be Râjasika.

The charity that is given at the wrong place or time, to unworthy persons, without regard or with disdain, that is declared to be Tâmasika.” - Bhagavad-gita 17

Sattvic charity is done as a duty, without the idea of retribution, in due place and time, to the person who deserves it.

Rajasic charity is done expecting reward, merit, or reluctantly.

Tamasic charity is done at the wrong time, in the wrong place, to a person who does not deserve it and with disdain ...

"Om, Tat, Sat": ("that which exists") this has been declared to be the triple designation of Brahman (the highest). By that were made of old the Brâhmanas, the Vedas and the Yajnas.

Therefore, uttering 'Om,' are the acts of sacrifice, gift and austerity as enjoined in the ordinances, always begun by the followers of the Vedas.

Uttering Tat ("that"), without aiming at fruits (they do not want any merit for these actions), are the various acts of Yajna [rites], austerity and acts of charity performed by the seekers of Moksha (spiritual emancipation).

The word Sat is used in the sense of reality and of goodness; and so also, Pârtha, the word Sat is used in the sense of an auspicious act.” - Bhagavad-gita 17

So see by yourselves: Om-tat-sat, it is of great power, it is as to also say, Aum-tat sat ...

Steadiness in Yajna [rites], austerity and gift is also called 'Sat': as also action in connection with these (or, action for the sake of the Lord) is called Sat.

Whatever is sacrificed, given or performed, and whatever austerity is practised without Shraddhâ [faith], it is called Asat, O Pârtha; it is naught here or hereafter [it does not bear fruit here or in the beyond].” - Bhagavad-gita 17

So we are seeing what the three gunas are. They are very important, because on them and through them this universe exists (they are the three basic qualities) ...

Questions and Answers

Student: ... but I wanted to ask you now about this... after all the explanation you have given us about the gunas. Could it be said that this answers the basic, fundamental question on which, say, philosophy is based? Which is, let's say, "where we come from," right? Then, of course, that is also closely related to "who are we and where are we going to" however, I see that the explanation that you gives us of the gunas, then, definitely gives an answer to the fact of "where did we come from", right? because that is how our origin begins too ...

Samael Aun Weor: Well of course!

Student: Now, what I wanted to ask you, master, is: when you enter the manifestation, when the cosmic day begins, let's say, then, within that beginning of the cosmic day, do our essences come into manifestation, there?

Samael Aun Weor: Well, the essence enters in, much later. Already, for the essence of each creature (monad) to enter into activity, then, the descent of the great life is needed. But obviously that, if it were not for the cosmic day, the essence would not enter, then, into activity. Since within the cosmic day, all essences enter into activity.

Student: But, in reality, the essence is already manifested, in all its magnitude, when creation enters into its physical manifestation?

Samael Aun Weor: Well, since long before the essence is already active, right? All essence enters into activity when the dawn of the mahamanvantara begins.

Student: It starts right there in a totally mental body, doesn't it?

Samael Aun Weor: Well, if essences do not have a mental body, what body are they going to enter? They just act like innocent elementals in the process of descent, right? into the physical world. And since the universe begins its process of development in the world of the mind, in the concrete mental substance, properly, the essences, begin acting within the mental matter, but this does not mean that the essences (of everything created ), they can, for this reason, have a body.

That much later that mental universe crystallizes in astral form, it is also true and of all truth! but that does not mean that the essences have an astral body ... ...

That this astral universe ... ... crystallizes in the etheric form, it is also true! but it does not mean that the essences have an etheric body.

And finally, comes the manifestation of the universe in its physical form; then the essences have descended into the mineral kingdom, properly speaking.


From there, evolutionary processes of elemental life begin, they continue towards the vegetable, they continue in the animal and finally, they reach the “humanoid” state. Life, in its processes, leaves the essences there (in its processes, let us say, of involutionary and evolutionary type); finally, life leaves us there, until the state of "humanoid" ...

The "humanoid" is somewhat incomplete: it is an "elemental" let's say, with a tri-brained body, and that's all. If the "humanoid" wants to advance a little more, in order to complete himself, then he has to create the superior existential bodies of the being, to become a human, right? Obviously, the "humanoid" always falls, he becomes, we shall say, into a too animalistic creature, right? The humanoid in itself is animal, but, let us say, it gets dirty with animal passions, since the humanoid develops the ego in its nature.

However, the humanoid must eliminate the ego and create the solar bodies, this, in order to become a real human, right?

In any case, life descends from the Absolute into the mineral kingdom in an involutionary manner; then from the mineral kingdom it evolves to the "human form". In the "human form", or better said, the "humanoid form,” if the monad wants to get out his essence from the wheel of devolutions and evolutions, then obviously, the monad has to do something different: the monad has to work on his essence, the monad has to create the superior existential bodies of the Being within for his essence, this, in order to finish creating himself; this, in order for his essence to become a true human and as a god (who works within his self, and through his self). That is the harsh reality of the facts!

Student: So to speak, the rajasic person, is the one on the “wheel of samsara”?

Samael Aun Weor: The rajas person is the passionate humanoid, the humanoid who is given over to animal passions ...

Student: Exactly!...

Samael Aun Weor: Because rajas is passion, sattva is harmony, happiness, beauty of the spirit ...

Student: The sattvic is the initiate who reaches the tetragrammaton, the human five (Tiphereth), right?

Samael Aun Weor: Yes, when one achieves the perfect balance of the three gunas, within himself, one becomes what would be called a "sattvic human" (a perfect human).

Student: Master, is the process of the essence, is it intimately related to the ray of creation?

Samael Aun Weor: Well, yes, the essence (naturally, as I told you) first comes descending from region to region, right? As soon as the Milky Way exists, the essence begins its processes of descent, right? to the mineral; from the mineral it begins its processes of ascension, up to the "humanoid" state.

Student: Does it have to go into, say, the lowest level, say?

Samael Aun Weor: Sure!

Student: Because in order to return again into the Absolute, the monad has to start the reverse process, right?

Samael Aun Weor: Reverse, yes! In order to come back again: to leave the world of 48 laws and go to 24, and then 12, then 6, and from there to 3, until reaching the Absolute.

Student: Is that why it is said that "in order to ascend, one must first descend", that is, one first descends to the mineral worlds, in order to ascend again?

Samael Aun Weor: Sure!

Student: Sure!...

Student: Thus, "In order to go up, you have to go down first" and work in the ninth sphere?

Samael Aun Weor: Well, that is more profund, more profound, isn't it?

Now, I am talking about the first descent, when the universe is created, in which the great life emerges from the absolute to the physical world. Then the essence has had to come, then, from above to the physical world, to be staggered up through the vegetable and the animal to the "humanoid". but, up to there; that is the first descent of life, to the physical world.

That later, already in the physical world, the essence is subjected to the wheel of samsara, that is something different! On that wheel that turns incessantly: 3,000 cycles of 108 humanoid existences each.

Again, this is already different: currently, there are elementals in the mineral kingdom, who are passing through the mineral elemental kingdom for the first time; and there are elementals of the mineral elemental kingdom that already passed through the mineral long ago; and they are passing again and will continue to passing by ...

Student: Now, I glimpse a detail! Which is that only with the decompensation of these three gunas, when the dawn of this creation begins, is when the three forces (which are within each monad) have to appear in order for there to be this creation, namely, Holy Affirmation, Holy Negation, and Holy Conciliation, right? Which are the positive, negative and neutral forces, precisely for this creation to exist.

Student 2: Of course, these are the three forces that created one self (those three forces).

Student: And since these three forces exist at the beginning, in this dawning, it is when that ray of creation begins (so well known, isn't it?) that is, precisely, initiating by that Third Logos (or Theomertmalogos).

Samael Aun Weor: It (the Theomertmalogos) is the Third Logos.

Student: Sure! It is the creative one; all is in harmony ...

Student: First is the absolute, right?

Samael Aun Weor: Exactly!

Student: Then, let's say, all the worlds ... thereafter come all the s...

Samael Aun Weor: Correction, the Third Logos (the Theomertmalogos) is all the suns (solar absolute).

Student: Then, after the Absolute come all worlds, right?

Samael Aun Weor: First the (solar) Absolute, then comes all the infinite (what is known as infinite); then what is known, then, as all galaxies; then as all suns (solar systems); then what is known as the world (of 24 laws); and so on and so forth ...

Well, I am going to leave you here, my esteemed brothers and sisters, because I am going to enter into meditation ..." - Samael Aun Weor

Note: This is why it is written in our Website: “Experience is better than belief.”  Because Chavah חוה, which means “experience” in Hebrew, and that is translated as “Eve” in Genesis, is the way, in Yesod, to experience all the degrees of the Tree of Life. As Genesis state:

“And Adam (the brain) called his wife's name Eve (Hebrew Chavah חוה); because she (the genitalia) is (was and will be) the mother of all living.” Genesis 3: 20