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Worksheet 47


The Three Ropes


Self-Inquiry—Learning the Ropes of the 3 Gunas:


Each of us has all three guna forces in us, but in varying intensities.


(a) After reading the teachings below, what is your best guess about

the relative strength of the three guna forces in you? Divide 100

points between the three below:


____% Purity (Sattva) ____% Activity (Rajas) ____%Apathy (Tamas)


(b) What is the main thing you should you do to shift this ratio?



In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna says:


“The word guna means ‘strand’ in a directly literal sense. The three forces of nature twist together into a rope that binds the self to the world of nature. Everyone has all three forces in them in differing proportions:


___ 1) Sattva, being pure, offers a clear view of Atma.


___ 2) Rajas is desire-full action, a thirst for worldly things and sensations that attract the senses. It breeds attachment and eventually turns on itself bringing greed and anger.


___ 3) Tamas (literally darkness) is saturated with ignorance and indolence. It steals your rajasic  capacity for work as well as your sattvic composure.


___ 4) All three attach us to the worldly…

     ___ a) Sattva ties the tranquil person to enjoyment of peace,

     ___ b) Rajas binds active doers to incessant activity,

     ___ c) Tamas fastens indolent people to delusion and sloth.


___ 5) Over the course of a day all three gunas ebb and flow within each person…

     ___a) Sattva rises to the fore by overpowering rajas and tamas,

     ___b) Rajas rules when sattva and tamas are weak,

     ___c) Tamas prevails when the other two gunas have yielded to lethargy.


___ 6) Be aware of which guna predominates:

     ___a) When sattva rises, the light of your True Self shines out of all your gates (senses)—seeing, hearing, and thinking are more precise.

     ___b) When rajas takes over, greed and longing spring up—it is your own restlessness and agitation compelling you to action .

     ___c) When tamas takes charge, your mind feels lazy, apathetic, bewildered, in the dark.


___ 7) It is your state of mind at the time of your death determines your next birth. If you die…

     ___a) when sattva is predominant, you go to the heavens of beings who know Brahma (not Brahman, Brahma)

     ___b) in rajas (in desire, fear and sorrow), you are reborn into the wombs of similar people

     ___c) in tamas, you depart unconscious, to be reborn into a like situation of dullness.


___ 8) Where the various guna-types are headed…

     ___a) Sattvic people rise ever-upward, whether in this world or the next,

     ___b) Rajasic people stay stuck in the middle, caught up in activity, bound to the wheel of death-rebirth,

     ___c) Tamasic people, mired in dullness, fall even lower.


___ 9) The anger and misery of desire-driven rajasic people can help motivate them to mend their ways. Suffering is a good motivator and training ground.


___10) Life is for reshaping one’s character to a higher ideal—from dull inertia to effort—from effort to calmness—and beyond even calmness!”


 ___11)  Even sattva can trap you. Yearning for the calm pleasures that come with sacred knowledge can develop a desire for such a state, and all desire, even a golden rope, bind you to worldly pain.”


– Krishna




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