Chapter 14: The Three Modes of Material Nature
rajas tamas cabhibhuya
sattvam bhavati bharata
rajah sattvam tamas caiva
tamah sattvam rajas tatha
rajaḥ—mode of passion; tamaḥ—mode of ignorance; ca—also; abhibhūya—also surpassing; sattvam—mode of goodness; bhavati—becomes prominent; bhārata—O son of Bharata; rajaḥ—mode of passion; sattvam—mode of goodness; tamaḥ—mode of ignorance; ca—also; eva—like that; tamaḥ—mode of ignorance; sattvam—mode of goodness; rajaḥ—mode of passion; tathā—as in this.
Sometimes the mode of passion becomes prominent, defeating the mode of goodness, O son of Bharata. And sometimes the mode of goodness defeats passion, and at other times the mode of ignorance defeats goodness and passion. In this way there is always competition for supremacy.
When the mode of passion is prominent, the modes of goodness and ignorance are defeated. When the mode of goodness is prominent, passion and ignorance are defeated. And, when the mode of ignorance is prominent, passion and goodness are defeated. This competition is always going on. Therefore, one who is actually intent on advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness has to transcend these three modes. The prominence of some certain mode of nature is manifested in one's dealings, in his activities, in eating, etc. All this will be explained in later chapters. But if one wants, he can develop, by practice, the mode of goodness and thus defeat the modes of ignorance and passion. One can similarly develop the mode of passion and defeat goodness and ignorance. Or, one can develop the mode of ignorance and defeat goodness and passion. Although there are these three modes of material nature, if one is determined, he can be blessed by the mode of goodness, and, by transcending the mode of goodness, he can be situated in pure goodness, which is called the vāsudeva state, a state in which one can understand the science of God. By the manifestation of particular activities, it can be understood in what mode of nature one is situated.