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Patanjali Yoga Sutras

Te vyakta-sukshmah gunatmanah.

Te = they (properties, dharma); vyakta = manifest; sukshma = subtle, Unmanifest, dormant; gunatmanah = of the nature of Gunas.

They, whether manifest or unmanifest, are of the nature of Gunas.(IV-3)

We have been seeing the vicious cycle of Vasanas (desires) and Karmas (actions). Desire goals one to act and action leaves an impression (vasana which, literally, means smell) on the mind prompting one to indulge again in the action. Thus a pattern is formed causing birth after birth. Coming out of this cycle is Freedom, Liberation.

To be free from anything, any phenomenon, we have to understand its basic nature. "Recognition is half the solution" it is said. What is the basic nature of desires? Interestingly, the nature, the property (dharma) of entire phenomenal world (Prakti) including desires comprises of nothing but the three Gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas). These three Gunas may be dormant i.e., unmanifest (Sukshma) or they may be fully manifest (Vyakta).

Physics has been able to explain, as of today, energy as the subtlest aspect of this universe. It, however, cannot explain the basis of thoughts, emotions etc and whether there is something which is common to both the mind and the matter.

According to yogic science, Gunas are at the base of entire manifest universe as well as of the unmanifest one. By handling our Gunas and eventually, going beyond them, we can be Free.

This article appears in the Yoga Magazine, Yoga Sudha November, 2002 edition. This article has been published courtesy www.yogasudha.com

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