“The mode of passion is born of unlimited desires and longings, O son of Kunti, and because of this one is bound to material fruitive activities.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.7)
रजो रागात्मकं विद्धि
तन् निबध्नाति कौन्तेय
rajo rāgātmakaṁ viddhi
tan nibadhnāti kaunteya
1. Sporting events
It is the first time in the franchise’s history that they’ve won a championship. Not that they are an expansion team of only a few years, the league has been around for a long time and this team is almost as old. While others have multiple championships, this is the first for a city starved for a winner.
The response? Rioting in the streets. Police cars overturned. Rocks hurled into storefront windows. Looting. Many arrests. Shouldn’t the people have been thrilled?
On the other side there is obvious reason for despair. Losing is not the desired outcome. Frustration is sure to arise. The level of dissatisfaction increases with every successive defeat. Envy at other teams and fans for their winning.
No matter the outcome, time brings changes in desires and outlooks. The previous victories are forgotten and so are the defeats. Leaving perpetual hope for a better outcome, only to be disappointed at some point in time thereafter.
2. Amorous affairs
Chasing after the love of your life. Hoping that they feel the same. Stating vows in front of friends and family. Codifying the union under the jurisdiction of the state. Continuing love with the arrival of children.
Yet the closer you are to someone, apparently the more difficult it is to deal with them. Arguments erupt over the silliest issues, such as noises a person makes while sleeping or forgetting to tackle a daily household chore.
If the relationship disintegrates, the desires sprout anew. Hanker for the companionship of someone else. An obvious case of distress is failure in this area, where the reciprocation is not there. The unmarried person laments the fact that they might have to spend the rest of their life alone, while the married person looks back fondly on their days of freedom, when they didn’t have as much pressure.
In the United States there is a well-established pattern in what is known as mid-term elections. The party of the President does very poorly, especially if the leader only recently took office. In the presidential election year they sweep into office, but a mere two years later the same voters, ostensibly, reject them.
After the election, no one is happy. The party that did well looks at the races that didn’t go their way. They also have to defend in the future, to maintain the enthusiasm of their voters. The losers wonder how they will get over the hump the next time.
A party can win many seats in one house of Congress but lose seats in the other. A split decision, with both sides claiming victory, yet no one will have absolute power to push through the legislation of their choice. Another election again in two years, with everyone worked up over something that will only leave them hankering for more.
Shri Krishna explains the cause in the Bhagavad-gita. Unlimited desires and longings are the product of the mode of passion, rajo-guna. Needless to say, life in this mode is binding. Not only to the future desires, but to the repeat existence in the kind of life itself. Reincarnation, the transmigration of the soul, is fueled by fruitive activities, karma, which are tied to desires, kama.
Even the superior mode of goodness, sattva-guna, is binding. A person ascends to heaven after death, but the stay there is not permanent. They must return to the earthly realm eventually and again be subject to the three modes of life.
In the bhakti path there is the opportunity to always be happy and hopeful. This is not an illusion, either, as the perspective becomes clear for the first time. The folly of the mode of passion is seen, and so that mode is avoided at all costs.
ये तु सर्वाणि कर्माणि
मयि सन्न्यस्य मत्-पराः
मां ध्यायन्त उपासते
तेषाम् अहं समुद्धर्ता
भवामि न चिरात् पार्थ
ye tu sarvāṇi karmāṇi
mayi sannyasya mat-parāḥ
māṁ dhyāyanta upāsate
teṣām ahaṁ samuddhartā
bhavāmi na cirāt pārtha
“For one who worships Me, giving up all his activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, who has fixed his mind upon Me, O son of Pritha, for him I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 12.6-7)
The blissful nature of the Divine becomes more and more apparent, and so His association becomes the lone desire. In this area there is help from on high, so to speak, as the person above illusion breaks from His general position of neutrality to help the individual along. He delivers swiftly, as well, especially those who chant His names with love, attention and dedication: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
My party election to win,
But with majority razor thin.
Again another in years two,
Will have much to defend too.
Never situation at peace,
When the miseries to cease?
Nature of the world as it is so,
Delivered when to Divine to go.
Categories: the three