Six entities of the past that contribute to
the genetic roots of the present life.
This three-fold qualitative division of man's behaviour into
satva
, rajas and tamas
is done by Krishna with respect to
the six entities chosen by Him:
Knowledge (jnaanam); Action (karma);
Doer (kartaa); Intellect (buddhi);
Will (dhriti) ; Happiness (sukham).
Each of these is dissected into
what shade of behavioural response
belongs to the
satva mode,
what belongs to the
rajas mode,
and what belongs to the
tamas mode.
Thus there are six entities and three modes of responses to each, altogether making 18 different responses. Krishna devotes one verse (sloka) to each of these eighteen in the 18th chapter of the Gita. Below, these 18 verses have been converted (by this author) into 18 leading questions (using almost the same words of Krishna) that one is supposed to ask oneself. The honest answers to these questions will point out, in a broad way, the cumulative character-type of oneself. Krishna's hypothesis is that we bring along this character-type from our previous lives. For those who have difficulty in accepting this fundamental hypothesis of Hinduism, it would be a good exercise to do a self-analysis in search of one's own character-type by means of these questions. For each of the six entities the 3 questions are framed in such a way that the answer is either Yes or No. But the assumption however is that these three constitute, as it were, a multiple choice question and only one of these three can be answered affirmatively. In other words you have to categorise yourself into one of those three modes of response as far as that entity is concerned. For each entity you therefore end up with one of satva, rajas or tamas mode of response. It could be, for instance,
a
satva response in the case of the question about KNOWLEDGE
a
rajas response in the case of the question about ACTION
a
rajas
response in the case of the question about DOER
a
rajas response in the case of the question about INTELLECT
a
tamas response in the case of the question about WILL, and
a
tamas response in the case of the question about HAPPINESS.
This string of six responses is your cumulative type.
Purely for convenience of discussion,
we shall specify this string of six responses as:
one
satva, three rajas, and two tamas.
Note that we blur the issue of which one is satva, which three are rajas and which two are tamas.
Certainly that distinction is necessary to be nearer to reality but we shall not be making that distinction.
Note: The questions are phrased in the third person purely for the sake of not hurting an individual's sensibility. Also since the conventional interpretation is that the character-type is carried over from the nature of responses in the previous life, the phrasing in terms of the third person is meaningful. If the reader wants to ask them of himself he is welcome to do so.
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Copyright V. Krishnamurthy
February 10, 1999
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