Prakriti at Play
Spiritually ignorant people are attached to actions (karma) and the results of action (karmaphal). The man of wisdom remains totally unattached to both. What makes one person attached and the other so unattached?
Doership and Enjoyership
Sri Krishna points out that, in reality, all actions are performed by the qualities of Prakriti (gunas), but a person with a strong sense of doership, deluded by egoism, will always get attached to the results of action.
Upon analysis, we find that we act because we desire to gain something. In acting, I become a doer (karta) so that I may become an enjoyer (bhokta). The notion of doership is closely associated with the notion of enjoyership. Wherever there is a sense of doership, there will be attachment to actions and results.
The wise man has true understanding; he knows that all actions are being carried out by the qualities of Prakriti.
Prakriti, matter, by itself is lifeless. It lacks sentiency. But it appears to be sentient because of another factor Consciousness (Caitanya)-the life-giving principle. Consciousness, the life-giving principle andPrakriti, (matter) both go together.
Qualities of Prakriti
Prakriti has three qualities-sattva guna, rajo guna and tamo guna. Each of these expresses differently. Tamo guna expresses as inertia, rajo guna as activity and sattva guna as knowledge. All these expressions manifest through certain mediums.
The physical body, by itself, has inertia. It is tamasic. But when prana shakti functions through it, there is activity. The pranas are an expression of the activity aspect (rajo guna). The mind-intellect, sense organs are an expression of sattva guna, the knowledge aspect. The entire equipment of the body, pranas, senses, mind and intellect is part of Prakriti’s gunas.
In the presence of Consciousness, matter is enlivened. The activities are all carried out by matter -the body, pranas and so on. As far as Caitanya is concerned, it is totally actionless. We will not call it inactive, but actionless. In its presence all activities are happen, but it does nothing. Without this life- giving principle, matter is inert. However, we are unaware of this vital fact. We identify ourselves with the body, pranas, senses, mind-intellect and say, ‘I am the doer’.
I must identify with Consciousness, but I identify myself with this inert body.
When I think I am the karta, I also become the bhokta. I become attached to the equipment, its expressions, actions, and to the results of such actions. It is a very subtle point. We do not even know that these things are happening. That is why we are called ignorant. This spiritual dimension is lacking. Firmly believing that we are the body, and mind-intellect we take upon ourselves all their activities and become the doers. This identification leads to attachment and sorrow. We are utterly unaware of this Caitanya principle which is our true nature.
The wise man is the complete opposite- he knows the Reality.
The Wise Man
The wise man realizes the Truth and understands: ‘I am Pure Consciousness. In my presence Prakriti stands as body, pranas, sense organs, mind-intellect. The same Prakriti also stands as the world of objects, emotions, thoughts, sounds, colour, taste, smell, touch. Prakriti is playing with Prakriti. Why should I get involved and identify myself with this or that?’
Ignorant people are attached to karma phal because they lack this discrimination of matter and Spirit. They identify with the body and are attached to it. The wise man knows that identified with the body, he becomes the doer. If he identifies with the world of objects, he is bound and dependent on them.
He knows the Truth and remains unattached. He watches the play of Prakriti.
The Author is the Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide.