SB 11.25: The Three Modes of Nature and Beyond
To establish the transcendental nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this chapter describes the various functional manifestations of the three modes (goodness, passion and ignorance), which arise in the mind.
Control of the mind, control of the senses, tolerance and so forth are manifestations of the unmixed mode of goodness. Desire, endeavor, false pride and so on are manifestations of the unmixed mode of passion. And anger, greed and bewilderment are among the functions of the unmixed mode of ignorance. In the admixture of the three modes we find the concept of “I” and “my,” behavior in accordance with this mentality by body, mind and words, adherence to the principles of religiosity, economic development and sense gratification, and the fixed pursuit of one’s occupational duty for material interest.
A person whose character is in the mode of goodness worships Lord Hari in a spirit of devotion, without regard to profit. On the other hand, one who hankers after the fruits of his worship of the Lord is passionate by nature. And one who desires violence is in the mode of ignorance. These modes of goodness, passion and ignorance are present in the infinitesimal living entity, whereas the Supreme Personality of Godhead is transcendental to the three modes of material nature.
The substance, place and result of activity, along with the time, the knowledge underlying action, the activity itself, the performer, his faith, his level of awareness, his spiritual progress and his destination after death, all partake of the three modes and manifest variously in terms of distinctions and hierarchies. But objects related to the Supreme Personality, places connected with Him, happiness based on Him, the time occupied in His worship, knowledge related to Him, work offered to Him, the performer of work who acts under His shelter, faith in His devotional service, progress toward the spiritual realm, and the destination of the Supreme Lord’s personal abode all transcend the material modes.
There are many different destinations and conditions of life for the spirit soul within the cycle of material existence. These are all based on the modes of nature and on fruitive activities, which are governed by the modes. It is only by practicing the yoga of pure devotional service to the Supreme Lord that one can conquer the three modes, which arise originally from the mind. After obtaining a human body, which has the potential for developing knowledge and realization, a person who is intelligent should renounce association with the three modes of nature and then worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. First, by increasing the mode of goodness, one can defeat passion and ignorance. Then one can conquer material goodness by evolving his consciousness to the platform of transcendence. At that time he becomes entirely liberated from the material modes, gives up his subtle body (the material mind, intelligence and false ego) and attains the association of the Personality of Godhead. By the shattering of his subtle covering, the living entity is able to come face to face with the Supreme Lord and thus achieve absolute fulfillment by His grace.