In Sanskrit, the word “Kovida” refers to one who is intelligent, wise and philosophically inclined. To appropriately respond to COVID, we each have to become Kovida. How do modern Hindus become intelligent? Is it by going back to University? It is to realise our true nature of who YOU are as a person, a soul.
Now we all may know this, we hear from our parents about the teachings of the Gita, but how much are we practically applying this into our life’s? When we think of the Gita, the first thing that pops into our head is “religion” being “dogmatic in rules” however when we analyse each word spoken in there, we find it has the perfect answers for life. It is a perfect psychological book of the mind.
How can we understand this practically? Let’s take one theme of the Gita: ‘Three modes of material nature’ also known as the ‘three gunas’ Sattva (goodness) Rajas (passion) and Tamas (ignorance). These three qualities are applied to everything we do in our lives such as, the food we eat, the friends we make, what our hobbies are etc. The list is endless. Lord Krishna explains that this is actually the best of all knowledge in the Gita. He uses the words jnanam uttamam which means it is the highest of all knowledge. Why? This is to show that if human beings can understand the psychological nature of the mind then we can overcome any distress that comes to us, such as mental health and COVID-19.
Here are some keywords to describe each guna:
Sattva (goodness) – Happiness, knowledge, selfless, charitable and self-control
Rajas (passion) – unlimited desires, pride, ego, restlessness
Tamas (ignorance) – delusional, violence, harmful and reckless
Now that we understand the three modes, let’s use them in a context and situation in our daily lives. For example, finding a boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse, how do the three modes determine that? All of us have a predominating guna depending on our karma; hence we all make different choices in life. Someone in the mode of passion or rajas he will choose a partner simply because of their looks. He/she will not take into account of the personality. Why is this? Because someone who is in rajas will only think of themselves and what they can gain from the relationship, we see most of the population today are rajas in nature hence most relationships end in divorce. Someone in the mode of goodness will be thinking of the future and not making choices in the moment, because he is self-reflective. He will think carefully what spouse he will want and choose wisely. And finally someone in the mode of ignorance will be delusional in a relationship from start to finish.
Let’s use another example, finding a job. For most people today understanding what their purpose in life is difficult. At times we all feel lost in our thoughts and imagination. Using the three gunas can allow us to introspect where we are and what we need to do. For example, a rajas person will only want to find a job that makes a lot of money. He may dislike his job completely but as long as he is making big money he thinks he is happy. We hear ‘money doesn’t buy you happiness’ happiness through money will be short-lived. Someone in the mode of goodness, because he is self-reflective in nature, he will understand how he can utilise all the talents he has for a higher purpose, as well as career.
Lord Krishna explains one should get to goodness through spiritual practice and transcend mode of goodness to the transcendental platform. Then our lives will be perfected.
As you can see, I used only two examples how the 3 gunas effect our daily lives. But you can use them for every situation too. The Gita has everything we need to know on how we should live. During this pandemic, please go into the Gita and find the gems you need to fulfil your life to the fullest.