Usually I worry about achieving things in the future. That is rajoguna. At other times I regret that I haven’t yet managed to achieve many things. This is tamoguna. Sometimes rajoguna and tamoguna temporarily subside and I can feel the fact that I actually exist. This is sattvaguna. In these moments life becomes naturally joyful and carefree.
Then rajas and tamas return and I wonder why it is impossible to exist in sattva forever. I realize it is because I NEED things to survive and have to work at getting them.
Then I wonder why I need things to survive. I realize that it is not so much that I exist in a body. After all the world naturally produces most of the things my body needs. Rather I realize it is because I am selfish and exist in a world full of other selfish people. Therefore we compete over resources and we each have to work hard to take what the other people want.
I then ask why… Why do I exist in a selfish state, in a world full other other selfish beings? This is a big question.
Does it have no reason, is it just chance? It doesn’t seem so. When I am in sattvaguna I can experience that reality has nothing to do with chance. It exists effortlessly on its own nature – consciousness.
Then maybe it is meaningless? Maybe there is no meaning to my existence in this imperfect state? Also that doesn’t seem correct. In sattvaguna I can experience that reality/consciousness is inherently meaningful.
Then maybe this is all there is – there is no other existence except this imperfect, difficult, selfish one? No, that too seems wrong based on what I experience in sattvaguna. I experience directly that there is a potential to live without needs, without selfishness, without effort. So there must be a way to attain that more fully and, eventually, permanently.
But why am I not already in that state? Clearly my consciousness has the potential for an effortless, peaceful existence, so why and how did I wind up in my current condition: either in anxiety from rajoguna trying to figure out how to achieve what I need, or else in depression from tamoguna lamenting about how I haven’t yet achieved the things I need? My consciousness seems inherently perfect, so why does it exist in this imperfect state?
Is it God’s joke, his sadism? I don’t think so. God must be at least like I am when I am in sattvaguna: effortlessly perfect and without needs. So he must have no impulse to sadism, anger, etc.
Is it meaningless? Chance? Again, no, for the same reasons as above.
Then I suppose it must be some flaw in me? I guess the perfection in me that I can experience in sattvaguna is not something that I have yet fully realized, for there is no flaw in perfection, by definition. So this current state I am in must be the state I started in and have always been in.
Why? And will it ever end?
That I can experience the potential for perfection within my very consciousness gives me hope that the potential can be realized. The great sādhus also encourage me to this conclusion. The śāstra also encourages the idea too and some few living beings seem to display the attainment of this state. So I think it is possible.
And why do I have an inherent flaw?
And what is that flaw? I think the flaw is self-centeredness, selfishness. The result of this flaw is that consciousness generates/accepts an alternate reality (maya) which can accommodate the imperfect notion of me being the center of reality, at the same time that countless other motes of consciousness think exactly the same thing about themselves.
Why do I have this flaw? This may be the most difficult of all the questions I’ve asked so far.
In a sense, the flaw is not a flaw because it’s a byproduct of something perfect, and it can be accommodated (via maya) or corrected (via moksha).
Regarding the flaw being a “byproduct” of perfections: My current state of existence is simply an inescapable byproduct of the fact that individual motes of consciousness exist in the first place. Whenever you have individuals you have the potential for discord. But if you don’t have individuals you have almost nothing at all – no relationships, no love, thus no bliss (ānanda). So individuals are required for existence to have meaning (ānanda), but this also means that there will be some individuals who are discordant with the primary reality. They are accommodated by an alternate reality and gradually corrected by having to cooperate with other individuals in that alternate reality.
Regarding the “accommodation” of the flaw: Reality handles our flaw so nicely that we hardly notice it. It keeps us almost fully distracted from the limitations and problems imposed by our flaw. It is only when we refuse to cooperate with the system, and instead try to take more than we warrant, that karma tries to reform us by allowing us to experience pain.
Regarding the “correction” of the flaw: If the flaw is selfishness, how can I correct it? By anti-selfishness. Aka love. Aka Bhakti.
And finally, why bother correcting it? Because my experience of consciousness in sattvaguna brings a sense of joy and peace and happiness so much superior to the same things available by accommodating selfishness via maya. So I believe that correcting the selfishness of my consciousness would grant me the ability to experience happiness on a far, far deeper and broader scale than the happiness I could get by trying to accommodate my selfishness in an orderly, superficially cooperative way (dharma) or by trying to indulge the selfishness fully (adharma).
Vraja Kishor Das
Ps. This was a stream of consciousness thing typed into my phone during a train ride home after teaching English. I hope you won’t mind whatever typos or lack of editing is in it.