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The Three Modes of Nature


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This presentation discusses the three modes of nature and their relation to Sankhya philosophy. How these three modes manifest into various categories of Sankhya are also discussed.

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The Three Modes of Nature

  3. 3. T H R E E M O D E S A R E L I K E T H E T H R E E C O L O R S • The combination of all the three colors is WHITE • The three individual colors are • CYAN • MAGENTA • YELLOW • The removal of all the colors produces BLACK • Three modes are understood in the broader context of the five color categories
  4. 4. A D D I T I V E A N D S U B T R AC T I V E C O L O R S • Subtractive colors are filters • We filter fromWHITE • E.g. if you filter GREEN, then the combination of RED and BLUE remains and it will be interpreted as PURPLE • RGB is subtractive • Additive colors are tones • We add toWHITE • CMY is additive. Once we add all three we get BLACK • RGB filters on WHITE • CMY adds to get BLACK
  5. 5. F RO M E V E RY T H I N G TO N OT H I N G • The Absolute Truth is everything • Maya hides parts of this Absolute Truth from our vision • By this hiding, the whole appears only as parts to us • There are three ways of hiding called sattva, rajas, and tamas • Therefore, the parts produced due to hiding are not modes • The components of hiding or māyā are the modes EVERYTHING NOTHING SATTVA RAJAS TAMAS REMOVING ADDING CYAN MAGENTA YELLOW
  6. 6. R E A L I T Y V S . P H E N O M E N A • Reality exists before perception – Absolute Truth and maya are reality – Maya subtracts from the AbsoluteTruth – Phenomena created by subtraction – Subtraction akin to RGB colors • Phenomena is that which we perceive – Phenomena are the parts of the Absolute Truth produced after subtraction – They appear to us as CMY colors • Reality is masculine and feminine (Purusha and His Sakti) and they are personalities • Phenomena seems impersonal (e.g. material objects) • The true understanding of reality is personal, but this personal reality creates an impersonal phenomenal world
  7. 7. PERSONAL AND IMPERSONAL • Reality is personal, phenomena is impersonal • We try to know the reality from the phenomena – Since phenomena is impersonal, we think that reality must also be impersonal • However, there is a problem – – Even in the impersonal there is some personal – personal is partially visible – This partially visible personal cannot be explained using impersonal ideas • Therefore all impersonal science fails to account for the personal Science can succeed in explaining the personal ONLY IF we postulate that there is a PERSON underlying the IMPERSONAL
  8. 8. THE FAILURE OF IMPERSONALISM • For the last 2000 years, Western philosophy is trying to derive an impersonal reality from an impersonal phenomena; the premise – phenomena is impersonal so reality is impersonal • Even in Advaita Philosophy the same assumption has been made • However, we are unable to get rid of personalism present in phenomena – The existence of desires, beliefs, morals, judgments, and thoughts – The impersonal theories exclude all these from conception of reality • The impersonal construction of reality fails to explain the phenomena – Science becomes incomplete when reality is postulated as impersonal
  10. 10. S T RU C T U R E O F T H E U N I V E R S E The universe is an inverted tree The root of this inverted tree represents EVERYTHING The modes of nature subtract from this complete to create the incomplete parts. When all the parts have been removed, EVERYTHING becomes NOTHING. From top to bottom, the universe progresses from EVERYTHING to NOTHING. EVERYTHING NOTHING 14 Planetary Systems Increasingly More Reality Present in Phenomena Decreasingly Lesser Reality Present in Phenomena
  11. 11. W H AT I S N OT H I N G ? • Nothing stands for phenomena – it is not a thing – The thing is the reality underlying the phenomena • In the higher planetary systems māyā is lesser – Less of the reality removed to create phenomena – One can discern more reality in the phenomena • In the lower planetary system māyā is greater – More of the reality removed to create phenomena – Much harder to discern reality from phenomena • Nothing is not non-existent • It just means it is not a thing or the reality which exists behind the phenomena • As reality is subtracted due to māyā the real thing is gradually more obscured • The phenomena get richer and the reality is hidden • Nothing is limit of obscurity – all the reality has been hidden
  12. 12. BRIHADARANYAKA UPANISAD English Transliteration Meaning in English asato mā sadgamaya tamasomā jyotir gamaya mrityormāamritam gamaya Oṁ śhānti śhānti śhāntiḥ From ignorance, lead me to truth; From darkness, lead me to light; From death, lead me to immortality Om peace, peace, peace Vertical ascending represents the journey from dark to light
  14. 14. T H R E E M O D E S C R E AT E VA R I E T Y O F T H I S WO R L D • Sat, Chit, and Ananda are divided by modes of nature to create many types of cognitions, emotions, and relations • Our experiences or phenomena are combinations of objects, relations, and emotions • The types of this world are produced from the basic types caused by the three modes SALESMAN LOVES FOOTBALL AFRICAN COOK LOVES READING LOVES MOVIES WRITER INDIAN ASIAN
  15. 15. E X A M P L E S O F T H R E E M O D E S • Each property (color, taste, smell) creates three subtypes • These subtypes are mutually defined and not independently • E.g., red is the absence of green and blue • E.g., sweet is the absence of Bitter and Salty • Due to this mutual relation, something not perfectly red can be relatively red in contrast to relatively blue or green COLOR GREEN BLUERED TASTE BITTER SWEETSALTY SMELL PUNGENT SWEETCITRIC
  16. 16. COLOR U N D E R S TA N D N G T H E F I V E - F O L D T Y P E D I S T I N C T I O N • Color is the basic type which contains all the colors • White • Cyan • Magenta • Blue • But white also contains • Cyan • Magenta • Blue • The idea color manifests the complete color (white) WHITE YELLOW MAGENTA CYAN COLOR THE COMPLETE COLOR THE INCOMPLETE COLORS
  17. 17. T H E C AT E G O R I E S O F PA N C H A R AT R A • Reality is completely understood when we understand the five stages of manifestation of God • The first stage is the conceptual type or knowledge • The second stage is the complete embodiment of all the subtypes of that type • The third stage is the three parts of the complete embodiment NARAYANA VASUDEVA ANIRUDDHA PRADYUMNA SANKARSANA
  18. 18. T H E M O D E S O F N AT U R E I N S Ā Ñ K H YA • The soul is the abstract type • Mahattattva is the complete instance of that abstract type • Ego, intelligence, and mind are the three main subtypes or parts of the perfect instance • Three primordial deities of the creation are produced from the three modes of nature NARAYANA MAHATTATTVA MIND (SATTVA) INTELLIGENCE (RAJAS) EGO (TAMAS) VISHNU BRAHMA SHIVA
  19. 19. T H E B A S I C P RO C E S S O F C R E AT I O N • Three deities create further governing forms • Vishnu manifests the Aditya • Brahma manifests the Vasu • Shiva manifests the Rudra • These governing forms preside over the control of different types of material elements NARAYANA MAHATTATTVA MIND (SATTVA) INTELLIGENCE (RAJAS) EGO (TAMAS) VISHNUBRAHMASHIVA ADITYARUDRA VASU
  20. 20. “For how would I understand that I lack something and that I am not wholly perfect, unless there were some idea in me of a more perfect being, by comparison with which I might recognize my defects?” ― René Descartes