This month, we discussed many stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. As Rama Navami was nearing, we spoke about Vibhishana when he surrendered himself to Lord Rama. We also talked about Mother Sita when she had mercy on the demons because they were only children and didn’t know any better. She was able to overlook the torture that they had done and forgave the demons for their sins.
We also discussed the Mahabharata in which the Kauravas and Pandavas needed help from Krishna for the war. At this time, Duryodhana arrived to ask Krishna for help first, but chose to sit near the head of Krishna’s swing on the throne. When Arjuna arrived, he sat near Krishna’s feet in a respectful manner. This meant that when Krishna woke up, he saw Arjuna and was very pleased at the sight. The twist to this is that Krishna was never truly asleep, he was only pretending so that he could fulfill Arjuna’s wish instead of Duryodhana. Arjuna received Krishna’s help and Duryodhana received the Narayana Sena, which taught us to always value emotional and spiritual connections over external objects.
In the classes, we also covered the three modes of material nature. In the Bhagavad-Gita 14th Chapter, Lord Krishna explains the three modes of nature that are controlling the activities of all the living entities in the material world. Lord Krishna says,
sattvaḿ rajas tama iti
dehe dehinam avyayam [ B.g 14.5]
“Material nature consists of three modes — goodness, passion and ignorance. When the eternal living entity comes in contact with nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he becomes conditioned by these modes.”
These three modes control the activities of the pure living entity in this world based on their desires and permitted by their karma. It is very important to understand these three modes of nature and how they act upon a living entity.
The effects of sattva-guna, the mode of goodness, are seen when an atmosphere of peace, serenity, and harmony prevails in our environment and ourselves. Rajo-guna, the mode of passion, is felt as an insatiable desire for temporary things, striving for more and more of them, and perpetual dissatisfaction. Tamo-guna, the mode of ignorance, is indicated when there’s laziness, depression, intoxication, and insanity.
Another important activity which we did is take a personality test. The test showed each of us the percentage of goodness, passion, and ignorance we have and gave us a short insight into what our future might look like. This test helped us understand more about ourselves and our self paradigm. We understood the values of self-awareness through observing our attitudes, behaviors, and how we see other people.
Despite being far away from each other and having online classes only, we still learned a lot this month and had a very productive month. Hare Krishna!