By Swami Harshananda
Guṇātita literally means ‘one who is beyond the sway of the three guṇas’.
The quest for perfection has been a common characteristic feature of all religions and philosophical systems. Since perfection is only a concept, it can be understood only when tested through a person or a personality. The Bhagavadgitā has done this in three places. The ‘guṇātita’ is the last of these three.
The guṇātita is the one who is fit to attain Brahman. The qualities of such a person are as follows:
- He is the one who has transcended the three guṇas, sattva, rajas and tamas.
- He is unaffected by the effects of the three guṇas like knowledge, action or delusion.
- He is equanimous in happiness and even misery.
- He looks upon a clod of earth, stone or gold as of equal worth being neither repelled nor tempted by them.
- He is not influenced by the pleasant and the unpleasant.
- He is unaltered either by praise or blame.
- He treats friends and enemies equally, based on the merits of the case.
- He serves God with undeviating love.
- Bhagavadgitā 2.55-72; 12.13-20 and 14.22-27
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore