In the mode of goodness, one’s thoughts and actions are governed by wisdom and a person experiences a deeply satisfying life. When the mode of passion increases, some of the symptoms that develop are attachment, intense endeavour and uncontrollable desire and hankering. And the mode of ignorance is characterized by darkness, inertia, madness and illusion.
The Bhagavad Gita succinctly describes happiness in the three modes:
“That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness. That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects and which appears like nectar at first but poison at the end is said to be of the nature of passion. And that happiness which is blind to self-realization, which is delusion from beginning to end and which arises from sleep, laziness and illusion is said to be of the nature of ignorance. “(Bhagavad Gita 18.37 – 39)
Basically, long term happiness or a feeling of lasting contentment is in the mode of goodness short term pleasure that ends in guilt or pain is in the mode of passion and destructive thoughts and activities where one only imagines some form of pleasure is in the mode of ignorance. All kinds of intoxicants fall into this category.
Examples of how the three modes influence everything in this world
Food, music, and even the clothes you wear are influenced by the modes.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, non-violent milk products, eaten in moderate quantity and which improve one’s quality of life are examples of food in the mode of goodness.
The mode of passion food has extreme taste and is eaten in excess. Such food causes pain and misery. It’s said that passionate food burns when it goes in, and also when it comes out! The happiness derived from such food is mere tongue deep and short lived. They create disease in the body and compromise on the quality of our lives.
To be continued…