They have got knowledge. Just like brāhmaṇa. And those who are captured by the rajo-guṇa, they are busy in material activities. And those who have captured tamo-guṇa, they are lazy and sleepy. That's all. These are the symptoms. Tamo-guṇa means they're very lazy and sleepy. Rajo-guṇa means very active, but active like monkey. Just like monkey's very active, but they're all dangerous. You'll never see inactive. Whenever it will sit down, it will make gat gat gat gat.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
Tamo-guṇa means nidrā, alasya, ignorance, and sleeping more, laziness, and alasya, alasya, laziness, nidrā, means sleeping, and ignorance. Just like cats and dogs. They do not know what is the aim of life, what they are doing. This is tamo-guṇa. And rajo-guṇa means activities for sense enjoyment. So rajo-guṇa, just like the karmīs, they are working hard day and night. What is the purpose? Sex, that's all. "Why you are working so hard, sir?" "I will enjoy sex at night. (laughter) This is my ambition." "Oh, very good ambition. This ambition the dogs also have got. So why you are working so hard?" "No, that is my ambition. That's all. I am less than dog. Dog gets opportunity of sex life in the street without any working hard, but I will have to work hard to enjoy the same thing. So I am less than dog." One should admit that, that "I am less than dog."
Because sattva-guṇa means knowledge, rajo-guṇa means passion, and tamo-guṇa means ignorance. So this world is being carried on by these three guṇas. Those who are accepting the tamo-guṇa, they are kāma, lusty, too much lusty. And those who are in rajo-guṇa, they're too much greedy. And those are in the sattva-guṇa, they know things. That is brahminical qualification. Veda jānāti iti brāhmaṇaḥ. Veda-pāṭhād bhaved vipro brahma jānāti iti brāhmaṇaḥ. By reading Vedas, one becomes a vipra. Then not only vipra, but when... Vipra means brāhmaṇa. So to become brāhmaṇa by qualification is not sufficient.
So brūhi kāraṇayor asya sad-asac ca yad-ātmakam. So the uttama-puruṣa, Puruṣottama, just like Kṛṣṇa or Kapiladeva, They come within this material world, but they are not affected. But we are affected. We are, according to our desire, conditioned. We are affected by the different modes of material nature. It is described in the Vedic literature just like the fire and the spark. The fire is always blazing, but the sparks coming out of the fire, they sometime fall down. And this falling down is described that if the spark falls on some dry grass, then immediately the grass is also ignited into fire. That is sattva-guṇa. And rajo-guṇa means on the ground. It gradually, the ignition, the fire of the spark, becomes finished. And if the spark falls down on some water, then immediately it is extinguished. Similarly, when we come down from the spiritual world on account of desire, icchā-dveṣa samutthena sarge yānti parantapa (BG 7.27), by our icchā, Kṛṣṇa gives us to fulfill our desires.
So this mind is material because it is the product of transformation of the modes of goodness. Then, gradually, being contaminated by different kinds of material desires, it becomes degraded. Kāma eṣa krodha eṣa rajo-guṇa-samudbhavaḥ. When it is deteriorated, then, from the standard of goodness, it comes to rajo-guṇa. And rajo-guṇa means lusty desires, unending desires. And if desires are not fulfilled, then there is krodha, anger. In this way, kāma krodha lobha moha mātsarya—everything becomes very prominent, and we become servant of these propensities, kāma, krodha, moha, mātsarya, mada, lobha. This is called illusion, gradually degraded mind. And the business of the mind is saṅkalpa and vikalpa. Saṅkalpa means decide to do something, and vikalpa means again to reject it.
There are three guṇas—sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa. If you remain in the lower platforms, tamo-guṇa, rajo-guṇa... Tamo-guṇa, rajo-guṇa means, as I have already explained, greediness and lust, desires. That is tamo-guṇa, rajo-guṇa. Tato rājas-tamo-bhava kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye. What is that rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa? Now, kama, lusty desires, and greediness, not satisfied with the minimum necessities of life, want to increase more and more, more and more. That is called greediness. The Vedic civilization teaches that "Be satisfied with the minimum necessities of life. Don't increase unnecessary necessities of life, and then you have to work for it very hard like hogs and dogs." That's all. Then you have to work very...
So this future, past, present, future, is being controlled by the three modes of material nature. If we practice in this life sattva-guṇa, then ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthāḥ: (BG 14.18) then we shall be promoted to the higher planetary system. Madhye tiṣṭhanti rājasāḥ. If we cultivate rajo-guṇa... Rajo-guṇa means kāma-lobha, kāma, simply desiring. This is called rajo-guṇa. "I want this, I want this, I want this." Because there is no satiation of want, therefore every man or woman planning something, "How my sense gratification will be fully satisfied." This is rajo-guṇa, kāma. Everyone is forgetting his real business. His real business is he should know, one should know, that "I am eternal. I have taken this temporary body and subjected to the laws of nature, birth, death and old age. So my real problem is how to become again eternal, not accepting any more birth, death, old age. That is my real business." But because I am infected with the material modes of nature, we are making different plans. Everyone is busy.
So these are all due to different infection of the guṇa. Tamo-guṇa means shameless, tamo-guṇa. Rajo-guṇa means lusty desire. And sattva-guṇa means knowledge, to see things as they are. So just like here in the temple, we are cultivating sattva-guṇa, or more than that, above sattva-guṇa. Above sattva-guṇa. It is said in the śāstra that to live in the forest is sattva-guṇa. Sattva-guṇa, people have got tendency to live in a secluded place, solitary place, without any disturbance. That is sign of sattva-guṇa. And to live in the cities, big, big cities, skyscraper building, this is rajo-guṇa. And to live in the brothel, in the liquor shop, in the slaughterhouse, this is tamo-guṇa. Sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa. But to live in the temple is transcendental. Transcendental.
After death where is your beautiful wife? Where is your wealth? Where is your followers? Everything finished. Now according to your karma, you have to accept the body of a dog. Nature's way. Karmaṇā daiva-netreṇa (SB 3.31.1). "You have infected doggish mentality. Now you become a dog." This is nature's way. Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-sango 'sya (BG 13.22). You have simply associated with the tamo-guṇa, rajo-guṇa, no sattva-guṇa, so you have to accept a body, rajas-tamo-guṇa. Tamo-guṇa means animal, and rajo-guṇa means the karmis, and sattva-guṇa means jñānīs. So if one is struggling in this life how to accumulate money, that means rajo-guṇa.
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures
Just like we ride on horse, Devī, she rides on lion. And the lion has attacked that demon. And demon is also very strong, fighting with the lion, and the mother, Goddess Durgā, she has caught the demon by the hair and piercing the trident on the chest, and the lion has attacked. So this is our position. We are thinking like the demon. Now, this lion is the symbol of rajo-guṇa. Rajo-guṇa. Kāma eṣa krodha eṣa rajo-guṇa-samudbhavaḥ. Rajo-guṇa means we are full of lust and anger. When there is excess of rajo-guṇa, then we are full of lust and anger. And when there is sattva-guṇa, then there is knowledge. And when there is tamo-guṇa, neither anger nor lust nor knowledge, simply just like the Bowery Road. You see? Lying down on the street. This is the sign of ignorance, tamo-guṇa, yes. So this is going on.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1975 Conversations and Morning Walks
The śūdras, they are in laziness and sleep. So if they have got something to eat, they will not work. Laziness. Or eat more and sleep. This is tamo-guṇa. And rajo-guṇa means they are working for sense gratification. That is also useless. Tamo-guṇa is laziness and sleeping, and rajo-guṇa means working foolishly or for sense gratification. And sattva-guṇa means they know how to work. And therefore above this sattva-guṇa they become devotee, work for Kṛṣṇa. So without working for Kṛṣṇa, everyone is under the spell of these modes of material nature. And there is no training how to work for Kṛṣṇa. That is the defect of modern civilization.