Oneness, the Action of the Three Gunas and the Law of Karmic Consequence

Sri Aurobindo translates Taittiriya Upanishad, Bhriguvalli, Chapter 10, Part 1: “Thou shalt not reject any man in thy habitation, for that too is thy commandment unto labour.  Therefore in whatsoever sort do thou get thee great store of food.  They say unto the stranger in their dwelling, ‘Arise, the food is ready.’  Was the food made ready at the beginning?  To him also is food made ready in the beginning.  Was the food made ready in the middle?  To him also is food made ready in the middle.  Was the food made ready at the end and last?  To him also is the food made ready at the end and last, who hath this knowledge.”

Oneness is not simply a philosophical idea or concept, but is the underlying nature of the entire creation.  Therefore, the sage who has this knowledge acts upon it in his dealings with people.  Sustenance to the physical body is an essential part of this existence, and thus, no human being should be denied that support.  When an individual is approached to provide food and shelter to someone, it should be done!  Material wealth accumulated in the course of one’s activities should be used to sustain oneself, but also to sustain others who need assistance.

There are also  lessons here in the manner of the giving of that sustenance, bringing in an understanding of the three gunas, or qualities.   The giving may be sattwic, rajasic or tamasic.  To give “in the beginning” implies a sattwic understanding and openness.  To give in the middle implies a rajasic balancing of benefits and advantage.  To give at the end implies an attempt to withhold or minimize the giving, a tamasic approach.

The focus and energy put forth by an individual also has implications for that individual’s response from the universal creation.  This is the law of karmic consequence.  Those who meet the universe with a sattwic energy get a similar response back.  Rajas begets rajas, tamas begets tamas.


Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads,  Taittiriya Upanishad, Bhriguvalli, pp.275-281, M. P. Pandit, Upanishads: Gateways of Knowledge, pp. 169-182