To go beyond the Gunas, must one first be Sattvic?

Acharya Prashant
6 min readDec 16, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

अर्जुन उवाच

कैर्लिङ्गैस्त्रीन्गुणानेतानतीतो भवति प्रभो ।

किमाचार: कथं चैतांस्त्रीन्गुणानतिवर्तते ।। 14.21 ।।

Arjuna said: By what marks, O Lord, is he (known) who has gone beyond these three Gunas? What is his conduct, and how does he pass beyond these three Gunas?

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14, Verse 21

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प्रकाशं च प्रवृत्तिं च मोहमेव च पाण्डव ।

न द्वेष्टि सम्प्रवृत्तानि न निवृत्तानि काङ् क्षति ।। 14.22 ।।

He who hates not the appearance of light (the effect of Sattva), activity (the effect of Rajas), and delusion (the effect of Tamas), (in his own mind), O Pāndava nor longs for them when absent;

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14, Verse 22

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Acharya Prashant (AP): Then the next shloka would have said, “Nor delights in them when present.”

मां च योऽव्यभिचारेण भक्तियोगेन सेवते ।

स गुणान्समतीत्यैतान्ब्रह्मभूयाय कल्पते ।। 14.26 ।।

And he who serves Me with unswerving devotion, he, going beyond the Gunas, is fitted for becoming Brahman.

~Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14, Verse 26

Questioner (Q): To go beyond all the three guṇas, is first coming to a sāttvika-predominant state necessary? And if the sāttvika state is all about light and wisdom, why would one want to go beyond that? Is Shri Krishna saying that…