Why do we have mood swings?

(The Philosophy of Sanatan Dharm)

One day we wake up feeling on top of the world, and another day, we feel sad and dejected for no good reason. Why is this so? Observe the constantly fluctuating and unusual nature of the world. There is a predominance of the three gunas, or the modes of Maya, in the mind of each and every individual. These gunas are sattva, rajasa, and tamasa, and they are constantly fluctuating. Sometimes sattva guna predominates, sometimes rajaguna, and sometimes tamaguna governs the mind.

When the sattvika mode governs the mind, a person is calm and serene. When the rajasika mode prevails, they become active, hopeful, and ambitious for power, passion, and profit. When the tamasika mode predominates, they become very lazy and violent. Now, since these gunas fluctuate constantly, every individual has varying temperaments and moods throughout the day.

Another fact about the gunas is that there is no guarantee about which guna will predominate at any given time of the day. Normally, the atmosphere or environment that a person stays in most of the time determines which guna will predominate and which two will become subordinate.

There is one more point to reflect upon. Due to a lack of sattvika qualities and thoughts, it is only when a person is exposed to a sattvika environment in abundance that they are occasionally dominated by this mode. On the other hand, because there is an abundance of rajasika environment, a person is easily overpowered by this guna even with the slightest association. The tamasika guna, however, is the most powerful guna of all.

Suppose you are praying, you are now in a sattvika environment. At that moment, you are approached by your wife or son who addresses you lovingly. You see them, hear them, and by receiving their loving touch, immediately enter into the rajasika mode. Just then, your neighbor also comes in and angrily says, “You are the biggest rogue I have ever met!” The moment you hear that, you become angry and go from rajasika to the tamasika mode. This is an example of the constant play of the fluctuating gunas on each and every individual.

With these constantly changing gunas, how is it possible for anyone to have steady feelings and faith in God and the Saints? Sometimes, we consider God to be merciful, sometimes we think of Him as an impartial judge who merely dispenses the fruits of our actions, and at other times we blame Him for being cruel and even go to the extent of cursing Him. “What injustice is there in the court of God! My neighbor just had his thirteenth child, and I had only one child, and he too died today.”

When each and every person suffers from this disease, the wife, husband, father, son, friend, and so on, then how can the relationship between two people remain constantly amicable? Amity may be possible only by sheer coincidence, such as when two individuals are dominated by the same guna at the same time. But even in this case, harmony may not necessarily result because though the guna is the same, there is always a difference in the degree of intensity of the guna in each person.

Take, for example, a husband and wife who were both dominated by rajaguna. They agreed to spend the evening at the movies. However, on the way to the theater, they heard a spiritual discourse. Although both were exposed to the same spiritual environment, their reactions were entirely different. The husband was unaffected by the inspiring words of the preacher because at that time, rajaguna was very strong in him. In the wife, the rajaguna was less predominant, so the little that she heard of the discourse stimulated the sattvaguna in her, and she suggested to her husband that they should stay back and listen to the entire spiritual discourse. He became angry and stomped off. Such arguments are simply a result of a difference in the degree of the intensity of the gunas in each individual.

The astonishing fact is that you expect the entire world to agree with you all the time, and some of you actually believe that this is possible. If even one person opposes you, you are not only surprised but also miserable. However, if you understood the continuous fluctuating situation of the gunas, you would be surprised if even one person remained favorable to you for even a day.

Each and every person is compulsively dominated by the constantly fluctuating gunas, so why should you be hurt by another person’s behavior? Why don’t you remember that they are afflicted by the disease of the three gunas? They deserve pity. To be angry and upset by their behavior certifies your own madness. Someone says you are ‘bad,’ and it hurts you. The fact that it hurts you proves that you are bad. If you were good, i.e., sensible, then you would have ignored their words by thinking that their state is abnormal as they are afflicted by the three gunas. However, our understanding is the reverse.

A man who is blind is referred to as a blind man. He does not object or feel offended. Why then do you get upset when someone calls you greedy, hot-tempered, or boastful, although you give vent to these feelings several times in a day? You are constantly overpowered by feelings of resentment towards others day and night. You constantly think about and contemplate mere words others have said and frequently resort to vindictive actions. Isn’t this most amazing?

Just try telling someone that they are a little short-tempered, and they will immediately flare up and deny it with an angry outburst. “How dare you make such a comment? When have you seen me angry?” Observe, they are already angry while asking you. This drama is a common part of each individual’s life. A person who suffers from any imperfection is not aware of it because the knowing faculty, which is the intellect, is itself dominated by the three gunas. So it cannot give a judgment against itself.

When a person is less favorable towards us, we are surprised. The fact is that no one in the world is favorable or unfavorable to anyone. When there is harmony in the gunas, for that period, there is friendship. When the gunas are opposed to each other, then there is opposition. If this philosophy is understood, you will not feel distressed when people are unfavorable towards you, and the effort to make everyone favorable towards you will automatically come to an end.

By Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj (Credits: Prem Ras Siddhant)

*A brief introduction of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj*

(Known by His devotees as Shri Maharajji)

The original title of Jagadguruttam (‘Greatest Spiritual Teacher of the World’) was bestowed upon Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj on January 14, 1957 by ‘Kashi Vidvat Parishad’ (a council of 500 greatest scholars saints of India). He composed divine texts like ‘Prem Ras Madira’, ‘Prem Ras Siddhant’, and ‘Radha Govind Geet’ to lead us on the right path of devotion. He also gave priceless monuments as gifts to the world which include  -  Bhakti Mandir located in Bhakti Dham, Mangarh,  Prem Mandir located in Vrindavan Dham, and Kirti Mandir located in Barsana Dham. Shri Maharajji also built hospitals for the impoverished, the Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Vrindavan, Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Barsana, and another one in Pratapgarh. All three help millions of underprivileged to gain free access to medical care. His Kindergarten, School, and College for impoverished girls Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat Education is located in Kunda and provides completely free education.