Tamas is the third quality. It is sloth, darkness, ignorance, sin and death. It is also the worldly delusion and the deluding illusion.

Sattva is the soul with clear vision.
Rajas is either the fruitful or fruitless life.
Tamas is the dance of death.

Sattva manifests itself through the aspiring light.
Rajas manifests itself through the desiring might.
Tamas manifests itself through the darkening night.

A man of virtue wants to live the truth.
A man of action wants to enjoy the world.
A man of inactivity enjoys nothing. On the contrary, he is enjoyed constantly by darkness, ignorance and death.

A man of virtue has a friend: aspiration.
A man of activity has a friend: inspiration.
A man of inactivity has a friend: delusion.

A man of virtue tries to live in the truth of the present, past and future.
A man of action wants to live in the glorious present. He does not care much for the future.
A man of inactivity does not live in the proper sense of the term. He sleeps. His days and nights are made of lightless sleep.

The first one wants to transcend himself soulfully.
The second one wants to expand himself forcefully.
The third one destroys himself unconsciously.

Those who follow the inner path have four distinct roles to play:

Arta, the depressed, the afflicted. Life is a bed of thorns. He has realised this truth and cries for life’s transformation. He wants to possess a bed of roses. Pain is his painful possession. He can successfully sing with Francis Thomson:

Nothing begins and nothing ends,
That is not paid with moan;
For we are born in other’s pain,
And perish in our own.

Jignasu, the seeker, the enquirer. What he wants is knowledge. Knowledge tells us why a man suffers. Further, since knowledge embodies power, it transforms the breath of suffering into the breath of seeing and kindling knowledge.

Artharthi, the seeker of true wealth, the Truth absolute. He has no sorrow. He has no earthly desire. He wants to live in perpetual freedom, liberation.

Jnani, the wise. He who is wise knows that the Supreme is everywhere and the Kingdom of Heaven is within him. He lives in the Supreme. His life is the life of oneness with the Supreme. His world is the world of true fulfilment. Thickest is the intimacy between him and the Supreme.

Sri Krishna continues: “Noble and good are they all, but I hold the wise, the enlightened as my chosen soul and my own Self; fully united, absolutely one we are. When his life has played its role, when the hour of silence knocks at his door, I place him in my Heart where the Breath of Eternal Life grows.”