Search & Read
The Gunas Acting the Part
Elliot: Hello, Sundari!
I’ve got a new question rising in my mind recently, and please do correct me if I misunderstood something:
To be simple, I’m an actor in training, and to perform this work I had to come to understand all about emotions, as they are an important instrument in the craft of acting. (what they are, how to generate them in me and others, etc.).
Thanks to Vedanta, I discover that there is only shakti (the self as energy, power in the form of maya), and that with your will you can play with it. I read a satsang of James’ on this topic, and he talks about someone call Uma. The manas (“the instrument that interacts with the field of emotions”) of this woman is very well-developed, as I read.
So I’m very curious to know if it’s possible to develop our manas, and if so, how? Which practice can I perform (as jiva) to develop my sensibility toward shakti?
Do you have any video or satsang of Uma (I didn’t find on ShiningWorld)?
Sundari: Uma is a made up name; we do this for teaching purposes. I understand what you mean, speaking as a jiva operating in mithya, but the Self is not shakti. It is the knower of shakti – energy – which is an object known to it. An object is anything other than you, consciousness. If you know something, it cannot be you, and you know shakti, not so? I think you know this.
Speaking as a jiva, it is true that the Self seems to appear as energy in the form of Maya. And yes, manas, the mind, is the instrument for thinking and feeling. If the mind is sattvic, it will have sattvic thoughts and feelings; if it is rajasic or tamasic, it will have rajasic or tamasic thoughts and feelings. To develop the mind, mind management is key. To manage the mind, you need to understand the gunas, what they are and how the condition the mind. And as the gunas all generate predictable thoughts and feelings, guna management is mind management.
To develop the emotions, you need to express as an actor is no different from learning to manage the mind for normal life. Sattvic thoughts are peaceful, aware, content. Rajasic thoughts are agitated, anxious, driven, full of desire – usually projected onto others – tamasic thoughts are dull, in denial and slothful. To conjure up the feelings you need for a particular part, use the guna knowledge with karma yoga; surrender the results to Isvara. Read James’ book on the gunas to learn more about how they express.
Elliot: I do know that it’s only the Self experiencing its Self and that there is nothing to “gain” by doing this practice. But as we are here to enjoy and love ourselves, I’m curious to know how to play with it!
Sundari: I am glad you know this and don’t take thoughts and emotions seriously!
Elliot: You answer perfectly my question! Its clear. Ha ha, so great, thank you very much, as usual, love.