Verse number 27 of Chapter 3 of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita states

प्रकृते: क्रियमाणानि गुणै: कर्माणि सर्वश:

अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा कर्ताहमिति मन्यते

This translates to

All activities are carried out by the three modes of material nature. But in ignorance, the soul, deluded by false identification with the body, thinks itself to be the doer.

According to my understanding, the three material modes of nature apply to mental phenomena just as much as they do to the physical body etc.

Is this an allusion to the non existence of what is often called "free will"?

  • You may get an answer here hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/10911/…
    – Just_Do_It
    Feb 11, 2020 at 21:32
  • 2
  • @Carmensandiego perhaps it does address the general topic, but im looking for an answer in context of this verse. Thanks for the link! Feb 12, 2020 at 13:42
  • No, every atman or being has to make its own choices, like during Mahabharata, Arjuna chose atma gyani Krishna while Duryodhana chose money and land of Hastinapura despite being cousins and growing up in almost similar environment. What Krishna is talking about in the above verse is about Ego/Ahamkaar of body, a shape, you have neither created your own body nor its immortal, yet you take care of it as it is you This verse was told to Arjuna because prior to Geeta, he was identifying himself as mere body and not ready to kill his own evil kins, hence Krishna gave him Atma gyan of immortal soul.
    – user16530
    Feb 12, 2020 at 18:52
  • Free will exists as long as you believe there are many people existing in the universe. Once you come out of that illusion and see there is only one true actor taking different forms, free will shatters. See hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/38117/8577
    – Lokesh
    Feb 13, 2020 at 0:58

1 Answer 1


First you should kblnow that what are these three modes of material actually. For this you have to read in context.

  • Bhagwad Gita 14:5

O mighty-armed Arjun, the material energy consists of three guṇas (modes)—sattva (goodness), rajas (passion), and tamas (ignorance). These modes bind the eternal soul to the perishable body.

So these three modes are actually three gunas of nature.

  • Bhagwad Gita 14:16

It is said the fruit of actions performed in the mode of goodness bestow pure results. Actions done in the mode of passion result in pain, while those performed in the mode of ignorance result in darkness.

  • Bhagwad Gita 2:47

You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.

So these three modes (gunas) are based on our actions. These are the types of actions. In the verses 6-19 of chapter 14 it is defined that how they binds they soul. It did not mean that free will does not exist. By his will a person can even go beyond these modes.

  • Bhagwad Gita 14:24-26

Those who are alike in happiness and distress; who are established in the self; who look upon a clod, a stone, and a piece of gold as of equal value; who remain the same amidst pleasant and unpleasant events; who are intelligent; who accept both blame and praise with equanimity; who remain the same in honor and dishonor; who treat both friend and foe alike; and who have abandoned all enterprises – they are said to have risen above the three guṇas.**Those who serve me with unalloyed devotion rise **above the three modes of material nature and come to the level of Brahman.

  • Im sorry, but none of the verses you cite justify the existence of free will. Fruits of actions performed in a particular mode are of a particular flavour. True. This has nothing to say about free will. The verse I cite explicitly states that the modes of nature perform ALL actions, so these modes of nature, gunas (and not "free will"), must also be the ones that are behind the actions that ultimately lead to rising above the gunas themselves. Feb 12, 2020 at 18:49
  • @pkwssis read the verse. 2:47. Feb 13, 2020 at 2:20
  • @pkwssis these gunas are actually the type of our karma's. In verses it is clearly written that we can increases them by our work. No where it is written that they increase automatically Feb 13, 2020 at 2:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .