This chapter is engaged with the subject matter of the three guŠas, and as such may be taken as an elaboration or exposition of S€‰khya philosophy. KŠa begins by stating that the knowledge he is about to introduce is of a soteriological nature; as such, it liberates from the bondage of matter, and endows one with a spiritual nature similar to his. He then proceeds to describe the origin of beings through the example of the fetus in the womb; as the soul enters the womb through the father’s sperm and there develops its body, similarly, the supreme impregnates the material nature with spiritual seeds or souls, and as such, the various shapes of bodies are formed. In that sense, the Supreme Person is the father of all, whereas nature is the

I follow R€m€nuja in equating Brahman with prakti or material nature; see his

although the term guŠa is at times translated as ‘quality’, a deeper look will reveal that the concept of the guŠas is somewhat subtle, and that these are entities or substances and not mere qualities. The guŠas not merely characterize the subtle and gross nature of the living being, but they also actively confine it in the various types of bonds. As such, each guŠa binds the living entity in a particular fashion; goodness – through attachment to knowledge and happiness, passion – through attachment to activity and its fruits, and darkness – through illusion, indolence and madness. The guŠas not only confine, but pave a kind of an existential path for each and every individual entity; accordingly, each entity progresses in a more or less predetermined path, conforming to the guŠas by which it is bound. As such, it acts in a certain way, and receives consequential karma which keeps it bound within the same compound of guŠas.