There are three modes of nature—satva, rajas and tamas. When a man is under the mode of satva, he acts righteously, philosophically or spiritually. His actions are non-materialistic. Under the mode of rajas, he acts practically in the material world to earn a living or acts in a result oriented way.
Under the mode of tamas, he feels lethargic and does not like to do anything. Thus, it is the mode of nature which is responsible for the behavior or action of a person and not the person himself or herself.
There is another factor called prarabdha which carries the result of past actions stored in one’s causal body, according to which one suddenly acquires material benefits like financial abundance or satisfactory personal relations, which make one happy.
On the other side, prarabdha may be negative and may suddenly produce unhappy results like burning of a factory or a woman becoming widow. In either case, there is no way to explain the reason of such a happening.
A person in fact plays in the hands of nature under the influence of these two factors—modes of nature and prarabdha. This is what saint Kabir hinted at when he said, “do patan ke beech sabut bacha na koy,” that is, no one is saved between the two stones rubbing against each other.
With the understanding that one is not the doer (as modes make one do things) and performing selfless actions (acting without expectation of results), one develops “equanimity”—the art of remaining normal under dualities like pleasure and pain, gain or loss, and honor or dishonor.
With regular practice, one surpasses the modes of nature, and conquers enemies like anger, lust, attachment, greed and ego. With such qualities, one is called a saint or yogi who gets entry into the ‘kingdom of God.’
One can achieve these results by self-practice, chanting of mantras (advised in all religions) or more directly with the help of a guide or Guru, who has achieved oneness with God.