114. The Three Fishes - Sattva, Rajas en Tamas

There were three fishes in a pond.
One fish said to the other two: "The water in this pond will run dry day after day. A time will come when the pond may become completely dry and before the fisherman comes to catch us, it is necessary that we go and stay in some place where there is a perennial supply of water".
The second fish said: "You are imagining. Your mind is full of needless fears. The pond will not run dry. The fisherman will not come to bother us. Enjoy your present state."
The third fish was discouraged when the other two did not accept its advice and so it had to share their fate.

As anticipated, the fisherman came and trapped them, cooked and ate them. Our life may be compared to a pond and the length of our life to the water. The three fishes are the three gunas, tamas, rajas and sattva. The sattvic tendency always decides to follow the path of good and fixes its attention on things which are permanent. It decides that before the level of water runs down, it should save itself and it always thinks of noble things. Water has been compared to the length of life and day by day it recedes and at any time death may overcome it.

The fisherman is the emblem of death. Tamas and rajas are antagonistic to sattva and therefore even the merit of sattva is counteracted by the other two. These two gunas, tamas and rajas, mislead our senses and send them along the wrong path. We should first try to control tamas and rajas and thereby attain mastery over our senses. If we follow good methods even rajas and tamas may be conquered by close association with sattva.