Markandeya continued, "O Bharata, the fowler having expounded these abstruse points, the Brahmana with great attention again enquired of him about these subtle topics. The Brahmana said, 'Do thou truly describe to me, who now duly ask thee, the respective virtues of the qualities of sattwa, rajas, and tamas.' The fowler replied, 'Very well, I shall tell thee what thou hast asked. I shall describe separately their respective virtues, do thou listen. Of them tamas is characterised by illusion (spiritual), rajas incites (men to action), sattwa is of great grandeur, and on that account, it is said to be the greatest of them. He who is greatly under the influence of spiritual ignorance, who is foolish, senseless and given to dreaming, who is idle, unenergetic and swayed by anger and haughtiness, is said to be under the influence of tamas. And, O Brahmana rishi, that excellent man who is agreeable in speech, thoughtful, free from envy, industrious in action from an eager desire to reap its fruits, and of warm temperament, is said to be under the influence of rajas. And he who is resolute, patient, not subject to
anger, free from malice, and is not skilful in action from want of a selfish desire to reap its fruits, wise and forbearing, is said to be under the influence of sattwa. When a man endowed with the sattwa quality, is influenced by worldliness, he suffers misery; but he hates worldliness, when he realises its full significance. And then a feeling of indifference to worldly affairs begins to influence him. And then his pride decreases, and uprightness becomes more prominent, and his conflicting moral sentiments are reconciled. And then self-restraint in any matter becomes unnecessary. A man, O Brahmana, may be born in the Sudra caste, but if he is possessed of good qualities, he may attain the state of Vaisya and similarly that of a Kshatriya, and if he is steadfast in rectitude, he may even become a Brahmana. I have described to thee these virtues, what else dost thou wish to learn?'"