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Wisdom from
Vedic India
By Amaresh Gautam

2013 Amaresh Gautam

2013 Amaresh Gautam

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any
means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any information storage
and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.

2013 Amaresh Gautam

The Three Energies

Golden Energy
According to Indian Vedic philosophy, three energies permeate the world Satvik
(referred to as White in this text), Rajsik (referred to as Grey) and Tamasik (referred to
as Black). At any point, one of three energies is dominant in the person (and by
extension in community, society or country). Fear, insecurity and Ego are perhaps the
most fundamental drivers behind the manifestation of the three energies. These
energies will be discussed in details later in the text. However select few people are able
to transcend the ebb and flow of the three energies.
Spiritual texts list equanimity, oneness, self-control, detachment, humility, surrender,
wisdom, compassion, fearlessness, and truthfulness as qualities of a person who have
transcended the three energies. It is a tall order and it seems unlikely that we will come
across people who will have such qualities in them. But then these are exactly the words
that come to mind when one thinks of Christ, the Buddha, Krishna or Prophet
Mohammed. There is also something uncannily common among all such spiritual
leaders or prophets. They seem to be connected to some sort of higher truth or
absolute knowledge.
Lets attempt to get a little closer to the truth by analysing the qualities of the
enlightened leader, as listed in the scriptures.

The Greeks called it Ataraxia, Bhagavat Gita refers to it as Stithpragya and the Buddhists
called it Upekkha. Equanimity of an enlightened person is different from the equanimity
of an ignorant person. An englightened person is deeply aware of all the sorrows of the
world, yet he remains calm as he possesses a higher knowledge.

To understand equanimity, consider the analogy of a river cycle. In the beginning of the
cycle, the water seeps from the rock in a state of purity. As it lands on the terrain it tries
to amass into something significant and encounters resistance from the terrain. The
young river is wild and agitated. As the river reaches a more mature state it becomes
deeper and calmer and ultimately connects to the vast ocean.

Equanimity of an enlightened person is like the calm of a deep river. However
equanimity is not the same as being emotionless or being a stoic. All the rough currents,
which were visible on the surface of the young river, flow under the surface of a mature
river. Yet the mature river has realized its path and flows in a serene manner.


2013 Amaresh Gautam

A mature river has accepted its destiny that it has to one day sub-merge itself into an
ocean. On its way, the river has resisted the terrain and it has also mingled with other
rivers. Ultimately all water bodies are connected in an every repeating cycle.
Acceptance of such inter connectedness is another trait of an enlightened person.
In our lifes journey we encounter many people, who can be categorized into three
sets. First, people we care about, for whom we feel love, affection, and attachment.
We have invested our emotions in them. The second group are people we dont know
and towards whom we are neutral and detached. The third group are people we
dislike, for whom we feel anger, or fear, even disdain. These are usually the people
who have resisted our path at some point or the other.
We are emotionally over considerate about the first set of people. We are much more
forgiving and understanding about our children. We are rational towards the second
set of people. The third set of people, bring out the negative emotions of anger or
vengeance in us.
However an enlightened person will judge all people by a similar yardstick and react
towards them with a similar emotion. He knows that his personal journey is just part
of a larger scheme and everyone else is on a journey of his own. Disagreements
happen because people have a limited perspective. An enlightened person
understands that if someone resisted him, it is because he is too focussed on his own
personal journey. They rise above such a state of isolated thinking (or separation).


A mature river is not easily perturbed by a rough terrain or wild climate. It seems to
know its path and move in a steady direction. Similarly a person with a golden energy is
not swayed by worldly temptations. He knows his direction and feels complete within
himself. He possesses remarkable self-control (the ability to control one's emotions,
behavior, and desires).

The control over worldly desires allows a person with golden energy to master negative
emotions like Lust, Anger and Fear which are fuelled by desires. Too much desire causes
Lust. Anger arises when someone or something comes in the way of attaining your
desire. Fear is also a form of desire and arises when we want to hold onto fulfilled
desires, never wanting to lose them.

Fear arises when we have something to lose. As infants we are not attached to anything,
not even our own names. But this changes swiftly and toddlers begin talking about
themselves. They do not say I want to do this. Instead they say, Mary wants to do
this. And as we grow older we get more and more attached - to people, money, power,
objects, and other things. Along with this attachment, a fear starts to develop, that of
losing the things we love.

2013 Amaresh Gautam

An enlightened person knows that most material objects and even people in his life
were a part of his journey, but they are not bigger than the ultimate destiny. He never
loses sight of the bigger picture and is thus not perturbed by a loss of a beloved object
or person. He acknowledges the role of every person but knows that at some point they
will get separated (just like river joins and separates from other rivers at many points).
Such temporary separation does not bother him, as we are all but small parts of a larger
scheme of things.

Just like the largest of rivers cannot ultimately carry anything with itself, a golden energy
person knows that he will not be carrying any treasure with himself. Either the treasure
will be left behind for someone else or it will be deposited in the vastness of the ocean.
Thus he does not attach his ego or self-worth to material possessions. He does not even
attach his ego to his knowledge. Knowledge may be the highest treasure, but it will also
be left behind for someone else to nurture or deposited in the vast pool of cumulative
human learning.

A person also picks up negative emotions or bad habits during his journey. Habits are
formed slowly over a period of time, yet can be extremely hard to get rid of. Developing
good habits require a lot of discipline. A golden energy person has the necessary self-
control to inculcate good habits. These good habits could be exercise, eating healthy,
meditation and reading. Such a person has control over his senses and understands that
mindless sense gratification is neither beneficial for him or for the world at large.


Detachment is the opposite of attachment, and it comes from understanding ones role
in the bigger picture. Attachment can be towards objects, people and ambitions. All of
these have a role to play in our journey, but none of them are an end in itself.
Everything ultimately will dissolve in the cosmic sea of knowledge. Thus one should be
attached to learning, rather than the objects which played a role in the learning.

However detachment is not the same as disengagement. Just like a river finds it path by
resisting the terrain or mingling with other rivers or by reacting to the weather; true
learning can only happen when a person engages himself in the world. Isolation and
disengagement may breed ignorance and smugness (like a stagnant water body breeds

A golden energy person is also thankful for the role played by different people in his life
or the importance of nurturing small ambitions at different stages of his life. He is also
tolerant and forgiving towards those who resisted his path at some point as learning is
more important than the path itself. He knows that troublesome people will also
ultimately discover their path and the role they are playing is just transitory.

2013 Amaresh Gautam

The types of engagement with people, objects or ambitions change and adapt
continuously throughout the course of a journey. The awareness about the ultimate
reality and the cosmic cycle of life actually helps a person remain focused on the
important people who will help him achieve his purpose. Yet he knows that at some
stage he will separate from them.

Some people play a bigger role in our life than others. They may be at a more mature
stage in their journey and may have reached golden energy. Sometimes it makes sense
to align your purpose with the purpose of a more enlightened soul.

Humility and Surrender

As big and vast a river may be, its ultimate destiny is to dissolve into something bigger
than itself. Even the greatest of kings, poets, philosophers and scientists are ultimately
only serving a larger cause. A person with Golden Energy is humble, and understands
this reality of the journey called life. True knowledge can only be achieved if a person
surrenders to this truth. Such a person is not arrogant, despite being more wise,
intelligent or informed as compared to most people. His humility makes him graceful.

Throughout life we meet many teachers, and there is always one special teacher whom
everyone looked up to. This teacher was loving, compassionate, knowledgeable,
humble and universally liked. One who was not afraid to admit that he or she did not
know the answer to a question, but who would get back with the answer after some
more thinking and research.

A golden energy person also knows that although his knowledge and wisdom is vast,
there are always many things that he does not know.

Wisdom refers to a more practical application of knowledge or discernment. Wisdom is
to know how much or how little one needs to survive in the world and when to
withdraw. A wise person realizes that he does not need too many material objects to
live a life of comfort.
According to Vedanta, in life there are four pursuits - desires (kama), wealth (artha),
dharma (rightful duty), and enlightenment (moksha). Not all people get the desire for
enlightenment. Most of us keep getting trapped in the other three.
A wise person realizes that desires tend to go out of control and thus cultivates self-
control. He knows that wealth is only means to an end and the end is comfort for the
physical body. The comfort of physical body can also be obtained by cultivating good
habits and discerning taste. One need not be extremely wealthy to eat a nutritious diet

2013 Amaresh Gautam

of fresh fruits, or to enjoy the best of music and movies or to read the best of the books.
Wealth acquisition is not bad in itself, in fact it is one of the worldly duty that a person
should engage in. However it should not come at the cost of mental trouble, either for
you or for others.
A wise person cultivates a sense of right or wrong. He realizes that one may temporarily
get ahead in life by wrong means, but that will create agitation in the mind of the
wrong-doer (and is thus not worth it). He also helps other people in cultivating ethics by
making them aware of the long term consequences of their actions.
Finally a wise person is tolerant enough to understand that often people indulge in
wrong doings either because their ego is attached to the material objects or they do not
see the broader perspective. In the traditional folk tale the wise person is the one to
who ordinary people go to resolve the dispute. When the wise person is being made
aware of the dispute, he doesnt get disturbed by it. Often he is little amused, and then
calmly helps the disputed parties in seeing each others perspective.
Thus a wise person learns to master desires, wealth acquisition and ethical conduct.
Thus he is at peace with himself and this frees him to pursue the spiritual path.

Compassion comes from the ability to see the path and struggles of another human
being. Every soul is on its own unique journey and may be on a stage that is very
different from you. A golden energy person is aware of the truth that ultimately
everyone will get aligned to the universal purpose. This awareness reduces the feeling
of separation.
Most souls first develop an awareness of their own journey. The love we get from our
parents is usually taken for granted. Most of our love in the earlier part of our lives is
reserved for ourselves and we are focused on our own journey. When a person falls in
love with another human being with the aim of making him or her, the life partner;
some of our ego boundaries are dissolved. Falling in love is accompanied with a
change in worldview.
Yet most people retain ego boundaries between them (less so with their immediate
family) and the rest of the world. We are very aware of the consequences of our actions
on our family members, but much less aware about long term consequences of our
actions on society at large.
It is perhaps impossible to function in this world without any ego boundaries. Yet people
with golden energy are aware that such boundaries only have some temporary utility
and from a higher perspective, all human souls are part of one large family. They have
an ability to deeply empathise with people whose paths have never crossed with their
own. They are sensitive about the consequences of their actions on the rest of the
society, the same way a family man is aware of the consequences of his action on his
loved ones.

2013 Amaresh Gautam


We are born ignorant and ignorance creates fear. When a person immigrates to a new
country or place, he or she initially feels fearful. As he gains knowledge about law of the
land and about people the fear diminishes. Similarly when the soul starts its journey, it
feels fearful as it takes time to understand how to survive and succeed on earth.
This fear manifests into different emotions. Just like a young river is agitated and
anxious to make its way, a fearful person may behave in a restless and inconsiderate
manner. Young bright men of intellectual competence are often cocky and arrogant.
They know they are capable yet they have not yet found their path. As they acquire
more knowledge, worldly wisdom and discover their purpose; they mellow down and
come across as actually confident.
The more knowledgeable a soul becomes about itself and the world, the more fearless it
would be. People who are ahead of us in the learning curve play the role of teachers by
guiding us in the right direction. The first teachers are our parents, who guide us
according to their understanding.
Not all the teachers in our lives teach us the right knowledge. Our parents have the
purest intentions towards their children; yet they sometimes end up misguiding their
kids as their own self-awareness or worldly knowledge maybe limited (or as kids often
complain outdated). Yet all teachers play a role in our learning.
Truly enlightened teachers never impose their belief systems on their students. They
point towards knowledge in subtle ways and let the students make their own choices.
They never impose their ways on others self-will. Neither do they attach their ego to
the success or failure of their students.
Dissolving of ego boundaries and moving towards a state of oneness also reduces fear.
Yet to become truly fearless, one has to conquer the ultimate fear- death. Many people
do not want to dwell on the subject of death. Only when a near or dear one passes away,
or when they have to make a visit to a hospital where they see other people struggling
with fatal diseases; they are compelled to think about the topic.
A golden energy person is not only aware of death; he derives a lot of clarity from the
fact that our journey has an end. Awareness of death makes him think fruitfully about
his path and the people and means which will help him align his goals towards a
purpose much bigger than himself.

Truthfulness and fearlessness are almost intertwined. Anyone who lies, cheats and
deceits to get ahead of others, is fearful of being caught. People who attach their ego or
self-worth to money, power or honour often end up using short cuts for success. They
rationalise it by saying that ultimately the world only focuses on the bottom line or
everyone else is doing it. They feel threatened in presence of a golden energy person
who can see through them.
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Truth is to live up to your inner conscience, following your intellectual conviction. Any
kind of lie or deception consumes the energy of the person who is weaving it. This
hypocrisy can be seen in the body language of people. People who are not genuine
often smile when they are actually seething and vice versa. An honest person on the
other hand spontaneously speaks from an inner voice. His thoughts, words and actions
are in tandem.

However a golden energy person does not utter words that would hurt others. There is
no point in saying the truth, if its only long term consequence will be making someone
miserable. Golden energy people neither lie nor are harsh on people who are still
struggling to grasp the truth. They are capable of playfully engaging with all human
souls. It is not an easy task as will be made clear by the next few paragraphs where the
nature of White, Grey and Black Energy people will be elaborated.

White Energy

White Energy is synonymous with purity. A person with White Energy has purity of
thoughts, words and actions which comes from a truth seeking nature. There is no
hypocrisy in such people. They are driven by wisdom and creativity. Knowledge
acquisition is almost a moral duty for them.

They often end up becoming professors, scientists or artists. Being knowledge driven
from early on in life they typically do well in academics. However it does not mean that
you will not find white energy people in uneducated section of the society. Anyone with
a can do attitude or problem solving approach in life is a white energy person.

For example you may recall a waitress or nurse or office administrator who works
beyond the call of duty. He will intuitively sense your requirement and do everything
within his capability to make things easy for you. While going through the process of his
task, he does not seem conscious about what he is getting paid. He will be cheerful and
happy about the realization that his actions have some good and beneficial
consequence for others. But because they are focused more on the process of their task
(rather than their reward) they invariably excel in their work and are valued by their

Their cheerful attitude is also due to a mind-set of abundance. In any point of his career,
the white energy person focuses on what he can do with his current job, resources and
opportunities available to him, rather than cribbing about what he could have achieved
in another workplace. Similarly as a manager he focuses on what he can make his team
mates do; rather than cribbing about their shortcomings.

2013 Amaresh Gautam

They can be hard task masters while managing teams because they are disciplined and
focused, often expecting the same from their team. Yet they are loved and admired by
their team, to the extent that even their excessive harshness is tolerated. They can give
a lot of directional strength to their juniors and are natural teachers or mentors.

The white energy people are the ones whom you should invest your trust in. A manager
can expect them to be reasonable about the constraints and challenges of the
workplace. Yet they seem to have a detached air about them, which a less discerning
manager may consider indifference toward organizational goals.

Their temperament is calm, gentle and peaceful. They have remarkable self-control and
have healthy habits. They will not indulge themselves beyond a point in office parties or
let themselves go in frivolous enjoyment. Their role models are people who make a big
positive contribution in the world - Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther
King, Steve Jobs etc.

However, white energy people sometimes spend most of their life operating in the
mode of goodness, so much so that they never learn how to deal with the negative
energies of the world. Avoiding confrontation, they may become inward driven and
reclusive. They start feeling that engaging with energies very different from themselves
reduces their peace and blissfulness. In such a state they can be unpredictable and
difficult to engage with.

They also often become arrogant and intolerant. They are not driven by material goods
or power and start looking down upon people who are chasing such ephemeral
possessions. Yet they do not realize that even knowledge or creativity has its own ego
trappings. For a knowledge driven person, self -expression or fame becomes important.
Sometimes they start chasing these goals of self-expression, losing their focus on the
process itself. Sometimes they start enjoying fame so much, that honour becomes their
driver (rather than knowledge). This pattern is often seen in many musicians and artists,
who have an aura of purity when they start but lose it when they become successful.
They then start operating in the mode of grey energy.

Grey Energy

Grey energy people are driven by honour, rank, power or money. They always focus on
the result of their action. They often forget how to enjoy the journey to the goal and
wait for the happiness they will get when they reach the end of the journey. They work
hard for gaining a reward or recognition which they often pre-decide. When the reward
is not to their liking, they get dejected and angry.

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Since their clear focus is the next promotion, it is difficult for these employees to be self-
driven. Their motivation is externally driven and if the rewards are not clearly in sight
they start complaining that their work is stressful.

This is not the co-worker who volunteers for a difficult task. . Though they often work in
teams, their focus is on their own goal. They first look for how they could achieve their
goal and thereafter focus on teams goals. This type of person is aggressive and
achievement oriented. They are hyper, restless and are often on the move without clear
direction which results in a waste of energy.

Such people seem to be running on a hedonic treadmill. They believe that if they get the
next promotion or next jump in career, they will be happier as they will move into a
bigger house or buy a bigger car. Yet they will come back to the same restless state after
a temporary surge in happiness due to a materialistic improvement in lifestyle. It is
extremely difficult to satisfy the Grey Energy individuals.

When they are around, people are not at ease, the atmosphere is one with nervous and
restless energy. They choose professions that allow them to express this energy,
professions such as politics, armed forces, corporate leaders, business, farming, sports,

Kings are good stereotypical example of grey energy individuals. They attached their
egos with the grandness of their empires which was often the real driver for waging
mindless wars. Similarly many modern CEOs are keen on empire building even if it
comes at a cost to society. In fact often a CEO retains the cash within the organization
and invests it in large but unprofitable projects, opting for scale over profitability. Driven
by their egos, they ignore the main goal for existence of corporations - long term
profitability for the shareholders.

The Corporate structure itself stimulates the grey energy of its workers. Most
corporations are more focused on the outcome rather the process. People who do well
in a typical corporate set up are those who are good at delivering the goals within
certain timelines and are good at marketing themselves within the organization.
Corporate governance and ethics of a workplace starts going down when owners
emphasize outcome over the process. For example if a manager tells his sales team
(either directly or indirectly), that he wants the team to achieve the targets no matter
what they say to the clients, the ethics of the team will go down. Similarly if a board is
focused on short term profitability, they will make the CEO very restless.

Unlike a white energy workers who can reason with logic and create new body of
knowledge, grey energy workers are usually better at applying practical knowledge. In
fact they are only interested in acquiring knowledge they can apply at the workplace.
They do not understand the energy and enthusiasm of white energy workers who seem
curious to learn about everything. However it is the grey energy worker who never says
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I dont know or this is new for me in the board meeting. When presented with new
information a grey energy worker will nod along with an I know attitude. He partly
does it because he is trying to put on a show of being knowledgeable. But unlike a true
knowledge seeker, a grey energy person tends to focus on what he already knows (or
the part of information that he knows); whereas a genuinely curious person is focused
on the new information he has just picked up.

Unlike the white energy people who are truth seeking and rational; grey energy people
are rationalizing. They will sing the praise of the current employer and will often mould
their personality to suit their current workplace. Their motto is whose bread I eat, his
song I will sing. Once they change their jobs, they will be more forthcoming about the
flaws in their previous workplace. However they are more politically astute and aware
about interpersonal dynamics of the workplace. They are selfish and resort to politicking
to get ahead of more deserving colleagues.

Grey energy workers are driven by power and money; thus they admire people who are
in high paying or powerful positions within their organization. A white energy person
however will not respect a superior or any other successful person; if he feels that the
success was achieved by unsavoury process or the person does not deserve the rank or
money. For a grey energy person it is the level of success that matters whereas for a
white energy person the process, long term impact and the freedom and independence
that came with the success matters more.

Grey energy people feign loyalty and trust but it is easier to manage them with
incentives and legally thorough contracts. They are useful for organizations as getting
things executed within the constraints of time and resources come naturally to them.
They are also good at organizing teams and putting processes and structure in a
workplace. They are good tactical thinkers and are good at selling themselves and their
organization to the outside world.

Black Energy

Black energy workers are lazy and unenergetic. When they are around, everything
moves in slow motion. They are slow and do not understand the importance of time or
importance of finishing a task quickly. They have a very narrow perspective and seem
oblivious to the consequence of their actions on others. They have a carefree attitude
about timelines.

They are driven by momentary pleasure. They enjoy frivolous and mindless activities like
idle gossip, useless chatter or letting themselves go in parties. Their career goal seems
to be finding a job where they will have the maximum fun and will have to work the
least. They will always crib jobs they almost got or opportunities that they missed.

2013 Amaresh Gautam

They get confused and distracted very easily. They will often ask for guidance as they
are generally confused most of the time. As soon as you guide them they will leave your
presence smiling, with a happy note saying you have given me a new path. But soon
you will see them going in different direction, not intentionally but unintentionally. A
mentor or manager will feel drained after trying to coach such a person. It will feel like
that all effort to guide them in right direction has been in vain.

Such workers have piecemeal knowledge about many things but are neither genuinely
curious like white energy workers nor well informed like the grey energy ones. They are
also blind about the interpersonal dynamics around them. Often they are unaware that
they will be the first one to get fired if the office is asked to downsize.

While grey energy people are rationalizing; black energy people seem downright
delusional. Often they start living in a web of falsehood. They start manipulating their
juniors by using fear to make them toe their line. They can adopt devious tactics in
negotiating by lying to the other person to make him feel that his product or service is
useless. Lying all the time to others, they often start believing those lies.

As managers, black energy people can crush the confidence of young workers. They are
excessively critical and fault finding, which is a manifestation of their own insecurity. A
young worker who is not discerning enough may mistake such falsehood for genuine
feedback and may start doubting his abilities. While grey energy manager will be selfish,
a black energy manager is actually malicious. He will easily become jealous of younger
more capable colleague and will exaggerate his flaws to undermine him.

Sometimes the person with black energy behaves in such a blind manner, that others
feel that he has lost all perspective. A businessman in the mode of black energy mode
will end up taking impulsive and stupid decisions that cannot be justified by any rational
logic. We often see celebrities indulging in such behaviour. Some of the actions of Mike
Tyson or Tiger Woods baffle us. It seems like they threw everything away for few
moments of madness.

When Black Energy becomes dominant in a person he/she can become addicted to
Alcohol, Drugs and even sex. All such addictions represent mindless indulgence in
momentary pleasures without any thought given to long term consequences.

When a worker is operating in the mode of black energy, he can neither be reasoned
with nor motivated with incentives. He has to be observed and managed.


All the three energies misunderstand and distrust each other and people have a
preference to engage with similar energy types. The enlightened person with golden

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energy is capable of engaging with all the three energies without bias for any energy in

This may sound mystifying, since clearly there seems to be hierarchy of white, grey and
black. However all the scriptures assert that all energies or souls are equal in the eyes of
the lord. In the process of unravelling this apparent contradiction lies the secret to
acquiring the golden energy qualities described earlier in the text. Another way to put it
is that someone who has really understood the qualities of golden energy, would see
white, grey and black as equal. Perhaps the reader should read the earlier part of the
text again.

2013 Amaresh Gautam

Acknowledgement and References

1. The core framework (white, grey and black) is taken from Vedic Indian
Philosophy where the energies are referred to as (Satvik, Rajsik and Tamsik
respectively); the framework is best presented in the Bhagavad Gita

2. Much of the writing is derived from the essays of Mr. Varun Talwar found on
the following websites:

2013 Amaresh Gautam