By study of this knowledge, and by putting it into practice, one can see the enormous difference between a pro-active and a reactive life. To be reactive is to have no knowledge—or less than a working knowledge—of all four aspects of the modes of nature, especially of how they give liberation. To be pro-active, on the other hand, is to use this knowledge to one’s full advantage. That is, instead of living at the hands of material nature as a victim, you can opt to be a victor. Therefore, Krishna exhorts Arjuna,
“Be victorious, rise above these modes of nature.”
Nevertheless, this is not a matter of blindly throwing oneself at transcendence. Rather, rising above the modes is a systematic, deliberate process, a science.
Another important consideration is the utility of this knowledge for preaching. It is significantly effective to preach about the modes of nature to non; for this is a highly accessible and verifiable aspect of the Krishna consciousness philosophy.
The symptoms of the various modes are not abstractions. When well-presented it is convincing because people can readily apply this knowledge and see the result; regardless if you are a devotee or not. An observant person can easily appreciate the modes by seeing how they act on people and on oneself. Once a person has a fair grasp of the three modes, or their symptoms, he or she can go to any public thoroughfare, such as a retail shopping mall or a major downtown street corner, a disco, the zoo, an amusement park, the beach, etc., and see the modes of nature interact and get instant verification of Krishna’s teachings.
Moreover, preaching about the modes brings pressure to bear on a preacher to keep oneself always in the highest mode. Preaching about it confers responsibility on the preacher to keep their act together and alerts them more and more to their influence from within and without. The more this awareness is increased, the more deliberately one can live their spiritual life. By this very process sages in the past achieved perfection. All one has to do is follow in their footsteps.