prakṛter nātmano guṇāḥ
tatra sākṣiṇam ātmānaṁ
yo veda sa na badhyate
sattvam — the mode of goodness; rajaḥ — the mode of passion; tamaḥ — the mode of ignorance; iti — thus; prakṛteḥ — of the material nature; na — not; ātmanaḥ — of the spirit soul; guṇāḥ — the qualities; tatra — in such a position; sākṣiṇam — an observer; ātmānam — the self; yaḥ — anyone who; veda — knows; saḥ — he; na — not; badhyate — is bound.
One who knows that the three qualities — goodness, passion and ignorance — are not qualities of the soul but qualities of material nature, and who knows that the pure soul is simply an observer of the actions and reactions of these qualities, should be understood to be a liberated person. He is not bound by these qualities.
As the Lord explains in Bhagavad-gītā (18.54):
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
“One who is transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” When one attains self-realization, the brahma-bhūta stage, one knows that whatever happens during his life is due to the contamination of the modes of material nature. The living being, the pure soul, has nothing to do with these modes. In the midst of the hurricane of the material world, everything changes very quickly, but if one remains silent and simply observes the actions and reactions of the hurricane, he is understood to be liberated. The real qualification of the liberated soul is that he remains Kṛṣṇa conscious, undisturbed by the actions and reactions of the material energy. Such a liberated person is always jubilant. He never laments or aspires for anything. Since everything is supplied by the Supreme Lord, the living entity, being fully dependent on Him, should not protest or accept anything in terms of his personal sense gratification; rather, he should receive everything as the mercy of the Lord and remain steady in all circumstances.