In Indian philosophy, particularly in the context of Yoga and Ayurveda, the concept of the 3 gunas refers to the fundamental qualities or energies that are present in all aspects of creation, including individuals and the universe. The three gunas are known as Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.
Once a disciple asked his guru if God is there then why is bad happening in the world, why is the Pandemic happening, why is the tsunami coming, and why is all destruction happening?. If Satan does all this then is Satan even stronger than God? If Satan is more powerful than God, then we should worship him only. Why do we worship God?
There are more than 300 religions on this earth and all worship the god in which they believe. All of them also believe that without the will of God, even a single blade of grass does not move. So why would God do anything bad? Then what is the reason for this?
So the Guru said that the answer to this matter is found in the Bhagavad Gita, in which Shri Krishna has told 3 qualities of nature. Which applies to every part of life. This knowledge is the best of all knowledge. After knowing that, all sages have attained accomplishment.
What are the 3 Gunas or 3 Qualities of Nature – Sattva, Rajas & Tamas
The three Gunas are Sattva (purity), Rajas (activity), and Tamas (darkness, destruction). Gunas are present in everything; humans, food, animate and innate objects.
Quantum Physics also proved that everything that we see is made of atoms and atoms can be broken down into three constituent parts – protons, neutrons, and electrons. This is a scientific description of nature.
Here is a brief explanation of each guna:
Rajas – The Guna of Passion and Manipulation
Rajas are associated with the quality of action, dynamism, and passion. It is characterized by restlessness, desire, ambition, and activity. When the rajas guna is predominant, individuals may experience strong emotions, ambition, competitiveness, and the drive for achievement. Rajas can be both positive and negative, depending on how it is channeled and balanced.
Rajas Guna of nature represents the proton part of the atom. This is the positive side of nature. A person with this guna thinks about himself, about his desire and satisfaction. He lives to satisfy his 5 senses and thinks his body is only the truth. If it is accessed it makes a person selfish and greedy.
Understand it by example; suppose you are driving a car and its race is rajas guna. It helps in moving you forward. Due to race only, a car will keep moving and can be an accident even while running continuously. So, it needs a break to stop.
Tamas – The Guna of Darkness and Destruction
Tamas represents the quality of inertia, darkness, and ignorance. It is associated with dullness, laziness, ignorance, and resistance to change. When the tamas guna is predominant, individuals may exhibit qualities such as lethargy, confusion, delusion, and attachment to material possessions. Tamas is considered the lowest guna and hinders spiritual growth and self-realization.
Tamas Guna of nature represents the neutron part of the atom. This is the negative side of nature. Tamas manifests itself as impurity, laziness, and darkness. A person with that guna does not think about anything. It gives birth to anger and in his anger a person destroys everything. If it’s over in any person it destroys everything.
This guna of nature is the reason behind pandemics, all disasters or anything bad happen in any life. If anything bad happens in your life just think and identify this quality of nature. Maybe you have bad habits, negative thinking, or anything wrong happening around you, or you are doing anything wrong. Just identify and correct it.
This guna is like a break in your car. It also needs to stop your car. But there is only one break your car will not move. Just think about its positive aspects, this guna is also important.
Sattva – The Guna of Purity and Harmony
Sattva represents the quality of purity, harmony, balance, and clarity. It is associated with intelligence, knowledge, and spiritual growth. When the sattva guna is predominant, individuals tend to exhibit qualities such as calmness, clarity of thought, compassion, and contentment. Sattva is considered the highest and most desirable guna, leading to higher consciousness and spiritual awakening.
Sattva Guna of nature represents the electron part of the atom. This is the balance of both sides of nature. As electron flows between proton and neutron same sattva is a balance between rajas and tamas. Life is all about balance and for those who know this quality of nature, he is the Perfect Man.
It is the quality of goodness, joy, satisfaction, nobility, and contentment. It is free of fear, violence, wrath, and malice. Sattvic quality is pure and forgiving. It is the guna that people want to increase to reach the state of Samadhi or Liberation. Increasing sattva is possible by reducing rajas and tamas, both in your mind and in your body.
This quality of nature is like the steering wheel in a car. If you have a break and race but do not have a steering wheel you will not be able to control the car. So, balancing is a much more important part of your life.
A Story of Three Boys
Once three boys left their village for the city in search of work. When they were going through a forest, they felt hungry on the way. All three went in search of food in different directions. All three got a mango tree.
The first boy saw some ripe mangoes lying at the bottom, so why pluck new mangoes. He got up and ate the mangoes lying below. After filling his stomach, he felt that something should be given in return for the mangoes he had eaten. But there was no one to whom he could pay. So he thought why not mango seeds should be grown in the ground. He planted the mango seeds around him. This was the Sattva Guna of his nature.
When the second boy arrived, he thought why not I should pluck all the mangoes so that I would earn money by selling them in the city. He plucked all the mangoes and cut some wood along with it. This was the Rajas Guna of his nature.
The third boy did not understand which are ripe mangoes and which are raw mangoes. Whatever mangoes he picked up, were sour. He got angry and set that tree on fire. This was the Tamas Guna of his nature.
There are three Gunas inside every human being. But one guna dominates more. If the tamas guna dominates someone, then it becomes the reason for his destruction. This Tamas guna is the cause of all the evils and pandemics around. A person with Tamas guna thinks only about himself and his family. And the best guna among all these is the sattva. A person with sattva guna thinks about public welfare.
How Do These 3 Gunas or 3 Qualities of Nature Apply in Every Part of Life?
As I told these 3 Gunas or Qualities of Nature are present in everything; humans, food, animals, and innate objects. Now see the examples:
Anything that we eat is divided into three parts after going inside in Stomach. One part becomes the muscles of the body(Rajas), and the other part wastes (Tamas). Its micro part becomes part of the mind. That is the sattva part of nature.
There is a wonderful saying in Hindi “जैसा खाए अन्न, वैसा होय मन” which means your mind become as you eat. This is the reason in Hinduism sattvic food is given so much importance. sattvic food such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. sattvic foods are fresh and pure and grow above the ground, receiving their positive energy from the sunlight.
Water is also divided into 3, first urine(tamas), second into blood(rajas), and its micro component in life(soul) which is sattva.
Early morning, afternoon, and night. For example, early morning has sattva, afternoons become rajasic and night brings tamas.
Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh(Shiv), these Hindu Gods are the biggest examples of the 3 Gunas or Qualities of Nature. Brahma is Rajas, Mahesh(Shiv) is Tamas and Vishnu is Sattva. That Vishnu Ji is the most Venerable God in Hinduism. Shiv’s Trishul is a symbol of these 3 Gunas and these three Gods.
Electron flows between positive and negative. That produces electricity. The positive side is rajas, the negative side is tamas, and the electron that flows between these is sattva.
In yogic philosophy, nadis are subtle energy channels or pathways that exist within the human body. There are said to be thousands of nadis, but three nadis are considered to be of primary importance. These three nadis are the Sushumna, Ida, and Pingala. Here’s a brief explanation of each Nadi:
Sushumna Nadi: The Sushumna Nadi is considered the central channel of energy in the subtle body. It runs along the spinal column, starting from the base of the spine (Muladhara chakra) and extending up to the crown of the head (Sahasrara chakra). It is associated with the awakening of spiritual energy and the path to self-realization.
Ida Nadi: Ida Nadi is associated with lunar or feminine energy. It is said to originate from the left side of the base of the spine and winds its way up, crossing the Sushumna Nadi at various points. The Ida Nadi is believed to be connected to the qualities of coolness, calmness, and receptivity. It is associated with the parasympathetic nervous system and is said to control mental and emotional processes.
Pingala Nadi: The Pingala Nadi is associated with solar or masculine energy. It is said to originate from the right side of the base of the spine and runs parallel to the Ida Nadi, crossing the Sushumna Nadi at various points. The Pingala Nadi is associated with the qualities of heat, activity, and stimulation. It is associated with the sympathetic nervous system and is said to control physical processes and the manifestation of action.
Things that are Beyond these 3 Gunas
Things that remain the same everywhere and every time are extreme truths. That is what we call reality. Only Maya (illusion) has these gunas but truth has no guna. That’s why we called it Nirguna.
The extreme soul that is the reason behind everything on this earth is beyond all these 3 gunas.
Consciousness is something that enables us to see that a world full of illusion is also beyond these 3 Gunas because after knowing consciousness a person gets free from these illusionary worlds. He starts seeing the extreme truth. So, consciousness itself is a small part of the extreme soul.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1: What are the 3 Gunas in Indian philosophy?
The 3 Gunas, known as Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, are fundamental qualities or energies present in all aspects of creation, including individuals and the universe, according to Indian philosophy, particularly in Yoga and Ayurveda.
Q2: How do the 3 Gunas apply to human nature?
The 3 Gunas influence human nature by manifesting as Sattva (purity and harmony), Rajas (passion and manipulation), and Tamas (darkness and destruction). These qualities impact thoughts, actions, and behavior.
Q3: What is the significance of Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas in daily life?
Sattva represents balance and purity, Rajas signifies activity and passion, while Tamas is associated with inertia and darkness. These qualities are present in various aspects of life, influencing everything from food and water to daily routines.
Q4: How do the 3 Gunas apply to food and water?
In food, Sattva represents the essence that nourishes the mind, Rajas corresponds to the physical energy derived from the muscles, and Tamas represents waste. Similarly, water is divided into urine (Tamas), blood (Rajas), and its micro component for life (Soul), representing Sattva.
Q5: Are the 3 Gunas related to Hindu gods?
Yes, the Hindu gods Brahma (Rajas), Vishnu (Sattva), and Mahesh (Shiv – Tamas) embody the qualities of the 3 Gunas. They symbolize the cosmic forces governing creation, preservation, and destruction.
Q6: How do the 3 Gunas relate to electricity?
In the analogy of electricity, the flow of electrons represents Sattva, with the positive side as Rajas and the negative side as Tamas. The interaction between positive and negative creates the flow of energy.
Q7: What are the 3 Nadis in yogic philosophy, and how do they relate to the Gunas?
The 3 Nadis—Sushumna, Ida, and Pingala—are energy channels in yogic philosophy. Sushumna (Sattva) is associated with spiritual energy, Ida (feminine energy) with coolness and receptivity, and Pingala (masculine energy) with heat and stimulation.
Q8: Is there anything beyond the 3 Gunas?
Yes, things that remain unchanged and are considered ultimate truths are beyond the 3 Gunas. The extreme soul, known as Paraatma, is beyond these qualities and is the underlying reason behind everything in the universe.
Q9: How do the 3 Gunas relate to Maya (illusion)?
Maya, or illusion, is influenced by the 3 Gunas, but ultimate truth, referred to as Nirguna, transcends these qualities. Maya is considered impermanent and influenced by the interplay of Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.
Q10: Can the dominance of a particular Guna impact an individual’s life?
Yes, the dominance of a particular Guna can significantly impact an individual’s thoughts, actions, and overall life. Sattva promotes balance and harmony, Rajas leads to passion and activity, while Tamas can result in inertia and destruction.
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