The Three Gunas

We all have those days when we don’t feel like doing anything and feel unmotivated and lazy or days when we feel the complete opposite and are hyperactive, extremely passionate and enthusiastic. We also have days when we feel light, clam and tranquil.

 

These varying types of energies and frequencies are called gunas. A guna is an innate foundation that all manifested forms of nature possesses to make up its character, qualities and attitudes.  These formations can be visible, mobile or stationary. There are three main types of gunas that are listed respective to the types of days one can have stated in the previous paragraph, Tamasic, Rajasic and Sattvic. The word guna originally means stand. The strands representational of the three different gunas are intertwined together creating the combined characteristics of all manifested forms of nature. In other words, manifestations of nature have a combination of all the three gunas.

 

Tamas is a state of inertia and inactivity, however this does not mean that tamas people will not do have a goal and sit idle. A tamas person will achieve their goal and get things done through other people. Tamas as a positive energy has qualities of being at ease and patient and gives one the ability take rest. In general, it is better to reduce tamas energy. The physical environment that you are in can affect this because traditionally, tamas means darkness, hence in darker and duller weather, the feeling of inertia increases. Clear and sunny weather reduces the levels of tamas. Tamas can also be minimized by decreasing or diminishing the consumption of Tamasic food. This is food that is stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten and impure. It includes food that has been fermented and is from the later parts of the food chain, such as a white shark or snake. Tamasic foods make people feel heavy, dull and agitated because it fills the mind with darkness and impure thoughts hence, it is best avoided.

 

Rajas is a state of activity, fire and passion. It is what gives us the drive to pursue our goals ourselves and encourages work and creativity. However, when in excess, it can lead to hyperactivity, anger, anxiety and aggression, which causes an increase in blood pressure. Too much movement such as over exercising, overworking and lots of heat and wind, increases the levels of rajas and makes people agitated. Decreasing the amount of rajasic food eaten can reduce this. Rajasic foods are those that are bitter, sour, spicy, pungent or salty. Examples of these are onions, garlic, refined white sygar, coffee and tea. These over stimulate the mind and body causing pain, angry, greed, egoism, violence and lust.

 

Sattva is a state of being calm, harmonious, light, balanced and joyous. The natural weather condition of sattva is to have clear and constant light. However, when one has sattva, they are able to continue being knowledgeable and luminous regardless of outside factors.  To increase sattva, one must eat more sattvic foods. These are foods that are in their purest form and are taken directly from nature. This means that the food needs to be as fresh as possible, organically grown with no preservatives and chemicals. They digest quickly and keep you light, healthy, cheerful, strong, pure and calm.

 

This thing that is important to note about the three gunas is that you should not treat it as though they are good or bad. You should understand them when the various frequencies arise in your body and learn how to use them in a positive way. An example of this is how Paalu tells me to use anger, a rajas quality, to allow me to teach with more confidence and power in my voice. At the same time, I must not be reliant on this anger to stimulate passion, just as how one must not be reliant on things like caffeine to awaken them. Therefore, this shows that the three gunas are essential for moving closer to the purity of mind and wisdom.

 

Aditi Timbadia