In the Philosophy of yoga, all the matter in the universe has qualities. These qualities are known as the three gunas, and they refer to the nature of the soul. The three aspects are, Sattva (truth), Rajas (activity), and Tamas (darkness). All three gunas are always present in all beings and objects surrounding us but vary in their relative amounts.
For example, one might eat sattvic (light) food, rajasic (spicy) food, or tamasic (heavy) food, which will lead to a sattvic (clear) state of mind, rajasic (restless) state of mind, or a tamasic (lethargic) state of mind.
The three gunas attributes are tabulated below:
|Activity||Truth / Goodness||destructive|
|Passion / desire||Light / illumination||Darkness|
|Energy||Spiritual Essence||Mass / heaviness|
|Expansion||Upward flow||Downward flow|
|Movement||harmony/ calmness||Inactivity / dullness|
|Comes about by longing, craving and attachment.||Comes about by means of acquiring knowledge and joy.||Comes about by means of ignorance, delusion and obstruction.|
|Is the ruling trait when greed, excessive projects, cravings and restlessness arise.||Is the ruling trait when the light of knowledge and pureness shine forth.||Is the ruling trait when darkness, dullness, stagnation, confusion,manipulation and inertia appear.|
“When one rises above the three gunas that originate in the body; one is freed from birth, old age, death, and their distresses and can enjoy the nectar even in this life” (Bhagavad Gita 14.20)