Nature or Prakriti has three primal qualities (Gunas) and the constitution (in various proportion) of these three Gunas form the basis of any being in this universe. These subtle qualities have immense energy which not only make the surface mind works but also make the inner consciousness functions. A deeper study of these three gunas make us realise our spiritual nature. Mother Nature has presented duality in all creations where there is light, there is also darkness; where there is knowledge, there is also ignorance; where there is truth, there is also falsehood; and where there is divine forces all around which leads us to higher consciousness, there is the undivine which lures us down to the bond of attachment and a chaotic mind. The three Gunas underlie in all matter, life and mind. We must aspire in every step to ascend our being toward spirituality rather giving up to the unspiritual inertia and this is only possible with Sandhana or mindful practice.
The three Gunas and the qualities are
- sattva (Clarity, Purity, harmonious)
- rajas (passion, active, ambitions, desire)
- tamas (darkness, destructive, lethargic).
Sattva is the quality of Light (not heavy) and it is luminous in nature. It has intelligence, Clarity, Purity and it creates total harmony and stability. . Sattva provides happiness and contentment of a lasting nature. In Sattva, one experiences inner peace and love which unites everything in nature.
Rajas is the quality of change and activity. It has desires, ambitions and passion which creates a disequilibrium that upsets an existing balance. Rajas is actuated by ever seeking a goal or an end that gives this quality its true essence.
Tamas is the quality of lethargy, inertia and is heavy, obstructing in its action.Tamas brings along with it ignorance and delusion and darkness. It Promotes insensitivity, sleep and loss of awareness. Tamas has the quality to veil the consciousness in the presence of unconsciousness and darkness. It retards things and holds back any action.
In our lives, we need all three qualities. Tamas makes us stop and rest, we need rajas to get us going and perform ours tasks and activities, we need sattva to understand and get clarity and wisdom. Striking the right balance of the three Gunas or attributes in the path of yoga paves the journey path for self-realisation.