The Omnipresent, Ever-changing Gunas Play

Ενημερώθηκε: 22 Σεπτ 2020

I thought it would be best to write about the Gunas this month…Well, this is not by chance, I got quite intrigued as to how they played their eternal show in my poor consciousness with ultimate audacity…It was pretty obvious…and got me back in contact with the teachings of the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita and Samkhya thought.


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What are the Gunas?

In most translations you will find the word ‘qualities’ that consist our personality, set of conditions, forces. Or more precisely, in Samkhya the Gunas are presented as entities, and very substantial ones, each one of them having a characteristic expression. According to Samkhya, everything in Prakrti (nature) is composed of the Gunas. Nature is in perpetual motion and everything is changing, so we are changing, our mood is changing, our body is changing, likewise the Gunas are not static. They change every second, every minute in time. Every phenomenon in Prakrti is a mixture of all the 3 Gunas and the proportions in which they are blended in it, determine a character.

Gunas fall into 3 kinds:

Tamas (in red colour), it is often described as inertia, heaviness but also darkness…it ranges from the tendency to stability, to confusion, lack of understanding, not able to complete a task.


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Rajas (in green colour) express themselves in motion. It is described as passion, thirst and is associated with action. It ranges from activity but also greed and attachment.


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Sattwa (in blue colour) is the state of purity, clarity, it the state where Rajas and Tamas don’exist and the right balance dominates. It is the means to overcome passion and ignorance, to achieve self-realisation.


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Patanjali explains that the movement of the 3 gunas can be the reason for Dukha (suffering). We can’t control their movement and the way they change our mind can be an obstacle. When for example, we need to take immediate action for something and we procrastinate things, Tamas are predominant, but we need Rajas activity. Or, when it is time to sleep and the mind is very alert (Rajas) we feel tired and miserable next from the lack of sleep, then we would need Tamas activity. We have all of them in proportions and we need their interaction. Sattwa however, is the absence of the other two. It is when we reach the light, but still….we need the other 2 gunas to balance (check the comic pictures below).


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Reaching a state of Sattwa? We can reach the state of Sattwa with a balanced Yoga practice. Yes.

‘Careful construction of your Hatha Yoga practice is like creating a tasty meal with all the right spices. The food is satisfying when the spices are in balance. So, too, in creating a yoga practice that leads to a harmonious mind. On some days, you might require more movement with lots of variety, while on others, your system may need more stillness. Tune in to your needs and over time you will be able to observe the three gunas interwining and acting within you as one.’ JR

Athough I consider I can  fairly tune into my needs with a hint of tamas, I’m sad to say that lately I’m totally controlled by tamas…Till tonight…where a bit of rajas came to support my tamasic mood and got me into writing this.

Peace to you all


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