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Triguna (Qualities of Nature)

Just as the Doshas are the essential energies of the body, the three Gunas, namely Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, are the three essential energies of the mind. Genetically determined, an individual’s psychological characteristic is dependent on the relative dominance of the three Gunas. In equilibrium, the three Gunas maintain a healthy mind (and indirectly a healthy body). Any disturbance in this equilibrium results in various types of mental disorders.

The general Triguna  can be explained as:

Sattva: The Sattva Guna has the characteristics of lightness, consciousness, pleasure, The Positive Energy, The spiritual Quality: It influences us toward goodness, truth, purity, knowledge through the discriminative power of intellect and clarity. It is pure, free from disease and cannot be disturbed in any way. It activates the senses and is responsible for the perception of knowledge.

Rajas: The most active of the Gunas, has motion and stimulation as its characteristics. All desires, wishes, ambitions and fickle-mindedness are a result of Rajas. The Active/Kinetic Energy, the Active Quality: It provides energy for action through ambition, passion and desires.

Tamas: Tamas guna is characterized by heaviness and resistance. It causes disturbances in perception and other activities of the mind e.g. Delusion, false knowledge, laziness, apathy, sleep and drowsiness are a result of Tamas. The Potential Energy, The Material Quality: It generates our need for material objects and sense enjoyment through the sense-conscious mind.

How Trigunas influence Human Nature?

The Triguna composition influences qualities of human thought and behavior. They interact with each other resulting in the preponderance of one over the others. The degree of predominance of one Guna determines the individual’s personality characteristics.

These three Gunas, in different proportions, influence the physical, mental and intellectual caliber of every individual and these influences provide the distinct flavor in each personality. Sometimes sattva is predominant, overpowering rajas and tamas; sometimes rajas prevails over sattva and tamas; sometimes tamas obscures sattva and rajas. The nature of things is determined by the predominant Guna, while the others are there in a subordinate position.

An interplay of Triguna Nature

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