The three gunas


Uddhava wonders why a person behaves differently at different times. Lord Krishna explains that this is due to the three gunas — sattva, rajas and tamas, said P.T. Seshadri in a discourse. Each of these gunas results in certain traits in a person. Fifteen qualities result from sattva. They are sama, dama, titiksha, eeksha, tapa, satya, daya, smrti, tushti, tyaga, asprta, sraddha, hree, dayaadi and svanivrtti.

Sama means control over the mind. Dama means control over the indriyas. Titiksha means patience. Eeksha means the quality of analysing to find out what is good and what is bad. Tapah means observing one’s dharma. Satya is speaking the truth. Daya means mercy. Smrti is thinking of the Lord’s mercy. Tushti is being content with what one has. Tyaaga is surrendering all one’s actions at the Lord’s feet. Asprta means having vairagya, that is being unattached to anything that is worldly. Sraddha is dedication. Hree is being ashamed to sin. Dayaadi is giving dana. Svanivrtti is being simple.

A person with sattva guna believes in dharma anushtana. A person with rajas is pleasure seeking. A person with tamas is interested only in wealth. A combination of the three gunas in a person results in his behaving differently at different times. His behaviour depends upon which of the gunas is dominant at that moment. How can we infer that a person has all three gunas? The same man does rituals to gain an advantage; he leads the life of a grihastha, and observes his dharma, while earning to run his family. One who does his karmas and submits the fruits to the Lord has sattva guna. One who expects certain fruits from his actions has rajas. One who troubles others has the quality of tamas. One with sattva guna knows that the body and atma are different.

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