Art & Spirituality

Advaita Vedanta in action


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Annamalai Swami
Chronic pain and vedanta



tamas, rajas, and sattva

When I meditate there are three different pushing or pulling energies that influence the silence. I can't sit still and want to be active; I'm lazy and bored; or I am in harmony and peace.

Those energies also work together. For example, when you can't sit still your mind also doesn't keep quiet, is getting bored and start daydreaming. From getting bound to stillness you get lazy and don't want to get on your feet again.

Those three energies, called 'Gunas', are like strings that pull or push us in different directions in everything we do.
The three gunas are tamas, rajas, and sattva.
Sattva being good, harmony, beauty, compassion, positive, and constructive;
Rajas is the Guna of activity, desire, passion, lust, impulsive, potentially good or bad;
Tamas being the quality of darkness, ignorance, destructive, fear, negativity.

Everything made of matter undergoes three stages of existence – (1) it is created, (2) it remains for some time and, (3) it is inevitably destroyed. These three phases correspond to the three gunas. Passion (rajas) creates, goodness (sattva) sustains and ignorance (tamas) destroys.

All life forms have these three Gunas, in different proportions.
A tree has another mix than a human or a stone. The interplay of these gunas defines the character of someone or something, of nature.

The knowledge of the Gunas help us to understand the nature of reality, including our reality, and make us realize that we as the limited person we think we are, are in fact in the centre of life watching nature, watching the play of the Gunas and see how they influence and determine our lives.

For example:
Today I better keep quiet.
Don't say a word.
Tamas Guna is present.
Reading newspapers, without any interest.
Playing cards on the computer.
Don't go out and meet people.
Watch television.

Getting on my feet again. (Rajas)
Still no words are coming,
but in love with the silence. (Sattva)

On the street now.
Drink a coffee and have a chat.

Shop for food
for the dish I'm gone cook.
for the one I love.


The more you recognize the Gunas the less you get conditioned by them.
© Matthijs Warner 

    
    
 

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