The below is brief and just serves as an introduction. These topics are covered in the Vedanta links.

The creation comes into existence with the emergence of the 3 gunas: sattva, tamas and rajas. Sattva is intelligence and knowledge; tamas, a heavy dense energy is matter the substance of the creation; rajas is the dynamic active energy also known that transforms objects.
The word guna means rope. As the components that make up the dharmafield, the gunas govern the creation of everything. This includes the vasanas and the individuals svadharma, giving rise to ‘their’ conditioning. The gunas are always present and operating, because the casual body is there whether the jiva is present or not. The gunas condition the jiva or subtle body at all times, other than in deep sleep, nirvikalpa samadhi and of course, once the self is actualized as ones true nature.

The gunas are called macrocosmic vasanas i.e they belong to Isavra or the total, the creation, not to the person. As an apparent person or jiva (the self under the spell of ignorance) they are in the “drivers seat”. The person thinks he/she is the doer. The gunas belong to Isvara and have nothing to do with you, awareness, or with the apparent person.

Sattva, rajas and tamas correspond to the three main forces in creation: Rajas, vikshepa shakti, which is the projecting energy; tamas, avarane shakti, which is concealing energy; satvva, the revealing energy. When maya operates, sattva (intelligence) is the first guna to emerge; it is the nature of pure maya and as such, the nature of the mind. Tamas and rajas appear next, and together the 3 gunas bring into manifestation the apparent reality. Rajas and tamas are the main cause of ignorance; they extrovert the mind, turning it towards objects. When one is sattvic, it is that you have gained sattva; it is simply that the mind has tunred inwards toward itself. With karma yoga and the practice of self knowledge, sattva can become the persons predominant guna. Purifying the mind is aming for a sattvic mind.

All 3 gunas have an upside as well as a downside, as does everything in this apparent reality. Rajas is the active, creative ‘force’. It is the mode of passion and desire. Not all desire or passion is bad however; you need a passion for self inquiry and a strong desire for moksha. Tamas is the very substance of matter, a heavy and steady energy, Without it you not capable of endurance. You would not be ‘earthed’ and you would never be able to zzzzzz away. With too much sattva you can get stuck in the golden cage of experiential bliss. It is purely experiential and therefore does not last. It is the last object to be released before moksha. Yet it is a valuable energy for inquiry and should be cultivated as it is the guna springboard for self knowledge.

This yoga is about managing the gunas. Identifying which guna is predominantly playing out is a practical method to assist with karma yoga and to purify the mind. No-one makes themselves the way they are; isvara or the gunas does that. The ‘work’ involved in self inquiry is identifying the gunas through self knowledge and allowing the knowledge to help ‘you’ manage the gunas by dis-identifying with them as awareness. Note the guna and adjust to it in the light of what kind of mind you are trying to create. Make peace of mind your aim at all costs.
Through the application of self knowledge the jiva will eventually realize that the ‘person’ walking around is no more than a notion in you, awareness. Once self knowledge has been actualized, regardless of what guna conditions the subtle body (the ‘person’), they are rendered non-binding as the doer has been negated by self knowledge. The gunas have nothing to do with you, awareness, because you know that you are not the subtle body, the person/doer. You are triguna-atita, which means that you are beyond the gunas.

The below satsangs offer a practical demonstration on the guna teaching and its value.

The Three Gunas

Blame the Gunas, Not Your Mom and Pop

The Three Gunas and the Three Bodies

The Gunas Are the Ingredients of Everything

The Gunas and Science

Triguna Vibhava Yoga

Your Inquiry Is Clearly Fruiting. Yum.


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