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Definition Of Gunas

Guna is the essential part of Hindu philosophy which is related to the nature of this universe. Everything has quality under the three Gunas. In the science, there are three qualities in each atom i.e. electron, proton and neutron. All should remain in the balanced state of the matter to maintain harmony. In the spiritual practice of Hindu philosophy, the three Gunas are primary part because we have to understand the formation of the universe by those Gunas. There are Bramha, Bishnu, and Maheshwar who are the responsible respectively to create, to nurture and to destroy. All three forces are the inseparable part of this existence.

Guna means the virtue or merit of the person or nature. Gunas are the reflection of how we behave with others and ourselves. Everything of the world has some type of Gunas even it is the non-living thing. Three Gunas has different symptoms. In human consciousness, there have three qualities, Gunas. Gunas are the responsible factors in how people react to other people. Those three Gunas are Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva. We can find all three Gunas within us but the dominate Guna can lead us. To balance of three Gunas is the highest state of living.

In the Bhagavat Geeta, the detailed description of three Gunas can be found. All the factors of the world are bounded by three Gunas.

3 Types Of Gunas

1. Tamas

Tamas is the lowest of all three Gunas. This is related to the darkness of the mind. In this state of our mind, we don’t want to work anymore. We become dull and lazy. We want to sleep most of the time. Delusion and ignorance are the symptoms of this Guna. This can make our behaviour cruel and inhuman. We can’t analyze what is good for us and what is bad for us.

If we are dominated by Tamas Guna, we have to come out from that state as soon as possible because this Guna can lead us to the level of depression. To get out from this Guna, we have to avoid Tamasik food like over meat and stale foods. We don’t have to be lazy. We should try to be active and creative. We can start to do yoga to be active from inside and wipe out all the blockages of our body and mind.

In this state of mind, a person can’t maintain a good relationship with the people. He can’t able to understand the value of the relationship. He or she doesn’t find the good quality of his or her friends and relatives. The real knowledge can be the best way to come out from this state. We have to seek the way to come out from this lowest and worst level. Really, some period of time we can be in this state but we come out from this state automatically again. This kind of Tamasik state is not bad but if we remain in the Tamasik state for a long period of time, that will be the problem.

2. Rajas

Rajas are the second level of the three Gunas. This nature of a person is led by the action, energy, and movement. The person who is dominated by the Rajas Guna, he or she wants to be very active and want to be very rich and famous. He or she wants to show to the society who he or she is. In this state, the person is attached to the good results of all the actions. He aspects good result and if he can’t get a good result, he becomes dissatisfied.

The person with Rajas nature does his or her task more and more. In the yogic field, he or she does more yoga which is not good because we have to be in the middle of everything. The person wants to collect more and more materialistic things. He or she does something in an excessive way. He or she eats spicier and fried foods.

In Rajas state, the human becomes very passionate and that passion leads him to the attachment in everything and every one in which or to whom he is passionate. The desire brings attachment and attachment brings dissatisfaction so this state is not the complete state of the human. Slowly, we have to upgrade our Guna towards the Sattva.

To come out from this state, one should avoid the Rajasik food and excessiveness in everything. He or she should be in a balanced situation. He or she should perform a balanced behaviour and action to become rid of this Guna. The desire of getting something inspires the person to do more. When a person gets something, he seeks another thing. He or she never stops to search. He or she never wants to avoid his or her seeking the material things. The search becomes unlimited and unending.

3. Sattva

Sattva is the state of balancing. This is the state of harmony joy and brilliant mind. After crossing the Tamas and the Rajas states, we can be in this state. This is the highest state among the three Gunas but this is not the ultimate goal of our spiritual practice. To get liberation, we have to cross the Sattva state too. We can’t get enlightened without being beyond all three states of Gunas. We have to be in the state of Gunless, without affected by all the three types of Gunas.

This state brings us joy in our life. In this state, we eat Sattvik food and behave with the Sattvik or polite way. This state is the healthy state of our mind and body. In this state, the human becomes pure and filled with intelligence.

For the harmonious society, Sattva Guna in essential but for the spiritual practises, we have to go to the beyond from the three Gunas. All of them cannot bring us into the higher state or to the liberation. For the purpose of getting salvation, we have to practice Sattva Guna at first. If we become habitual in Sattva Guna, we have to go beyond all Gunas as Geeta says Gunatit. Gunatit is the state in which all our attachments disappeared.

All the yoga practice in the world focus in the Sattva Guna but the ultimate goal of Yoga is to be free from all three Gunas. Even though the ultimate goal of yoga is to be free from all three Gunas, we have to practice Sattvik Guna, in the beginning.


When we become a higher practitioner of yoga, we can practice going beyond those three Gunas. The one thing should be clear that if we achieve liberation, we automatically become Gunless.