Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tri-gunas (Rajas, Tamas and Sattva) and their influence on mind

“Those whose understanding (vision) is fully unveiled as soon as illusion ceases and the Self is realized, they (the wise) shine free from misery”.

The Self, which is the Essential Nature of the seeker, is not realized by him only because of his ego and its illusion in him.  As an ego, he is pre-occupied with his own miseries and his understanding is clouded by Tamas and shattered by Rajas.  When these two moods-of-the mind are sublimated, contemplative-ness increases in the mind, and the contemplative mind, during moments of its meditation, cannot avoid discovering its own illusions and the Eternal Reality behind them all.  Such perfect students shine in inner glory of their directly experienced Spiritual Essence. (AG 18.6)

In the liberated one, his mind is completely dissolved.  Not even Sattva expresses through it; Rajas that creates delusion and dreams has departed; Tamas that veils the intellect from the perception of Reality has been pulled down.

The inertia (Tamas) veils the intellect and then the mind becomes agitated (Rajas) with its projections and imaginations.  Pure “Non-apprehension” of the Reality is created by Tamas and the “Mis-apprehension” are produced by the Rajas.  When these two factors are controlled through Sadhana, the Sattva predominates in the mind and makes it more and more contemplative.

In the zenith of meditation, when even the last traces of Rajas and Tamas are ended, there the pure Sattvic-mind transcends itself and merges with the Infinite Consciousness.  Maya is crossed here.  Avidya is ended. In pure wisdom revels the Wise-man. (A.G18.20)
About this, Swami Krishnananda (Sivananda Ashram) says that even though we regard Sattva guna as a very desirable one, “Sattva too is a subtle medium of obstruction”.  Because “It acts in a double form – as complacency or satisfaction with what has been achieved and an ignorance of what is beyond”.

He explains this through an example:

“We always praise Sattva and regard it as a very desirable thing. But it is like a transparent glass that is placed between us and the Truth. You can see through it, but you cannot go beyond it because though the glass is transparent, it can obstruct your movement. It is not like a brick wall, completely preventing your vision, as Tamas does; it is not like a blowing wind which simply tosses you here and there, as Rajas does; it is a plain glass, through which you can have vision of Reality, but you cannot contact Reality nevertheless”.

Swamiji also explains that these two aspects of Sattva have to be “dispelled by the power of higher wisdom”.

“Action, contemplation and knowledge are the three stages through which we have to pierce through the veil of Prakriti, or the three Gunas.” 

All this is a total movement and there is an internal interconnection of beings, like every thread in a cloth being connected with every other thread. That is why salvation is universal, it is not individual. When you attain to the Supreme Being, you become the Universal Being.

The spiritual practice of a Sadhaka is, therefore, to attain God-Realization, by confronting the three forces of Tamas, Rajas and Sattva, gradually, stage by stage, in their cosmic significance, always keeping in mind that we are not ‘islands’ and are connected with everything”.


Note: When we proceed further and the senses are brought under control, all the three gunas are dissolved and a meditative mind rises above to a thoughtless state (Savikalpa Samadhi).


Additional reading

Astavakra Gita -Commentary by Swami Chinmayananda

No comments:

Post a Comment