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The Gunas, Attributes of Life

The Gunas, Attributes of Life



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Published by: Moonlightshadow on May 02, 2008
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The Gunas, Attributes of Life
Contributed by Yoga Baba Prem
By Yogi Baba Prem Tom BealVeda Visharada CYI, C.ay, C.vahttp://www.floridavedicinstitute.com/ The Sanskrit word "guna" means attribute. These "attributes" serve as a powerful indicator and formulator of the physicalprinciples of the earth. The concept of guna, is one of the more important teachings from India. These attributes providepowerful insight into our spiritual growth, worldly manifestations, and the formation of matter from the subatomic level intomore dense levels of matters manifestation. But most importantly they provide a powerful tool to accelerate personal andplanetary transformation.Within the yoga tradition, the focus is on three primary gunas:1) Sattva2) Rajas3) TamasSattva is balance, harmony, peace and similar qualities. Rajas is activity and movement. It is dynamic. Tamas is inertia,non-moving, and sometimes lethargy. Of these three gunas yoga embraces the cultivation of sattva. Though it realizesthat one may embrace other gunas at times. As an example, if a person were stuck in a rut (tamas) they would need toembrace some form of activity (rajas) to move from their position of immobility. Our society is largely a tamasic-rajasic society. We are "on the move", active, dynamic, and changing, but at the sametime moving very slowly spirituality, and consumed by decay oriented activities. While this is not initially a problem as lifeis a journey, it is leading to a variety of disorders due to over work, and various strains on our nervous system. Even ouryoga systems are often more Rajasic than Sattvic. These are the more dynamic yogas common in western society.These are systems such as the power yoga systems, some kundalini systems, and various aerobic type yogas. Thoughthey clearly serve their purpose. They importantly and primarily serve two types of people:1) Lethargic or tamsic people that require the intense activity to help them break free from their daily patterns.2) Rajasic people that are stimulated, active, and don't know how to slow down. This can eventually become unbalancingto this group of people unless it is tempered with relaxing meditation. 
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While this rajasic yoga is initially important for these two groups of people, it is often overlooked that they must eventuallyembrace a more sattvic approach to their yoga practice.In the yoga and ayurvedic tradition, everything is made up of complex interaction between the three gunas. This leads toseveral basic guna types:1. Sattvic2. Rajasic3. Tamasic4. Sattva/Rajasic5. Rajasic/Tamasic6. Tamas/Rajasic7. Rajasic/SattvicNumbers 4-7 indicates complex interactions between the gunas involved. As an example, someone might be very activeand dynamic, but they may begin to experience more balance within their life. The ratios between rajas and sattva wouldchange over time as they grew as a person.These gunas and complex interactions between gunas would be applied to all manifestations in life. In an oversimplification, a whitewater river would be rajasic, but the erosion would be tamasic or decaying for the banks of the river.In other parts of the river it would be balancing by building up sand bars. The foods we eat are considered balancing(sattvic), stimulating (Rajasic), or decaying (tamasic) to the body and mind. The entire science of Ayurveda is builtaround this basic concept. To explore these concepts more, it is highly recommended to read "Ayurveda and the Mind"by Dr. David Frawley. Serious practitioners of spirituality should develop a solid and expansive understanding of the gunas and their applicationto all facets of life. They should consciously apply this science to all actions and interactions in their daily life. This willreinforce the appropriate gunas within one's spiritual life; and in reality this is what each of does through habit whetherwe are conscious of it or not. The root to Guna is "Grah" which means to 'seize", additionally it means a thread or strand. It seems that on a moremystical level the Nirguna is the absence of this thread or impersonal deity and Saguna is the presence of the thread,which is the personal deity. And of course the thread is the same material as the non-thread from a non-dualisticstandpoint, as the material (thread) in a static state becomes dynamic and leads to the creation of the thread. It seemsthat this thread concept permeates Hinduism from yoga through Nyaya philosophy and numerous other writings. It is thethread that links the lower mind with the infinite essence.
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Other views toward Gunas.Within the Nyaya system, a system of logic in India, they teach that all created things contain a property-called a guna.Instead of just three they associate twenty-four attributes (gunas) with creation. These twenty-four are in reality complexcombinations of the three traditional gunas. These are:- 1) Shape or color (Rupa)- 2) Taste (Rasa)- 3) Odor (Gandha)- 4) Tangibility (Sparsha)- 5) Number (Samkhya)- 6) Dimension (Parimana)- 7) Severalty (Prithaktva)- 8) Conjunction (Samyoga)- 9) Disjunction (Vibhaga)- 10) Remoteness (Paratva)- 11) Proximity (Aparaiva)- 12) Weight (Gurutva)- 13) Fludity (Dravatva)- 14) Viscidity (Sneha)- 15) Sound (Shabda)- 16) Knowledge (Buddhi)- 17) Pleasure (Sukha)- 18) Pain (Dukha)- 19) Desire (Iccha)- 20) Aversion (Dvesha)- 21) Effort (Prayatna)- 22) Merit (Dharma)- 23) The self (Samskara)
American Institute of Vedic Studieshttp://www.vedanet.comPowered by Joomla!Generated: 2 May, 2008, 02:34

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