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Three Gunas

The Three Gunas in Hinduism

By Richard J Oldale,
July 7, 2020

Human consciousness is complex; so complicated in fact that modern science is struggling to come to terms with the unpredictable and unexplainable “phenomena” that is pure consciousness.

Scientists that do attempt to explain the nature of consciousness are criticised for their “pseudo-scientific views and labelled cranks. It’s a harsh criticism – especially when the daggers are thrown by deluded minds.

Arrows symbolism pain and suffering

Ancient sages seemed to have the nature of consciousness nailed thousands of years ago. Modern man seldom listens to the timeless wisdom hidden in myth and scriptures.

To be fair, we are not being provided with rational explanations about the real meaning woven between the fabrics of world mythologies. Instead, academia write-off ancient wisdom as “primordial” view of the world.   

For modern thinkers to consider themselves intellectually superior to our ancient ancestors is shallow, deluded and arrogant.

With such materialistic and short-sighted views, it is little wonder that the planet is falling apart at the seams?

Connecting With Nature

The wise men of old were more far more connected to nature than we are today. As a consequence, they recognised their own true nature.

This is liberation; mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

To help other people understand the nature of consciousness, wise Indian sages divided human nature into three categories of personality.

They separated the three modes of material nature into three parts, collectively known as The Three Gunas; sativa, raja and tamas.

Bhagavad Gita 14:20 | When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life.

In essence, the three gunas are primal energies of Cosmic Intelligence that encompass matter, life and mind.

The qualities of energy that emerge from the Unconscious engage in patterns of interplay that influence thoughts, emotions and actions.

Eventually, the subtle qualities of nature manifest in the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. Observing the nature of your conscious thoughts, emotions and actions enable you to identify and eliminate traits, attitudes and beliefs that do not serve you.

They form the spectrum of consciousness which eventually develops as physical and spiritual experiences and help us to understand how the mind functions.

What is True Nature? 

Nature forms through various forces of consciousness and can either mature into wisdom or take up roots as ignorance. Human nature is affected by the clarity we obtain from enlightened thoughts, or the delusions that are programmed by society.

The latter typically result in negative experiences and a poor quality of life. Because energy carries information, the information you absorb influences your view of the world.

There is no matter that does not carry information and energy. Similarly, there is no energy that does not carry matter and information. And there is no information that is not carried by matter and energy. Matter and energy are the carriers of messages or information.” ~ Dr. Rulin Xiu, Tao Science: The Science, Wisdom, and Practice of Creation and Grand Unification

The manifestations of these subtle energies are determined by our choice of lifestyle. We are naturally prone to error, but unless we are willing to understand and atone for our errors we are more susceptible to harm, confused thinking and physical illness.

To improve your quality of life, you need to identify and eliminate the experiences that cause you problems; stress, grief, frustrations etc.

Sometimes, these pain points will be caused by other people. Sometimes they will be caused because of your attachment (habit, addiction, weakness etc) to a person or situation. Mostly they are caused by your reaction to the circumstance.

Overcoming confusion

Individuals that are not prepared to pull back the veil of delusion, live in darkness. They are unable to control the mind. Painful experiences subsequently occur more frequently.

For self-conscious individuals that actively look to improve their lifestyles and attitudes, promote positive energy on a daily basis and acknowledge their faults, will be rewarded with a rational, calm and peaceful mind.

The three gunas bind themselves to the ego which ultimately creates our personal nature.

These energies are then projected outwards from the internal world of the mind – which we are mostly unconscious of – into the physical world where it manifests as reality.

In general, the mind is unstable and fluctuating thoughts cause us to lose control of our emotions and actions. Negative energies also secrete toxic chemicals from the brain and cause illness.

It is therefore important to understand how energies appear in our conscious psyche.  The ultimate goal is to identify habits that are self-harming. The challenge is to find the strength and willingness to change.

By altering or adapting our lifestyles and the choices we make in life, we can physically improve our nature and find the path to living in peace and harmony. 

And the Three Gunas are: 

Rajas, Tamas and Sattva.

Rajas and Tamas are moderate to poor habits that are ultimately the cause of mental disharmony and agitation.

Sattva is a healthy and responsible way of living that result in a well-balanced nature of being.


Tamas is negative energy that creates obstructions, delusion and ignorance. It makes us lazy, insensitive, inert, attached, depressed, helpless, doubtful, guilt-ridden, bored, sad, apathetic, confused and dependent.

People that are prone to tamastic energies live unhealthy, chaotic lifestyles and thus have unstable mental health. They are typically unconscious of the effect their actions have on other people and tend to ignore their own problems.

The following natures come from tamas energy: 

  • Oversleep
  • Overeat
  • Do not exercise
  • Eat a lot of meat
  • Indecisive
  • Ignorant
  • Arrogant
  • Judgemental
  • Poor memory
  • Vain
  • Boastful
  • Unreasonable
  • Bad ideas
  • No self-control
  • Bouts of fear
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Use intoxicating substances like drugs and alcohol on a regular basis

Tamas is often the result of psychological blockages that have rooted themselves in the subconscious which is then transferred to ego. Subsequently, the ego becomes your nature. But the ego is not your True Nature. it is a subconscious program that erects boundaries and prevents us from experiencing happiness and abundance.

People that suffer from tamasic energy become repressed, stagnant and tend to blame others for their own problems. When they are ill or experience problems, they do not seek proper help and hope the problem will just go away.


Because Tamasic types do not take responsibility for themselves, they are easy to influence and often led astray by dominating characters and the official lie…sorry, I meant official line. 

In short, tamasic energies create blockages in your inner world and your outer world! If you associate with any of the above symptoms, you need to change the way you react to your circumstances. 


Rajastic people are energetic and motivated to succeed, but oftentimes will burn themselves out. Too much activity and turbulence upsets the equilibrium of balance. 

The nature of Rajas is a longing for recognition and an attachment to worldly possessions which compels us to seek an affluent lifestyle. Symptoms include anger, euphoria, anxiety, fear, irritation, worry, restlessness, stress, courage, rumination, determination and chaotic lifestyles that do not allow you to be still.

Although Rajas energy is stimulating, it evokes desire and passion which compels us to seek happiness on the outside rather than the inside. The distortion of Truth creates a false impression of the world which ultimately leads to pain and suffering. 

Whilst it is true that Rajastic people can be materially successful in the physical world, because they are not conscious of their spiritual nature, their minds are often restless and emotionally unstable. 

Rajas nature can be detected by the following qualities:

  • Ambitious
  • Pride
  • Valour
  • Endurance
  • Argumentative
  • Jealous
  • Harmful to others
  • Cruel
  • Critical
  • Anxious
  • Harbouring desires
  • Studious
  • Deceitful
  • Disrespectful
  • Accept gifts and compliments
  • Attachment to dancing and music
  • Passionate

Although the attributes and qualities of Rajas are both good and bad, we should look to balance our energies with better living in order to bring about the best qualities of Rajas.

If you do everything by moderation you can improve Rajas, but there is also a need to adopt more Sattvic ways of living in order to purify the negative energies that exist in Rajas.


Ayurvedic practitioners maintain that the Sattvic way of life brings us in tune with our inner-self and helps us to discover our True Nature. It cultivates purity and peace of mind which creates harmony and stability in our lives.

Sattvic energy starts from within and moves upward to connect us with higher consciousness. This is the Cosmic Intelligence where we find our True Nature.

Lake of peace

Connecting with our higher self enables us to have clarity of thought and an abundance of love. It lifts the veil of delusion and liberates the mind from the bondage of the material world. 

Sattva energy promotes the best qualities of our nature and enables us to draw positives from negative situations. We are more consciously aware of our thoughts, emotions and actions which give us more control our environments.

Sattavic people are generally more creative and healthy because they cut off the negative roots which grow as erratic behaviour and disease. Not only do they look after themselves physically and mentally, but they are also generally more open-minded. When something bad happens in their life they strive to understand what caused it. Life is always a learning curve.

The qualities of Sattva are 

  • Joy
  • Satisfaction
  • Happiness
  • Contentment
  • Free from fear
  • Enlightenment
  • Clarity of thought
  • Confident
  • Modest
  • Forgiving
  • Self-control
  • Considerate

It should be noted that we should not bind ourselves to the virtues of Sattva energy, otherwise we upset the balance of duality. However, if your nature is predominantly Tamas or Rajas, try incorporating Sattva into your life.

The first of moving out of Tamas and into Sattva is to do more exercise, eat less red meat, consume organic and healthy foods, drink less alcohol, caffeine and soda and abstain from taking intoxicating substances. 

We should also respect the nature and opinions of others and try to bring more harmony into our lives. Sattva gives us the clarity of vision to alter our perceptions which allows us to find peace of mind.

The mind cannot be freed from chaos and clutter until we bring our energies into balance. By using the three gunas as a guide, our modes of nature will fall into place and ultimately improve our quality of life.

Master Mind Content offers a selection of self-development programs. Whether you want to overcome addiction, lose weight or anxiety, our personalised programs show you how to expand conscious awareness and improve your quality of life.


Richard Oldale
Master Mind Content is a leading authority in decoding ancient symbolism . Our research unveils the secrets to understanding and taking control of the the subconscious mind, channeling energy to self-heal and effectively using universal laws to fulfil your potential.

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