Episode # 370 – Various classifications with respect to “Satva Guna”, “Rajo Guna” & “Tamo Guna” – An important accord!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of Bhagawan Krishna’s important explanation as to how our “Atman” is of a much higher significance as compared to our “Shareera” or physical body. We should understand that although the “Atman” is very small and miniscule in size as compared to our physical body, without the “Atman”, the “Shareera” is nothing at all! In continuation with this point, Bhagawan Krishna explains that currently our “Atman” is imprisoned into our physical body, just like a criminal. Indeed, all of us are criminals in a way, as we’re taking birth repeatedly in this world due to our past “Karma”. We’ve seen earlier too that this physical body is taken by the “Atman”, on account of both our “Punya” and “Paapa Karma”. The real problem comes as we fail to realize that our “Atman” is jailed! We spend so much of time, money and resources in “beautifying” our jail, unknowing the fact that this jail is some day subjected to total destruction. However, if one has to be liberated from this “jail”. We should have the awareness that there is something called “Vaikunta” or “Moksha” that is permanent and if we’re going to attain that, we’re never going to come back to this world, which is full of sorrow and sufferings.

To substantiate this point, we’re going to see some excerpts from the Vedas and Upanishads as we move on further. Here, we’re going to witness a list of items that fall under the “Satva Guna”, “Rajo Guna” and “Tamo Guna”. Now we might ask a question here – What should we do by knowing all of these? The simple answer is that, we’ve to follow all the items that are listed under the “Satva Guna” and keep ourselves away from those items that are listed under the “Rajo Guna” and “Tamo Guna”. It is only then, our “Satva Guna” is going to grow. Now we’re going to witness all of these points from the Vedas directly. The branch of Vedas that talks and elucidates about the “Brahman” (Supreme Consciousness) is called Upanishads and is also referred to as “Vedanta”. This “Vedanta” talks about various aspects of “Brahman” and how do we associate very closely with it. This is pure “Satva Guna”. On the other hand, the spiritual practices that we perform regularly like our “Sandhyavandanam”, “Tarpanam”, “Homas”, “Yagnya”, so on and so forth, come under the “Karma Bhaaga” of the Upanishads, and this is engulfed within the “Rajo Guna”. On top of this, there is something called as “Paashanda Dharma”. This is nothing but some propaganda that is being done to worship some “Devata” for attaining some material gains that are very low-profile in nature. All these would come under the ambit of the “Tamo Guna”.

This above description was with respect to the Vedas and Upanishads, and which are the portions of it, that comes under the “Satva Guna”, “Rajo Guna”, “Tamo Guna”. Now, we’re going to witness the same kind of a classification with respect to water. Now this is very interesting here. How can we classify water into “Satva Guna”, “Rajo Guna” and “Tamo Guna”. We classified “Vedanta” and Vedas in that way and it was perfectly fine. But how do we classify water? Let’s witness this here – The water that is free flowing in the holy rivers like the Ganges, Yamuna, Cauvery, etc. come under the “Satva Guna”. However, the water that is preserved with all the sweet-smelling and sweet-tasting items are all categorized under the “Rajo Guna”. Today we have all these “mineral water” and “portable drinking water” isn’t it? All of these fall under the categorization of “Rajo Guna”. On the other hand, if we’re consuming water that is mixed with alcoholic drinks, this is categorized under the “Tamo Guna”. Thus, we can witness here that even water can be categorized into “Satva”, “Rajas” and “Tamas”.

Next, we’re going to witness the same kind of classification with respect to people. How different people are categorized? Sanyasins, “Mahatmas” and “spiritual masters” would automatically come under the “Satva Guna” classification. This is quite obvious as we know that these are the people who are the real spiritual seekers. On the other hand, people like us who constantly keep running behind something or the other in this world are classified into the “Rajo Guna”. Whereas, people who indulge themselves into Karma that directly signify “Adharma”, fall directly into the “Tamo Guna”. This is the classification with respect to people.

Now, we’re going to witness the same kind of classification with respect to countries (Desha). Whichever country that is totally isolated from the rest of the world is vvery high on “Satva Guna”. We would be able to witness some countries like this today too, isn’t it? Certain countries that do not have robust transport connectivity or internet connectivity with the rest of the world – All fall under this category of “Satva Guna”. Whereas, if a place is nicely developed with a planned arrangement with regards to infrastructure, economy, etc. are all classified under the “Rajo Guna”. However, if a place is full of smoke, unwanted burning, and wherein all unwanted and illegal activities thrive a lot, these places come under the “Tamo Guna”. The point here is that, when we’re associated with either of these places, correspondingly our “Satva Guna”, ‘Rajo Guna” and “Tamo Guna” are going to overpower each other accordingly.

So for today, let us understand these classifications clearly and let us wait for the next episode to witness a detailed description on what do these classifications mean to all of us. Stay tuned! 🙂


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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