TriGuna Vibhava

TriGuna Vibhava is the yoga of the three gunas or qualities of consciousness. The gunas are the fundamental shaktis or energies of creation and combine in very systematic ways to form the five subtle and gross elements, which make up the subtle (mind, intellect, ego and memory) and gross (physical) bodies. The three gunas are sattva (intelligence and purity), tamas (the material of consciousness) and rajas (the creative force of projection).


Creation is Maya plus the three gunas. Maya is an updadhi or conditioning agent within awareness/consciousness. To understand the way the gunas work, consider a clay pot, with the idea of the pot being sattva, the clay or material is tamas and rajas, the creative power that takes the idea and material and makes the pot. Everything within the manifest universe is a mix of the three gunas.

Before sharing the yoga of the three gunas, a little more detail on the guans might be helpful. Think of sattva as the intelligence, radiance and clarity of creation. It’s totem animal is the deer, which is pure awareness with just the right amount of tamas and rajas. Tamas is heavy and veiling, a state of denial. The totem animal is the sloth. Rajas is projection, fear, agitation and action. The totem animal is the humming bird, fast and flitting about.

Essentially, tamas and rajas are two sides of the same coin and while being fundamental aspects of creation, the yoga of gunas seeks to limit tamas and rajas, in favor of sattva. Tamas is necessary for sleep and recovery but too much veils the truth and leads to inaction. Rajas is necessary to get things done in the world though in excess leads to agitation. The process of seeking knowledge is difficult because ignorance is so pervasive and therefore the clarity of mind provided by sattva guna is necessary.

The first step of this practice is recognizing which guna is predominate in each moment, this is the effect. We then look to the past for the cause. If the mind is overly rajasic or tamasic, consider what previous actions may have led to the present state of being. For example, if you feel tamasic, did you stay up too late last night? If you are rajasic, did you drink too much caffeine.

Though all  three gunas are present in every facet of creation, a sattvic mind is necessary to assimilate the knowledge necessary for moksha or freedom.

More to come…



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