Three Forces (Gunas)

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Ancient science discovered that at the root of our psyche there were three forces with independent and opposing characteristics which together worked as a system. These forces called Gunas are present in different proportions and hence people have different attitudes and aptitudes.

Tamas (Force no 3) is a force of inertia which makes a person lazy and wanting to resist change. Since our world is a mirror image of the world supernal this force is the first to develop during the birth of a child and is Natures way to preserve.

Rajas (Force No 2) is a force of activity and combines with either Tamoguna (third) or Satvoguna (First) depending on which is predominating to perpetuate action.

Sattva (Force No 1) is a force that looks opposite of Tamas( No. 3) in that it promotes healthy action when combined with Rajas (No 2). In itself it is a state of peace or non activity as against inactivity and laziness.

If there were only two forces they would have cancelled each other but since they are three in number the resultant is an outcome of all the three taken together. Since Tamas( No 3) is the first to develop and since it resists change it needs to be overcome and it is for this reason that Sadhana is resorted to for as Gita says in Chapter 14

8. But, know thou TAMAS is born of ignorance, deluding all embodied beings, it binds fast, O Bharata, by heedless-ness, indolence and sleep.

7. Know thou "RAJAS" (to be) of the nature of passion, the source of thirst and attachment; it binds fast, O Kaunteya, the embodied one, by attachment to action.

6. Of these, "SATTWA" which because of its stainlessness, is luminous and healthy, (unobstructive) . It binds by (creating) attachment to 'happiness' and attachment to 'knowledge, ' O sinless one.

10. Now SATTWA rises (prevails) , O Bharata, having over-powered RAJAS and inertia (TAMAS) ; now RAJAS, having over-powered SATTWA and inertia; and inertia (TAMAS) , having over-powered SATTWA and RAJAS.

Verse 10 shows the dynamic nature of their interaction that happens all day long and throughout life. Yet a person through effort (Rajas and Sattva) can overpower Inertia (Tamas) and through meditation and contemplation(Sattva and Tamas which in this case is habit which comes by practice) restlessness (Rajas). Once Sattva has been made predominant one has the results as given in Gita Chapter 14

11. When, through every gate (sense) in this body, the light-of-intelligence shines, then it may be known that 'SATTWA' is predominant.

Failing which the results could be Gita 14

12. Greed, activity, undertaking of actions, restless-ness longing --- these arise when RAJAS is predominant, O best in the Bharata family.

13. Darkness, inertness, heedlessness and delusion --- these arise when 'TAMAS' is predominant, O descendant-of-Kuru.