Goals of Life: The Three Gunas

Life Attributes 1. Artha 2. Kama 3. Dharma 4. Moksha Three Gunas

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THREE GUNAS — MODES

All the variety of species of life created be,
By combination of three basic material energy;
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These Guna modus operandi of material energy,
They are called tamo, rajo and sattva clearly;
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Tamo-guna associated with inertia, ignorance be,
The rajo-guna associated with passion, activity;
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Sattva-guna associated with goodness, harmony,
And all three of them associated with thinking truly.
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The term ‘guṇa’ in the hoary sacred text does be,
As in the Mahabharat and Bhagawat Puran clearly.
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Term for the five elements, mahabhutas, surely,
Also five senses, five associated parts of body.
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Akasha or space, associated with sound and ear be,
Vayu or air, associated with feeling and skin does be.
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Tejas, Agni or fire, linked with appearance and eye be.
Apas, Jala or water, associated with taste and tongue be.
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Prithivi or earth, associated with all preceding guṇas be,
As well as ‘guṇa gandha’ or smell and with the nose be.
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1. Three Qualities
All worldly qualities have been identified clearly,
As three basic gunas — tamas, rajas, sattva surely.
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Tamas darkness, Rajas passion, Sattva goodness be,
Sattwa, Rajas, Tamas together called three qualities.
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Tamas quality is controlled by the Maha-devi Kali,
Rajas by Laxshmi Devi, sattva by Saraswati Devi.
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‘Tamas’ guna is inertia, ‘rajas’ but activity does be,
‘Sattva’ guna transcendence most certainly truly.
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Without all these three there is no physical entity,
Not a single atom is free of these dimensions truly.
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They of certain static nature, vibrancy and energy,
Without them nothing is together — breaks surely.
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You will be asleep all the time if its ‘tamas’ only,
Just rajas — only relax; just sattva — you gone be.
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So all three qualities present in everything but be,
It is just to what extent you mix these things finally.
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The nine days of Navaratri — prayer for the Devi,
Classified they as to three basic qualities do be.
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We have the ability to alter guna levels willfully,
Controlling them bringing awareness consciously.
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Tamas is just a state of inertia of but inactivity,
The state of gratification of the five senses only.
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Tamas symbolized by darkness, ignorance be,
Distracting humans from spiritual growth clearly.
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To reduce tamas avoid ‘tamsik’ foods readily,
As onions, garlic, — with natural steroids plainly.
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Meats, food: stale, processed, treated chemically,
Excess emotion, sleep, eating, inactivity, passivity.
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Rajas is a state of the energy, change and activity,
Binding to efforts ensuing longing, attachment truly.
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To cut rajas avoid rajasik food stimulant, fried, spicy,
Extreme — exercise, work, music, thinking, desire truly.
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Sattva state of intelligence, balance, contentment be,
Reduces rajas, tamas — so enlightenment possible be.
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Sattvic food, action begets positive thinking, bliss truly,
Yogic practices create ‘sattva’ in the mind and body.
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Sattvic foods whole grains, pulses, lentils be surely,
Fresh fruits, vegetables that grow above ground only.
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Practice of yoga, controlling desire and wants truly,
With a yogic lifestyle will lead to ‘sattva’ undoubtedly.
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2. In Bhagwat Gita
Triguna appears in discourse of Krishna prominently,
To Arjuna upon the battlefield of Kurukshetra clearly;
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That the backdrop for the Bhagwat Gita surely be,
All three gunas so held to delude the World clearly:
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त्रिभिर्गुणमयैर्भावैरेभिः सर्वमिदं जगत्।
मोहितं नाभिजानाति मामेभ्यः परमव्ययम्॥ ७.१३॥
tribhirguṇamayairbhāvairebhiḥ sarvamidaṁ jagat |
mohitaṁ nābhijānāti māmebhyaḥ paramavyayam || 7.13||

World deluded by Three Gunas does not know Me:
Who beyond these Gunas, imperishable does be.
(7.13)
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  1. Artha 2. Kama 3. Dharma 4. Moksha

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