The Gunas and the three Doshas
The Gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) are the principle attributes of primordial nature,
the original cause of phenomena in the material world. These attributes indicate diverse mental characteristics:
clarity for Sattva, distraction for Rajas and heaviness for the Tamas. The Doshas have a secondary importance,
because the Gunas reflect the level of development of the soul, spiritual sensibility, and the aptitude to perceive truth and to act justly.
Yoga allows one to observe, through the Gunas, an individual’s mental and spiritual nature, and, through the Doshas,
his or her physiological nature. Ayurveda examines an individual’s psychological constitution via the three Dosahs,
but also in terms of the role the Gunas play as a factor of mental health and wellbeing.
Sattva, which signifies clarity, posses the same nature as truth, reality, or pure consciousness,
can be obscured by negative thoughts or emotions. When it is pure, Sattva leads to awakening and the realization of self.
It subtly leads the spirit and consciousness to become more internal by uniting of the head and the heart.
Rajas, which signifies stain or smoke, translates mental distraction or agitation that pulls us towards the exterior world.
Rajas represents the spirit troubled by desires and thoughts. It promotes stubbornness, anger, stimulation, and diversion.
In excess, it provokes an irritable and even wrathful nature.
Tamas, which signifies heaviness and lethargy, represents heaviness of the spirit and the inability to perceive. The spirit is obscured by ignorance and fear. It leads to laziness, sleepiness, and carelessness. Tamas favors a lack of mental activity, insensitivity, and a spirit dominated by exterior or subconscious forces.
In general, Rajas and Tamas go together. The Tamas creates a darkening of the consciousness, which permits Rajas to project false egotistical imaginings and ideas. Likewise, Rajas in excess drains our energy in too much activity and makes us « Tamasique », with a heavy and lethargic spirit.
However, Rajas and Tamas are indispensible forces of nature. Rajas creates energy, vitality, and emotions, and is linked to Prana (energy). Tamas creates the stability that allows grounded forces to express themselves.
But these two qualities do not belong in the spirit. So that an objective consciousness can take shape, the spirit must remain calm. That does not mean that movement agitates the mental. It is not because the surface of the ocean is agitated during a storm that the bottom must be as well, even if our actions must reflect the calm of our spirit liberated from its compulsions.
In sum, the Doshas represents horizontally the nature of a being, without the implications of the spiritual.
The Gunas represent vertically the nature of a being, according to his or her spiritual sates, where no physical implication comes into consideration. A Sattvique being, for example, can have a Vata, Pitta, or Kapha body.
The spiritual nature of Vata
Sattvic Vata (harmony): energetic, adaptable, flexible, rapid comprehension, ease in communication, great sense of human unity, strong healing energy, true enthusiasm, positive spirit, capable of taking on new things, good aptitude for change and positive movement
Rajasic Vata (perturbation): indecision, little trustworthy, hyperactive, worried,
agitated, troubled, nervous, verbose, deceptive, incoherent, never satisfied – moves quickly like the wind, often talkative, superficial, and disruptive
Tamasic Vata (obscurity): fearful, servile, dishonest, secretive, depressed, self-destructive, timid, inclined towards sexual perversion, emotionally troubled – easily dependent on drugs or other ways-out, sometimes suicidal
The spiritual nature of Pitta
Pitta Sattvique (harmony): intelligent, lucid, perspicacious, enlightened, judicious, of good will, independent, warm, good as guide or in leadership position – acts are friendly and courageous, filled with warmth and compassion for all things.
Pitta Rajasique (perturbation): willful, impulsive, ambitious, aggressive, controls everything, critic, dominating, manipulating, angry, irritated, proud, vain, intolerant – this carelessness can lead to their downfall.
Pitta Tamasique (obscurity): odious, vile, vindictive, destructive, hateful, psychopathic, drug trafficker, paranoid – most criminals and mob actors are of this type.
The spiritual nature of Kapha
Sattvic Kapha (harmony): calm, peaceful, satisfied, stable, logical, loyal, loving, indulgent, patient, devoted, receptive, nourishes, supportive, strong faith – regards all creates with the eyes of an attentive parent who provides for their needs
Rajasic Kapha (perturbation): controlling, likes to dominate others in controlling their material resources, emotionally attached, greedy, materialistic, sentimental, needs security, in search of comfort and luxury – driven to possess and to accumulate and not satisfied unless submerged by possessions
Tamasic Kapha (obscurity): spiritual heaviness, frustrated, lethargic, apathetic, lazy, slow comprehension, insensitivity, thieving, depressed, liar, incapable of self-analysis