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Satva Rajas and Tamas from the Bhagavad Gita

The 14, 17 and 18th chap­ters of the Bha­gavad Gita have prac­ti­cal insights on the Tri­gu­na: Sat­va, Rajas and Tamas.

Here is a table to make the insights sim­ple.

Sat­va RajasTamasNaturePure, illu­mi­nat­ing, free from sin­ful reac­tions or dis­eases, healthyPas­sion, thirst, attach­mentIgno­rance, delu­sion, iner­tia, sleep, lazi­ness, care­less­nessChar­ac­ter­is­tic signs of the guna pre­dom­i­nat­ingLight of knowl­edge, clear under­stand­ing and per­cep­tion shines through the bodyRest­less­ness, greed, great attach­ment, uncon­trol­lable desire, han­ker­ing, and intense endeav­orIgno­rance or absence of knowledge/darkness, inert­ness, neg­li­gence, delu­sionDevel­ops attach­ment toKnowl­edge and hap­pi­nessMate­r­i­al actions and their fruitsCare­less­ness, sleep, laziness/inactionFruit of actionsSattvi­ka and PurePain/sorrowIgno­ranceGati/ progressGo upwardsDwell in the mid­dleGo down­wardsNext birth as per the guna pre­dom­i­nant while deathSpot­less worlds of know­ers of the high­est prin­ci­plesBorn among those attached to actionsBorn among beings involved in igno­ranceWor­shipSattvi­ka ones wor­ship Gods and divin­i­tyRaja­sic ones wor­ship Asuras/rakshas and yak­shas (keep­ers of wealth) Towards ghosts, ele­men­tal and gross­er spir­its

Sat­va RajasTamasYaj­na (Sac­ri­fice)Accor­dance with scrip­tures, with firm con­vic­tion and self­lessFor show and with mate­r­i­al ben­e­fit in mindNot in align­ment with the scrip­tures, Devoid of faith or anna dana or sacred chants and done in igno­ranceDana (Giv­ing)Self­less, with a sense of duty, and to wor­thy per­son at right time and placeDone with a grudg­ing atti­tude, aimed at get­ting some­thing in return or expect­ing a rewardWith­out grace, done at wrong place, time to an unde­serv­ing per­sonGnana (Knowl­edge)When we see the undi­vid­ed atman to be equal­ly present in every­thingman­i­fold liv­ing enti­ties in diverse bod­ies and uncon­nect­ednei­ther ground­ed in rea­son nor based on the truth and triv­ialKar­ma (Action)Free from raga, dwe­sha and based on the scrip­tures and seeks no returndone wit strain, pride and full of ego and for plea­sureIgno­rant, with­out con­sid­er­ing loss to one­self or oth­ers and injur­ing oth­ersKar­ta (Doer) Free from ahamkara and does with involve­ment and enthu­si­asmcraves the fruits of the work, is cov­etous, vio­lent-natured, impure, and moved by joy and sor­row.undis­ci­plined, vul­gar, stub­born, deceit­ful, sloth­ful, despon­dent, and a pro­cras­ti­na­tor.Bud­dhi (Intel­lect)Dhar­ma ‑adhar­ma vive­kacon­fused between right­eous­ness and unright­eous­nessper­ceiv­ing untruth to be the truthDri­ti (Deter­mi­na­tion)Dri­ti devel­oped through Yoga and holds the mind and sens­esHold­ing duty, plea­sures, and wealth out of attach­ment and desire for rewardsone does not give up dream­ing, fear­ing, griev­ing, despair, and con­ceit.

Sat­va RajasTamasTapas (Aus­ter­i­ty) of body, mind, speech Self­less and done to please God; done with sattvi­ka shrad­dha and with­out any mate­r­i­al or per­son­al ben­e­fit for one­self in mindTo gain respect, hon­or and rev­er­ence; such prac­tices are nei­ther per­ma­nent nor sta­blefool­ish­ly by means of obsti­nant self-tor­ture, or to destroy or injure oth­ersRenunciation/ (tya­ga)Per­form­ing one’s duty because it is to be done; gives up attach­ment to action or its fruits; nei­ther aver­sion towards unpleas­ant work nor attached to pleas­ant work, have no doubts about work Giv­ing up pre­scribed duties because they bring sor­row or fear or cause trou­ble to the body; do not obtain the fruit of renun­ci­a­tion with such kindGiv­ing up one’s pre­scribed duties by illu­sionKar­ma pha­la (Fruits of action)*Desir­ableSome­times desir­able, some­times unde­sir­ableUnde­sir­ableSukha (Hap­pi­ness)which in the begin­ning may be like poi­son but like nec­tar in the end; born of sat­is­fac­tion of high­er mind and spir­it derived from con­tact of the sens­es with their objects and which appears like nec­tar at first but poi­son at the endblind to self-real­iza­tion, which is delu­sion from begin­ning to end and which aris­es from sleep, lazi­ness and illu­sionFood as liked by per­sons of tem­pera­ment:increase the dura­tion of life, puri­fy one’s exis­tence and give strength, health, hap­pi­ness and sat­is­fac­tion. Such nour­ish­ing foods are sweet, juicy, fat­ten­ing and palat­abletoo bit­ter, too sour, salty, pun­gent, dry and hot, are liked by peo­ple in the modes of pas­sion. Such foods cause pain, dis­tress, and dis­easecold, impure, stale/rotten, taste­less, remains of food half-eat­en by oth­ers

*for those who’ve not giv­en up attach­ment to kar­ma pha­la)

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