BACK Expressions of Spirit - Yoga
Transcending the Three Gunas
Within the classic Indian scripture TheBhagavad Gita there is insightful discussion on the qualities of forces that make up nature and creation. These forces are called gunas (pronounced gun-a), a term defined as strand, thread, rope. They are the intertwining forces that weave together to make material nature, including human consciousness. These forces are divided into three categories, whose qualities are tabulated below, yet the Gita points out that it is possible to go beyond the gunas, to transcend their characteristics. He who endeavors to do so creates ultimate freedom by balancing their essence in their true, authentic Self which goes beyond the forces of nature and resides in non-dualistic divinity.
Listed below are the three gunas: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. According to Yogic philosophy, everything is made up of the gunas in different proportions.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna asks Krishna how he can recognize the man who has gone beyond the three gunas, and what has he done to have gone beyond them? Krishna replies by listing the characteristics of such a person and by reiterating the central theme in the Gita: non-attachment to the fruits of one's labor:
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