The Role of the Three Gunas in the Hindu Vision of the Cosmos Essay

The Role of the Three Gunas in the Hindu Vision of the Cosmos Essay

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The Role of the Three Gunas in the Hindu Vision of the Cosmos To tackle this question we need to look at the way in which the Gunas
are incorporated into the Hindu vision of the Cosmos. I will base a
lot of my essay on the Bhagavad-Gita.

The three gunas, exist in all beings and govern the events of the
world. They are sattva (goodness, virtue), rajas (power, passion) and
tamas (dullness, inertia). All earthly events, like the laws of
nature, are guided by one of the three gunas or a combination of some
of them. There should be a balance between them for harmonious
workings of the world. Disequilibria will lead to chaos, war,
suffering, corruption and destruction. The concept of gunas is well
documented in Sri Krishna’s rendition of the sermon (Bhagavad-Gita) to
Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra

In the fourteenth chapter of the Gita, Lord Krishna gives us a very
detailed description and definition of the three gunas.

‘Sattva is pure, without impurities, illuminating and free from
sickness. It binds the soul through attachment with happiness and
knowledge. Rajas is full of passion and is born out of intense
desire and attachment. It binds the soul through attachment with
action. Tamas is the darkness and the crudeness in man. It is born of
ignorance and is the cause of delusion. It binds the soul through
recklessness, indolence and sleep.’

The three gunas compete among themselves for supremacy while they
exist in the beings. Sattva exists by suppressing Rajas and Tamas.
Rajas exist by suppres...

... middle of paper ...

...avad Gita, get
to abide in the eternal Happiness. When you realise that you can
conquer the Gunas, you are free from birth, old age, disease and

When you are completely free from the Gunas, you are neither a
Saatvika, or Raajasika or Taamasika person. When you can stand above
the Gunas and see everything as one, for example: you treat everybody
the same way, stone or gold are the same to you, one is not more
precious than the other. When you do not become proud because people
praise you, or angry when they disgrace you, you treat enemies and
friends alike. When you have managed to do all these, it is said that
you have overcome the Gunas.


Essays on the Gita- Sri Aurobindo


A survey of Hinduism- Klaus Kloustermaier

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