Satva, Rajas & Tamas Gun : The Science of values

Understanding The Science of Human Values

Why should we practice higher values and renounce sub-human tendencies? Is it for the welfare of the society & nation? Is it to make the world a better place to live? Well! The reasons may be internal rather than external. They may be more personal than societal.

Bhagwad Geeta which is a summary of Indian wisdom provides the science behind Human Values.  It describes the cause and effect relationship of practicing different values. It also guides us to be at the platform of ‘ABSOLUTE’ or ‘ADVAIT’ at which there is no duality of good-bad or high-low.

The subject can be understood by knowing "Prakrti  Ke  Teen  Gun or Three Modes of nature".

 The following is the translation and description of important verses of Bhagwad Geeta on the subject. 

Saatvik Gun:Welfare, Serving Poor, Distributing Food, Providing Knowledge, God Consciousness, etc 

Rajsik Gun: Competitive, Intense activity, Desires
Tamsik Gun: Illusion, Madness, Darkness

Material nature consists of three modes.
1.     Saatvik  / Goodness
2.     Rajsik  / Passion
3.     Tamsik  / Ignorance

When eternal living entity (soul) comes in contact with nature, he becomes conditioned by these modes 

Saatvik Gun :      It is purer; It is Illuminating; it is free from sinful reactions; it gives a    sense of happiness and knowledge to the person.
Rajsik Gun:         It is born of unlimited desire and longings; It bounds one to material fruitive actions.
Tamsik Gun:        It is born of ignorance; It creates delusion, madness, indolence & sleep; it binds conditioned soul (to repeated birth & Death, desires, etc).

Saatvik Gun:        It leads to happiness.
Rajsik Gun:         It leads to activity.
Tamsik Gun :       It leads to madness by covering the knowledge.

Saatvik Gun:       Person manifests knowledge as all the gates of body are illuminated.
Rajsik  Gun:       Person manifests great attachment, fruitive activity, intense endeavor,  uncontrollable desire & hankering.
Tamsik Gun:       Person manifests a state of darkness, inertia, madness & illusion.

Saatvik Gun:       On its development person lives the way pious/ knowledgeable / disciplined / righteous people live.  
Rajsik Gun:        On its development person lives among people performing intense result oriented activities to enjoy worldly results.
Tamsik Gun:       On its development person becomes foolish or animalistic and lives among such.

Saatvik Gun:       Its result is pure by performance of pious actions, it is said
Rajsik Gun:         Its result in misery.
Tamsik Gun:        Its result in ‘agyan’ or absence of knowledge.

Saatvik Gun:        Person develops real knowledge (spiritual).
Rajsik Gun:         Person develops greed.
Tamsik Gun:        Person develops foolishness, madness & illusion.

Saatvik Gun:       Person moves towards a higher state of existence by being situated in this ‘gun’.
Rajsik Gun:        Person is situated in a medium and average  state of existence.
 Tamsik Gun:       Person move towards hellish life by being situated in abominable activities and occupation

Further discription of ‘Teen Gun’ or the three modes of material nature.

Some times the mode of goodness becomes prominent, defeating the modes of passion and ignorance, O son of Bharat. Sometimes the mode of passion defeats goodness and ignorance and at other times ignorance defeats goodness and passion. In this way there is always competition for supremacy.                                                                
B.G. 14.10

The spirit soul bewildered by the Influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature.
B.G. 3.27

When one properly sees that in all activities no other performer is at work than these modes of nature and he knows the Supreme Lord, who is transcendental to all these modes, he attains My spiritual nature.
 B.G. 14.19

When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes associated with the material body, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life.
B.G. 14.20

Method to transcend the modes of material nature

Arjuna inquired: O my dear Lord, by which symptoms is one known who is transcendental to these three modes? What is his behavior? And how does he transcend the modes of nature?
B.G. 14.21
Lord Shri Krishna said: O son of Pāṇḍu, he who does not hate illumination, attachment and delusion when they are present or long for them when they disappear; who is unwavering and undisturbed through all these reactions of the material qualities, remaining neutral and transcendental, knowing that the modes alone are active; who is situated in the self and regards alike happiness and distress; who looks upon a lump of earth, a stone and a piece of gold with an equal eye; who is equal toward the desirable and the undesirable; who is steady, situated equally well in praise and blame, honor and dishonor; who treats alike both friend and enemy; and who has renounced all material activities – such a person is said to have transcended the modes of nature.
B.G. 14.22-25
One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.


Two persons, one in spiritual consciousness and the other in material consciousness, working on the same level, may appear to be working on the same platform, but there is a wide gulf of difference in their respective positions. The person in material consciousness is convinced by false ego that he is the doer of everything. He does not know that the mechanism of the body is produced by material nature.  The person in false ego takes all credit for doing everything independently, and that is the symptom of his nescience (foolishness). He does not know that this gross and subtle body is the creation of material nature.

·        Modern civilization is considered to be advanced in the standard of the mode of passion while formally the advanced condition was considered to be in the mode of goodness.

·        If there is no liberation for those in the mode of goodness, what to speak of those who are in the mode of passion?

·        Purpose of ideal spiritual practice is to attain the platform of ABSOLUTE i.e. transcend all the three modes of nature.


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