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Tattvas (elements) And Gunas



All three gunas are always present in all beings and objects surrounding us but vary in their relative amounts. We humans have the unique ability to consciously alter the levels of the gunas in our bodies and minds. The gunas cannot be separated or removed in oneself but can be consciously acted upon to encourage their increase or decrease. A guna can be increased or decreased through the interaction and influence of external objects, lifestyle practices and thoughts.




Tattvas (elements) and Gunas


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Thanks for the useful discussion of the three gunas of Prakriti. I think the explanation of balancing the gunas is essential even if we stuggle for a sattvic quality. So useful information as I try to include the theory of yoga into what I have experiendced of yin/yang and how to understand the different sides of the mind, It is great to study more and I am now attending a yoga instrutor course that is so interesting and challeging.


This is an awesome topic. I have always wondered about the three gunas of nature. My understanding is that they are sattva, rajas, and tamas. Sattvic is pure or good, rajastic is active or dynamic and tamic is inert or passive. Can anyone explain these concepts further? How does it relate to our human existence?


What about ordinary inert objects that are not food, like a pebble, a cloud, a plate, a tire? Each has a beginning, middle and end, so all three gunas must be there, but which is prominent? Are there sattvik pebbles and tamasic pebbles? How to distinguish?


Unmanifest prakriti is matter or nature. It is inactive, unconscious, and is a balance of the three guṇas (qualities or innate tendencies),[8][9] namely sattva , rajas, and tamas. When prakṛti comes into contact with Purusha this balance is disturbed, and Prakriti becomes manifest, evolving twenty-three tattvas,[10] namely intellect (buddhi, mahat), ego (ahamkara) mind (manas); the five sensory capacities; the five action capacities; and the five "subtle elements" or "modes of sensory content" (tanmatras), from which the five "gross elements" or "forms of perceptual objects" (earth, water, fire, air and space) emerge,[8][11] in turn giving rise to the manifestation of sensory experience and cognition.[12][13]


All prakriti has these three gunas in different proportions. Each guna is dominant at specific times of day. The interplay of these gunas defines the character of someone or something, of nature and determines the progress of life.[42][43] The Samkhya theory of gunas was widely discussed, developed and refined by various schools of Indian philosophies. Samkhya's philosophical treatises also influenced the development of various theories of Hindu ethics.[30]


Samkhya and Yoga are mentioned together for first time in chapter 6.13 of the Shvetashvatra Upanishad,[111] as samkhya-yoga-adhigamya (literally, "to be understood by proper reasoning and spiritual discipline").[122] Bhagavad Gita identifies Samkhya with understanding or knowledge.[123] The three gunas are also mentioned in the Gita, though they are not used in the same sense as in classical Samkhya.[124] The Gita integrates Samkhya thought with the devotion (bhakti) of theistic schools and the impersonal Brahman of Vedanta.[125]


Finally in the list of tattvas are the five gross elements, also known as the Mahabhuta. These form the material basis of our immediate world. They work in coordination with the tanmatra to create an entire experience of the individual. Earth, water, fire, air and ether make up this category.


Sakala pramatr is the stage of the experiencer at Gross level. This has its effect on only one element and that is Earth.This level has all the three limitations namely Anavamala, Mayayimala and Karmmala(limitation of action).This is what is also known as the Waking state.Pramatr, pramana and pramey meaning Experiencer, Knowledge(of object) and Object is an important concept of both Vedanta and KS.In the level of Shuddh tattvas(pure elements); there is only the Experiencer. It is a stage of non-duality.It is only after Shiva wants to experience his own state of duality; Maya (duality) comes into effect and thus the Knowledge and the Objects appear.First the knowledge of Duality appears and the Mind is formed and then the Mind solidifies itself and the world materializes.


When prakriti operates cosmically and reflects the universal Brahman Consciousness in it, it is called maya. Ishvara is the name given to Brahman revealed, or manifest, or reflected through prakriti's gunas. When a predominance of cosmic sattva, overwhelming rajas and tamas, reflects the universal Brahman in itself, that reflected consciousness in the universal sattva is Ishvara. The universal sattva itself is called maya. Maya is under the control of Ishvara, but avidya is not under the control of the jiva, or the individual. Avidya controls the jiva, while Ishvara controls maya. That is the difference between Ishvara and the jiva, God and the individual.


When we are talking about tattva, we are not talking about the gross elements that we see from our eyes. These tattvas again can never be perceived by any of the sense organs as the sense organ themselves have come out of them. However, their quality can be perceived. What it means that the quality present tells us the presence of tattva.


My salutations to the Devi who is present everywhere and can be perceived by her gunas alone. Even if I take infinite births and learn about her, I will never be able to know you Maa completely unless you reveal yourself to me, even if I take infinite births and write about you what little I understood by your grace, I will never be able to write that Maa unless you allow me to.


As already discussed, all the animate and inanimate things are made up of these five elements. So everything which surrounds us, everything we eat, the biodiversity of the ecosystem, hold these Pancha tattvas together.


In the Gupta Sadhana Tantra, it is mentioned that these Panchatattva are required for liberation, not easily available even to celestials, and it is advised to worship Kali with these five elements, and in so doing, the Goddess will bestow Shambhavi (perfect meditation), happiness and liberation. It is said that through such worship one goes beyond the body, mind and speech and thus must also go beyond the tattvas themselves. How then does one go beyond the five tattvas?


The 36 tattvas are a blueprint of reality, and of every form that reality takes as it manifests itself from the first birth of light, into ever grosser states of conscious being until it finally arrives into the universe wrapped in the forms of the Great Elements. Akin to the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the tattvas reveal a map of consciousness, and the journey consciousness takes, not only from its birth in the Godhead into physical creation, but the journey back as well.


Tattva means that which is. Seekers of wisdom familiar with the Indian traditions may be familiar with the primary teaching tat tvam asi, or you are that. The tattvas show you in impeccable detail precisely what that means.


Each of its levels is characterized by a certain power (Shakti), namely consciousness (Cit), joy (Ananda), intentionality (Iccha), cognition (Jnana) and action (Kriya). Each of these qualities of supreme consciousness is instrumental in manifesting the so-called impure universe of the lower tattvas.


The generic, personal, non-sectarian God of definable qualities. This is the God which we can name in any tradition. Jnana-shakti is the operative force in this sphere; by this knowledge of the characteristics of reality, the Lord issues forth into an existential and experiential creation, empowering Himself in Tattva #5 to stimulate the world-source (maya, tattva #6) so that She begins to produce differentiation of the lower tattvas, starting with the contractions called the kancukas (tattva #7 and below).


The transformation of the spirit, pure consciousness, or Paramatma (Supreme Atma or Soul) through a cascade of tattvas from spirit through knowledge to lesser consciousness to matter is depicted here as an evolutionary process and the tattvas measure the distance between individual soul and matter on the distal end and pure consciousness on the proximal end.


The predominance of elements (space, air, fire, water, earth), gunas (sattva, rajas, tamas) and doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) at the time of conception, and during the time the mother carries the child in her womb, decides the natural constitution, or bio-type, of that individual. Prakruti is formed from the subtle qualities of the five elements.


The 36 eternal tattvas or principles starting from Siva principle to earth principle which constitutes the different worlds are in the form and nature of comfort (sukha), as they have originated from Siva Sakti who are themselves the source of comfort.


2.53. For every other Rasi tattva, there is a positive and negative use. Akash tattva being the space around every one of the four tattvas is hence present in every one of the 12 Rasis. If you recall, we consider Rasis to have a predominance of one of the four tattvas(fire, earth, air and water). And each of these tattvas are controlled by two grahas.


2.61. The zodiac is composed of the constellations and planets and stars. All of them go around the Sun. But the entire set up is contained within the vacuum of Space. This space is Akash. When an egg is broken, we see the yolk and the surrounding albumen(the egg whites), but when the egg has been fertilised and a baby bird forms, the albumen disappears even as it gets absorbed into the new life that will soon be hatched. Similarly, Akash tattva nourishes all other tattvas and even though it is invisible, it is part of all the other four tattvas.


Akasha Tattva is not air but vacuum. It is a hollow space where nothing exists. It is not barren or sterile. It is devoid of all attributes and yet is all encompassing. It is omniscience and the innate intelligence of the universe. It is one of the more mystical and enigmatic tattvas because we can\u2019t feel it or sense it or touch it. 041b061a72


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