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Sattva – Power of Goodness

Pleasure is what pleasing for the moment, whereas happiness is long lasting and brings joy even after the activity is over.

Many a time we find ourselves in between choosing that which is pleasant right now and that which will bring us lasting joy. 

To avoid this disquiet, it is important to practice restrain.  Restrain helps mind to cultivate pure emotions like love, empathy and peace that are signs of predominance of sattva guna. The question may arise that why sattva guna is overrated in the process of mind control. The answer lies in the consequences of other two gunas. 

Rajas - Principle of Activity

According to the Vedanta:

Rajas has its viksepa-sakti or projecting power, which is of the nature of an activity, and from which this primeval flow of activity has emanated. From this also, mental modifications such as attachment and grief are continually produced.

Lust, anger, avarice, arrogance, spite, egoism, envy, jealousy etc.- these are the dire attributes of rajas, from which the worldly tendency of man is produced. Therefore rajas is a cause of bondage.

Tamas - Principle of Inactivity

Āvṛti (आवृति) or the veiling power is the power of tamas, which makes things appear other than which they are. It is this that causes man’s repeated transmigrations and starts the action of the projecting power.

Absence of right judgement, or contrary judgement, want of definite belief and doubt- these certainly never desert one who has any connection with this veiling power, and then the projecting power gives ceaseless trouble.

(Sri Shankaracharya, Vivekacudamani, tr. By Swami Madhavanada (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama), verses 111-13, 115.

These psychological consequences of rajas and tamas make the endeavour of controlling the mind impossible; sattva is the only constituent that saves mind control from being a hopeless task.

Sattva - Principle of Illumination 

Vedanta mentions:

Pure sattva is (clear) like water, yet in conjunction with rajas and tamas, it makes for transmigration. The reality of Atman becomes reflected in sattva, and like the sun reveals the entire world of matter. The traits of mixed sattva are an utter absence of pride etc., niyama, yama, etc., as well as faith, devotion, yearning for liberation, the divine tendencies, and turning away from unreal.

The traits of pure sattva are cheerfulness; the realization of one’s owns self, supreme peace, contentment, bliss, and steady devotion to Atman by which the aspirant enjoy bliss everlasting. (Ibid., 117-19)