Friday, February 27, 2009

Triguna Theory of Personality in Shrimad Bhagvadgita

The Gita view is that human nature consists of three Gunas or qualities, viz., sattva, rajas, and tamas. Each individual has all the three quality’s in his nature. Sometimes one of these qualities overpowers the other two and becomes predominant. Though the three qualities vary at times in the same person, one of the qualities tends to be usually more dominant in him. A person may be sattvika, rajasika, or tamasika according to pre dominance of the corresponding quality in his nature. However, one may also go beyond all the three qualities by unflinching effort, through a sort of gradual internal elevation and finally attain a state of perfect liberation.
Sattva implies purity, wisdom, bliss; rajas implies hankering, attachment, and action; and tamas implies bias, heedlessness, and inertia. Essentially the sattvikas (Ss) are illuminous, the rajasikas (Rs) are passionate, and the tamasikas (Ts) are inert.
He who goes beyond the three qualities does not get affected by joys and sorrows, censure and praise, love and hatred. For him there is no different between a piece of log and a piece of gold. He looks upon honour and dishonour, friendship and enmity as the same, and shuns initiative in all matters, for he has nothing to ask for. This state of perfect liberation is hard to attain. It can be achieved only through long-sustained endeavour and a strong sense of detachment.
Sattvikas worship gods, Rajasikas gnomes and giants, and Tamasikas ghosts and evil spirits.
Sattvikas are fond of foods that are pure, soothing, and delicious, and contribute to vitality, vigour, and health. Foods that are bitter, over-hot. sour, saline, pungent dry and burning, i.e., foods which produce pain, grief, and sickness are dear to Rajasikas . On the other hand, Tamasikas like foods which ale state, unclean and putrid. They also like the remnants of others' meals.
Sattvikas offer sacrifices from a sheer sense of duty without any desire for fruit. Rajasikas offer sacrifices for self-glorification, and fulfilment of specific missions. The sacrifices offered by Tamasikas are devoid of faith.
Austerity is practised by Sattvikas not for any return, yet with utmost devotion; by Rajasikas with a view to commanding respect and honour; while by Tamasikas for causing self-torture, or with a view to bringing about destruction of a particular person.
Charity, typical of Sattvikas, is done, as a duty, unto proper persons at proper moments; that, typical of Tamasikas, is done grudgingly, with expectation of a profitable return; while charity, typical of Tamasikas, is done unto unfit persons at unfit moments, and, that again, with contempt and disrespect.
Sattvikas reasoning helps them distinguish between what tempts and what refrains, what should be done and what should not be done, what should be feared and what should not be feared, and what binds and what liberates. Rajasikas reasoning does not help them differentiate right from wrong, things to be done from things not to be done. On the contrary, Ts' reasoning is such that it induces them to take the wrong for the right and, in all cases the bad for the good.
Sattvikas are firm in self-control. They can control their mind, respiration, and sense organs through yoga or practice. Rajasikas are firmly attached to duty, desire, and wealth. Tamasikas, on the other hand. are firmly seized by sleep, fear, grief, despair, and vanity.
Things in which Sattvikas find pleasure first taste like poison but ultimately turn into nectar-such pleasure is born of the bliss of self-knowledge. Things which are dear to Rajasikas initially taste like nectar as they come in contact with the sense organs, but in fine they appear to be as distasteful as poison. Tamasikas, on the other hand, find pleasure in things which, though tasteful at the beginning, finally become objects of addiction, and such pleasure is caused by sleep, lethargy, and illusion.
This is, in brief, the Gita Typology of personality. lt seems no significant study has been so far made to evaluate the validity of this concept.