Sunday, March 1, 2009

Personality Inventories Based on Trigunas

The concept of the Triguna as it was elucidated in classical Indian literature seems to have implication to our understanding of human behaviour. Attempts have been made in India in recent times to develop personality inventories based on the Triguna.
One of the earliest available inventory was developed by Paramswarn (1963) and Uma, Lakshmi and Parameswaran (1971) named as ‘Guna Inventory” to assess the three Gunas. This inventory is based on the descriptions of the characteristics of the three Gunas as outline in the Sāmkhya Karika and The Bhagavadgita. It consists of 24 Sāttvic items, 27 Rājasic items and 29 Tāmasic items in the form of statements as in an attitude scale. There are three response categories (‘agree’, ‘disagree’ and ‘doubtful’) for each item. The total score on each guna is the algebraic sum of the scores on the items for that Guna. This scale considers the Gunas as three independent dimensions in a similar manner as the Eysenckian dimensions of personality (Parameswaran, 1969). Investigators do not consider interaction among Gunas and their predominance. Though they consider Triguna as three independent dimensions theoretically, the correlation obtained shows significant relation for Rajas and Tamas and not for Tamas and Sattva or Sattva and Rajas.
Mohan and Sandhu (1986, 1988) developed a Triguna personality inventory based on the Gita tyopology of personality (TGPI) to measure the three Guans as separate dimensions with one being predominant. They found that Sattva was distinct from Rajas and Tamas.
Das (1987, 1991) also developed an inventory based on description of the characteristics of the three Gunas as outlined in the Bhagavadgita and envisaged of one guna as being predominant. He has found that Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are negatively correlated at significant levels and Rajas is closer to Sattva than Tamas in the hierarchy.
Another psychometric means to identity the type of personality on the Guan system developed by Pathak, Bhatt and Sharma (1992) gives categorized norms and percentiles by which a person’s relative position in a hierarchy could be established. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas scales show low correlation with each other, indicating independence among the three dimensions.
Mathew (1995) developed IAS Rating Scale. This inventory was standardized on Kerala population. The instrument measures three broad behavioral tendencies: inertia, activation and stability. The IAS Rating Scale has 35 sub-scales of personality or for “other rating” (rating the personality of another person). IAS Rating Scale has high reliability and construct validity.
Kapur et al (1997) attempt to provide a throretical model of infant temperament based on ancient Indian thought with special focus on the resilient or competent child. Most of the items of the checklist are drawn from the items of the inventory developed by Marutham (1992) for adult population, along with some items from the standard checklist used in studies on temperament in the west.
Marutham et al (1998) consider the three factors as independent of each other. The inventory is constructed on views depicted in Sāmkhya Karika and Bhagavadgita. However, correlations between Sattva and Rajas, and Sattva and Tamas are significant though not high. This shows low independence among the three factors.
Wolf (1998) developed Vedic Personality Inventory (VPI) to assesses the validity of the Vedic concept of three Gunas- Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, or modes of nature. The items of this inventory are derived from a Vaishnava tests. Description of each Guna were compiled from the chapters 14, 17 and 18 of the Bhagavadgita. Inter sub-scale correlation shows positive association between items of Tamas and Rajas sub-scales.
Das, R.C. (1987). The Gita Typology of Personality-An Inventory. Journal of Indian Psychology, 6 (1&2), 7-12.
Das. R.C. (1991). Standardization of the Gita Inventory of Personality. Journal of Indian Psychology, 9 (1&2), 47-54.
Kapur, M., Hirisava, U., Reddy, M.V., Barnabas, I., & Singhal, D. (1997). Study of Infant Temperament: An Indian Perspective. Indian Journal of Clinical Psychology, 24 (2), 171-177.
Marutham, P., (1992). ‘Sattva’, ‘Rajas’ and ‘Tamas’ factors among college students. Unpublished M.Phil Dessertation, Banglore University.
Marutham, P., Balodhi, J.P., & Mishra, H. (1998). Sattva, Rajas, Tamas (SRT) Inventory. NIHHANS Journal, 15-19.
Mathew, V.G. (1995). Mathew IAS Rating Scale Manual. University of Kerala, Kerala.
Mohan, V., & Sandhu, S. (1986). Development of scale to measure Sattvic, Rajaic and Tamasic Guna. Journal of Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, 12, 46-52.
Parameswaran, E.G. (1969). Indian Psychology-The Need for Break Through, An Attempt. Research Bulletin, 5, 75-80.
Uma, K., Lakshmi, Y.S., & Parameshwaran, E.G. (1971). Construction of a Personality Inventory based on Doctrine of Three Gunas. Research Bulletin, 6. 49-58.
Wolf, D.B. (1998). The Vedic Personality Inventory: A Study of Gunas. Journal of Indian Psychology, 16 (1), 26-43.


  1. Hi!

    Im doing a research on the topic of triguna personality. Could you tell me from where I can get these scales?

  2. Hi! can anyone please tell me where Wolf's Vedic Personality Inventory (VPI) is available? or any other inventories of the like?

  3. A very helpful summary. Where can I find any of these scales and how to score them?

  4. hello... i am keen to do a research on this topic as a part of my bachelor's dissertation... please guide me as to where i will get the scale and the scoring part... please...