24 Tattva, essences of existence

In Sanatan Dharm/Hinduism, you acknowledge the essential consciousness in everything.

There are things which cannot be perceived by the limited organs of sense. There are also things beyond the manifested, beyond the Panch-bhoot. Once you realise this, you will try to go beyond these limits of the gross.

When you eat a sweet, you experience it with your five sense organs. But what of the subtle energies of the sweet? (I and my colleagues went out for a really super lunch last week. It was prepared by someone with a really evil mindset, so I stopped after eating one bite, but it was enough to give me mild food poisoning. I cannot perceive this energy with my gross senses.) Can you experience the weight of a speck of dust? Or the blast of a supernova? No, you cannot, not with these limited senses.

So the objective has always been to go beyond the limits of the physical. The last frontier so as to speak! Ultimately the desire is the to re-experience the Soul and beyond it consciously. You are called the individual soul/Jivatma and you desire to transcend this and re-experience the Eternal Soul/Paramatma.

A individual soul consists of 24 distinct attributes/Tattva.

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To recap, the Singular Parabrahma creates Duality, Purush-Prakriti. Prakruti is the first Essence of Creation/tattva, and is composed of the three Gun, Satva, Raja and Tama. When the balance between these 3 gun is spontaneously disturbed Creation occurs. First to be created is Mahat-Buddhi, the second tattva. The next to be created is the Aham-kaar, self ego.24 Tattva, essences of existenceAham-kaar

Now further. Raja-Gun again acts on Mahat-Buddhi and the 3rd tattva called Aham-kaar manifests. Whenever something has to be created, Raja-Gun, personified as Brahmadev and his wife Sarasvati, provides the energy. Aham-kaar, Aham karoti iti, is the personal identity, ‘I’, ‘Mine’, self-ego, individuality. It’s function is to bind the soul more tightly with self-referential behaviour.

In this ‘I’, reside the Vasana, वासना, the roots of desire. Vasana is also a Sanskrit word which means – longing, idea, imagination, regard, respect, confidence, false notion, liking, inclination, expectation, the present consciousness of past perceptions, impressions remaining unconsciously and Vasana is also a meter (Chhand छन्द) in Sanskrit prosody (so it is a sort of vibration ultimately). These ‘Vasana’ are created by interaction of the Gun, Satva, Raja and Tama with Mahat-Buddhi and Aham-kaar, all powered by Prakruti. These Vasana are linked to your past actions, your conscience has judged them. Those actions which were acceptable to your Antaratma/ conscience, their essences reside as ‘Dharm’ the correct foundation, and those which were against your conscience, are the ‘Adharma’ foundations of demerit. Both these foundations influence the ‘I’ and the Mahat-Buddhi above it. Vasana are the seeds of karma and are required to be rebalanced. (Prakruti powers all these actions and also differentiates her own self accordingly. All these things are happening within Her and are Her.)

Now Aham-kaar will evolve further, in two different ways. It will be modified by Satva with Raja. Ot it can be modified by Tama with Raja. It creates the Indriya as per the table above. These Indriya इन्द्रिय are the parts of the body, vigour, power, organs, senses etc of the body and also their ability to act/sense.

  • The power of the 5 organs of senses and power of the 5 organs of action are a total more 10 tattvas. These 10 combine to produce another distinct tattva called the Manas मानस (imagination, belief, thought, idea, view). 
  • The Pancha-bhoot are again 5 separate tattva and the 5 tan-matra are also 5 distinct tattva.

Thus manifested (Vyakta) existence is composed of 24 distinct tattva.24 Tattva, essences of existenceSo when you get on the path of re-experience, you dissolve these tattvas. This process happens when you start your spiritual practice, Dhyan and only during this time when you are sitting on your Asan. When you are manipulating pran and then kundalini you are not completely in this manifested world. You are exploring the way back, you are in the energy of the joint/Sandhya.

So first you experience everything that you can with your senses, you have been doing this for several lives now. You sense the gross atoms and the molecules, the lowest manifested energy levels. You cannot go on eating sweets for ever after you get satisfied. There would be no meaning to such a life. So, you move on to the subtler and the subtlest things. But then to experience the subtle you need power the subtle senses.

So it first starts with the 21 lower tattvas merging back into the Self-Ego/Aham-kaar. In this phase you remember to sense and act directly through your ajnya chakra, using your intention and directly powering it from the pran from the Universe. I have written about small exercises where you can exercise your subtle energy, like seeing aura, telekinesis, distant vision, telepathy, seeing the future/past/parallel. These are just small reminders that there is more!

It may seem difficult when you are reading all this, but it is the easiest thing! You have the power of creation with you, so use this power. Create the intention that you wish to re-experience Your Real Self. The Prakruti will provide her energy to this intention.

In Sanatan Dharm, you will find most spiritual aspirants will have the Devi, the Goddess as their Isht devata. It may be Gayatri, Laxmi or Chamunda, these are the forms of the Prakruti, the tattva which actually forms the entire creation out of her energies. Doing Devi Sadhana always gives faster results. When you do a mantra-jaap linked to Her energy, you are giving a direction to her spontaneous release of her energy. This energy then drives your intention of Soham and takes you there. The process is faster if you do a mantra jaap in addition to the essential Dhyan.

But all said and done, your only work is to sit on your Asan, focus on your third eye and mentally recite Soham 108 times with your 108 breaths. (1/2/3 times a day as possible). It has to be a regular thing, every day (except for 5 days off for women in their monthly cycle.) This is all you need to do. The simplest things are the most powerful here. Once you are aware of the road, you will walk it spontaneously (Sahaj). Whatever pran has to be manipulated or Kundalini to be awakened, all of it will happen on its own under the direction of your Eternal Self.


24 Tattva, essences of existence



Trigun, Satva Raja Tama

The Eternal reality is Singularity. It divides into a Still Intelligence called Purush पुरुष the Witness, साक्षी and a Spontaneous Evolution called Prakruti प्रकृति, the player Lalita ललिता. Purush is an observer, not concerned with further manifestation.

Prakruti spontaneously creates the three Gun गुण within Herself. These three Gun are the foundation of manifestation in a very subtle way. I have referred to these in my several posts by their simplest definitions,

  1. Satva सत्व – pulls you towards the Singular Reality.
  2. Raja रज – pulls you towards the Manifested universe.
  3. Tama तम – are heavy, dull energies destructive.

Now these three are the very fundamentals of manifestation. The Bindu (Prakruti) divides into the three chakras initially, Vama, Jeyshta, Raudri which represent the energies of Satva, Raja and Tama. (Refer to the geometry of the Shri yantra and the conscious energies of creation. These three are represented by the inner-most equi-lateral triangle around the central dot).

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The Prakruti the Great Mother, is also called the Pradhan प्रधान which means that all things are contained within Her, she is prominent, chief, most important, essence, original source. She is the Cause and also the Effect. ‘Cause and effect’, we think of these two things as separate and distinct from each other. But if you think deeply these are quite similar on the deeper levels but yet dissimilar. e.g. Cream is formed on milk, that means that milk has the potential to form cream (cream is hidden in the milk), and cream does contain properties of milk (milk is hidden in the cream). Thus the effect is just the transformation/ evolution/ involution (Parinam परिणाम) of the cause.

Prakruti is defined as the state where the Satva, Raja and Tama Gun remain in perfect equilibrium. This is the Avyakta अव्यक्त, unmanifested, potential, invisible, universal spirit, primordial germ, inactive, unexpressed, latent state. Prakruti is Non-Intelligent. The reason is the three Gun. She is composed of the Satva, Raja and Tama which are in constant equilibrium and in spontaneous equal constant motion. Neither of these is greater or lesser, thus they ‘cancel each other out’. Thus she is Spontaneity.

Satva is light and causes pleasure at the spiritual levels, its function is to illuminate. Raja is active, urgent, passion and generally causes pain, its function is to cause evolution. Evolution is represented by the Swastik drawn in the clockwise direction. Tama is heavy, dull enveloping and smothering at the deepest levels, its function is to cause involution. Involution does not mean annihilation, it means that the energies are directed inwards, the transformation which causes dissolution (Swastik drawn in the anticlockwise manner).

These three Gun, Satva, Raja and Tama are always linked with each other, they are always in conjunction and cannot be separated from each other. They continually influence each other, forever mixing in different proportions. As long as they are equal in force there is no manifestation. Prakruti is in constant movement and this motion powered by the continuous mixing and movement of the Gun. The Gun give direction to evolution/ involution. These three are all pervading, in every thing you see around you. These are the first ‘effect’ of Prakruti, so are in everything of this manifested Universe. They are energised by Prakruti.

The three Gun are initially in equilibrium, in the Avyakta, un-expressed state, this is pure Prakruti. Prakruti is the first Tattva of Creation. Tattva तत्त्व means a distinct state, element, principle or essence. Trigun Satva Raja Tama.jpegThen there is a spontaneous Spandan स्पन्दन, which means throbbing, vibration, motion, start of life in the energy of Prakruti. This causes an imbalance in the three Gun and the Raja overpowers the other two. This leads to the Vyakta व्यक्त state, things start getting obvious, clear, evident, expressed and manifested. The Gun always remain in motion, now that they are out of equilibrium they will cause subtle changes in the next manifested tattvas of which they will become a part of. There is constant change everywhere because of their constant movement at the deepest fundamental levels.evolution from parabrahma to mahat buddhiNow after the Spandan, the Gun’s perfect equilateral triangle is disturbed. And Raja is immediately released by the imbalance, it acts on the Satva to produce Mahat-Buddhi which is the 2nd tattva of creation. Mahat-Buddhi is a new thing different from Prakruti and the three Gun hence is called a new Tattva. But it is still composed of the three Gun and energised by Prakruti. It is a transformation/ parinam.

When you do Dhyan, the very last and deepest stages, you are required to set this three Gun in their equilibrium stage again with your conscious manipulation of Pran. There are several ways to manipulate pran. (I read on the internet where people take classes to awaken their Kundalini and its always a facepalm moment. Can you control your breath? For 99.99% of us the answer is No! First learn breath control, then try to control pran, only then can you even think of the Kundalini and forget about ‘controlling’ it!. You would be lucky if you first clean out your Brahmanadi till the top with the pran first and then the kundalini unlocks and moves upwards in one smooth uninterrupted flow.)

There is no ‘physical God’ in Sanatan Dharm, we worship Intelligent Energy. And by ‘worship’, we try to entrain our limited beings with their Immenseness so that we ultimately experience and transcend them.

The Creative principle is the duo, Brahma ब्रह्म and Sarasvati सरस्वती. These two principles are Rajasic in nature. Brahma is the potential and Sarasvati is the active principle of Raja. In the Vyakt/manifestation, as the two principles of Raja act first, the active and potential principles of Satva, Laxmi लक्ष्मी and Vishnu विष्णु also get active by the influence of Brahma/Sarasvati. Together with these, the active and potential principles of Tama, Shakti शक्ति and Shiv शिव also start acting. These six energies are worshipped as Gods and called husband/wife of each other too. Though we visualise them as human figures and make human stories for them, they are not humans, they are pure conscious energies. So when you are ‘worshipping’ this Trinity of Sanatan Dharm, the husbands/wives, you are actually rebalancing the three Gun, Satva, Raja and Tama Gun in your own body /mind / Universe.

Now a secret. You are not Prakruti, you are the Eternal Singularity. You are neither your body nor your Universe, you are more than this. Prakruti is the active principle derived from the Eternal. Prakruti is a small part of the Eternal. If you think on the intellectual level at least to begin with, that that everything that you do, see, experience etc is not by You but by Prakruti, you will Realise Yourself faster.


trigun satva raja tama