There are three basic attributes Gun गुण, Satva, Raja and Tama. The Prakruti, ie the active energy who creates all the manifested is composed of these three building blocks. These three Gun form her ‘body’. When these three are perfectly balanced there is no creation. It is only when there is a spontaneous imbalance in these three, does further creation start. The entire creation is composed of the three Gun ie the Prakruti and this all exists within her. (The top-most dot of the Shri yantra is the unmanifest Ultimate and the next equilateral triangle represents the three Gun getting out of balance and creation starting.) So if you want to know your true reality, the three Gun have to be brought back into perfect balance by conscious use of pran/ vital energy.
The conscious energy of Satva is called Vishnu/ Laxmi and this is linked to the Sun/ Surya. Vishnu is considered to be potential energy and thus masculine. Laxmi is the active principle thus considered feminine and the wife of Vishnu. The Raja gun has potential energy called Brahmadev and active energy called Sarasvati who is his wife. Raja Gun is connected to Agni/ Fire. The Tama gun is similarly linked to Shiv, his wife Shakti and the Moon/ Chandra.
These three Gun mix, suppress, produce, exist, support, separate, unite, recombine with each other in every way possible and in varying proportions to create the manifested reality. All things you see in this universe are created, maintained, evolved/destroyed because of these interactions. These three Gun are inter-linked and yet independent of each other.
- Satva is the essence of intelligence, consciousness at all levels, it is linked to the deep pleasure of knowing that you are the Ultimate, it illuminates.
- Raja is energy of motion and is linked to pain, it activates. This ‘pain’, is the pain which one feels when one is convinced that he is separated from the Ultimate.
- Tama is the inertia of solidity, dullness and indicates delusion, it restrains.
If you study the process of creation, the Satva and Tama by themselves are inert, they are incapable of working by themselves. They are animated by the Raja gun. ‘Movement’ is the real reason creation occurs. Raja gun is the intelligent energy of movement. (What is the source of the spontaneous initial movement is something everyone has to experience for himself as it cannot be described in the language of the manifested creation. It was ‘before’ creation occurred.)
In your spiritual practice when your Kundalini crosses the Vahni mandal, the circle of conscious fire, the Vishnu granthi/knot and moves beyond the Muladhar and Swadhisthan chakras, you gain control over the Raja Gun. You gain control over the energy of movement. Now onwards the movement of your mind, body, internal pran remains in your conscious control. If you control ‘movement’ in its subtlest aspects, you can control everything. You can now move things, thoughts, emotions, vibrations, gross and subtle things with precise control. Or precisely stop their movements. This is a very important step in your spiritual progress. After this, your path gets slightly less bumpy. In the Bhagwat Gita, this step is described as the fall of Bhishma.
- It is only Raja gun which has the energy to overcome the inertia of Tama. The solidity of Tama can be harnessed only by Raja. If Tama is the delusion that you are separate from the Ultimate Reality, then this delusion is also powered by Raja. Higher the energy of inertia, lower is the consciousness, lower is the life-form eg stones and soil. All resistance to movement and the stability of mass is Tama.
Raja is necessary for the Satva to operate. Raja provides a substratum for Satva gun to project its intelligence on. Satva is conscious intelligence, but it still needs the energy provided by Raja to display its intelligence, to move! If Satva is the understanding that you are the same as the Eternal Reality, then this is also powered by Raja. If the consciousness is powered higher, the inertia is lower and this self-awareness is higher eg aspirants on the spiritual path. All conscious creatures are more Satva – powered.
When you observe some thing, look for inertia, energy and consciousness. One will dominate over the other 2, this will be its predominant Gun. Everything can be classified as Satva-dominant, Raja-dominant or Tama-dominant. Even thoughts, emotions, the subtle to the gross, the tangible to the intangible is dominated by one of these three. You can observe yourself to know more about your overall tendency. This requires a lot of personal introspection and the ability to focus dispassionately.
- Eg a stone has high inertia, lower energy and lowest intelligence, so it is Tama dominant.
- Eg a genuinely kind and gracious human being will have lowest inertia, he has reduced inactivity. His mind will be less prone to random fluctuation as he focusses on his and others higher selves. Thus he becomes Satva-dominant. (You become kind when you realise that you and everything else is essentially the same).
Raja is the energy present in the universe and the energy in all the things present in this universe. The energy of multiple forms of life and things we see are all products of Raja acting on Satva and Tama. Evolution, transformation, change and all its aspects are Raja. Fire, heat, force, motion, kinetic energy, electricity, magnetism, friction, etc is Raja. The pran/vital energy flowing in you is Raja. Understanding this concept is very important for the spiritual aspirant. If you can control the Raja gun, you can control the direction of your evolution. You can control the movement of pran in your body. Raja gun is the kinetic energy at all levels of existences.
Raja is Agni. Agni is the conscious energy of fire and is responsible for all kinds of movement and transformations at all levels. So we worship Agni in all ways possible. The Sanskrit mantras which we use also are fiery, they transform, push, pull, change, move. In all our compulsory ‘Right-Actions’, Sanskar, Fire /Agni is the witness. For any ritual in Sanatan Dharm, the presence of Agni is essential. There are 16 Sanskars in Sanatan Dharm aka Hinduism. The first is the Garbh-dharan Sanskar where the would-be parents are charged with energy so that they can conceive a happy healthy baby. And the last is the Anteyshti Sanskar where the discarded body is given to the conscious energies of Agni/ Fire and the flowing waters/ Aap.
Now the foundational mantra of Sanatan Dharm is the Gayatri mantra.
Om, Bhuh Bhuvah Swah, Om Tat Savitur Varenyam, Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi, Dhiyo Yo nah Prachodayat, Om.
ॐ भूः भुवः स्वः । ॐ तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यम । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि। धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात॥ ॐ
This mantra is linked to the Devi Sarasvati. She is the active principle of Raja-gun. When you recite this mantra, do its jaap, and ultimately repeat it for 27 lakh times, you gain control over the Raja gun, the active principle of energy, transformation, creation and change. This is the biggest tool which you can possibly possess! Armed with this mantra, go on and do your spiritual practice and see how things move or stop moving as per your conscious will.
For boys a ‘Anushthan’ is performed at the age of 6-7yrs, this is called the Upnayan Sanskar or Yadnopavit or the ‘thread ceremony’. This is a ritual with intention that the boy will perform the 27 lakh times Gayatri mantra repeat in his life-time. For girls on the 6th birthday, she is taught the Gayatri mantra and she is also supposed to recite this 27 lakh times. In these ‘modern’ time, we have clean forgotten to teach our girls and even for the boys only few families do all this. It is a very great loss to humanity.
People say in spiritual practice, ‘increase Satva-gun’ and ‘keep away from Tamasic stuff’. But how? You cannot increase Satva just like that as it is incapable of movement by itself. It is a lump of energy just sitting there! And how to reduce tama-gun or keep away from it? It is also a lump of energy sitting there. You have to move! Movement and complete control on movement is essential for spiritual practice. You have to start everything by application of Raja-gun. And Gayatri mantra is the most powerful way you can use Raja-gun consciously.
So recite the Gayatri mantra at least 27 times twice a day! It takes less than 5 minutes. Try to consciously invoke the power of Devi Sarasvati in yourself. She is the intelligent energy of motion, of Agni. She is the junior school teacher who starts you on your spiritual route. if you pass her test at the Brahma-granthi, you will be promoted. She will be followed by Devi Laxmi at middle-school, here the syllabus will be Satva-gun. If you transcend this, you will be allowed entry into high school where the syllabus will change to Tama-gun. Devi Shakti teaches high-school. The college teacher will be Devi Lalita Tripur-sundari herself. Once you pass her exams you realise that all through you yourself were your own teacher, you were the syllabus and you are everything and more.
But all this only after you first learn, understand and experience the Gayatri mantra in all its subtlety.
‘Saraswati namasyami, chetanam hrudi samsthitam’ सरस्वती नमसयामि चेतनाम ह्रदि संस्थितां is how one of my favourite stotra (youtube link) on Sarasvati starts.
- Sarasvati – Sarasvati is ‘celestial brilliance, intelligence flowing, movement, motion, power, expression’
- Namasyami – Sarasvati is ‘the face, opening, entrance, presence of Ultimate.’ (The Ultimate is a paradox of illusion and wisdom united together. Depth of stillness and flowing movement together. The eternal unborn one in solitude)
- Chetanaam – Sarasvati is ‘the consciousness, fire, awareness, conspicuously visible sentience’
- Hrudi – She is the awareness ‘in the individual soul, in the the third eye Ajnya chakra, in the Center of this Ajnya chakra‘
- Samsthitam – Sarasvati is ‘the foundation and conclusion’.
So Sarasvati is the flowing celestial intelligence of movement, at the opening of the route to the Ultimate. She is the ever alert fiery awareness at who is the foundation and also the conclusion of the individual soul.
The individual soul and its individual personal universe starts when Raja-gun spontaneously moves and creates an apparent separation from the Ultimate. Thus Devi Sarasvati is the energy who Creates. This duality ends when it knows its reality again at the conclusion of a process initiated again by Raja-gun ie Devi Sarasvati.
(This is from the Sankhya, from Ayurved and some of my understanding and experience. I know that sometimes I write quite esoteric things which are not available on the Internet or elsewhere. It is my Karma to write, I do it for myself, to rebalance my karmic baggage. But if you are reading it, if it is your karma to read, then know that you should also actively try to practice. You cannot go onward in your spiritual practice just reading my experiences. So here is the link to the most complete form of Gayatri (youtube link), the Ghanapath. Close your eyes and listen to it. Feel its fire, its heat, its movement, let its rhythm move you.)