Nature consists of three primal qualities; the three gunas: Sattva, Rajas ans Tamas. These three gunas (Sanskrit for ‘what binds‘) are the main powers of Cosmic Intelligence. They determine our spiritual growth and are the powers of the soul which hold the karma and desires that lead us from birth to rebirth.Everything around us, is build up out of (various combinations of) these three gunas.
The three gunas
- Sattva: the quality of intelligence, virtue and goodness. Sattva creates harmony, balance and stability. It is light and luminous in nature. It possesses an inward and upward motion and stimulates the awakening of the soul. Sattva provides long lasting happiness and contentment. It brings clarity, wideness and peace and is the force of love that unites all things together.
- Rajas: the quality of change, activity and turbulence. It introduces a disequilibrium that upsets an existing balance. Rajas stimulates outward motion and causes self-seeking action that leads to fragmentation and disintegration. Rajas stimulates and provides short-term pleasure, but on the long-term this pleasure results in pain and suffering. Rajas is the force of passion, that will end in distress and conflict.
- Tamas: the quality of dullness, darkness and heaviness. Tamas is slow, veiling or obstructing in its action. It functions as the force of gravity that retards things and hold them in specific limited forms. It possesses a downward motion that causes decay and disintegration. It brings about ignorance and delusion in the mind and promotes insensitivity, sleep and loss of awareness.
Unless our mind is calm and clear we don’t see the world the way it is. Sattva creates clarity through which we perceive the truth of things and gives light, concentration and devotion. Rajas and Tamas bring mental disharmony, causing agitation, delusion and wrong perception.
Rajas gives us the idea the world is real in itself. Through Rajas we seek happiness outside ourselves and lose track of inner peace. Rajas creates desire, distortion, turbulence and emotional upset. Tamas creates ignorance that veils our true nature and weakens our power of perception. Tamas creates an ego, which gives us the idea we are alone and isolated. Through Tamas we identify ourselves with our physical body which is dull and limited.
If we increase Sattva in ourselves we gain peace and harmony and we find ultimate bliss by discovering our eternal self. Sattva – as the state of balance – is responsible for all true health and healing. If we live Sattvic, which is living in harmony with nature and our inner guidance (listening to ourselves), we can heal ourselves and stay healthy. Rajastic living causes pain, agitation and a life filled with restlessness. A Tamastic life causes stagnation, decay and death. Rajas and Tamas work together. Through Rajas we throw around our energy, running after all things we think will make us happy, we over eat, drink and have sex because of the sex, resulting in exhaustion (Tamas).
There is a psychological and physical approach to increase Sattva. I’ll write more about the psychological way in a later blog. A physical way to become more Sattva is by choosing the ‘right’ food. Sattvic food is fresh food, light meals (no preservatives, no artificial coloring). For example fresh vegetables and fruits, grains, beans, milk, ghee, butter, nuts, seeds, oils. Rajastic food is spicy and fermented food. For example: garlic, peppers, eggs, cheese, white sugar, avocado, salt, radish, citrus fruits, coffee and fructose. Tamastic food is ‘old’ food; food that has been heated several times (or stored in the freezer), fast and fried food, microwaved food, unions, mushrooms, meat, fish and poultry.
It’s not wrong to eat Rajastic or Tamastic food as long as your intake is moderate and you eat mainly Sattvic food.
Source: Ayurveda and the Mind - David Frawley / Ayurvedisch koken voor de Westerse keuken - Amadea Morningstar - The Living Centre
Sattvic food Fruits: Apples, Kiwi, Prunes, Apricots, Tangerines, Bananas, Lychee, Pomegranate, Cantaloupe, Mango, Papaya, Cherries, Melons, Nectarines, Cranberry, Honeydew, Oranges, Grapefruits, Watermelon, Pineapples, Grapes, Peaches, Plums, Guava, Pears, Persimmon Vegetables: Artichokes, Eggplant, Lettuce, Beets, Mustard, Greens, Asparagus, Daikon, Onions, Endive, Fennel, Maitake, Parsnips, Bok Choy, Peas, Broccoli, Green Beans, Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Kale, Radishes, Cabbage, Leeks, Lima Beans, Shallots, Carrots, Celery, Spinach, Cauliflower, Chard, Chanterelles, Sprouts, Corn, Squash, Shitake, Mushrooms, Watercress, Turnips, Yams Sprouted Whole Grains:Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Bulgur, Millet, Quinoa, Rice:Basmati, Brown and Wild Rice. Oils: Olive, Safflower, Sesame, Sunflower, Garbanzo, Lentils, Mung. Spices: Asafoetida (hing), Coriander, Basil, Cumin, Nutmeg, Black Pepper, Fennel seed, Parsley, Cardamom, Fenugreek, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger Nut/Seed:Brazil nuts, Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Walnuts Milks & Cheese: Seed milk, Hemp milk, Almond or other nut milk Sweetners: Cane juice, Raw honey, Stevia, Fruit Juices, Maple Syrup