What Exactly Is A 'Guna'?


All life is subject to change.

The one truth about life is that everything will change. Whether it be a thousand years from now, a thousand days from now, or a thousand seconds from now, nothing will ever be the same again.

Beyond this idea of change, our reality is also subject to our own individual interpretation and, therefore, perception. What we think, we believe. What we believe, ultimately, is left up to our own interpretation. If you and I are both looking at the same rock, you may think it's rough looking, while I may think it's smooth. It is up to our own personal interpretation; thereby making up our own unique 'reality'.

Thus, the ‘Gunas’, essentially are a perceptual interpretation of our own experience; with a single 'Guna' representing an agent of change falling within one of three primary categories: Sattva, Rajas, or Tamas. Similar to the RGB colour model*, which distills all tangential colours into some derivative of the primary: Red, Green and Blue, all elements in nature (in effect, our own universe — a.k.a. ‘our' reality) can be distilled into one of these three primary categories of: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.

Take, for instance, sitting out in nature; a very Sattvic (or tranquil) experience. Or dancing at a concert; a very Rajastic (or energetic) outing. Or even lying in bed all day; a very Tamastic (or subdued) activity.

It is hard to exactly point-point each of these three categories and derive concrete examples for each, as they are relatively subjective by nature; however, every unique experience, sensation, thought, feeling, sound, taste, touch, smell — everything — can be boiled down to being either Sattvic, Rajastic or Tamastic in nature.

So, does this mean that each unique event or experience will present the same exact interpretation for each experiencer? The trick is, it won't! What one may find Rajastic, another may find Sattvic. What one may find Sattvic, may actually be quite Tamastic.

Take, for example, this song:


One would naturally think that this song would fall under the Rajastic category. However, for someone living a highly Rajastic lifestyle like myself, this kind of music is actually quite calming (or Sattvic). 

Or this song:


While the initial interpretation may be that this song is quite Sattvic (being that it is a love song) in nature, I actually find it quite Tamastic, making me feel kind of sad and depressed.

The interesting realization is that, even though each expression is ultimately felt as being either Sattvic, Rajastic or Tamastic in nature, its exact quality will always fall back on the interpreter's judgement. Sure, a majority may agree that one thing may be Sattvic in nature — but not always. And that is both the beauty and folly of life. Who is right? The one experiencing and reflecting on their own experience.

Nothing is true; everything is permitted. It is solely dependent on what we believe — or rather, what we make ourselves believe.

And that, you can believe.

“Life is an illusive dream affixed in multicolour; where one sees blue, I see green.”- #yongeyoda says…