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All About Ayurveda

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Ayurveda tells us about the Gunas of the Mind!

We have told you about the three humors or Doshas according to Ayurveda – Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and the seven different body types. We also told you how these Doshas determine our physical, mental and emotional traits. Now let us tell you in detail about the Gunas or qualities of the mind.

The Ayurvedic philosophy says that all matter comes from the nature, and everything has a Prakriti to it. Now this Prakriti has three main Gunas or qualities, which determine the nature of everything associated with it - energy, matter as well as consciousness. So basically, everything in the world is made up of the three Gunas; after all, the word 'Guna' in Sanskrit refers to 'what binds'. These are the three Gunas that Ayurvedic texts talk about...

  • Sattva or goodness which harmonizes,
  • Rajas or motion which agitates, and,
  • Tamas or darkness which disturbs.

Everything in the entire universe or cosmos consists of a combination of these three Gunas. We too are not exempt from that. We all have Gunas in varying degrees and there is an interaction between all three of them.

These Gunas are said to be the main powers of the cosmos which determine our spiritual growth as well. Yes, we humans can consciously alter the levels of the Gunas in our bodies, as well as our minds. One cannot remove or add a Guna, but actions can be taken to increase or decrease it. This can happen through our lifestyle, our activities as well as our thoughts. These Gunas have a deep connection with our humors or Doshas, and together they determine our mental and spiritual nature.

The human mind is very complex. The psychological qualities of our mind are pretty unstable - which means that they can switch between the different Gunas according to the situation we're in. But yes, there will be a predominant Guna in everyone's mind which is the lens through which we see the world, and which also determines what type of a person we eventually become. That is why no two people are the same or even think alike. The way we all perceive situations is very different. There is a way one reacts to a certain situation – it could either be Sattvik, Rajasic or Tamasic.

The Gunas of the mind also get attached to the ego of the person. While Sattva has a calming and harmonious effect on the body and mind, excessive Rajas and Tamas could lead to disturbances of various kinds. But worry not! The power is in our hands. We can make choices through what we eat and what we do, which can influence the Gunas - allowing whichever Guna we want, to dominate our mind and our thoughts.

Like we said before, everything in nature has these three Gunas - so the food we eat, or the thoughts we have can aggravate or increase a particular Guna to a great extent.

Follow this series to know more about the three Gunas of the mind and how we can manage them the way we want!

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