The Gunas (Tantra Vidhya)

The Gunas

Purusha, primordial consciousness or spirit, the potential subject of knowledge, the syllable “a,” and Prakriti, primordial matter as yet unmanifest, nature in potential, the potential object of knowledge, the syllable “i” manifest through Cosmic Mind Stuff – reflected in an unruffled mirror-lake of Intellect, into a separation between a subject and an object of knowledge.

A discrimination arises between the Same and the Other, which are identical reflections of one another.  The World’s existence, however, requires a drop in the mirror-lake, causing a ripple, a desire for identity, for separation.  That first rippled reflection of I-dentity,  named ahamkara, Ego Principle, appears as Movement, itself, and we may distinguish three qualities, gunas, that excite the World into manifestation.

If there were only sattva, The Balanced, then Ego would remain transparent and Movement would only be potential.  Rajas, the Active, attracts, as the agent of The Same, transforms and assimilates.  Tamas, the Passive, repels, as the agent of the Other, and maintains the isolation of things.

Rajas, the Active, supported by the subjective sattva, the Balanced, attracting matter to consciousness, manifests the eleven organs, named indriyas, which are reflected in man – five organs of knowledge: organ of smell, organ of taste, organ of sight, organ of touch, and organ of hearing;  the five organs of action, the hands, legs, tongue, anus, and genitals; and the organizing organ of mind.

When subjectivity is not present, the qualities of activity, rajas, and inertia, tamas, reflect the subjective organs of knowledge as objective Rudimentary Elements, tanmatras: perceived by smell, perceived by taste, perceived by sight, perceived by touch, and perceived by hearing.  Further reflection, as if another mirror is inserted, renders the five rudimentary elements into the five Gross Elements, the mahabhutas: earth, water, fire, air, and ether demonstrating The Passive, tamas, maintaining the ultimate isolation of things.

About the Author

Baba Rampuri, author of "Autobiography of a Sadhu, a Journey into Mystic India," and frequent commentator on Oral Tradition, Sacred Speech, and Consciousness, is an American expatriate,  the first foreigner to be initiated into India's largest and most ancient order of yogis, the Naga Sannyasis of Juna Akhara.  He has lived in India since 1970, where he practices and teaches the oral tradition of the Sanatan Dharma, conducts sacred ceremony and rites, and hosts workshops and retreats.

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