Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Tweaking The Thinker, part 2

Hari Om

Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.

We are reading the small booklet called "Not Too Loose, Not Too tight - Just right!" This is written by Swamini Vimalananda, and gives a very general overview of Vedanta for the beginner.

The main characteristic of sattva guna is Knowledge.  Other characteristics are compassion, faith, Love, self-control, understanding, purity, equanimity and memory. The main characteristic of rajo-guna is activity.  Others are ambition, dynamism, restlessness, haste, anger, jealousy, greed and passion.  The main characteristic of tamo-guna is inertia. Others are disorganised thinking and behaviour, carelessness, laziness, forgetfulness, violence and criminal thoughts.

The cause pervades the effect.  Hence, these three qualities of prakRiti pervade everything in the creation. However, when one quality is predominant, the other two lie dormant. The inert world of objects is predominantly tamasic. Plants manifest more rajo-guna than stones do and animals even more than plants. Man can manifest sattva guna to a greater extent than animals and presiding deities even more than man.  Even amongst plants, trees, animals, birds, some are sattvic, others rajasic and yet others tamasic.  The tulsi, lotus, peepal, cow and swan are seen to be more sattvic and are therefore held as sacred in India. The pitcher plant, sunflower, mango tree, monkey and crow are more rajasic, whereas weeds, cactii, buffalo and vulture are more tamasic. Look around at the world and try to see these gunas in the beings around you. Not as judgement! Merely as an observation.

Human beings too have these three gunas. Different qualities gain dominance at different times, but one of them generally dominates each personality.  Hence we may categorise people as being sattvic, rajasic ro tamasic.  Remember, everything we do -the way we sit, eat, walk, talk, work or behave - reflects the quality or mood of the mind.  For example, in a sattvic mood we eat unhurriedly and neatly; in a rajasic mood, speedily, with little chewing and perhaps moodily also; in tamasic mood, the food is taken sloppily, lethargically and with not attention at all.

What do we want to be?  What is the ideal combination of the gunas we ought to strive to have?

When the strings of the sitar are too loose, they produce a base and unmusical sound.  If they are too tight, they make a squeaky or shrill sound.  When they are tuned rightly, they produce melodious music. Similarly, if the strings of our mind are too loose (tamasic) we are dull, lazy and often negative in our thoughts.  If they are too tight (rajasic), then despite being ambitious and hard working, we are often tense, dissatisfied, worried and unhappy.  However, when the strings of our minds are tuned rightly (sattvic), then we are poised, successful and happy; there is beautiful music in our lives. Therefore, the formula for success and happiness is "Not Too Loose, Not Too tight - Just right!"

When we look in a mirror and see dirt on our face, we wash it off.  we enhance our looks by highlighting our good features and reducing or managing the defects. The following posts from this booklet will act as if that mirror. There will be 23 aspects expounded, meant to help us look at ourselves and guide us to beautify our inner selves and lives. Each of the three gunas is expanded upon in relation to specifics of living.  This is useful as a daily sadhana 'monitor', but also, for those who are pondering the practicality of undertaking spiritual/philosophical pursuit, highlights the methodology of Vedanta succinctly, whilst at the same time not being 'the final word'. 

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Hari OM
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