Threefold gunas in psychology: how the ancients had it right

Recently I discovered how the ancient concept of the gunas (sattva, rajas, tamas or balance/harmony, activity, inertia) can be applied to psychological processes. My work on the self-help introduction involved study of material that immensely helped me to integrate these concepts into the decision making process.


Attached you will find a study on the gunas, seen here as qualities of mind, expressed in and through psychological energies involved in decision processes, hence in life itself. Graphs and examples illustrate the idea.

This is an important step forward in the integration of ancient ideas into modern spiritual models of mind. If you have anything to add, please let me know. File Attached: Gunasinpsyche.pdf

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Comment by Martin Euser on September 12, 2011 at 6:51am

Capt. Anand, "The Science of Social Organization" (or Laws of Manu in the light of Atma-vidya) can be downloaded from the Internet Archive as well.

Today, I found the science of the Emotions in the archive too.

Comment by Martin Euser on September 12, 2011 at 6:42am

None can rightfully deny the relevancy of the seven principles as formulated in my article on process philosophy.

Especially principles 3 and 6 can be recognized here to play an all important role. Our lives are determined by these principles, microsecond by microsecond. Bhagwan Das points to the oneness expressed in a series of rhythmic motions, as per footnote quoted. A pattern becomes manifest in such motions, as an expression of principles at work. 

As so often said: your life is determined by your pattern of thinking. This  involves your beliefs about life and society, and it involves collective patterns of belief and associated habits, since none is separated from others. These are all extremely practical teachings! In the self-help one can find a link to Byron Katie's work on cognitive distortions. See the section on perception and belief. Right in front of you, in the video, you can see how people become liberated from crippling beliefs.

Comment by Capt. Anand Kumar on September 11, 2011 at 9:48pm

Thanks Martin. Your work truly represents what Theosophy should be. Bhagwan Das tried to do the same, i.e. give prcatical lessons on the application of ancient knowledge.


"The Science of Peace", "The Science of Emotions", and "The Science of Social Organization" are all expansion of the unique theme originally revealed in the ancient Indian text of "Pranava Vada" by the sage Gargayana which Bhagwan Das translated. It is available for download here. Another version of the Pranava Vada (By Shuddha Dharma Mandala) is available on our own home page. It is an extremely complex text and reflects the true genius of Bhagwan Das as only he could translate such a text.


Bhagwan Das was also the first recipient of highest civilian honur the "Bharat Ratna" (The Jewel of India) of independent India. New Delhi has a very prominent road named after him. Dr. S Radhakrishnan, the greatest exponent of Indian Philosophy and former President of India considered Bhagwan Das to be more advanced in Indian Philosophy than himself. Together with Annie Besant, Bhagwan Das was also instrumental in establishing the Benares Hindu University.


It is really a pity that the Theosophical Society of today does not acknowledge his contributions and accord him the place he deserves.

Comment by Martin Euser on September 11, 2011 at 5:10pm

Bhagwan Das's  book "The science of peace" can be downloaded for free at the Internet Archive.

Anand, thanks for quoting the relevant footnote of his work. Das's mentioning of sub-aspects tallies with my concept of the gunas, i think. Each guna has subaspects. It is a matter of which subaspect is dominating that determines the quality of the action and reaction of a person in a given situation. 

Comment by Martin Euser on September 11, 2011 at 4:15pm

Anand, this work of Bhagwan Das sounds very relevant to me. I will have to order this book.

My application is thoroughly scientific, as I see it. It shows polarities at work, within a control hierarchy.

The observing self (or faculty) can provide control (a balanced use) of energy.  Psychologists talk about "being able to delay gratification". This ability grows strongly at, and after, a person reaches the age of sixteen. With this ability, one can step back mentally, as it were, from a situation and with an observer look have an appropriate reaction for the situation.

The self-help basics is also based on scientific research and on ideas that work, as popularized by diverse people. Among other things: brain research, research and thinking about emotions, cognitive distortions, codependency, etc. The future will see a new kind of psychology, one that is much more in line with the ancient wisdom and systems theory. My article is a simple building block for such a science.

I also see some correlations to large scale problems and domains such as biology (homeostatic systems for example). Society is not yet homeostatic. It is in denial of basic facts of life. Some companies, however, do get it. They follow the Natural Step program from Karl-Henrik Robért.

Comment by Capt. Anand Kumar on September 11, 2011 at 1:49am

Martin, you have provided one of the most excellent example of application of ancient wisdom to contemporary society and its problems. Please witness what Late Bhagwan Das wrote in the footnote on page 192 of his classic "The Science of Peace":

sattva, is being, existence, truth, goodness, harmony, living

being, energy, illuminating power, vital power ;


rajas, is that which colours, dust, stain, blood, passion,

restlessness, activity.


tamas, is darkness, dullness, inertia, confusion, chaos, pain,

faintness, sleep.


Sattva. rajas, tamas, have often latterly been translated as rhythm,' mobility, inertia. But these words indicate only one sub-aspect of each. Sattvika rajas is rhythm, i.e., harmonious or uniform repetition, and the imposition, thereby, of one-ness on a series of many movements. Rajasa rajas is mobility proper. Tamasa rajas is inertia, persistent clinging to a state of relative rest or motion.



Those wishing to peruse "The Dream of Ravan" as suggested by David Reigle may find it here.

Comment by David Reigle on September 10, 2011 at 11:58pm
I think your application of the idea of the gunas to psychological processes is very valuable, Martin. Thank you for posting this. For readers who want a fun way to find out about the gunas, I recommend the novel, The Dream of Ravan.
Comment by Martin Euser on August 28, 2011 at 7:12am
The capital Y symbolizes the three directions one can take at a decision point. One can imagine arrow points at the extremities of the Y.

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