Three Modes of Material Nature (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas)

Everything in this world goes through three stages: creation (radjas); maintenance (sattva); annihilation (tamas).

Conscious Choice of Gunas – Foundation for Establishing Successful and Long-Term Projects 

To create something you have to be active because any kind of creation in this world requires activity – rajas. But even more difficult is to maintain (sattva) what you have created; it has to be done consistently on a daily basis. In most cases, special effort is not required to destroy something – destruction (tamas) often comes on its own.  To produce a good car many people need to labour for many years, but any inexperienced driver can demolish it in just a few minutes. The same applies to people’s lives; if the guna of ignorance enters, their life could be ruined in a moment.
In the Vedas it is stated that Brahma is responsible for creation, Vishnu for maintenance and Shiva for annihilation.
We should consciously transfer ourselves to different gunas, to choose the guna whose energy we need at that point in time. Passion is also required for some creative work, for example, to develop and start a new business project. This is not an easy task – passion means applying substantial effort.

People who are predominately in passion are extremely energetic. Warriors (ksatriyas) must fight and for battle they need vast amounts of energy. Just to try to hold an ancient sword in your hand, even for ten minutes, is practically impossible. In historical books, we read that battles used to continue for many hours, even days. In modern society wars also require great physical and psychological strength and commitment; passion and energy are needed to endure it. That is why in Vedic culture warriors were allowed to have a few wives, to eat fish and drink wine. All these things gave the warrior passionate energy.
But after creation comes the most difficult: maintenance. For example, you have started a new business which has begun to operate and develop successfully, but for it’s further maintenance sattva is required because it is necessary to go to work on time, prepare to meet clients, regularly file financial reports, provide good customer service regardless of the people you have to deal with, not relax when the business goes well, etc… For modern businessmen, who are predominantly under the influence of passion, these things are incredibly difficult. According to statistics, out of huge amount of newly created firms and companies, only a few remain after a number of years.
England is considered to be the country with the most beautiful lawns. Once, foreign journalists enquired from some local gardeners to find out England’s secret of success. The answer was, “It is not difficult. Just that the grass should be trimmed every morning at exactly 9am and if there is no rain, it has to be watered.” “That’s all?” the journalists replied. “Yes. And do like that for 300 years.”
This is the nature of action in sattva.

How to Create Paradise at Home 

If you want to keep your home in sattva, it is necessary to keep it nice and clean every day. It is essential to make your bed for a bed is considered to be in tamas; if a bed is not made then it spreads ignorance. Even if you are very tired after work, spend at least twenty minutes cleaning the place. It is difficult but you will feel how a completely different energy spreads through your house. Then if you take a shower, you will be plunged into a completely different atmosphere. The science of Vastu (the origin of Feng-Shui) states that, “Regardless of whether your house is correctly built and organized, if it is dirty (ignorance) inside or outside, the energy of Rahu enters and quickly destroys everything”. The health and relationships of the inhabitants of the house are the first things to be destroyed.
To have family relationships in sattva it is necessary to cook at home for yourselves and a few times a week to gather together with all your family to eat. Different processed foods contain passion and ignorance. If you want harmonious relationships at home, cook yourself by using good quality freshly produced ingredients, and do it with love.
Modern marriages are usually established in passion as the main focus is sexual compatibility. Therefore they do not last. Sattva means maintenance: spouses respect each other, never complain or argue (particularly in front of children), the husband regularly presents flowers to his wife and the wife makes herself look attractive for her husband and never directly contradicts him. It is said that if there is peace in a family the Goddess of fortune, Laksmi, enters into such a home.
Sages assert that if a woman greets her husband coming home from work with no smile or warm words and an unclean house, then she is compared to a witch; if she argues and disagrees with her husband, she is stupid too. If you argue with a man after him expressing what in his opinion (and if a woman is wise, in her opinion too) is the most intelligent statement, even if you are actually right, this is a painful prick for his big and delicate ego and he will not forgive you.
This is not only relevant to marital relationships. A long time ago it was noted that the statement, “The truth comes from disputes”, was concocted by people in passion. Dale Carnegie has accurately described in this regard, “Only enemies come from arguments” and the more emotionally intense the arguments are, the greater the enmity.
Question: How not to aggravate the senses while living in cities, driving cars and going to work?
Answer: Thank you for such a good question. If you live in a city, your first and main concern should be how to choose a suitable house or flat because most of your time will be spent at home. Before you make a choice it is good to find out what your neighbours are like. It is important to follow the basic rules of Vastu-Shastra (the original ancient Indian text and source of Feng-Shui). Also, it is essential to have a park or nature near as that will help to make it more sattvic.
If that is not possible, then create a more sattvic atmosphere within your home. We absorb the energy of our surroundings; therefore the atmosphere at home should be sattvic. To do this it is necessary to maintain high standards of cleanliness which should start with washing ourselves regularly. A home is deeply contaminated by TV; if you have one, try to choose shows that will elevate, although these are difficult to find.
When you travel through the city don’t look at billboards, shops, etc…You can listen to classes, wish everyone well, be friendly toward others, chant prayers, mantras, even meditate or think and make plans for the next day.  Basically you should be able to switch yourself off from external objects. It is good to have an audio player in your car which allows you to listen to classes and audio books.
If you cannot keep your eyes away from advertisements, then in your mind you can try to create a realistic picture. Try to remember that only two percent of all advertised products are useful. Also, we can remember that the advertised product in and of itself will not make us happy. So it is best to try to avoid watching and listening to adverts.
For example, when you see cigarette advertisements, just visualise how these “happy” people inhale the tobacco smoke and how this black energy enters their lungs and entire body. Remember the story of the actor and model, Alan Landers, who was the “face” of Winston cigarettes during the 1960’s and ‘70’s, and who died from throat cancer. After finishing his career he became a well-known activist in anti-smoking campaigns which caused him to become truly famous.
A job should be viewed as a way to use our talents for the benefit of the whole world. Do your job with all your heart regardless of what kind of work you do.
It is important to choose who you associate with. It is better to reduce how much we associate with people in passion. The ignorant ones should be avoided completely; best is to not even answer them, to ignore them completely.
Try to be a channel for pure energies in this world and to give this to everyone you associate with. Then a balanced and peaceful life is possible, even in a city.
But it is also important to remember that cities actually take energy from us, particularly large ones which are incarnations of ignorance and passion. Therefore, it is good to have a source from which the energy of goodness can be obtained. As we mentioned before, it could be from associating with elevated people, attending seminars, reading books full of wisdom and love, regularly visiting nature retreats, etc…

The Guna of Ignorance – Instant Energy of Destruction 

Fire, diseases and debts should be dealt with immediately.
Ayurvedic Wisdom   

This guna is mostly not required and has to be ignored and avoided. Why does it have to be avoided? As was previously mentioned, this energy is similar to a nuclear weapon. Under it’s influence destruction and degradation begin immediately. Please consider how much time and resources are needed to manufacture, for example, a Mercedes or BMW. Huge institutions are involved in this. 250 thousand employees work for BMW in Germany! And now, think of how much energy and time are needed to destroy a new car? A wise ayurvedic doctor once told me, “Everything bad in this world happens quickly and unexpectedly”.
Recently I had a conversation with one man I know who lives in north Israel. There is some trouble in his family: the husband had to go to hospital due to a bad cardiogram result even though for many years he had good health and used to work at least twelve hours a day. Despite being in the hospital, he was answering phone calls from colleagues and talked only about his job. He was absolutely oblivious as to why this illness had happened to him. This is the typical attitude of passion and if passion is not transformed to goodness then it becomes ignorance.
Ignorance in the form of diseases, scandalous breaks in relationships, fire, burglary, accidents, etc… generally come into a person’s life quickly and unexpectedly. Wise, sattvic people see these things coming their way via indirect signs and avoid them easily through a proactive lifestyle and mentality. But the situations that come according to karma and which are unavoidable, he accepts with gratitude, tranquillity and love, and comes out a winner from these negative situations. The world knows many great politicians and military leaders who were able to turn their mistakes and loses into great victories.
One of the signs of ignorance is performing useless activities: checking emails ten times a day, pointless talking on the phone, watching the 384th series of a TV’s serial, senseless clarification of relationships and also any aimless and nonsensical activity and inactivity.
“There is nothing more useless than effectively doing something that could be avoided completely” stated Peter Drucker, a management specialist.
Ignorance is dangerous and it is important to avoid it at any cost. Even two minutes of association with an ignorant person can later cause one to somehow become aggressive, fatigued or seriously diseased.
Despite all this, ignorance is also needed to some extend. For example, correct sleeping (sleeping as one of the conditions of consciousness is not considered to be in ignorance), demolishing old buildings, etc…
We are (eternal spirit souls who are beyond the gunas and transcendental in nature) embodied within material bodies which are tamasic (ignorant) in nature. Someone may be offended by this. How is it that my body or the body of my loved ones are in ignorance when they have such beautiful eyes, nails and hair? Undoubtedly, the eyes are the mirror of a soul and if a person is situated on a high spiritual level, in sattva, then these kinds of eyes are truly attractive. But if they are taken out and put on a plate, it will be impossible to enjoy them any more. Regarding hair and nails – Judaic tradition say that if a pregnant woman stands on nails then she will have a miscarriage. In Vedic culture it is considered that if a hair gets into food then all the food is contaminated and should be thrown away.
Just imagine what will happen to the body if it would not be washed for a couple of days. It would stink. Or if a person did not brush their teeth for the same length of time; one could only hope that he would keep his mouth closed. Although, if a person is in tamas (selfish, jealous, greedy), even if he brushes his teeth, he still stinks when he talks.
As soon as the soul leaves the body, the body begins to rot and decompose.
Modern research shows that if one lives for 60 years, out of these years twenty are spent sleeping, four on the toilet and even more for eating, etc… The physical body requires all this and the lower the consciousness the more it requires.

This extract  is taken from a new book by Rami Bleckt “Three Energies.”