An article by Pratiskha on human energies and balancing, published in ‘The Speaking Tree‘, 30th March 2014, New Delhi, India.
Using a paintbrush, Pratiksha Apurv delves into the philosophy behind the three gunas or energies present in each one of us.
All paradoxes in life have to be removed so we can be consistent, we’re often told. But, by closely examining our very own nature, we find that ‘paradox’ seems to be the ultimate objective of meditation. Let me explain how. The Bhagwad Gita and Sankhya philosophy gave us the idea of three categories of human energies – rajas, tamas and sattva. Rajas mean action, hyperactivity, full of aggression and fire within. Tamas is the mirror opposite of rajas indicating inaction, dullness and lethargy. The balancing act of these two energies is sattva, tranquillity.
According to sankhya philosophy, all three qualities are gunas and are always present simultaneously in every individual but they manifest differently. Going back to the point about ‘paradox’, laughing or smiling is rajas while tears are tamas. Both are different and happen on different occasions. But, if you bring in sattva, there would be tears in your eyes and a smile on your face – that is a paradox. Meditation brings both active and passive together, balancing the energies so that beauty arises and you can smile, though your eyes are full of tears. And, in various stages of our life, we have realised that inner music, inner melody, is possible only by tuning the different energies in a balanced manner.
Krishna in the Gita (chapter 14) tells Arjuna that sattva is good action, leading one to the path of meditation while rajas is karma, mind full of action and tamas is ignorance and inactivity. This entire chapter emphasises on balancing them and going beyond gunas to be freed from the birth cycle. Balancing will come only after experiencing the energies. Arjuna was curious. He wanted to know if all three gunas exist within simultaneously, how they manifest separately and how to identify them. Krishna asked Arjuna to immerse himself in meditation of one God.
Gautama Buddha often used a word sama or samya which literally means equilibrium. His message to disciples was to be samyak – balanced in everything. He even used the phrase ‘samyak samadhi’ indicating that even samadhi needs to be in equilibrium, it should not be asymmetrical.
Walking A Tightrope
This symmetry, equilibrium is the key to go beyond three gunas, and this is what Krishna and Buddha were talking about. Whatever job you are doing, just bring balance into it. Like a man walking a tightrope in the circus. His walk is nothing but a continuous effort to maintain balance. Osho says any man or woman who wants to attain the ultimate and blissful marriage or is willing to go in ultimate yoga, has to be in deep balance. He says in balance, you transcend all the three gunas. You become gunateet – you go beyond all these three attributes – it becomes ateet, history. Krishna told Arjuna, “You are no longer part of the world; you have gone beyond”.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras say when there is balance between three gunas, there is no manifestation of the universe.
Sattva is white, rajas is red and tamas is depicted as black.
In the inner triangle, all three colours
– red, white and black – are in equilibrium.
The hands indicate balancing of all three energies and,
therefore, a state of rejoicing.
However, in the outer triangle,
all three colours are asymmetrical indicating chaos all around.
However, the imbalance described as vikar or vikriti by Patanjali, triggers an exposition. You cannot be in action or rajas stage all the time, neither in the state of lethargy or tamas, round the clock. Action may excite you like reaching a hill summit that no one before you has reached. But, you will not stop after putting your flag there. You will search for another peak and then, another. You will be continuously in search.
Even in tamas state, you can’t be lethargic in life. That will be too much. It will be as good as dead but just breathing, somehow alive with too much dependence on matter. If rajas is too much, there will be too much action, too much mind game. If tamas is too much, you will be just like other material in the house. Even if sattva is too much, it will bring imbalance. There will be too much focus on ‘self’. But, if all three are balanced, then comes the fourth stage – ‘no-self’. However, this has not been termed as ‘gunas’ because of two reasons – the disappearance of ‘i’ or awareness of ‘self’ and secondly, the ‘no-self’ stage in today’s world seems to be unbelievable, although it is the only reality. It is as real as existence of God.
The Fourth Stage
Interestingly, when balancing occurs, you will not only attain the fourth stage, but you will also be able to use all three gunas with right perspective and in right proportion. Just like an enlightened master, you will act, but you will not become a slave to your action or your body. You will use your mind the way you want to but will not be enslaved to the mind. Mind will not be able to deceive you. You will live in your body but you will not be the slave to your body. You will be the master and body and mind will be your slave. A total transformation will take place. The balancing between the three gunas will bring evolution, turning your potential in attaining ‘no-self’ – the state of rejoicing – the real Brahma.
In my painting, titled Rejoicing, different colours are used to depict all three gunas and subsequent effects. Sattva is white, rajas is red and tamas is depicted as black.
In the inner triangle, all three colours – red, white and black – are in equilibrium. The hands indicate balancing of all three energies and, therefore, a state of rejoicing. However, in the outer triangle, all three colours are asymmetrical indicating chaos all around. Similarly, to keep the body healthy, the balancing of vata, pitta and kapha is necessary which have been described at length in ayurveda. The ‘being’ and the ‘body’ both require the state of equilibrium between three gunas.
More articles by Pratiksha on Osho News