Among different systems of Hindu Philosophy, In the yoga system, to explain one’s personality the concept of Swabhava (behavior) made clear in scripture. Our behavior is called the essential quality of the soul within us, which governs all our Karma, therefore, is a root seed of our dharma (moral duties). In yogic language, this behavior as the quality of one’s personality studies as 3 Gunas.
Do you remember a time when you are filled with happiness, stability, and wholeness? This feeling of satiety actually stems from Sattva Guna, which dominates within us during a specific period only.
What is Sattva Guna?
tatra sattvaṁ nirmalatvāt prakāśhakam anāmayam
sukha-saṅgena badhnāti jñāna-saṅgena chānagha – Bhagavad Gita [Chapter 14 verse 6]
“Amongst these, sattva guṇa, the mode of goodness, being purer than the others, is illuminating and full of well-being. O sinless one, it binds the soul by creating attachment for a sense of happiness and knowledge.”
In the above verse, Lord Krishna defines Sattva Guna to his disciple Arjuna in the war field.
Sattva Guna is actually a state of balance between being overactive and underactive. It is one of the three modes/qualities of existence. Among all these Gunas, Sattva Guna is the purest and most harmonious.
This concept was developed by the Samkhya [efn_note] what is Samkhya https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samkhya [/efn_note] school of Hindu philosophy. Sattva takes you to the Dharma (right way of living) and Gyan (knowledge)
Meaning & Interpretation
The Sanskrit term Sattva means purity or goodness, and Guna means quality or attribute. Hence it means the quality of goodness.
Sattva Guna symbolizes white color, the color of peace.
Sattva is a quality of goodness, selflessness, truth, knowledge, peace, harmony, creativity, and positivity. It is a quality of living a peaceful and meaningful way of life.
What Changes Happen When Sattva Guna Increases?
The increment in Sattva Guna results in various positive effects on the body, on spiritual as well as at the mental level.
When the Sattva is dominant, the following changes are visible.
- One has the desire to be good and he/she becomes caring for everyone.
- The person becomes cheerful, happy and full of gratitude. Also, he/she gains self-control, kind and non-violent behavior.
- Sattva quality fills the person with wisdom. Moreover, it brings a sense of maturity inside him/her.
- The person easily understands the difference between need and want, good and bad, devoted, and non-devoted actions.
- The individual performs his duty or works with honesty and goodwill. Also, it created a sense of understanding about the action he/she is going to perform.
- The person shows respect to the divine and spiritual values and pays devotion towards them.
- He/she becomes pure from the inside and develops spiritual sensations.
- It brings positive aspects of each balanced Ayurvedic Dosha.
Does Sattva Guna Bring Limitations to You?
Although Sattva Guna brings a lot of positive changes in a person’s life, it limits him/her in some aspects. It wraps the person in the attachment to happiness and knowledge.
The Sattva Guna makes us kind and polite. This quality of yours is often misused by others. Many times people take advantage of someone’s kindness and goodness.
So, these are the changes and limitations, which are apparent, when you have dominant Sattva Guna [efn_note] Concept of personalities from the Indian perspective https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3830173/ [/efn_note].
Types of Sattva Guna
There are 7 types of Sattva Guna. Based on these 7 types, we can distinguish the sattvic personalities of people.
1. Brahma Sattva (Sharing the Traits of Bramha)
Brahma type personalities are pure, emotionally stable, self-controlled, true to their words, sober, and intelligent. Also, these are far away from anger, geed, objective desires and envy.
2. Arsa Sattva (Sharing the traits of Rishis)
Arsa types are devoted to sacred rituals, studies, and vows. These are usually intelligent and imaginative. Moreover, these are devoid of ego, pride, hatred, envy, and anger. This type of Sattva is also called Rishi Sattva.
3. Aindra Sattva (Sharing the Traits of Indra)
The characteristics of Aindra Sattva are bravery, strength, authoritative speech, devotion to moral acts and wealth. These are void from mean acts. Rather, these are self-satisfied and confident.
4. Yamya Sattva (Sharing the Traits of Yama)
Yamya Sattva type people are ready to initiate action, assertive, and they have a strong memory. Moreover, they are vacant of envy, hatred, attachment, and ignorance.
5. Varuna Sattva (Sharing Traits of Varuna – God of Water)
Varuna types are brave, patient, pure, clean and like water sports. These are away from uncleanliness and anger. Also, these are sober and conservative.
6. Kauvera Sattva (Sharing the Traits of Kuvera – God of Wealth)
Kauvera type personalities are conscious of self-dignity, honor, and luxuries. Also, these are rich, extrovert, and sometimes get irritated.
7. Gandharva Sattva (Sharing Traits of Celestial Nymph Gandharva)
Gandharva Sattva people are fond of dancing, singing, poetry, epics. They like scents garlands and passions. Moreover, they are helpful and relaxed.
How to Increase Sattva Guna?
Increasing Sattva Guna means to attain a state of mind, where the mind is steady, quiet and peaceful. Increasing a Guna in you is the same as changing your old bad habits & replace with them new habits.
Here’s how you can adopt the following things to increase Sattva Guna within you.
1. Eat Healthy Sattvic Food
We know it very well, the food we take somehow impacts our mind other than body only.
If we eat much spicy or bold food, we are much prone to get aggressive. It’s the characteristics of Rajasic personality. Similarly, when we intake a heavy meal like meat or consume alcohol & drugs in any way, it makes our mind dull & lazier. These qualities define a tamasic guna person.
On the other hand, if we take lite and soothing food, it creates calmness and relaxation within us. So, to increase Sattva Guna it is important to have Sattvic food.
A sattvic diet doesn’t only incorporate healthy food but eating habits also. A sattvic diet includes:
- Clean, pure, healthy and nutritious food.
- It includes the food that gives a feeling that you are eating pure. For example, vegetables, fruits, grains or the food that you can offer to God.
- You can include digestive herbs like ginger, cardamom, etc in your diet for better digestion.
Sattvic food always obeys the rule of Ahimsa or non-harming. Ahimsa means in the source of your food, there shouldn’t be included harming of any living being. So, try to stay away from non-vegetarian food.
2. Maintain Proper Hygiene
To increase the Sattva guna, it is important to keep yourself and your surroundings clean. Our surrounding has a big impact on the vibes we get. When you and your surroundings are clean, you get positive vibes.
Therefore, always be hygienic, wear clean clothes and keep your surroundings tidy.
3. Make Sure to Balance Between Work & Leisure
If you’re a workaholic, it’s the quality of a rajasic person. On the other hand, sluggishness is the quality of a tamasic person. There should be a balance between these 2 states & it’s called Sattvic state.
Your senses play a vital role in your behavior. Whatever you see, hear or read has a deep impact on your mind and behavior. Whenever you watch, listen or read a violent thing, it brings a little aggression to your behavior.
Therefore, rather of watching horror or aggressive Tv shows, playing violent games and reading intense stories, go for entertainment that creates laughter, love, and peace to the heart. This will be an add-on to your Sattva Guna.
4. Your Company Matters
Always stay conscious of the people, with whom you are spending time with. It has a lot to do with your behavior. A company of positive person can lift you, while, a company of a negative person can tear you down.
So, whenever you feel your company is not letting you rise and making you aggressive, it is time to be apart. Instead spend time with a peace-loving and creative person.
It is better to spend time with someone, who has Sattva Guna, if possible. It will help you to increase Sattva Guna within you.
5. Avoid Night Work and Rise Early
Rising early is a good habit that keeps you calm and charming everyday. For waking early, you need to go to sleep early. Originally, we are not made to work for the night. So, to keep the balance, sleep early and rise early.
Satguru says [efn_note] Brahma Muhurta Time https://isha.sadhguru.org/in/en/wisdom/article/brahma-muhurta-time-to-create-yourself [/efn_note] Brahma Muhurta is the best time to wake up, as certain physiological changes happen in the human system at this time. According to him, it lies between 3:30 Am to 6:00 Am, depending upon the Sunrise.
Brahma Muhurta is the time before one and a half hours of sunrise and ends 48 minutes after the sunrise [efn_note] Brahma Muhurata https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmamuhurtha [/efn_note]. Waking at this time brings a big change in your behavior. It stabilizes your mood and keeps you calm. This will gradually increase your Sattva Guna.
These were the improvements you can make in your daily routine, to increase Sattva Guna inside you. Now, let’s talk about some activities you can add in your daily life, that will definitely help with the increment of Sattva Guna.
6. Spend time with Nature
In the Srimad Bhagavatam, Lord Shri Krishna says,
“vanaṁ tu sāttviko vāso”
“Residence in the forest is in the Sattva.” – [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.25.25 Ist line]
But in the current scenario, it is next to impossible to live in the forest. Nevertheless, with this statement, he is not telling us to move to the forests, though is trying to say that spending time with nature gradually increases Sattva Guna.
Living away from nature brings Rajas and Tamas Gunas.
When we spend time with our mother nature, we are away from the whole rush of technology. This helps you to realize your self-consciousness.
So take a break from your daily rush, and give some time to nature, to calm and nourish your astral body. This will increase the Sattva Guna inside you.
“When consciousness becomes clear and the senses are detached from matter, one experiences fearlessness within the material body and detachment from the material mind. You should understand this situation to be the power of the Sattva Guna (mode of goodness), in which one has the opportunity to realize Me (Lord Shri Krishna).”- [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.25.16]
Meditation brings a sense of detachment from the materialistic world. This clears our consciousness. Whenever you meditate, you are, away from all the illusions of the physical world, and close to your true self. This helps you to clear your mind and feel the consciousness or Chitta.
So, add meditation to your daily routine. You can include, Yoga Asanas, Pranayama, Yoga Mudras and other yoga exercises in your daily routine. These will help you to meditate and deepen your consciousness. Consequently, it will increase your Sattva Guna.
8. Practice Bhakti Yoga
In the Srimad Bhagavatam, Lord Shri Krishna states,
“mad-arpaṇaṁ niṣphalaṁ vā sāttvikaṁ nija-karma tat”
“Work performed as an offering to Me(Lord Sri Krishna), without consideration of the fruit, is considered to be in sattva guna.”- [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.25.23]
Practicing Bhakti Yoga brings devotion and spirituality within us. This makes us calm and peace-minded. Bhakti Yoga is a divine offering to the supreme/ultimate soul with any desire for the result. Moreover, this raises your consciousness to an extreme level.
So, performing Bhakti Yoga promotes Sattva Guna within you.
According to Samakya School, no one is purely Sattvic. Everyone poses at least one characteristic of Rajas or Tamas Guna. One’s behavior is the mixture of all these Gunas. The thing is all about dominance. The Guna which is dominant within you, tells your behavior.
No one was born with dominant Sattva, Rajas or Tamas Guna. These are the activities we do, that made us Sattva, Rajas or Tamas. Hence, by changing and improving these activities, you can gain dominance of Sattva.