Typology is categorizing a set of information into different types. Many of you might be already aware of Mayer and Briggs type indicator or MBTI. This is one of the well-known types. Indian culture has had typologies for ages. One of the well-known typologies is called Guna. There are 3 main Guna and are Sathwa, Raja and Tama. Let’s quickly learn about the types of Guna.
Sathwam rajas thama ethi gunaaha prakruthi sambhavaaha | Nibadhnanthi mahabaho dhehe dhehinam avayayam ||5||Bhagvadhgeetha 14
Meaning: Sathwa, Rajas and Thama have emerged from Prakruthi (expression of Brahman) they bind the Avyaya (eternal) principle (the Aathman) to the body. Indians categorize almost everything under these three types. It includes people, their habits, actions, qualities, thoughts, food and so on. It is important to understand what these three types are. The well-known religious text Bhagvadhgeetha has defined it well and it is as below.
Urdhwam gachanthi sathwastha madhye thishthanthi rajasaha | Jghanya guna vrutthistha adho gachanthi Thamasaha ||18||Bhagvadhgeetha 14
Meaning: Sathwik are the ones who go up, Rajasik are the ones who stand in the middle and Thamasik are the ones who slide down. This is mainly based on qualities, behaviour and thoughts. As Indian spirituality is mainly about upliftment, going up means upliftment and going down means devolving. Sathwik people are the ones who evolve. Things of Sathwik nature help us evolve. People of Rajasik nature are the ones who don’t evolve much or just revolve around the same thing and things of Rajasik nature does not help us to evolve much. People of Thamasik nature descends or transition towards less evolved levels. Every person is composed of all three types Sathwa, Raja and Thama. All three of them are required in daily life.
For example, Thama is required for basic needs like sleep and safety. Rajas are important for moods and feelings like happiness, motivations and social life. Sathwa helps in intellectual activities like abstract thoughts, imagination and consciousness. The person with more Sathwa is called Sathwik, with more Raja is called Rajasik and more Thama can be called Thamasik.
Thathra Sathwam nirmalatwath prakashakam anamayam | Sukhasangena badhnathi dnyanasangena chanagha ||6||Bhagvadhgeetha 14
Meaning: Sathwa (or Sathwik Guna) makes a person of pure mind. He is enlightened by material knowledge and is harmless. He is bound by attachment with happiness and knowledge. Two main characteristics of Sathwa are happiness and knowledge. A person becomes pure by mind due to Sathwa. The evolution of Sathwik person may stop as he starts considering himself as knowledgeable. He considers himself content, lucky and happy. He may have much common sense and might be aware of religious texts. He also considers himself an expert in his area.
Rajo ragathmakam viddhi thrushna sanga samudbhavam | Thanni badhnathi kaunthey karmasangena dehinam ||7||Bhagvadhgeetha 14
Meaning: Rajoguna makes a person attached to material things. A Rajasik person alsohas a natural love for material things and a desire for more is on the rise. Rajoguna bounds a person by the desire for more activity. A Rajasik person would love to do something big where he is actively involved. He likes to be busy all the time. He would even do religious rituals for some material benefit. The desire for more activity may stop his evolution further.
Thamasthwadnyajam viddhi mohanam sarva dehinam | Pramadalasyanidrabhstannibadhnati Bharath ||8||Bhagvadhgeetha 14
Meaning: Thama mesmerizes all animals by ignorance. Lust, laziness and sleep bind them. A Thamasik person does not like exploring new things in any way. Generally, he loves the status quo. Thamoguna is the nature of most animals and they are not much interested in evolution.
|Pure Mind||Natural love for Material Things||Lust|
|Enlightenment||Desire for more||Laziness and carelessness|
|Happy||Loves to do something big||Excessive Sleep|
|Eager for knowledge||Likes to be busy||Resistance for change|
|Expert in his field||Projects power||Showy Absence of correct judgement|
|Absence of pride||Desires to do much activity||Doubting nature|
|Peaceful nature||Envy||Lack of confidence & self-respect|