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Just as the Doshas are the essential components of our body, the three ‘gunas’ i.e. ‘Satwa’, ‘Rajas’ and ‘Tamas’ - are the three essential components or energies of our mind. Ayurveda provides a distinct description of people on the basis of their ‘Manasa Prakriti’ (psychological constitution). Genetically determined, these psychological characteristics are dependent on the relative dominance of the three gunas.
While all individuals have mixed amounts of the three, the predominant ‘guna’ determines an individual's ‘Manasa prakriti’. In equilibrium, the three gunas preserve the mind and indirectly the body, maintaining it in a healthy state. Any disturbance in this equilibrium results in various types of mental disorders.
‘Satwa’, characterised by lightness, consciousness, pleasure and clarity, is pure, free from disease and cannot be disturbed in any way. It activates the senses and is responsible for the perception of knowledge. ‘Rajas’, the most active of the ‘gunas’, have motion and stimulation as its characteristics. All desires, wishes, ambitions and fickle-mindedness are a result of the same. While ‘Tamas’ is characterised by heaviness and resistance. It produces disturbances in the process of perception and activities of the mind. Delusion, false knowledge, laziness, apathy, sleep and drowsiness are due to it.
‘Rajas’ and’ Tamas’, as with the doshas, can be unbalanced by stress and negative desires as' kama’ (lust),’ irshya’ (malice),’ moha’ (delusion and hallucination),’ lobha’ (greed), ‘chinta’ (anxiety), ‘bhaya’ (fear) and krodha (anger). Each of these three properties is also comprised of sub-types and the particular sub-type to which one belongs to determine the qualities of that individual.
‘Satwika’ individuals are usually noble and spiritual in character, their nature determined as much by body type as their star constellation, having an element of kapha in their constitution.
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