Sattva Guna, the quality of purity and peacefulness, is one of the three gunas in yogic philosophy. Tamas (darkness and lethargy) and Rajas (energy and passion) are the other two gunas.
Sattva guna gives the opportunity to experience internal happiness and provides a platform and the necessary qualities for starting a real spiritual path. As long as the consciousness is filled with many negative qualities of Rajas and Tamas, the spiritual path is almost impossible. The beginning of the spiritual path is always accompanied by the state of Sattva guna.
In this article, I will share with you how to raise your consciousness to Sattva guna. But first, let me explain what gunas are.
What Is Guna?
Guna can be translated as “quality, peculiarity, attribute, property” and implies that, like strands of a rope, the gunas are woven together to form the objective universe. Awareness of the gunas tells us whether we are genuinely moving forward in life (sattva), running in place (rajas), or losing our way (tamas).
There are three gunas that have always been and continue to be present in all things and beings in the world. These three gunas are called:
- sattva (goodness, constructive, harmonious);
- rajas (passion, active, confused);
- tamas (darkness, destructive, chaotic).
All of these three gunas are present in everyone and everything, it is the proportion that is different. The interplay of these gunas defines the character of someone or something, of nature and determines the progress of life.
“Action that is virtuous, thought through, free from attachment, and without craving for results is considered Sattvic;— Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, verses 23–25
Action that is driven purely by craving for pleasure, selfishness, and much effort is Rajasic;
Action that is undertaken because of delusion, disregarding consequences, without considering loss or injury to others or self, is called Tamasic.”
The three gunas are constantly interacting with one another. While the gunas themselves are permanent in essence, their interactions are transitory.
Samkhya philosophers say that life exists for the purpose of acquiring experience and knowing the Self. The gunas are meant to facilitate this spiritual endeavor. They reveal, conceal, and stir us up – all for the purpose of bringing us closer to Purusha.
The cause of Tamas is the original ignorance – the identification of oneself with the matter. From this identification, desire and fear come. The desire for pleasure and fear of suffering. Thus, the living being is immersed in material existence.
Avidya means ignorance, which does not allow you to perceive knowledge or feel it. This is like not knowing the language, which does not allow you to understand speech. Avidya is fundamental blindness about reality.
Under the influence of Avidya, one can acquire knowledge, but cannot fully understand it. In order to fully understand the knowledge, one should reach Sattva guna consciousness.
The causes of Tamas:
- pleasures and attachment to them;
- incorrect lifestyle: nutrition, sleep, activity;
- immersion in the matter;
- lack of external and internal cleanliness;
- prohibited activities;
- alcohol, drugs, and other intoxicating substances.
The cause of Rajas is lust. Lust is an all-consuming desire for pleasure.
Rajas manifests itself in the form of excessive activity, which is caused by strong desires. Lust denotes strong desires that occupy a person, turning him away from God and his spiritual path.
The causes of Rajas:
- attachment to the objects of pleasure;
- active and unrestrained mind;
- uncontrolled feelings and emotions;
- attachments to material goals.
Sattva guna manifests itself as purity, true knowledge, and harmony. It is free of fear, violence, malice, and wrath. Sattva is a quality of goodness, joy, forgiveness, nobility, contentment, and satisfaction.
The causes of Sattva guna:
- gaining knowledge;
- getting rid of undesirable qualities;
- proper lifestyle: nutrition, sleep, activity;
- striving for spiritual self-awareness and knowledge;
- non-attachment to the results of any activity;
- following the Yama and Niyama principles;
- limited entertainment;
In order to reach Samadhi (Liberation) the Sattva consciousness should be attained. It is possible to increase Sattva by reducing Rajas and Tamas. Here are some recommendations on how to do it.
9 Ways To Increase Sattva Guna
#1: Go to bed early, and get up early
Avoid staying up late, especially in the hours leading to midnight, because that time period is tamasic. In other words, when you’re staying up late you are increasing Tamas guna.
Morning hours are saturated with Sattva. If you are awake during those hours, you naturally absorb vital energy. Brahma Muhurta time, which begins 90 minutes before sunrise and ends at sunrise, is especially beneficial for spiritual practices and raising your vibrations.
#2: Eat sattvic foods
According to the Bhagavad Gita, only a vegetarian food is sattvic.
Food that is wholesome, pure, and obtained without difficulty is sattvic food, food that gives immediate pleasure to the senses is rajasic food, and food that is unclean and causes distress is tamasic food.– Srimad Bhagavatam 11.25.28
Even though onion and garlic are considered vegetarian foods, they are known to increase Tamas guna. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid them along with other non-vegetarian food.
#3: Meditate daily
Regular meditations are important for increasing Sattva guna. Meditation helps to clear the consciousness by detaching it from matter. When we meditate we are able to connect to higher levels of consciousness which leads us to Sattvic happiness.
#4: Regulate your sex life
It is important to understand that the nature of sex is rajasic. Therefore it is important to take your sex life under control, and if not avoid it, then at least regulate it.
#5: Keep your house and your body clean
Clean your house on a regular basis. Make sure it is always clean and has a harmonious atmosphere. Keep your body clean, don’t skip the showers. Wear clean clothes.
It is also important to detox your body regularly by using Ayurvedic detox tips.
#6: Study the Sacred texts regularly
You don’t have to be a devotee of Hindu philosophy in order to study Sacred texts such as Bhagavad Gita. You can choose any Sacred text for your studies. It can be the Bible, the Upanishads, The Dao De Jing, etc.
#7: Spend time alone with nature
Sages of bygone ages turned to the forests and the mountains for spiritual realization. Such a practice can have a big positive effect on the mind and deepen our spiritual connection with the world around us. Therefore, it is essential to find time to spend it alone with Mother Nature. Allow Her to nourish you in solitude.
#8: Consciously slow down
A fast-paced life combined with excess use of gadgets increases Rajas guna. A stressful lifestyle leads to an overactive mind, anxiety, and health problems. Internet addiction makes the mind restless.
To increase Sattva guna, make sure you consciously slow down your life and spend quality time away from technology. It will give your mind the necessary rest and you will see that you become less stressed and more relaxed and opened to new knowledge.
#9: Practice Bhakti Yoga
According to Samrat Kumar, Bhakti yoga is an Indian tradition of “divine love mysticism”, a spiritual path “synonymous for an intimate understanding of oneness and harmony of the eternal individual with the Divine (the universal Being) and all creatures, a constant delight”.
Bhakti Yoga practice elevates you to Sattva guna first and then makes you transcend to the level of Brahman. This is the quickest way to elevate your consciousness.
The Bottom Line
To raise your consciousness to the level of Sattva guna means to stop perceiving the world as a source of pleasure and turn your eyes inward, understand yourself, and gain knowledge of your true nature.
Both the search for self and the attainment of Sattva guna is a difficult and lengthy process that must be constantly supported by effort, conscious self-discipline, and benevolent actions.