THE FOOD WE EAT
CONDITIONS OUR MIND.
The operation of the world is made possible by the
interplay of three gunas or attributes:
the quality of goodness, peace, beauty, rhythm, and harmony.
Rajas, the quality of action, achievement, passion and pride .
the quality of darkness, inertia and ignorance.
All three attributes or gunas are present in human
nature, varying in degree according to individuals, and each can be
enhanced by providing conditions conducive to its growth and
development. The Three gunas are personified as Brahma, Vishnu and
Shiva or Mahadev-- the creator, the preserver and the destroyer of
the physical universe.
from Philosophy of the Masters Vol. III, p, 227
Food can be divided into three kinds: (1) Satvik,
(2) Rajasik, and (3) Tamasik.
Satvik food produces pure feelings. Butter,
milk, rice, pulses and vegetables come under this category. Food
that is full of pungent spices, is hot and has a heating effect on the
system is Rajasik. Stale, raw, over-ripe food, eggs, meat, fish,
wine, etc. are Tamasik foods. But even Satvik food sometimes turns into
Tamasik if taken in excessive quantity.
A pictoral representation of the characteristics of
the three gunas or attributes can be seen
One can change one's nature by changing one's diet.
By changing one's diet, one changes the nature of one's mind. One
can progressively eliminate the Tamasik and Rajasik qualities of one's
mind by replacing food that is Tamasik and Rajasik with food that is
Within the classic Indian scripture
TheBhagavad Gita there is
insightful discussion on the qualities of forces that make up
nature and creation. These forces are called gunas
(pronounced gun-a), a term defined as strand, thread, rope.
They are the intertwining forces that weave together to make
material nature, including human consciousness. These forces
are divided into three categories, whose qualities are tabulated
below, yet the Gita points out that it is possible to go
beyond the gunas, to transcend their characteristics. He
who endeavors to do so creates ultimate freedom by balancing
their essence in their true, authentic Self which goes beyond
the forces of nature and resides in non-dualistic divinity.
are the three gunas: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
According to Yogic philosophy, everything is made up of the
gunas in different proportions.
matter / heaviness
Intelligence / Consciousness
passion born of craving and attachment.
means of attachment to knowledge and joy.
means of ignorance and obstruction.
ruling trait when greed, excessive projects, cravings
and restlessness arise.
ruling trait when the light of knowledge shines forth.
ruling trait when darkness, dullness, stagnation,
indolence, confusion, torpor, and inertia appear.
He who faithfully serves me
with the yoga of devotion, going
beyond the three gunas, is ready
to attain the ultimate freedom.
Bhagavad Gita, A
New Translation, 14.22 – 26
Translation by Stephen Mitchell,