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Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is...

Sometimes students have written to or asked Swami Veda, Swami Ritavan, and other senior teachers in our tradition questions about practice. This is one such “Question and Answer,” or Q&A.


How are the Gunas and Karma related to each other?


Lalita Arya (Ammaji) has answered this question.

From Lalita Arya (Ammaji):

Relationship of Gunas and Karma

It is assumed that the questioner knows what Guna and Karma mean. However, just for the clarity of reply I will try to define the two.

GUNAS are the properties or tendencies of a human personality that determine which direction that person chooses in the challenges of life - The Gunas according to our philosophy of Samkhya are recorded as 3 qualities - 1. Sattva, Pure; 2. Rajas, Active; and 3. Tamas, Dark/Confused.

There are many books, articles and videos of both Baba Guruji Swami Rama and Swami Veda Bharati (Pt. Dr. Usharbudh Arya) that discuss these.

The Sattvic personality seeks always the clear, pure choice when faced with decisions, Pursuit of this path has many challenges, difficulties. Guidance, encouragement and early childhood training help.

Rajas offers an active sometimes what seems like violent actions or re-actions to challenges.

Tamas is the dark, confused mind that is impulsive obscured, and tamasic actions lead to incorrect decisions.

The human personality is neither only sattvic, rajasic or tamasic. It is made of all these qualities but in various and differing quantitative patterns...some inherited from previous life-times, some developed in childhood and some deliberately pursued in maturer years.

KARMA - Are actions that determine the future of a human being - based on past actions influenced by the Gunas.

This is the connection between Guna and Karma.

Karma can be determined by Awareness, understanding the human mind through meditation and guidance of the learned ones. Baba always advised us - Don't believe what I say, practice for yourselves.

On a personal note, whenever we would run to him for answers, he would sometimes gently tell us to find our own answers or sometimes he would just yell and say - Become independent, Learn from your erring choices.

Editor’s Note:

If you have a question about spiritual practice, you can use the "Contact the Spiritual Committee" link on the Ahymsin website to ask it.

Previous columns can be read at “Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…



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