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Guṇa (Sanskrit: गुण) means 'string' or 'a single thread or strand of a cord or twine'. In more abstract uses, it may mean 'a subdivision, species, kind, quality', or an operational principle or tendency.[1]

In Samkhya philosophy, there are three major guṇas that serve as the fundamental operating principles or 'tendencies' of prakṛti (universal nature) which are called: sattva guṇa, and rajas guṇa, tamas guṇa. The three primary gunas are generally accepted to be associated with creation (satva), preservation (rajas), and destruction (tamas).[2] The entire creation and its process of evolution is carried out by these three major gunas.[3][4][5]

Contents

In classical Vedic literature

In classical Vedic literature (for example, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana and the Bhagavad Gita), the guṇas are also associated with the five elements (mahabhutas),[6] five senses, and five associated body parts:

  • Akash (space), associated with the guṇa śábda ("sound") and with the ear.
  • Vayu (air), associated with the guṇa sparśa ("feeling") and with the skin.
  • Tejas or Agni (fire), associated with the guṇa rūpa ("appearance", and thus color and tangibility) and with the eye.
  • Apas or Jal (water), associated with the guṇa rasa ("taste", and thus also flavor and tangibility, as well as shape) and with the tongue.
  • Prithivi (earth), associated with all the preceding guṇas as well as the guṇa gandha ("smell") and with the nose.

In Samkhya philosophy

In Samkhya philosophy, a guṇa is one of three "tendencies": tamas, sattva, and rajas. These categories have become a common means of categorizing behavior and natural phenomena in Hindu philosophy, and also in Ayurvedic medicine, as a system to assess conditions and diets. For this reason Triguna and tridosha are considered to be related in the traditions of Ayurveda. Guṇa is the tendency not action itself. For instance, sattva guṇa is the tendency towards purity but is not purity itself. Similarly rajas guṇa is that force which tends to create action but is not action itself. Each of the three gunas is ever present simultaneously in every particle of creation but the variations in equilibrium manifest all the variety in creation including matter, mind, body and spirit.[7][8]

All creation is made up by a balance composed of all three forces. For creation to progress, each new stage "needs a force to maintain it and another force to develop it into a new stage. The force that develops the process in a new stage is sato guna, while tamo guna is that which checks or retards the process in order to maintain the state already produced, so that it may form the basis for the next stage".

  • Sattva (originally "being, existence, entity") has been translated to mean balance, order, or purity. Indologist Georg Feuerstein translates sattva as "lucidity". This typically implies that aspects of creation with more of sattva have uplifting and life supporting qualities.[9]
  • Rajas (originally "atmosphere, air, firmament") is also translated to mean preservation or dynamism.[10][11] (Rajas is etymologically unrelated to the word raja.)
  • Tamas (originally "darkness", "obscurity") has been translated to mean "too inactive" or "inertia", negative, lethargic, dull, or slow.[12] Usually it is associated with darkness, delusion, or ignorance.[13] A tamas quality also can refer to anything destructive or entropic. In his Translation and Commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi explains "The nature of tamo guna is to check or retard, though it should not be thought that if the movement is upward tamo guna is absent".[14]

In Nyaya philosophy

In Nyaya philosophy, 24 guṇas are enumerated as properties or characteristics of all created things, including śábda, sparśa, rūpa, rasa, and gandha.

  1. rūpa: appearance (shape and color).
  2. rasa: taste.
  3. gandha: smell.
  4. sparśa: feeling (touch).
  5. sāṃkhya: amount.
  6. parimāṇa: dimension.
  7. pṛthaktva: distinctness.
  8. saṃyoga: conjunction.
  9. vibhāga: disjunction.
  10. paratva: remoteness.
  11. aparatva: proximity.
  12. gurutva: weight.
  13. dravatva: fluidity.
  14. sneha: viscidity.
  15. śábda: sound.
  16. buddhi/jñāna: enlightenment/knowing.
  17. sukha: pleasure.
  18. duḥkha: pain.
  19. icchā: desire.
  20. dveṣa: aversion.
  21. prayatna: effort.
  22. dharma: merit or virtue.
  23. adharma: demerit.
  24. saṃskāra: the self-reproductive quality;

In grammar

In Sanskrit grammatical tradition (Vyakarana), guṇa is a technical term referring to the vowels a, e, o,(for example, the full grade ablaut stages; see Ashtadhyayi).[15]

See also

References

  1. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=pSLU7SxSqHwC&pg=PA74&dq=rajas+guna&ei=ZTnrScPHDJbcMZ27qeQE#PPA76,M1 Hindu Philosphy, Theos Benard, 1999, p.74-76
  2. ^ Autobiography Of A Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, Self Realization Fellowship, 1973, p.22
  3. ^ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita, a New Translation and Commentary, Chapter 1-6. Penguin Books, 1969, p 128 (v 45)
  4. ^ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita, a New Translation and Commentary, Chapter 1-6. Penguin Books, 1969, p 269 v.13
  5. ^ http://books.google.com/booksid=pSLU7SxSqHwC&pg=PA74&dq=rajas+guna&ei=ZTnrScPHDJbcMZ27qeQE#PPA76,M1 Hindu Philosphy,Theos Benard, 1999, p.74-76
  6. ^ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita, a New Translation and Commentary, Chapter 1-6. Penguin Books, 1969, p483 Appendix
  7. ^ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita, a New Translation and Commentary, Chapter 1-6. Penguin Books, 1969, p 269 v.13
  8. ^ http://books.google.com/booksid=pSLU7SxSqHwC&pg=PA74&dq=rajas+guna&ei=ZTnrScPHDJbcMZ27qeQE#PPA76,M1 Hindu Philosphy,Theos Benard, 1999, p.74-76
  9. ^ Alter, Joseph S., Yoga in modern India, 2004 Princeton University Press, p 55
  10. ^ Feuerstein, Georg The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga, Shambhala Publications, 1997
  11. ^ Autobiography Of A Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, Self Realization Fellowship, 1973, p.22
  12. ^ Feuerstein, Georg The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga, Shambhala Publications, 1997
  13. ^ Whicher, Ian The Integrity of the Yoga Darśana, 1998 SUNY Press, 110
  14. ^ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita, a New Translation and Commentary, Chapter 1-6. Penguin Books, 1969, p 128 (v 45)
  15. ^ Macdonell, Arthur Anthony A Sanskrit Grammar for Students 1986, by Oxford University Press 11

External links

Coordinates: 24°38′35″N 77°18′11″E / 24.64296°N 77.30307°E / 24.64296; 77.30307

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GUNA, a town and military station in Central India, in the state of Gwalior. Pop. (1901) 11,452. After the Mutiny, it became the headquarters of the Central India Horse, whose commanding officer acts as ex-officio assistant to the resident of Gwalior; and its trade has developed rapidly since the opening of a station on a branch of the Great Indian Peninsula railway in 1899.


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