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The Three Gunas of Mind and Music

by - Dr. T V Sairam

In Sanskrit, mind is known as manas, which is often compared to the form of a mighty ocean, because of its infinite spread and depth and also the constant agitation and turmoil which it witnesses especially in struggling for survival and mundane achievements.

As the mind is susceptible for the frequent storms of passion and breezes of cravings and desires, it undergoes various modifications or moods (vrittis).

Known as the modal consciousness, such mood changes can impart certain partial knowledge about something or some events. However, Vedanta, the ancient school of Indian philosophy emphasizes the need of cultivating mental tranquility despite such changes.

It is the ancient technique of meditation which aims at bringing in such tranquility essential for the very survival of the human organism and its society. It refers to a process of silencing certain thoughts which are known to cause misery and sorrow - not only to the individual who develops them but also to the whole family or society, which harbors him.

Vedanta says that when mind (antahkarana, the internal constituent of one's being) is tinged with different objects of thoughts and feelings, it takes automatically their form and characteristics.

The thought and feeling processes involve what is referred to as primordial energy (prakriti) , which manifests as the three gunas (qualities): Sattva (light or awakening), Rajas (passion or action)and Tamas (lethargy or procrastination).

All these psychic forms are nothing but the manifestation of the mind or antahkarana.

We have seen that the desires and passions form the root-cause of mental disturbance, as they tend to disturb the balance ( the state of equilibrium) of mind. As a result, they create sorrows and sufferings in life - both for the individuals as well as for their family or society.

It is here that the practice of nada yoga has a salutary effect.

Focusing or meditating on nada (intonation) frees an individual from the constraints of Time, Space and Causality. It is interesting to note that as we sing or play music, the distinction between the past, present and future melt down. The singer or player is led to a state of consciousness which is infinite and eternal (“aham brahma”).

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Dr T V Sairam is from F/48B, Hari Nagar,New Delhi 110064. For any doubts you can contact him at - tvsairam@gmail.com