The term triguna is composed of two words, tri meaning three and gunas meaning qualities. Like doshas, the three gunas – satwa, rajas and tamas are the essential components of the mind. These three gunas determines people’s nature, belief and perception on the basis of their psychology and body constitution. Corresponding to the three doshas, the trigunas are found in nature as well as in mind.
Satwa is the subjective world that is able to perceive and manipulate matter. It is often regarded as purity. It is the ideal state of mind as it is characterized by lightness, awareness, consciousness, delight, pleasure and lucidity. The guna satwa makes the person pure, free from diseases and tensions. It comprises the mind, capacity and action of the five organs. Satwa is also responsible for the perception of knowledge. The proper balance of the mind, the development of purity and peace help in the development of a sattwic mind. This is the first stage of spiritual realization.
Rajas are the most active of all the gunas. Its characteristics are motion and stimulation. It is the force or the energy of movement that brings together the parts of both satwas and tamas. All the desires, wishes, ambitions and fickle-mindedness are due to the quality of rajas. A person with rajas as predominant guna always seeks diversity in life.
Tamas is the objective world of the five elements that forms the basis of formation of universe and the physical world. It produces disturbances in the process of perception and activities of the mind. It is characterized by heaviness and immunity. The person with the quality of tamas is dull and lethargic.
When the three gunas are in various proportions the predominant guna determines the psychological constitution of mind. Any kind of imbalance results in various types of mental problems. The balance of rajas and tamas is disturbed by stress, negative thoughts and desires. People with a balanced satwa and rajas adopt spiritual and holistic measures to improve themselves.
For maintaining a healthy stare of mind and the body, balance of three doshas and gunas is required.