[Advaita-l] tamoguna

Bhadraiah Mallampalli vaidix at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 13 10:02:34 CDT 2009

Dear Michael, 


Very good question. Devas and asura/rakshas were all children of prajapati, meaning their origin same, but something in their nature differentiates them. The question of daivi and asuri aspects of a guna is linked to the definition of asura/rakshas. I always used to wonder why there are two types of bad guys and what is the difference between them.


S.Br gives derives the word rakshas from the root raksh, meaning protect. This is surprising because every day we worship day in and day out saying 'Amba, protect me'. How is this protection any different from rakshas? 


IMO, rakshas are those who commit overuse or abuse of protection. You see politicians walking around with tight security when common people have no security. Or think of those who accumulate too much wealth at the expense of other aspects of life.


The word asura is many times used in a positive sense. Varuna is called asura. There is a vedic lady rishi named Asuri. (I am still looking for etymology of asura.) 


IMO, varuNa is the lord of inhalation. Inhalation always opens up new ideas, but inhalation can also be aggressive, violent and overbearing. Asuras are not over-protective like rakshas, and they may be pretty much open. But being aggressive they err on the positive side. If some one tries to dominate opinions on any topic on a message board you can call that an asuric quality, however correct the opinions may be. 


One who doesn't err on positive or negative side and uses them appropriately in every situation, has the daivi gunas (satva, rajas and tamas). I hope this is reasonable. 





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