[Advaita-l] tamoguna

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Fri Apr 10 08:43:42 CDT 2009

I'd like to raise the question of tamoguna.

Like most people, I guess, I at first accepted the standard dictionat
definition that sattwa is the quality of goodness and knowledge; rajas, the
energy of action; and tamas, inertia and darkness.

Then later I was introduced to the idea (and I'm asking for any source texts
here) that there were two aspects to each guna : divine and demonic. So that
'demonic sattwa', kashaya,  is illusory goodness and knowledge (as anyone
who has been to California will rcognise..); 'demonic rajas', vikshepa, is
destructive agitation; and 'divine tamas' has something of Shiva : the
divine measure of things which gives shape to all actions; and mal is the
demonic 'inertia and darkness'' normally agttributed to tamas, without

This seems to me to be an insult to tamas, if its divine aspect is not

I hope for comments and source texts on this matter.


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list