Formulation Of Sattvik Model: From Ancient Roots To Modern Perspective

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According to the Vedas, all material fundamentals are inculcated with the modes of nature or gunas- sattava, rajas, and tamas. Understanding the guna mode of an individual is the key to behavioral analysis. Different individuals may have different intensities of sattava, rajas and tamas gunas. As defined by Lord Krishna in 14th chapter of Bhagwat Geeta Sattva is the state of harmony, balance, joy and intelligence. This paper conceptualizes the Sattvik model which describes the interplay of attributes (gunas), actions (karma), money (dhan) and charity (daan). In the present study, the new term ‘Sattvik Dhan’ has been propounded by the researcher. It has been set out that the part of sattvik dhan that is given as charity denotes sattvik daan.


Guna Theory

According to the Vedas, all material fundamentals are inculcated with the modes of nature or gunas- sattva, rajas, and tamas. (DAVID 1999)The interactions of the three gunas govern the dynamics of prakrti. The three gunas- sattva, rajas and tamas, correspond generally with ‘lucidity and buoyancy’, ‘energy and activity’, and ‘apathy and impediment’. (Schweizer) The Guna model of individual personality is contributed to Sankhya philosophy. gunas are categorized as sattva, rajas and tamas. Understanding the guna mode of an individual is the key to behavioral analysis. Different individuals may have different intensities of sattva, rajas and tamas gunas. In this context the personality model based on guna theory is propounded by Sharma (1996)- P=Sa Rb Tc Where P stands for personality, S, R, T stand for Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasik qualities and a,b,c signifies the intensities of the respective gunas.

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As defined by Lord Krishna in 14th chapter of Bhagwat Geeta Sattva is the state of harmony, balance, joy and intelligence. Rajas guna is dominated by attraction, longing and attachment and it binds an individual to the fruits of the work done by an individual. Tamas is a state of darkness, inertia, inactivity and materialism. ( Ipshita 2003). It may also be noted that while tamas and rajas are more materialistic oriented, sattva represent the spiritual aspect of life. Analyzing the constraints of tamas and rajas or the purely materialistic view of life, guna theory lays a greater emphasis on urgency to surpass tamas and rajas in order to move towards sattva. It may be indicated that guna theory is fundamentally an energy-band concept wherein tamas represents the negergy or negative energy and sattva represents synergy or channeling of positive energy. (Sharma 1997) Sattva guna is distinguished by the presence of traits such as purity, serenity, compassion, goodness and self-sacrifice (Kaur& Sinha 1992). The psychological behavior of human being is a combination of the three gunas (Mohan & Sandhu 1986) The varied character orientations in individuals is an outcome of varying proportions of presence of the three gunas. (Biswas, 2010).

Means Ends Analysis

(Sharma, 1995) advocates that ends denote the goal or the destination and the routes to the goal/destination are represented through means. Both ends and means can be wrong or right. According to Indian psycho-philosophy, means ends analysis is considered to be an important analytical tool. When integration of means-ends analysis is done with the guna theory, it results into three different types of ME (Means-Ends) approaches. These are S-S, R-R, T-T, denoting the Sattvik means-Sattvik ends, Rajasik means-Rajasik ends and Tamasik means-Tamasik ends. Karma theory

(Sharma, 2007) says that Karma Theory accentuate upon positive actions of human beings. It lays emphasis upon the “karma-phal” which means action-result linkage. According to the theory, sattvik actions direct sattvik consequences or results and similarly, tamasik actions direct tamasik results. It indicates that if the actions are sattvik, i.e positive, divine like, then the resulting actions leads to synergy. If the actions are tamasik, which implies malicious, demonic, negative or bad, then the resulting actions generates negative energy or negergy. Hence, it can be said that the Karma theory stimulates people to maintain the means and ends in appropriate context. It advocates that correct ends an only be achieved by employing correct means.

It encourages humans towards constructive achievements. The Karma Theory can be regarded as theory of ethical management and also as a theory which elucidates about positive management.

Karma-phal or the Fruit of Action

Sharma (1999) says that “As you sow so you reap” is a primeval way of expressing the idea of “Karma –Phal”, which says that the results or consequences of each type of “Karma”/action can be identified. It can be said that Karma-Phal is a purely action-result oriented approach.

“Sattvik actions lead o purity, rajasik create the pain;

Know tamasas a generator of the ignorance chain”.

“Lust anger and greed, they all lead to hell,

Abandon these three in order to feel well.”

Source: Sharma (1999)

Nanda, A.R. (2011) Karma or Action: sattvik karma or action can be defined as an obligatory action, which is carried out without any desire for phal(fruit) and without any attachment, repulsion and attraction. Rajasik karma can be defined as actions which are carried out by putting great efforts, caused with desire for phal(fruit) along with ego. Tamasik karma can be refereed as actions which are executed due to attachment and are carried out without thinking of its consequences. These can result into injury, loss.

Sattvik Daan

The Bhagwad Gita gives the concept of “daan” which can be defined as charity. “Daan” is categorized into three grades as Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasik. Sattvik Daan is refered as the best “daan” or charity as it is selfless. It is referred as a duty. The donor makes the “daan” with no expectations in return from the recipient and is made at the right place at the right time to the right person. Bhagwad Gita encourages the human beings towards Sattvik Daan. (Shreemadbhagwad Geeta, Chapter 17, verse 20, Agrawal, 2005, p.II775); Baba, 2008, p.II:766)

(Swami Ramsukhdas, 2004) According to Swami Ramsukhdas, “this kind of daan is really tyag, relinquishment, in which nothing is desired in return. This type of daan is not the kind that gives punya, meri t in return. Seeking such punya will transform that daan into rajasik.” (Bright, P.S. ) Says that Distribution of food articles during natural calamities such as floods, famine, or providing drinking water to the people in scorching heat are examples of sattvik daan.

(Shreemadbhagwad Geeta, Agrawal, 2005, p.II776); Baba, 2008, p.II:766) Rajasik Daan can be defined as daan which is done for obtaining some indirect or direct benefits in return. The benefits can be spiritual as well as material. The donor suffers from regret or pain due to parting of wealth or property. Collection of wealth after persuasion, known as “chanda” in hindi is also referred as rajasik daan. Donor can seek the benefits through rajasik daan.

(Shreemadbhagwad Geeta, Chapter 17, verse 22 (Agrawal, 2005, p.II776); (Baba, 2008, p.II:766); Also see Manas Peeyush, Uttar Kaand, 7.101.0 (Sharan, 2001, pp. 552-53) Tamasik daan can be defined as daan which is given to incorrect person or at incorrect place or time. It is to be noted that the daan which is given to the recipient with insult or without showing respect, then it can be referred as tamasik daan. Intention of giving bodily harm to someone is an example of tamasik daan. (Kautiliya Arthashastra (3.16.6) (Kangle, 2000, p. II: 244), Gairola, 1996, 1996, p.323)

Relationship of Guna Theory with Karma

Nanda, A.R. (2011) expresses that the Bhagwad Gita, chapter 18 elucidates about the relationship of the guna theory, i.e the three gunas or attributes (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) with predominance of action (Karma) along with conduct, knowledge, intellect, happiness or joy, determination of steadfastness or commitment. Hence, it can be said that there is an interconnection between guna theory and karma theory.

Nanda, A.R. (2011) Lord Krishna has also enlightened about the spiritual practices of daan, yagya and tapas, which purifies man. It is said that these practices (daan, yagya and tapas) should be performed after renouncing all the attachments and desires or wishes for the fruits of karma or action. Hence, it can be said that the essence of true sattvik daan, yagya and tapas is depicted when it is done selflessly. Also, if there is persistence for desire for the fruit of karma or action, then daan, yagya and tapas can be referred into tamasik or rajasik categories.

The Sattvik Model: The Idea of Sattvik Dhan

The model proposed depicts interplay of attributes (gunas), actions (karma), money (dhan) and charity (daan). In the Sattvik model, G stands for guna, K stands for karma, D stands for dhan and the other D stands for daan respectively. The model provides insight about the sattvik guna, sattvik karma, sattvik daan and sattvik dhan, which is a new term coined. In nut shell, it can be said that the basis for the model is the concept of sattvik, which means positive, good, ethical.

Sattvik guna which is denoted by purity and goodness motivates an individual to perform sattvik deeds or actions or karmas. Karma is defined by Sharma (1995) as a theory of positive actions. It follows the action-result (Karma-phal) linkage which signifies that sattvik deeds results in sattvik outcomes & tamasik deeds leads to tamasik outcomes.

Money (Dhan) earned by performing sattvik activity or through sattvik means can be defined as “sattvik dhan”. It has also been supported by means –ends analysis (chakarborty, 1995). In other words, any activity an activity which is performed through divine like, good or positive intent which generates synergy lead to the generation of wealth or money or dhan can be termed as “sattvik dhan”.

While performing sattvik deeds or karma an individual rise above the level of self interest and personal gain. Hence, the money earned by transcending from the level of self interest and selfishness is termed as “sattvik dhan”. The part of sattvik dhan that is given as charity denotes sattvik daan. As quoted in Bhagwat Gita sattvik daan is the charity which is given with pure, selfless, ethical and peaceful intentions. Also according to ‘root, shoot and the fruit metaphor Sharma (1999) which provides a deeper thought about process-result dynamics. It can be conformed that daan that is contributed from sattvik dhan can be referred to as sattvik daan. Hence, the GKDD model conceptualizes the term ‘sattvik dhan’.

Literature Review

(Das RC, Sebastian KA, Mathew VG, Kapur M, Hirisave U, Reddy MV, Barnabas I, Singhal D) says that the concept of Triguna or Guna can be dated back to the Bhagawat Gita, Atharva Veda and also Sankhya Darsana. The concept has been used to understand human personality and attributes. Sattvik or sattva guna can be referred as spiritual quality (Srivastava, K. 2012). It is said that the domination of sattva guna, inherent the individual to be caring and good and the light of wisdom and intellect shines through the human being. It gives the person the wisdom to understand the difference between dutiful and undutiful action, undesirable and desirable. Spiritual values are honored by the individual and the action performed by him is calm and doubt free. The motive force behind sattvic action is purity of character, silence, non-violence, respect, self-control and kindness (Srivastava, K. 2012).

The guna theory provides with three primary psychological forces, sattvik, rajasik and tamasik which verify unethical or ethical predisposition of human nature. Cause and effect framework is provided by the Karma theory for the guna impelled actions. Nishkam karma theory propounds desire less action, which has been mentioned in chapter II, verse 48 of the Bhagwad Gita. The theory gives a psychological approach to work which can promote the guna-led ethical motives and thwart unethical motives. This process unites the karmic theory, which says that desire less action or karma, ego-less would be ethical and for a good cause. The combination of gunas influences ability of the person in support of nishkam karma. It is said that comparatively high sattva guna in an individual leads towards the practice of desire less action or nishkam karma. At the same time, presence of rajas and tamas gunas hinders the individual for nishkam karma. (Kumar, B.N. & Steinmann, H. 1998)

(Agarwal, 2010) says that “When the giving results in transfer of property from one person to another, it is treated as daan”. According to Indian tradition, daan can be referred as a sub-set of giving. In true sense, the real meaning of daan can be inferred as ‘giving –as per scriptural directions’ (Agarwal, 2010). The concept of daan includes seven elements, which are receiver, donor, right time, and right place, and right procedure, suitable object to donate and last respectful transaction. Upanishad, Ved, Puran Smriti along with the Bhagawad Gita emphasizes the importance of daan.


The proposed GKDD model links individual attributes (gunas) to karma (actions) which in turn is related to money (dhan) and charity (daan). The model conceptualizes that the presence of sattvik gunas leads to performance of sattvik deeds by an individual. And hence, the money earned by such an activity can be termed as sattvik dhan. Further, the part of sattvik dhan which is given as a charity leads to sattvik daan.


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