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Ahaar, Vichaar aur Vyavhaar

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By Shaifali Banssal

We generally notice in our daily life that each person has a different behaviour.  Looking into the depths, we have noticed the different eating habits and different choices of food leading to the difference of thoughts. It is much based on the Ayurvedic theory of TriGun – Rajas, Sattav and Tamas. The concept of TriGuna dates back to Atharva Veda, it was discussed in Bhagavad Gita and later included in Sankhya Darsana.

The concept of Triguna has been utilised to explain the concept of personality in the modern era as well. The conscious mind is rooted in this concept of Triguna. From these three Guna, Sattva is called stability; Rajas, activation and Tamas, inertia (energy for movement). The human manifestations, psychology and perceptions are affected by the Triguna. Each living being in this universe has a dominating feature and this dominating feature is because of the dominating Guna (Quality).

All human beings are the combinations of the three gunas and therefore these three features together promote different kinds of functions by a person. Depending upon the dominating Guna, a person develops a dominating feature of their personality. The more interesting thing about nature is that a person can alter his /her dominating feature with the mode of worship, the type of food consumed and other activities of everyday life. Here we will talk about the type of food consumption leading to the dominating quality.

The Sattva Guna Sattva guna is mainly the “spiritual quality”.

When sattva guna is dominant, a person’s mind as well as senses are stable.

The Rajas Guna

Rajas guna is nothing but the “active quality”. Rajas guna in people drives more passion and desire in them, which may subsequently lead to greed, activity, taking up work, and  restlessness. People with rajas-dominant personalities are full of attachment and a desire to get rewarded for their actions

The Tamas Guna

Tamas guna is essentially the “material quality”. Tamas arise from hopes and illusions, and it makes people prone to qualities such as idleness, fantasy, and persistence. Some common characteristics of Tamas-dominant people include anger, fights, loud speech and tendency to seek revenge. Tamasic guna also suggests debating and frequent quarrels.

When a person has a certain type of food, the Guna related to that food consumed regularly becomes the dominating Guna/ Personality trait of that person.

 Sattav guna includes Simple and Nutritious food.

Rajas guna includes fatty food with mild spices.

Tamas guna includes Spicy, oily and junk food.

For example, spicy food leads to the dominance of energy which is a tamas guna and good for people who require physical strength but not for people working using mental strength. Such food can bring unnecessary anger to them. Similarly, intake of fatty diet will make the person Rajas dominant. Regular consumption of a certain type of food leads to the dominance of a particular feature of a Guna. Eventually that particular feature becomes the dominating trait of a person.

As per our Indian tradition, food is not just a meal, rather a tradition followed properly. It is so well designed that is a balanced meal includes the balanced traits of all the planets. So, the food is not just something to satisfy the appetite, rather it creates balance in life.

The Indian traditional food includes a Kansa / Copper Thali having Wheat Chapati (denotes Sun). Those who don’t consume wheat and take other cereals , add gur in their meal which completes the vibration of the Sun. Mild spices added denotes Mars giving physical strength as well as energy. Pickle that is added has sourness and mustard oil in it which denotes Rahu, Saturn and Venus. Little salt (Chutki bhar Namak) denotes Moon. Rice too denotes Moon. Ghee and Haldi, which was a compulsion to add in the food while cooking, denoted Jupiter. It’s helpful in making the person healthy, internally fit to conceive and haldi undoubtedly is an antioxidant as an antibiotic. Curd/Chhachh denote Venus. Green vegetables, which are a compulsory part of a balanced meal, denote Mercury making the person more balanced. If we look into the South culture of food, they don’t take chapati generally; rather they take Sambhar which is a blend of different vegetables and spices denoting different planets including Til Ladoo in their meal and thus making it a balanced meal.

Adding on this, as per the Indian tradition, food should be taken sitting on the floor which makes us earthy eventually. Having food in the kitchen is another important feature of Indian tradition as it makes us more organised and keeps us calm. The Trigunas are thus the foundation for all the existence. These Guna dominate our diet and thus dominate our personality. Excess of anything in the diet will create imbalance in the body, change the mindset and affect the behavior, eventually creating imbalance in life. So, choose your diet wisely to improvise yourself to become a balanced person.

What we eat is equal to what we are!!!