MenoSafe and Sound

Sattva - spiritual essence, vitality, courage, existence… (long list!)

The simplest way to describe the sattvika nature is 'pure'.  Every single one of us is born sattvik. Then the sanchita karma kicks in and determines whether we retain that or have to work through our vaasanas in the state of rajas or tamas. Regardless of our current state, if we are not already in a sattva-predominant nature, then we can make efforts to reach there.

What is sattva and why would we want to be it? The sattvika personality knows how to be still, how to be quiet. Sattva is cheerful and accepting, content and unperturbed. It can see the troubles of the world but does not carry them. It moves only when necessary, takes only what is required, seeks to return more than was taken. Sattva is capital 'ell' Love, it is compassion and able to provide a haven for the hurt and needy. Sattva is serene, watchful, has no desire beyond spiritual gain. Sattva is clear about what is "I" and what is not. It knows how to be in the world but not of it. There is detachment and clarity. We can all find a bit of the sattva within us at times, but to be classed as sattva personality, it needs to be instinctively present.

How do we work towards more sattva in our lives? Less careless living; instead, listening to uplifting music, reading fine literature and philosophy, films which carry a message of high human values. Embracing the quiet; appreciating nature, little moments with friends and family, learning to make appropriate boundaries between work and self-time, keeping better company. Taking up self-improvement; be prepared to self-assess without ego, spend time with ourselves to do that, watch for the excuses as to why not…

Then there is the diet;
  • These are foods that are nourishing, soothing and help sharpen the mind, making it more aware and active.
  • Sattvik foods are vegetarian and eaten in moderate amounts.
  • These are foods that are free of chemicals, preservatives, artificial colours and flavours.
  • Processed foods generally are to be avoided - these days, there is an argument for the use of frozen items and organic canned goods - but these should be used minimally.
  • Organic and fresh fruits and vegetables that have been grown and picked with love. More and more we can source our foods if we don't grow them ourselves.
  • Whole grains, such as buckwheat, barley, rice.
  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Beans and lentils of the lighter variety; butter beans, broad beans, green beans, peas, moong dal, chana dal etc.
  • Dairy products like milk and ghee.
  • Oils mostly derived from plants; coconut, mustard, sunflower.
  • Foods that are not overly sweet; honey or sugar of minimal processing, such as jaggery.
  • Spices which are beneficial for the body and mind; turmeric, cardamom, paprika, coriander, cinnamon, fennel, cumin…

Many will read this and say 'oh, that is the government standard for healthy living.' Which is true, many countries now understand the need to eat better quality and less quantity and encourage their citizens to this… but the ayurvedic diet has been around for millennia. Nothing new under the sun!

To be sattvik is to walk upon the earth lightly, to be ahimsa. It is represented in the colour white, in which all colours unify.

MenoRvated- Revved Up

Rajas - restlessness

In the post on the Gunas, there was a little array of meanings, the last of which was the capitalised 'Virtue". This pertains more specifically to today's subject. The 'trigunas' are often spoken of in Vedanta. The three dominant qualities of the personality, also applied to certain things and their effects upon that personality. They are generally referred to in unison, 'sattva-rajas-tamas'. Due to the flow of the alphabet, today we shall look at the middle of the three. Which is fine, because it is the one which the greater number of folk can identify with.

Let it be said at the outset that we all of us have all three qualities and in any given situation, from one day to the next, we can fluctuate to some degree with how they present. However, there will always be one of the three which is the primary quality of our life. This leads to our being described according to our dominating guna.

Rajas and Tamas may not necessarily be thought of as a virtue, particularly the latter. However, these temperaments are to be considered in relation to one's karma, and anything which provides for our learning may be regarded as a virtue.

What, then, does it mean to be rajasic? The short-form translation gives a good point. It points to the personality who must always be doing something - or being seen to be always doing something. Without rajas as part of our makeup, nothing would get done. It's the get-up-and-go virtue. In its positive aspects, it keeps us keeping on. Rajas needs to be active, and the most obvious activity is to work. Be that housework, career and employment, hobbies, volunteering, pioneering, planning… rajas is on the run. It likes to be involved and has a strong sense of duty. Some amount of rajas is necessary to be goal-oriented and fund the determination to reach that goal. Rajas is the acquisitive personality - what's in it for 'me'; acquire, build, retain.The leaders of the world will all have rajas dominance in their personality if they are to be successful.

What has to be watched, though, is that our rajasik nature doesn't fall into egoism. The trouble with having to act in the world is that we can become attached to it and have expectations of results from our actions. Rajas can become domineering, bullying, demanding. It can have a sense of being always in the right and brook no opposition or countenance any possibility of a different point of view. Rajas can become inflexible and 'kharu'.

Rajas is what most of us see in the transactional part of our lives. Without an element of tamas, the personality can become tiresome and overbearing. Without sattva tempering both those things, there can be no real compassion or softness, no stillness and quietness. Rajas is required to survive in the world, but if it is the dominant guna, the personality bearing it can become worn out, exhausted, sick, depressed. Rajasika-dominant personalities must take care of diet and rest and recreation to balance themselves. There will be a tendency for those of rajasik nature, to 'live fast and play hard'. Their diet is likely to consist of items which boost and stimulate. Major components;
Alcohol and soda
Garlic and onion
Fried foods
Excess spices, including chilli
Pickles and brewed sauces
Refined sugars
Heavy pulses such as kidney beans, black and green lentils
Heavy vegetables such as potato, broccoli, turnip

None of these things is majorly problematic if one is in full interaction with work and exercise - but of course, it is the usual rule, that moderation is best. Even a sattvika person will take some rajasik foods when in need of a mental and physical boost  (though never meat or alcohol!) For rajas to be useful but not destroying, it needs to be balanced and the best way to do this is to encompass more of the sattva into life.

Rajas is represented by the colour red.

Now then regular readers and lovers of short fiction - remember that next week it is Final Friday Fiction time!!! The Hindertwig Tales will continue - but in keeping with the A-Z.

New readers, if you need a prompt for your "X" post, perhaps this is something for you! See the FFF page under the banner for more info.

MenoQueued - Waiting Your Attention

Kharu - cruel, harsh, foolish, desirous of improper or forbidden things (covetousness)
'kh' is the closest to 'q' in Devanagari script.

Whatchya say?
Why use such a word here? There can be a tendency, when discussing self-improvement methodologies and philosophy, to focus on the 'up'. Positive affirmation and all that. That's great and appropriate, but something I experienced when I committed fully to Vedantic practice was the bringing in of the negative.

The swamis and sadhus can be most loving and supportive, but when they see that one is truly on the path, they will surprise one - nay, ambush! - in order that the grime and untouched corners of one's being get properly cleaned. It can seem most harsh - (says the ego).

It is a simple fact known by all who have seriously attempted any form of self-development program, that the negatives have to be faced. Think housework; unless you take out the rubbish, the house will, eventually, start to stink and no amount of incense or proprietary perfumed sprays are going to cover it. Politically we can point to all the positives which have developed to create a society, but all too readily avert our eyes and minds from the battles with the dark side and the costs to some areas in order to benefit others. This can only go on for so long before it all becomes a festering mess.

We all have kharu in us but not all of us are able to recognise it and make amends for it. Even in the small day-to-day things; the harsh word to the loved one at the end of a tiring day, the silly joke that backfired on our colleagues, the jealousy we felt when someone else got something we wanted ourselves. You know it - sorry is the hardest word. To ask for forgiveness is, for many people, a submissive thing. It means quashing the ego and it can be almost impossible for some.

Forgiveness as such will be addressed a little more in a later post; but it is important to know that it exists and that it is an empowering thing - not just to ask for it, but also to give it. It greatly helps in overcoming the kharu. At all levels.

The whole world can seem to be driven by kharu. How to counteract it? As always, it comes back to the individual. Each must ensure that they are as clear and unobstructed in their personalities as it is possible to be. If that means coming face to face with the hard facts of who we are, so be it. Brushing things into a corner, pulling the curtains over the facts of history, only leads to the potential for 'time bombs'. Almost without fail, life will find a way to shine the torch on those corners, to pull back the curtains, and if we have not prepared ourselves, it will hurt.

Sometimes, we are the bearers of truth in a situation which has been obfuscated with others' interpretations of events or their investment in who they want us to be (versus who we are) and we then receive their kharu upon us. The hurt felt has to be measured against our ego; is there some truth in what they feed back to us? Is there anything worth the effort of correction? Are they totally missing the point and is it time to move on? Are they even directing cruelty specifically at us or are we, in our ego, taking it upon ourselves when it has nothing to do with us?!

It's a complicated business, this becoming whole, congruent human beings. When faced with the aachaarya who keeps demanding 'who are you?', it is only when we can face the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, warts, kharu and all, that we can respond even remotely close to who we actually are.