13 December 2019

Are You Becoming A Better Human Being?

Human beings do not simply exist; they ever strive to become better. To be better tomorrow than what one is today is built into the DNA of human existence. But how do you know if you have become more evolved now than what you were some time ago? Similarly, because of interaction with you, have others evolved into their higher self?

Gunas framework is the most inclusive and comprehensive framework for classifying and grading beings, both living and non-living. It is based on both thought and physical body. In addition, it includes a developmental and evolutionary trajectory inherently.

Everything in this world is composed of three gunas or ultimate subtle entities or fundamental elements -- Tamas (mass-stuff), Rajas (energy-stuff), and Sattva (intelligence-stuff). The fundamental characteristic of external gross matter or an inanimate object is its mass. Energy is common to all living beings. However, mass is at its lowest minimum in evolved beings like human beings, whereas the capacity of intelligence is at its highest in them.

These three subtle guna substances are united in different proportions, and because of this, different entities with different qualities come into being. For example, a larger number of Sattva substances may unite with a lesser number of Rajas or Tamas substances making a being Sattvik, or a larger number of Tamas substances may unite with a smaller number of Rajas and Sattva substances making a being Tamasik, and so on in varying proportions. An individual being currently Sattvik, Rajasik, or Tamasik can be explained due to dominance of one of the three gunas over the other two. An increase in one guna can happen only by reducing the other two gunas (Surendranath Dasgupta, 1975, "History of Indian philosophy," volume 1, pages 241-244).

The gunas are not fixed but fluid, and they may change with time, context, and life experiences. All three gunas are present in all individuals at all times; however, the predominance of one over the others may change. Moreover, there is an implicit hierarchy and a developmental trajectory: individuals evolve by shifting from being Tamasik to being Rajasik to being Sattvik.

Sattva, because of its stainlessness, luminous and free from evil, binds by attachment to happiness and knowledge. Rajas is of the nature of passion, giving rise to thirst and attachment; it binds by attachment to action. Tamas is born of ignorance, stupefying all beings; it binds by miscomprehension, indolence, and sleep. Sattva arises, predominating over Rajas and Tamas; and Rajas over Sattva and Tamas; so, Tamas over Sattva and Rajas. When through every sense in this body, the light of intelligence shines, then it should be known that Sattva is predominant. Greed, activity, the undertaking of actions, unrest, longing -- these arise when Rajas is predominant. Darkness, inertness, miscomprehension, and delusion -- these arise when Tamas is predominant.

Here is a quick measure of your gunas. Give a percentage score for how frequently you have each of the below-listed three perceptions, by distributing a total of 100 points among the three possible responses:
"My perception of others involves seeing
___ (a) The underlying oneness in all beings despite the superficial diversities.
___ (b) In all beings various entities of distinct kinds as different from one another.
___ (c) Neither the different beings nor the underlying oneness."

Key: (a) Sattva; (b) Rajas; (c) Tamas.

Seeing the underlying oneness in all beings may be inferred by the extent of identification with others -- seeing others' pain and pleasure as one's own. A simple measure of the predominance of Sattva guna is the extent to which, on a scale of 0 to 100, one sees his or her oneness with all beings. As compared to what you were earlier, if your perception of oneness with others has increased, you have become more Sattvik, evolved into a higher state, and have become a better human being.

If, by associating with you and interacting with you over a period of time, anyone’s perception of oneness with others has increased, you have helped that person evolve into his or her higher self. This is transformational leadership.