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Hinduism On One Who Has Transcended Attributes Of Nature

One who has transcended the three basic qualities or attributes of nature is known as Gunatita in Hinduism. Guna means quality. In Yoga and Samkhya philosophy, it means three fundamental, universal, eternal qualities that together constitute mulaprakriti (primordial nature). These qualities are sattva guna, rajo guna and tamo guna – purity passion and passivity.

These are the three basic constituents of the whole of creation and, as such, of the human body and mind. They bind the soul to the cycle of samsara (rebirths).

In Bhagavad Gita (chapter XIV), Bhagavan Sri Krishna explains how an individual can transcend the binding effect of the trigunas and achieve immortality and final freedom. Such an individual is called a gunatita, i.e, one who has overcome the bondage created by trigunas (the three qualities).

Sri Krishna Bhagavan explains how guans bind the soul to the world and to the body. Sattvaguna binds one through the attraction of knowledge and purity. Rajoguna binds one through attachment to various worldly achievements and pleasures and resentment of the obstacles in the way of fulfilling one’s trishna (desires). Tamoguna binds one through such traits as laziness, impropriety, sleep and ignorance.

Each one of the three gunas grows by suppressing the other two. It is said that if a person dies while the sattvaguna is dominant, he reaches divine abodes and takes rebirth in a virtuous family. The influence of rajoguna causes the rebirth of human beings as animals and birds. Tamoguna brings about ignorance and one’s rebirth in the lowest species.

A wise man knows the workings of the three gunas and learns to remain unaffected by them. Such a person overcomes the limitations of the trigunas and becomes immortal. He always remains calm, and maintains equanimity in the face of opposites such as pleasure and pain. Such a free man is gunatita.