Advertisement

The Concept of Tri-Guna: A Working Model

  • Maika PutaEmail author
  • Peter Sedlmeier
Chapter
Part of the Studies in Neuroscience, Consciousness and Spirituality book series (SNCS, volume 2)

Abstract

This literature review presents an overview of an ancient Indian personality system that shows promise for playing an important role in the applied research on well-being and spirituality: the concept of tri-guna. The core proposition of this concept is that the psyche consists of three energies (“gunas”) called sattva, rajas and tamas. They are said to be present in everyone in different degrees, explaining differences not only in behavior but also in well-being and spirituality. It is assumed that a dominance of sattva is favorable for well-being. In the first part of this chapter, we provide a summary of indicators for the three gunas, extracted from the available literature, and present empirical findings. The indicators are given separately for cognition, emotion, motivation, social and physical factors, the environment and behavior in general. In the second part we discuss interventions that are claimed to increase sattva and thereby further well-being. This review can be used as a theoretical basis for a more systematic empirical examination of the concept.

Keywords

Positive Emotion Emotional Intelligence Behavioral Equation Protestant Work Ethic Yoga Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Anjana, R., and Raju, S. 2001. Personality of Bhagavad Gita reciters: A comparative study. National Seminar on Psychology in India: Past, present and future. http://www.infinityfoundation.com/mandala/images/Souvenir-Internet1.pdf. Accessed 19 Sept 2012.
  2. Antonovsky, A. 1979. Health, stress and coping. London: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  3. Archana Das, G.M., and D.V. Venu Gopal. 2009. Trigunas and psychological problems. Journal of Indian Psychology 27(1 & 2): 47–52.Google Scholar
  4. Asendorpf, J.B. 2004. Psychologie der Persönlichkeit. Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Balodhi, J.P. 2005. Classical Indian Approaches to Psychological Dysfunction. In Towards a spiritual psychology – Essays in Indian psychology, ed. K. Ramakrishna Rao and S.B. Marwaha, 337–344. New Dehli: Samvad India Foundation.Google Scholar
  6. Bhal, K.T., and N. Debnath. 2006. Conceptualizing and measuring Gunas: Predictors of workplace ethics of Indian professionals. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management 6(2): 169–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhanu Swami. 2003. Sarartha Varsini – Srimad Bhagavad-Gita with commentary by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. Chennai: Parampara.Google Scholar
  8. Bhardwaj, A. 2003. Stellenwert und Bedeutung der Prakrti. In Ayurveda -Basislehrbuch, ed. S. Ranade, C. Hosius, and J. Heckmann, 85–89. München: Urban & Fischer.Google Scholar
  9. Braud, W.G. 2008. Patanjali Yoga and Siddhis: Their Relevance to Parapsychological Theory and Research. In Handbook of Indian psychology, ed. K. Ramakrishna Rao, A.C. Paranjpe, and A.K. Dalal, 217–243. New Delhi: Foundation Books.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bryant, E.F. 2009. The yoga sutras of Patanjali. New York: North Point Press.Google Scholar
  11. Buhrman, S. 1997. Ayurvedic psychology and psychiatric approaches to the treatment of common affective disorders. The Protocol Journal of Botanical Medicine 2(1): 1–8.Google Scholar
  12. Buhrman, S. 1998. Leaving depression behind: The yogic way out. Yoga International 40: 26–33.Google Scholar
  13. Buhrman, S. 2005. What is the mind, how does it create depression, and what can we do about it? Light on Ayurveda Journal 3(4): 13–16.Google Scholar
  14. Cloninger, C.R. 2006. The science of well-being: an integrated approach to mental health and its disorders. World Psychiatry 5(2): 71–76.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Colebrooke, H.T., and H.H. Wilson. 1837. The Sankhya Karika. London: A. J. Valpy.Google Scholar
  16. Cornelissen, R.M.M., G. Misra, and S. Varma. 2011. Foundations of Indian psychology, Concepts and theories, vol. I. Delhi: Longman/Pearson.Google Scholar
  17. Daftuar, C.N., and Anjuli. 1997. Occupational stress, organizational commitment and job involvement in Sattva, Rajas and Tamas personality types. Journal of Indian Psychology 15: 44–52.Google Scholar
  18. Das, R.C. 1991. Standardization of the Gita inventory of personality. Journal of Indian Psychology 9: 47–58.Google Scholar
  19. Deshpande, R. 2003. Ernährungstherapie und diätetische Maßnahmen. In Ayurveda -Basislehrbuch, ed. S. Ranade, C. Hosius, and J. Heckmann, 127–148. München: Urban & Fischer.Google Scholar
  20. Deshpande, S., Nagendra, H. R., and Raghuram, N. 2008. A randomized control trial of the effect of yoga on Gunas (personality) and Health in normal healthy volunteers. International Journal of Yoga 1:2–10. http://www.ijoy.org.in/text.asp?2009/2/1/13/43287. Accessed 11 Jan 2011.
  21. Deussen, P., and O. Strauss. 1906. Vier Philosophische Texte des Mahabharatam: Sanatsujata-Parvan, Bhagavadgita, Mokshadharma, Anugita. Leipzig: Brockhaus.Google Scholar
  22. Diener, Ed., and K. Ryan. 2009. Subjective well-being: A general overview. South African Journal of Psychology 39(4): 391–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Eberth, J., and P. Sedlmeier. 2012. The effects of mindfulness meditation: A meta-analysis. Mindfulness 3: 174–189. doi: 10.1007/s12671-012-0101-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Elankumaran, S. 2004. Personality, organizational climate and job involvement: An empirical study. Journal of Human Values 10(2): 117–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Faltermeier, T. 2005. Gesundheitspsychologie. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.Google Scholar
  26. Fava, G.A., and C. Ruini. 2009. Well-Being Therapy. In The encyclopedia of positive psychology, ed. S.J. Lopez, 1034–1036. Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  27. Feuerstein, G. 2001. The yoga tradition: Its history, literature, philosophy and practice. Prescott: Hohm Press.Google Scholar
  28. Fisseni, H.J. 2003. Persönlichkeitspsychologie. Göttingen: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  29. Fordyce, M.W. 1977. Development of a program to increase personal happiness. Journal of Counseling Psychology 24(6): 511–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Frawley, D. 1997. Ayurveda and the mind: The healing of consciousness. Wisconsin: Lotus Press.Google Scholar
  31. Frawley, D. 1999. Yoga and Ayurveda – Self healing and self realization. Wisconsin: Lotus Press.Google Scholar
  32. Frawley, D. 2000. Ayurvedic healing, 2nd Revised and Enlarged Edition. Wisconsin: Lotus Press.Google Scholar
  33. Frawley, D., and S. Summerfield Kozak. 2001. Yoga for your type – An Ayurvedic approach to your Asana practice. Wisconsin: Lotus Press.Google Scholar
  34. Fredrickson, B.L. 2008. Promoting positive affect. In The science of subjective well-being, ed. M. Eid and R.J. Larsen, 449–468. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  35. Frisch, M.B. 2009. Quality of Life Therapy and Coaching (QOLTC). In The encyclopedia of positive psychology, ed. S.J. Lopez, 824–826. Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  36. Gallagher, M.W., S.J. Lopez, and K.J. Preacher. 2009. The hierarchical structure of well-being. Journal of Personality 77: 1025–1049.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ganganatha, J. 1896. Tattva-Kaumudi (Sankhya) of Vachaspati Misra. Bombay: Tookaram Tatya.Google Scholar
  38. Ganguli, K.M. 2005. Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa. http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/maha/index.htm. Accessed 8 Mar 2012.
  39. Goswami, H., and G. Adhikari. 1988a. Srimad Bhagavatam. Tenth Canto – Part Two. Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.Google Scholar
  40. Goswami, H., and G. Adhikari. 1988b. Srimad Bhagavatam. Eleventh Canto – Part One. Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.Google Scholar
  41. Goswami, H., and G. Adhikari. 1988c. Srimad Bhagavatam. Eleventh Canto – Part Two. Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.Google Scholar
  42. Gupta, S.K. 1977. Madhusudan Saraswathi on the Bhagavad Gita. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, Indological Publishers & Booksellers.Google Scholar
  43. Hume, D. 1962. The principles Upanishada. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.Google Scholar
  44. Jawa, S. 2002. Bhagavad Gita and techniques of mental health. In Perspectives on indigenous psychology, ed. G. Misra and A.K. Mohanty, 262–280. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  45. Kapur, M. 2008. Psychological theories and practices in Ayurveda. In Handbook of Indian psychology, ed. K. Ramakrishna Rao, A.C. Paranjpe, and A.K. Dalal, 299–310. New Delhi: Foundation Books.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kaur, P., and A.K. Sinha. 1992. Dimensions of Guna in organizational setting. Vikalpa 17(3): 27–32.Google Scholar
  47. Khema, S.S., N.H. Ramarao, and A. Hankey. 2011. Effect of integral yoga on psychological and health variables and their correlations. International Journal of Yoga 4(2): 93–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Knapp, S. 2010. The secret teachings of the Vedas – Answers to the mysteries of life, New Revised & Expanded Edition. Mumbai: Jaico Publishing House.Google Scholar
  49. Kumar, S. 2007. Spiritual compass – The three qualities of life. Devon: Green Books.Google Scholar
  50. Lakshmi Bhai, A.J., H.N. Murthy, and S.V. Nagalakshmi. 1975. Rajas and Tamas in psychological disturbances. Indian Journal of Clinical Psychology 2: 135–138.Google Scholar
  51. Larson, G.J. 1983. An eccentric ghost in the machine: Formal and quantitative aspects of the Samkhya-Yoga dualism. Philosophy East and West 33(3): 219–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Larson, G.J., and R.S. Bhattacharya. 1987. Encyclopedia of Indian philosophies: Sankhya a dualist tradition in Indian philosophy. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  53. MacDonald, D.A. 2000. Spirituality: Description, measurement, and relation to the five factor model of personality. Journal of Personality 68(1): 153–197.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Maheshwar. 1978. Bhagavad Gita – In the light of Sri Aurobindo. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust.Google Scholar
  55. Marutham, P., J.P. Balodhi, and H. Mishra. 1998. Satva, Rajas, Tamas (SRT) inventory. NIMHANS Journal 16(1): 15–19.Google Scholar
  56. Marutham, P. 1992. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas Factors among college students. Unpublished M. Phil dissertation, Banglore, NIMHANS.Google Scholar
  57. Michel, P. 2006. Upanishaden – Die Geheimlehre des Veda. Wiesbaden: Marix Verlag.Google Scholar
  58. Mohan, V., and S. Sandhu. 1986. Development of scale to measure Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic Guna. Journal of Indian Academy of Applied Psychology 12: 46–52.Google Scholar
  59. Murthy, P.K., and S.K.K. Kumar. 2007. The concept of Triguna – A critical analysis and synthesis. Psychological Studies 52: 103–113.Google Scholar
  60. Nilakantan, R. 1989. Gitas in the Mahabharata and the Puranas. Delhi: Nag Publishers.Google Scholar
  61. Palsane, M.N., S.N. Bhavsar, R.P. Goswami, and G.W. Evans. 2002. The Concept of Stress in the Indian Tradition. In Perspectives on Indigenous Psychology, ed. G. Misra and A.K. Mohanty, 249–261. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  62. Paranjpe, A.C., and K.R. Rao. 2008. Psychology in the Advaita Vedanta. In Handbook of Indian psychology, ed. K. Ramakrishna Rao, A.C. Paranjpe, and A.K. Dalal, 253–285. New Delhi: Foundation Books.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Prabhupada, A.C.B.S. 1987a. Srimad Bhagavatam. First Canto. Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.Google Scholar
  64. Prabhupada, A.C.B.S. 1987b. Srimad Bhagavatam. Second Canto. Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.Google Scholar
  65. Prabhupada, A.C.B.S. 1987c. Srimad Bhagavatam. Third Canto – Part Two. Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.Google Scholar
  66. Prabhupada, A.C.B.S. 1987d. Srimad Bhagavatam. Fourth Canto – Part Two. Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.Google Scholar
  67. Prabhupada, A.C.B.S. 1987e. Srimad Bhagavatam. Tenth Canto – Part One. Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.Google Scholar
  68. Prabhupada, A.C.B.S. 1989. Bhagavad-gita as it is, Secondth ed. Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.Google Scholar
  69. Prazak, M., J. Critelli, L. Martin, V. Miranda, M. Purdum, and C. Powers. 2012. Mindfulness and its role in physical and psychological health. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being 4(1): 91–105.Google Scholar
  70. Ranade, S. 1994. Ayurveda – Wesen und Methodik. Heidelberg: Haug.Google Scholar
  71. Rani, N.J., and M.U. Rani. 2009. Cumulative impact of yoga practice on Trigunas and on their autonomic nervous system correlates. Journal of Indian Psychology 27(1&2): 1–8.Google Scholar
  72. Rao, K.R., A.C. Paranjpe, and A.K. Dalal (eds.). 2008. Handbook of Indian psychology. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  73. Rhyner, H. 2003. Allgemeine therapeutische Prinzipien. In Ayurveda – Basislehrbuch, ed. S. Ranade, C. Hosius, and J. Heckmann, 60–84. München: Urban & Fischer.Google Scholar
  74. Ryff, C., and B.H. Singer. 2008. Know thyself and become what you are: A Eudaimonic approach to psychological well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies 9: 13–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Sedlmeier, P. 2006. Ancient Indian psychology: Can it offer anything to academic psychology? In Perspectives on cognition: A Festschrift in honor of Manfred Wettler, ed. R. Rapp, P. Sedlmeier, and G. Zunker-Rapp, 199–214. Lengerich: Pabst.Google Scholar
  76. Sedlmeier, P. 2011. Indian psychology and the scientific method. In Foundations of Indian psychology, Concepts and theories, vol. 1, ed. R.M.M. Cornelissen, G. Misra, and S. Varma, 253–287. Delhi: Longman/Pearson.Google Scholar
  77. Sedlmeier, P., J. Eberth, M. Schwarz, D. Zimmermann, F. Haarig, S. Jaeger, et al. 2012. The psychological effects of meditation: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin. doi: 10.1037/a0028168.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. Seligman, M., T. Steen, N. Park, and C. Peterson. 2005. Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist 60(5): 410–421.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Seligman, M., T. Rashid, and A. Parks. 2006. Positive psychotherapy. American Psychologist 61: 774–788.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Sharma, P.V. 1994. Caraka Samhita, vol. I. Delhi: Chaukhambha Orientalia.Google Scholar
  81. Sharma, R. 1999. Self-concept and job satisfaction in Sattva, Rajas and Tamas personalities. Journal of Indian Psychology 17(2): 9–17.Google Scholar
  82. Shilpa, S., and C.G.V. Murthy. 2011. Understanding personality from Ayurvedic perspective for psychological assessment: A case. An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda 32(1): 12–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Singh, R. 1971. An inventory from Mahabharata. Indian Journal of Psychiatry 13: 149–61.Google Scholar
  84. Sitamma, M. 2005. Trigunas: A Review of Empirical Studies. In Towards a spiritual psychology – Essays in Indian psychology, ed. K. Ramakrishna Rao and S.B. Marwaha, 262–276. New Dehli: Samvad India Foundation.Google Scholar
  85. Stempel, H.S., S.E. Cheston, J.M. Greer, and C.K. Gillespie. 2006. Further exploration of the Vedic Personality Inventory: Validity, reliability and generalizability. Psychological Reports 98(1): 261–273.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Suneetha, S., and C.H. Srikrishna. 2009. Triguna personality theory: Classical representation and modern research. Journal of Indian Psychology 27(1 & 2): 35–46.Google Scholar
  87. Swami, S. 2005. The Gayatri book. Schöna: Vasati Publishers.Google Scholar
  88. Tagare, G.V. 1976a. The Bhavata-Purana. Part 1. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.Google Scholar
  89. Tagare, G.V. 1976b. The Bhavata-Purana. Part 3. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.Google Scholar
  90. Tagare, G.V. 1978. The Bhavata-Purana. Part 5. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.Google Scholar
  91. Theodor, I. 2010. Exploring the Bhagavad Gita – Philosophy, structure and meaning. Ashgate: Surrey.Google Scholar
  92. Underwood, L.G., and J.A. Teresi. 2002. The daily spiritual experience scale: Development, theoretical description, reliability, exploratory factor analysis, and preliminary construct validity using health-related data. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 24(1): 22–23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Uma, K., Y.S. Lakshmi, and E.G. Parameswaran. 1971. Construction of a personality inventory based on doctrine of three gunas. Reasearch Bulletin 6: 49–58.Google Scholar
  94. Verma, V. 1997. Ayurveda – Gesund und erfolgreich im Alltag und Beruf. Neuhausen: Urania Verlags AG.Google Scholar
  95. Westhoff, K. 2005. Konstrukte und Operationalisierungen. In Grundwissen für die berufsbezogene Eignungsbeurteilung nach DIN 33430, ed. K. Westhoff, L.J. Hellfritsch, L.F. Hornke, K.D. Kubinger, F. Lang, H. Moosbrugger, A. Püschel, and G. Reimann, 128–142. Lengerich: Pabst.Google Scholar
  96. Westhoff, K., C. Hagemeister, and A. Strobel. 2007. Decision-aiding in the process of psychological assessment. Psychology Science 49(3): 271–285.Google Scholar
  97. WHO. 1948. Constitution of the World Health Organization. http://apps.who.int/gb/bd/PDF/bd47/EN/constitution-en.pdf. Accessed 11 July 2011.
  98. Wolf, D.B. 1998. The Vedic Personality Inventory: A study of the Gunas. Journal of Indian Psychology 16(1): 26–43.Google Scholar
  99. Wolf, D.B. 2008. Relationships that work – the power of conscious living. San Rafael: Mandala.Google Scholar
  100. Wolf, D.B., and N. Abell. 2003. Examining the effects of meditation techniques on psychosocial functioning. Research on Social Work Practice 13(1): 27–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemnitz University of TechnologyChemnitzGermany

Personalised recommendations