How the Tamas Guna Can Hijack the Mind
If you ever watch a competitive “reality” show, or a news cast with people arguing about the issues of the day, you will most likely see the tamas guna in action. The tamas guna causes the mind to become angry and impulsive. It creates confusion. It can lead to violence. When the tamas guna is predominant, the mind becomes deeply attached to what it perceives. It can spin out of control.
The out of control mind does not think things through. It reacts. And sometimes that reaction can be self-destructive, or destroy others. There is an emptiness, or a kind of stupor, that happens. The mind becomes clouded and confused.
“If your mind is tamasic, you will act stupid, angry, dull and confused. You may have hidden anger or ingrown temperamental anger. That’s the worst state of mind…If you use the tamas guna, it makes a human an animal in this world without any blessings or guidance from the heavens.”
The human consciousness is a very refined, sophisticated and subtle consciousness. But when the mind projects itself into the tamas guna, we loose that subtlety and sophistication. We walk away from being humans, and we become animals, or worse.
Sometimes, senseless acts of violence happen in the world. We say, “How could a person do that?” It isn’t about the person. It is about the mind. In those moments, the tamas guna has caused someone to loose control of his or her mind. It is a question of degree. The tamas guna is present whether you get into an impulsive fight with a loved one; or whether a young man plants a bomb at a marathon. The source of both actions is the same – a predominance of the tamas guna.
The problem is that the tamasic mind is considered the status quo in our society. Drugs and alcohol increase the tamasic quality of the mind. Freely expressing our anger, without thought of how the communication will impact another person, comes from the tamas guna. Everywhere we look – on TV, on the Internet, in the movies, in books – the tamasic quality is the one that creates the dramas, the news, the “excitement.” It is as if the human mind “naturally” spends all of its time under the tamasic influence.
But this is not the truth. The tamasic quality is not supposed to be the norm. In fact, as human beings, Yogi Bhajan says our basic, fundamental guna is the sattva guna. We are created to live as angels on the earth, with peace, kindness and love. But we have the choice to experience the other qualities. Whether the mind is tamasic or sattvic depends on how well we discipline the mind with meditation, and learn to project it where we want it to go.
One simple tool to use the when the tamas guna begins to fill the mind with insanity and anger, is the mantra “Ek Ong Kaar, Sat Gurprasaad. Sat Gurprasaad, Ek Ong Kaar.” Chant this mantra as much as you want, but a minimum of five times. It will stop the negativity of the mind and put it in reverse. It is called a “gutka shabad” – something that reverses the downward spiral of the thoughts.
Very few of us go from one angry or confused thought to a destructive act. We usually have to repeat it to ourselves over and over again why we are angry or confused, who we are angry with, and nurture those emotions before we speak or act from them. As soon as a negative or angry thought appears, if we can use this mantra and repeat it, instead, the mind will eventually calm down. It will be soothed with the sattva guna. And it will keep us from doing or saying something that we would regret.
Every extreme act of violence in the world comes from a mind imbalanced with the tamas guna. The most peaceful action any one of us can take is to conquer our own minds to minimize and eventually eliminate the power of tamas to guide our thoughts and actions.
With Divine Light,
Ek Ong Kaar Kaur