Guna has a two-fold meaning of “quality” in both its meaning. Its first connotation is “Physical characteristic” while its second connotation is value, virtue, work. It indicates the ‘attitude’ with which the mind works.
“Sattva, rajas and tamas – these Prakriti – produced gunas unite the body to the atman. (Gita)”
Significance: The three gunas described in Hinduism are Sattava, Rajas and Tamas. Human beings are an inter-mixture in varying proportions of three guna or qualities.
Predominance of one guna or the other affects the physical, mental and spiritual life of a human-being. These three indifferent proportions influence the mental and intellectual caliber of every individual, and these influences provide the distinct flavor in each personality.
Sattava guna denotes the quality of truthfulness and light (knowledge, wisdom).
Rajas guna denotes the quality of diplomacy and activity.
Tamas guna refers to untruthful character and darkness (ignorance).
Also read: Three Gunas (Trigunas) – Sattava, Rajas and Tamas
The blend of these Gunas determines whether a person is Karma Yogi, Jnana Yogi or Bhakti Yogi. However, every human being has the free will and the power to modify and improve his or her guna dharma.
A seeker, who is sensitive enough to recognize the various influences under which he is forced to function in the world outside, will be successful in discarding all wrong impulses, immoral tendencies and unethical urges. He will detect within himself the secret capacity to keep himself safely balanced in righteous living, in self-control and in serene purity.