The three component forms or “threads” that comprise all material things: sattva, rajas, and tamas. The physical world and the bodies that a soul inhabits over time are composed of the three gunas in various balances. The soul’s attachment to these gunas leads it to reincarnation in the material world, and transcending the body to join Krishna requires the soul to abandon all attachment to the gunas through the cycle of samsara, or the cycle of birth and death.
Gunas Quotes in The Bhagavad Gita
The The Bhagavad Gita quotes below are all either spoken by Gunas or refer to Gunas. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The Bhagavad Gita published in 2008.).
Discourse 5 Quotes
creates neither agent
in this world,
nor the linking
of action with its fruit.
But his own nature
keeps on evolving.
Gunas Term Timeline in The Bhagavad Gita
The timeline below shows where the term Gunas appears in The Bhagavad Gita. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...acting, nor can one find fulfillment through renunciation alone; everyone is constantly acting because the gunas in their nature compel them to. Some choose to sit and relinquish the senses, all... (full context)
...who first dedicate themselves to him through sacrifice. He created the castes, meting out the gunas through his act of creation, although he is nevertheless “the Imperishable One / who does... (full context)
...everything, even though it is immaterial; it “bears all” without clinging and partakes of the gunas despite having none. It is inside and outside, far and near, too subtle for most... (full context)
...a multiplicity of ways of being everywhere can move beyond death. The imperishable self lacks gunas, a beginning, or action; it is like space, everywhere yet unmarked by anything that occupies... (full context)
...branches burrow underground; its leaves are the Vedas’ sacred knowledge. The branches grow through the gunas, creating sensory objects, and from the roots grow human action. But the tree’s true form... (full context)