Post By: Vishwanath Iyer Published on: December 22, 2016 Reading time: 5 minutes
During any transaction, our awareness moves from confusion, to active effort and finally harmony.
Tamas (inertia): This attribute is characterised by fear, laziness, indolence, confusion, delusion etc. and is governed primarily by the physical/ static element of our Self. So, a person with predominance of this state generally is confused, lazy, indecisive and will not do work unless pushed or monitored.
Rajas (passion): This state governs nearly all forms of action, driven primarily by emotions. Also, this aspect drives our orientation towards results and desire for achievement. So, a person in this state would typically be result oriented, dominating, driving, aggressive, brooking no resistance, impatient etc.
Sattva (harmony): This occurs when a person tries to balance result with resource, process, tries to balance task result with quality & relationships. This is driven by a need for balance. So, this person avoids confrontation unless absolutely required. When in a conflict situation, the person is calm and absorbs emotions. Also, this person avoids personal & and judgmental remarks.
Example: A person is using an ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) for the first time. The bank has issued a new ATM card to the person.
Imagine the person’s state when he/she has to withdraw money from the ATM for the first time. Initially, there is confusion – “How am I going to do this?” or anxiety/ fear “What will happen if…?” This is tamas.
Then comes anger or irritation – “This is ridiculous! How do they expect me to operate this machine without training?” This is rajas. Then, there is effort… “let’s see what we can do”.
Finally, there is acceptance and ownership. Here, the person hacks around and finds a solution, either by doing it himself or by asking someone. Value is added and this is sattva.
Consequently, an awareness of the transaction in the person drives the outcome and consists of two parts. First, there is an awareness of the situation which is called vijñāna. This transactional awareness results in increased understanding of the Self, an increase in asmitā (I am this) and a feeling of being the doer (ahaṅkāra), and this is called jñāna.
Whenever we transact with anyone, we are constantly confronted by perception. We never see everything in its entirety, nor do others see us for what we actually are. Broadly speaking, we can split our perceptions into,
Additionally, it’s important to realise that various other parameters of decision-making framework are also continuously changing.
Comment: Therefore, it is very important to understand how māya drives our existence. Our manifestation is the expression of our identity (asmitā). However, the feedback we get may or may not be in congruence with how we perceive our Identity.
Consequently, when there is congruence between our manifestation and the feedback we receive, our sense of self-worth (asmitā) expands and there is rāga (attraction-karma). But, when it is dissonance between the feedback and our Identity, then our asmitā contracts and dveṣa (repulsion-karma) results.
From the above, we can realise that our ability to engage completly in any situation is dependent on our awareness in any situation.
Situational awareness (prajñā) consists of two components:
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