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Sattvik, Rajasic, Tamasic..Is there a superior Guna?

In our Dharmic traditions, certain terms are used differently in various schools. The term Sattvik , Rajasic and Tamasic is commonly used to describe diet , mindset , behaviour and even the type of deities one worships.

Sattvik being generally described as the purest , that which purifies and one which is most desired of the 3.

In some cases, even Puranas are divided as such. In the Padma Purana, it is mentioned ,Oh beautiful lady (Parvati), know that the Visnu, Narada, Bhagavata, Garuda, Padma and Varaha Puranas are sattvika;

the Brahmanda, Brahma-vaivarta, Markandeya, Bhavisya, Vamana and Brahma Puranas are rajasika; and the Matsya, Kurma, Linga, Siva, Skanda and Agni Puranas are tamasika. (re: Saubhagya Nayak)..

Now this has given rise to some, to label the Puranas, and even the Devatas themselves as Superior and Inferior as per their classification by Gunas.

Generally i have seen this being done by certain sects to discriminate against certain devatas, and its related practices.

But If you see Tantric texts , Bhairava has 3 different dhyana shlokas for the same mantra.

Shuddha sphatika sankasham sahasraAditya varchasam.

Astavaahum Trinayanam Chaturvaahum Dwivaahukam.

Meaning , , he who is like a transparent crystal. Radiant like a 1000 suns. With three eyes and with eight, four or, two hands. This is classified as his Sattvik form. Next you have,

Bhujanga-mekhalam Devam Agnivarna Shiroruham.

Digambaram Kumareesham Vatuk-akhyam Mahabalam.

Meaning, he is like digambara, with poisonous snakes around his waist. He is called Vatuka, as he has appeared in the form of a male child. His hair is reddish yellow like fire. This is classified as his Rajasic form.

Lastly you have ,

Neel-Jeemuta-samkasham Neelanjana samaprabham.

Dangstra Karaala-vadanam nupur-angada samkulam.

He is black in color that resembles the Jeemuta gem,He provokes fear among the most horrendous of demons. He is extremely terrible in his wrathful form and bares his fangs. This is his tamasic form.

Now in the texts, it mentions each form has a specific prayoga , a special purpose in mantra sadhana. Also the mental and psychological makeup of the bhakta, sadhaka also matters.

If you see the 2 images of Karuppar in this post, the 1st sitting on his horse, looking brave and courageous is a classic Rajasic mode of his seen in many villages in tamilnadu. The other image, fierce , scary , pitiless , is a popular tamasic depiction of him famous in Malaysia.

There is no superior or inferior. I have met many young ones, for whom even a Rajasic mode of Karuppar does not evoke a sense of devotion or emotion from them. They need an extremely fierce , angry , scary form of his, to evoke a sense of awe in them.

Whatever works I guess.

Even in the ancient Thirumurugatrupadai , Tamil Sangam text, over 3000 years old, it mentions how originally the 6 abodes of Muruga ( Skanda ) in Tamil Lands, each had a different style of worship as per the different clans.

1 was worshipped by Rishis via yogic methods, another by the priests via yagya, some by the hunters who offered wild boar and deer and even by the fishermen clan who offered fish and alcohol to Skanda ( Muruga ).

All was offered to him. And he accepted all these forms of worship.

In my opinion, when it comes to the Puranas or the form of Devata, there is no superior Guna. It depends on the mental and psychological make-up of the individual.

But always go through a proper Guru or Sampradaya as there are certain pitfalls one would want to avoid, in these matters.

– Karuppar Thunai

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