Abhyasa, Vairagyam and overcoming the Gunas – Part-1

In Bhoga to Yoyga, we learnt about the vrtttis, 5 changing vrttis, the two broad types that vrttis fall into, and the dominating gunas within each of the two types. So, the key is, understanding of the gunas, and then working on cultivating Sattva over Rajas and Tamas.

When we focus on promoting Sattva over Rajas and Tamas, are we in a way saying that we need to develop the ability to stablilize the vrttis i.e. to the aklista vrttis? If so, does it mean then that, if we are able to cultivate aklista vrttis, that will automatically lead us to a point when the mind is not constantly changing states across the 5 vrttis but perhaps will stay in the 1st vrtti – Pramana (knowledge)? Perhaps so. When Rajas and Tamas are promoted or are not kept in check, the energy flows towards the senses, leading into the external world (samsara), whereas with the promotion of Sattva, the mind flows away from sense objects, and flows into the realms of self realization.

Our scriptures say that, for one to establish in Yoga, one should have the ability to control the changing state of of the mind. So, how easy is it to control the changing states of mind? It is not going to happen on its own. Effort, ‘yatna’ is needed. In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna says ‘the mind is harder to control than the wind’.

The three main qualities to develop are 1. Practice ‘Abhyasa’ 2. Dispassion / Renunciation from craving for sense objects ‘Vairagyam’ and 3. Overcoming the Gunas itself as the final step.


I will write about each of the three in brief in my next to kindle your interest so that you could explore further.

Know within to know beyond.


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