Rajas and tamas are the two doshas of the mind (Manas). – Astanga Hrdayam. 21.
The mind has energies. What do we mean by this? The mind can think and act in different ways. As a tiger is able to pass through a ring of fire if it is trained correctly, in the same way, a human being can train their mind to think, feel and act in a specific way, depending on the situations they encounter.
This is the basis of the training for teachers, surgeons, musicians, pilots and soldiers to name a few professions in order for us to understand the strength of the mind’s energies.
What are the characteristics of these energies?
Am I doing something for the good of everyone? This mental energy is called Sattva and its characteristics are brightness, peacefulness, mindfulness, and the most holistic, precise perception of reality.
Am I doing something motivated by and centred primarily on myself? This mental energy is called Rajas and is characterised by the desire for personal gain, the pursuit of personal temporary happiness and the neglect of others, which ultimately creates pain to both ourselves and others.
Am I avoiding action, reasoning and appropriate behavior? Are lethargy, ignorance and laziness dominant, driven by a feeling of ‘only myself and no one else’? Is there a lack of care and attention? This mental energy is called Tamas.
The human mind’s natural energy is sattva so that man can be creative, beneficial to all around him and able to live with real joy and a strong sense of peace.
What this sentence from Astanga Hrdayam describes, is that the energies that disturb the mind are the energies rajas and tamas which are known as the dosas of the mind.
Every form of treatment should try to increase the sattva energy of the patient’s mind. Together with change of diet or prescription of herbs achieving sattva energy will help a patient to think and act in the right way so that he can be happy and healthy.
- Dr Nikolaos Kostopoulos