Modes of material nature

Modes of Material Nature

 The living entities in the material world are subject to three types of energies, known as ‘guna’, or translated as ‘the modes of material nature’.

There are three modes of material nature, known as, mode of goodness (sattva guna), mode of passion (rajo guna) and mode of ignorance (tamo guna).

The mode of goodness is characterized by good qualities like purity, generosity, intelligence, etc.  Under the influence of goodness one is intelligent and is prepared to help others.

Three modes of material nature

The mode of passion is characterized by material desires and longings.  One under the influence of this mode works hard to fulfill one’s desires and those dear to one.

The mode of ignorance is characterized by madness, laziness and sleep.  Under the influence of this mode one engages in activities such as taking of intoxicants/alcohol or one may prefer to remain inactive by sleeping or by abstaining from physical activities.

Living entities are influenced by a mixture of the three modes.  The extent of the influence of the three modes on a particular living entity determines one’s character and activities.  Such influence depends on one’s karma (reaction from previous activities).

Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad Gita: “When one properly sees that in all activities no other performer is at work than these modes of nature and he knows the Supreme Lord, who is transcendental to all these modes, he attains My spiritual nature”. (Bhagavad Gita 14.19)

Lord Krsna continues: “When the embodied being is able to tr

anscend these three modes associated with the material body, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life”. (Bhagavad Gita 14.20)

It is thus important that one understands how these three modes of material nature work.  For any query or for more details on the three modes of material nature and how to overcome their influence, please write to us on