The three Gunas of Nature provide a key that we can use to understand the evolutionary development of the soul as it begins to awaken to self-consciousness and grows in its identification with the Jiva, the divine portion of the immortal Purusha.
We gain a clear insight into the obstacles as well as the opportunities presented to the soul at each stage. While it is clear that no individual is fixed in the status of one Guna and that they both interact and tend to move from one to the other being predominant, we may nevertheless be able to see certain characteristics of the systematic growth in consciousness and energy as the individual moves through a stage controlled by one or another of these Gunas.
Sri Aurobindo describes these stages:.”…the tamasic man inertly obeys in a customary mechanical action the suggestions and impulses, the round of will of his material and his half-intellectualised vital and sensational nature.”
“In the middle intervenes the kinetic law or Dharma; the rajasic man, vital, dynamic, active, attempts to impose himself on his world and environment, but only increases the wounding weight and tyrant yoke of his turbulent passions, desires and egoisms, the burden of his restless self-will, the yoke of his rajasic nature.”
“At the top presses down upon life the harmonic regulative law or Dharma; the sattwic man attempts to erect and follow his limited personal standards of reasoning knowledge, enlightened utility or mechanised virtue, his religions and philosophies and ethical formulas, mental systems and constructions, fixed channels of idea and conduct which do not agree with the totality of the meaning of life and are constantly being broken in the movement of the wider universal purpose.”
To achieve the full identification with the Supreme, eventually all three of the Gunas must be overpassed.
Sri Aurobindo, <a href=”http://www.lotuspress.com/item.php?item=990205″ title=”Essays on the Gita”>Essays on the Gita</a>, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 22, The Supreme Secret, pg. 525