The Limitations of Sattwa Due To the Mixed Action Of the Three Gunas

The interaction of the 3 Gunas brings about an imperfect and constantly changing result in actual life actions.   Even those of a highly developed sattwic tendency are unable to completely or constantly maintain that status. This is a key insight that the Gita provides in order to underline the necessity of transcending the action of the Gunas.   The ideal of the saint or the wise philosopher sage simply does not go far enough to truly transform life.

Sri Aurobindo describes the issue:.”The sattwic ideals of our enlightened will and reason are either themselves compromises, subject to a constant imperfection and flux of change, or, if absolute in their character, they can be followed only as a counsel of perfection ignored for the most part in practice or successful only as a partial influence. And if sometimes we imagine we have completely realised them, it is because we ignore in ourselves the subconscious or half-conscious mixture of other powers and motives that are usually as much or more than our ideals the real force in our action.”

While sattwa represents an essential step in our evolutionary progression it is insufficient, by itself, to solve the limiting factors of its own rigidity and the pull of our rajasic and tamasic parts and influences. There cannot be a perfect human life made up purely from sattwic principles.

“It cannot be otherwise because neither the nature of this world nor the nature of man is or can be one single piece made of the pure stuff of Sattwa.”

Sri Aurobindo, &lt;a href=”; title=”Essays on the Gita”&gt;Essays on the Gita&lt;/a&gt;, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 22, The Supreme Secret, pp. 525-526</p>