Three robbers – Tamo Rajo Sato

For a change this time I am going to muse on a very important concept that is a part of us with the help of a story.

I heard this story at the satsang and the point discussed later somehow inter related to the story in a perfect way.

Once upon a time a lone traveller was passing through a jungle. Suddenly he was attacked by a robber who tied him up. He shouted for help but sadly another robber came and started thrashing him.

Woebegone he cried and wailed and finally a man came who untied him and asked the other robber to stop beating someone unnecessarily.

He not only helped the traveller escape from the two robbers, but also led him through the jungle onto the main road and to the home of the traveller.

The traveller was so grateful, he invited that man home. But the reply he got was, “I can come only till here and I cannot enter your home as then my true nature will surface as I too am a robber. I am the third robber of the group.

The points that were being discussed around this story was of our three gunas – Tamo, Rajo and Sato.

So I named the three robbers as Tamo, Rajo and Sato.

We are made up of these three qualities and like a wheel keeps turning, the qualities reflect in us.

Tamo is the absolute negativity in us generally defined as greed, anger, laziness and brings out the worst in us.

Rajo is the doer. Though better than Tamo it is yet not pure.

Sato is the pure nature within us- though it is also not free of the egosense or the “I”.

In ayurveda we define tamasic, rajasic and satvic vrutti of a person. It means the nature of the person. We also have diets that separate out these three gunas.

Pure and freshly cooked food (cooked with a calm mind) is satvic food.

Rajasic foods are the heavy foods that have milk, sweets, fats ( ghee ) etc.

Tamasic is generally stale food and food cooked with negative energy and also includes meat and animal fat.

Now the physical part (being the food) can be defined separately.

Yet the emotion that is induced in the food plays a major role. Food is energy and we are also energy. The food when eaten becomes us. So food cooked in a positive state of mind and eaten in the same state definitely is satvic.

The above was the food part of the gunas.

Now we come back to the story:

Here the robber named Tamo comes and ties the traveller. The traveller’s name is “Jiva” and he is on a journey. When Jiva is tied up by Tamo it indicates that Jiva has tied himself with unnecessary bonds and attachments. This could be relations, money and so on. The bonds are the threads tied by Tamo ( the tamo guna within a jiva).

Next comes Rajo who starts beating Jiva. Now here Jiva being beaten indicates the situations and circumstances and the people in our life who can hurt us and harm us. This arises because of the Rajo guna within the Jiva.

Finally comes Sato who guides him away from Tamo and Rajo. Sato unties him and takes him away from the thrashes and guides him home. There Sato does not enter. It means that Sato entering would mean the ego “I” which would mean that the purity would not be total.

How it reflects in our life- put in a simple way:

We all are on a journey. The journey ends when we are liberated. Here the liberation means uniting with the infinite consciousness (God).

Now presently as all three gunas Tamo Rajo and Sato are within us taking turns we are nowhere near liberation. So how does one continue on this journey? The whole point is to come out of this cycle or chakra,

One must analyse the three gunas and find out what is tying us or what we have tied ourselves with. Then we must check on who or what is affecting us or hurting us. Then with the pure sato guna (sadhana, satsang, kirtans, reading scriptures, obeying the Guru, being kind helpful etc.) we slowly untie our bonds and release ourselves from the attachments that are hurting us or causing pain.

The Sato guna then helps us walk on the path without facing any hurdles. We must be in remembrance that the other two gunas must not resurface.

This is the journey of the self where these three robbers reside within us and we need to make use of Sato and finally even let go of it and become totally pure. We become Nirgun – free of the gunas….

It is finally when the “I” ness is gone that the Jiva becomes Jivatma.


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