Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 18: Sloka 23, 24, 25) talks about three kinds of Karma – Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. The nature of our actions and our intentions classify our Karma into these three kinds.
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Sattvic Karma: Most Evolved Karma
Sattvic Karma is the most evolved kind of Karma.
The cream of all actions can be called as Sattvic in nature. It is pure. Sattvic Karma provides peace and comfort to the doer of the Karma and the one who experiences this Karma.
Those with Sattva Guna performs their duties as an offering to the supreme. For them, there is no action that is “mine” or “for me”. Everything is rather for a higher purpose – a holier goal.
Easy does it
Sattvic Karma has a nature of easiness towards it. It is not done with a lot of effort or in a manner that tires the person who performs such a duty.
For instance, consider the game of an expert player. Look at shots of Lionel Messi in Football. Even though he is fast and skilled, none of Messi’s actions can be called as tiresome. He does it effortlessly with a flow of grace. Sattvic Karma has a grace about it. The grace flows through the action and the result it produces.
Sattvic Karma cleanses the mind and intellect of the doer. It produces amazing results as well. Interestingly, Sattvic Karma is performed in a very detached manner. There is no desire for results. Rather performing the Karma to the best of one’s abilities is the sole purpose of the Karma. Actions of Mahatmas are Sattvic in nature. They are targeted to serving humanity and the universe as a whole. Those who perform Sattvic Karma is happy that they are able to serve.
Ego Centric Rajasic Karma
One who takes ownership of Karmas and thinks “I am doing this action. I want the results for this task” is involved in Rajasic Karma.
These Karma is performed with a lot of effort and pain. A lot of “Hard Work” is actually Rajasic in nature. Indian Wisdom does not appreciate hard work just for the sake of hard work. If the work you do tires you mentally and physically, it is Rajasic in nature.
Consider Gardening. A person who is putting in a lot of effort and getting tired mentally will not do the best possible work required. On the other hand, the man who loves the garden and plants in it will shower a lot of love into the work he is performing. The love will be visible in the way the garden is set and cleaned. There will be a “magic” about the garden, which does not come from mere hard work.
“None, but Me”
Rajasic people think they are the only ones who are capable of doing the work they perform.
They feel no one else can help them. We see this often in Sports, Politics and Business. A lot of Top Executives and Seniors get such a notion that no one has their level of perfection. This is a result of their egoic mind speaking to them. The nature of “helplessness” they bring about by doing all that they can is speaking directly to their ego. This is a very dangerous concept indeed.
Rajasic activity brings in a lot of anxiety as well.
Since there is a lot of emotional investment in the results of actions, anxiety is a natural by product. Look at Romantic Pursuits. Rather than pure love and admiration, romance often turns into a power game and ownership idea. People feel they own others in Romance. This is a very unfortunate turn of events. No man or woman owns anyone. But, “I am Yours. You are mine” tendencies start the ruin of most beautiful romances. This comes from a Rajasic bend of mind.
Rajasic ones are mostly tensed and worried. They are often concerned about how things will turn out, who will agree with them and so on. There is so much pressure to perform with Rajasic people.
Ignorance and Tamasic Karma
One who does not realise what the results of his/ her actions are and whether a task will result in pain for others is involved in Tamasic Karma.
They do not look at their skills or aptitude before taking up any work. They are mostly ignorant about themselves and others when it comes to actions. There is a sheer lack of awareness in the actions they perform. Often Tamasic actions result in pain and anger for the ones who do it as well as the ones who experience the work.
Harmful activities such as Drug Abuse, Alcoholism, Gambling, Corruption and so on are Tamasic. These actions produce instant gratification, but prolonged pain and issues to people involved. Broken individuals, broken families and ruined societies come from Tamasic actions.
Since performers of Tamasic actions do not realise what the effect of their Karma is, they lose their vigour and capabilities. Eventually such people start to become a burden to others. Tamasic ones start to lose their health and wealth over time even before they realise what is happening to them.
Tamasic beings reach a state of despair very soon, Rajasic ones reach there after a while. Sattvic beings are forever happy and blissful.