Invitation To Health: 38 ►Three Types Of Personality

Published: 04.05.2017

Three Types Of Personality

This is the month of sāvana (according to Indian calendar). It is rainy season, and hot also. Does the month of sāvana persist always? Before this it was the month of āśaha; it was summer season. Before that there was basanta (Spring season). The cycle of seasons keeps on changing. Time changes, circumstances change. Question is does only cycle of seasons change or human being also changes? In this world, there is no such thing in which there is no change. In every element, there is change. Human being also is not always uniform. He takes birth, becomes a child, grows as teen aged, becomes youth, grows adult and becomes old. He keeps on transforming in newer and newer forms. This is a gross matter. How much a person changes during a day, how much he changes in twenty-four hours? If we think on this then we shall realize that person who was in the morning was not there at 12, O'clock. One who was at 12, 0' clock he will not be at 3, 0' clock. One who was at 3, 0' clock will not be at 6, O'clock. This is a gross matter. Every second human being keeps changing, and the chief reason for this change is mind. When the state of mind changes, the human being also accordingly keeps on changing. He does not seem to be the same.

The law of change

An adult lady was showing her marriage album to her small child. In it one youth was standing with her.
The child asked, "Mummy! Who is this?"
Mother replied, "Your papa."
The child said, "If he is papa then who the bald person is residing with us?"
Mother said, "He is also your papa."

This is the law of change that a person who was once youth is old now. One who had curly hair is bald now. One who is not aware of this law he faces this question as to who is he? who is that? One who knows the law he does not face this problem. We do not know the law of change and that is why many a times get entangled. A person was seen behaving very well with someone in the morning. The same person was seen in the noon boiling with anger. In the morning, he was 'Sāntinātha' (embodiment of peace), by the time it was noon he became 'Jwālānātha' (embodiment of flame). So much difference took place. People may think, ‘Is he the same person who was seen in the morning'. The person is the same but his conduct has changed, his behaviour also has changed.

Personality: three types

Conduct and behaviour are intimately related with mind. Sometimes by observing the conduct we can imagine how the mind of the person would be and sometimes by guessing the state of mind we can imagine the conduct. Between both there is deep relation. Why is it so? Why this change takes place? What is its reason? Its cause was discovered. Discovery was made by religious preceptors and by the preceptors of Ayurveda also. Adhyātma and Ayurveda have moved very close. Based on one principle of Ayurveda we can understand as to what is the view of Ayurveda about mind. How human beings have been classified based on mind?

According to Ayurveda there are three types of personality—sāttvika, rājasika and tāmasika. One, whose mind is dominated by the quality of sattva, is sāttvika. One whose mind is dominated by the quality of rajas is rājasika. And one whose mind is dominated by the quality of tamas is tāmasika.

Basis of naming

Is one who is sāttvika always remains sāttvika? Is one who is rājasika remains rājasika? Is one who is tāmasika remains tāmasika? It cannot be said that a person is always sāttvika or rājasika or tāmasika. A person who was seen as very sāttvika in early part of life he becomes rājasika in later part of life and at the fag end of life the same person becomes tāmasika. A person who was seen as tāmasika in early part of life he becomes sāttvika in later part of life. This change keeps on taking place. That is why sometimes a thief becomes a merchant and merchant becomes a thief. A dacoit becomes a saint. On the basis of state of mind all this change takes place. Question is that when this change keeps on taking place then what is the reason for an individual to become sāttvika? Why should call a person sāttvika? When it was thought minutely it was discovered that there is a reason for this. In one single day, a person can experience all the three states. Who is to be regarded as sāttvika? Who is to be regarded as rājasika or tāmasika? Of this a good solution was given that in a person whatever quality has predominance on that basis the name is given. One who has dominance of sattva is called sāttvika, one who has dominance of rajas is called rājasika and one who has dominance of tamas is called tāmasika. Only based on dominance this naming has been done.

Language of example

Let us understand it in the language of example. A person is businessman. He is not a kśatriya, not a śudra, not even a brāhmin. Does a businessman never read? Does he not study? He does study but when he studies he is not a businessman at that time and he becomes a brāhmin. When he works for the security of his house and family he will become a kśatriya. When he will work for cleanliness he will become a śudra. On the basis of predominance this naming has been done. A person is called foolish, is there no intelligence in him? One who is called intelligent, is there no foolishness in him? Is there no intelligent person in whom there is no element of foolishness? One whom we call mad sometimes that mad person also talks intelligently and sometimes intelligent person also talks foolishly. Naming is only on the basis of predominance.

Name is not non-relational truth

One person used to do foolish acts more and therefore every one called him fool. He asked people, "Brothers! Why do you call me fool?" People said, "Your characteristics are such. What can we do?" He thought it was not proper for me to stay there. Here every one will call me fool. I should go to foreign place.' From there he went far away. He reached some village. He was thirsty. He saw that near a well there was a tap. In the tap, there were spouts. He went and sat near a spout. He opened the spout and drank water. After drinking water, he started whirling his head. He is moving the head and water is falling on the head. From a distance one person was witnessing this scene. He said, "Oh foolish person! What are you doing?" He got startled and looked at that person and asked with surprise, "How did you know me that I am a fool?" That person said, "From your characteristics it is evident that you are a fool".

Name is not non-relational truth; it is not absolute truth. It is a relative truth, a very small part of truth. On that basis, only entire naming is done.

Question is that of characteristic

Question is what is the characteristic of sāttvikatā? What are the characteristics of rajas and tamas? On the basis of which characteristics, conduct and bahaviour these names have been given? In Ayurveda, there are full analysis and discussion of these. Those who have a particular type of these they are sāttvika or rājasika or tāmasika. Mind is subtle, is within. Consciousness is more subtle and more within. We are not aware either of consciousness or of mind. We are aware of gross. That which is gross that alone is seen, that alone is known. The subtle is neither seen nor known. What is there in mind sometimes one may make it to get out and then it is known. Otherwise it is known by behaviour.

Consequence of reasoning

There was quarrel between two persons. They appeared before a law court. The judge asked, "Tell! What is the matter? What is the problem?"

One person said, "We both together buried five hundred gold coins under a particular tree. This fellow has surreptitiously taken out all the coins. Now there is only a ditch and coins have disappeared. You may kindly get me justice and get me two hundred fifty coins.

The judge asked the other person. He said, "I do not anything about it. The tree he is telling about I do not know where it is. He is leveling absolutely false charges."

The judge was very intelligent. He thought that truth cannot be known easily. Some trick should be used. He felt some grain of truth in the arguments of the first person. The judge told the first person, "You go and see that tree as to what is the position there."

He obeyed the order of the judge and went there. Ten minutes passed. The judge with expression of weariness on his face looked at his watch and asked the other person, "It is too late. By now he should have returned after reaching the tree."

The other person said, "No sir, how can he come so soon?"

The judge asked, "Why?"

The other person said, "The tree is far away from here."

The judge said," You were saying that you did not know about the tree, then how do you say that the tree is very far away?"

By this trick, he was caught.

It is known on the basis of behaviour

The matter of mind is very subtle. What a human being thinks we do not know. But on the basis of behaviour and conduct is known as to what is there in his mind. Gross thing is behaviour and conduct. We see behaviour and conduct. There are some people who do not have sense of talking. They speak anything they like. When it is asked as to why they said so or used such word, they rationalized that no, in their mind there was no such feeling. The other person will only say that God alone knows or you know what was there in your mind but your word, your conduct, are exhibiting your feelings.

Let us first of all be aware of our behaviour or conduct. So long as abuses do not come out from the mouth, anger is not regarded as having fruition. It is said that we have not to make anger culminate. Anger will have fruition when abuses come out from the mouth. Anger will have completion when hands move to beat. There are three stages. One is the internal stage of anger. The second stage is that of using language to express anger and in the third stage is anger is expressed through bodily activities.

We are people with gross vision. Our eyes catch the gross, cannot catch the subtle. That is why one who undertakes sādhanā, first of all he has to be aware of and concentrate on the gross. One person is sitting. By looking at him it can be known whether he is a sādhaka (practitioner of sādhanā) or a pramādi (careless). The manner of sitting, the way of speaking, the mode of thinking will make the distinction between a sādhaka and a pramādi.

The first modification of sādhanā should be on behaviour, on conduct. A person is doing sadhana, practicing religious deeds, doing meditation but in conduct he is just the opposite. Sādhanā is going towards east and behaviour is going towards west (incompatibility between sādhanā and behaviour). If such thing happens then it must be believed that there is no change inside, sādhanā has not fructified. If sādhanā fructifies then there will be definite change in behaviour. The characteristic of sādhanā is that it results in practice, and thereby we may judge the mind, evaluate the mind. A person in whom sāttvika mind has developed, in that person humility will develop and there will be no pride or egotism. There will be development of perseverance. In that person, there will be longing to cross over the world, there will be power to tolerate, there will be no selfishness, and there will be the attitude to share (samvibhāga). To share is the characteristic of sāttvikahood.

Beautiful criterion

By observing the tendencies, conduct and behaviour we can know whether a person is of sāttvika, or rājasika or tāmasika nature. This is a very good measurement, criterion or parameter to know a person and deal with him accordingly. This topic should be a topic for the study of every family. The nature of all members of a family is not of the same sort. There are ten members. Nine of them have sāttvika nature. May be one may turn out to be such that he will deprive the entire family of its happiness and peace. If we have to live together then first of all we shall have to analyze the nature, understand the difference of nature. This has to be known as to which person is of what nature. Father-son, brother-sister, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law everyone must be aware of the nature of each other and behave accordingly.

Let us understand this with the help of an example. The chief characteristic of rājasika nature is egotism. Rajoguna is predominantly egoistic. The mother-in-law is of sāttvika nature and the daughter-in-law is of rājasika nature. In such a situation if the mother-in-law asks the daughter-in-law to broom then definitely the ego of the daughter-in-law which is of rājasika nature will be hurt. The consequence will be rise of conflict in the family and the peace of the family will be disturbed. Today in most of the families this is happening. In community life, this happens. Why is it so? It is so because we do not have division of work on the basis of nature. If we divide work on the basis of analysis of nature, then the problem will be solved. But for this the needed education is not being imparted and in the absence of proper education families are getting split up.

Let us have harmony

A person has good capacity of earning. He can accumulate a lot of wealth. But his nature is rājasika. Others cannot tolerate his ego and problem develops. In the mind of some youths of a well to do and prosperous family an idea came that they have to attend to the elderly people in the family again and again, have to provide them water again and again, and they have to seek their permission even for small matters, why is it so? After all we are all partners, sharers, why should we do so? The youths decided that they should have divisions. People very much advised them that it was an old and reputed firm and it is not proper to it split up. But the youth did not agree. The firm got split up. After split the conditions of youths became pitiable. Those who were elderly they made their business position quite firm. They had the capacity to earn. Those people who had thought that why should they attend to elderly, a time came for them that they could not have both the ends meet. If those youths could have maintained a little harmony this situation would not have developed.

Characteristic of a sāttvika person

This harmony cannot be established so long as we do not know the process of analyzing nature. Sāttvika, rājasika and tāmasika, this is the full subject of analysis of nature. By these characteristics, it can be known as to what is the mentality or nature of a person. If a person has humility, truthfulness, existential authenticity, perseverance, feeling of sharing, desire to cross over, then it should be understood that he is of sāttvika nature. The head of family has to behave with him accordingly and assign work or responsibility accordingly. If this happens the work is smooth. If it is known that a person does not have perseverance, then stiff control over him will not be successful. If there is no patience, then greater control is not good. In vārī dialect there is a famous couplet

Kancha kathira adhira nara, kasyan na upaje prema

Kasani to dhira sahe, kai hira kai hema

The more the precious stone and gold are rubbed the more they become pure. They have to suffer many strokes. If that many strokes are given to a glass it will be broken into pieces. Likewise, a person who is restless or impatient if he is tightened there may be two possibilities. Either he will run away from home or will commit suicide.

The science of analysis of nature is very vast. An individual should awaken this sense of discrimination that sāttvika tendency may develop in him. The consequence of dhyāna is sāttvika tendency. We have to analyze the nature of others properly and on the basis of that analysis accordingly we have to behave with our servants, helpers, managers, messengers, labour, son, daughter-in-law etc. In the community or family life there will be initiation of peace and a way will be found to solve many tangles. In this classification, the philosophy of life is inherent. We should fully keep this classification in mind and have the determination that we shall develop sāttvikahood fully, and practice to reduce rājasika and tāmasika tendencies. If we can cultivate this vision then surely in life there will be new light, new luster, and we shall have full reinforcement for making future bright.

Title: Invitation To Health
Author: Acharya Mahaprajna
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013
HN4U Digital Edition: Ratna & Amit Kumar Jain

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Adhyātma
  2. Anger
  3. Ayurveda
  4. Consciousness
  5. Dhyāna
  6. Meditation
  7. Papa
  8. Pride
  9. Rajas
  10. Sadhana
  11. Sattva
  12. Science
  13. Sādhaka
  14. Sādhanā
  15. Tamas
  16. Tap
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