What’s the world made of?

Gurumustuk Singh Ji asked me to write a bit about the five tattvas and the three gunas. This is what was "assumed knowledge" in the time Gurbani was written. Basically, it’s the KAR part of IK ONG KAR (ONG being the creative power itself.)

The five tattvas are: earth, water, fire, air and ether. They are not those things literally, but rather states of density of matter. For example, water can be solid (earth,) liquid (its normal state between 0 degrees C and 100 degrees C) and air (when it vaporizes.) Ether is the most subtle element. Though there is no air in "outer space," there is ether.  Ether is the carrier of light and the least dense of the five tattvas.

So matter is made up of both the five tattvas (or states) along with the energy that flows through them. E=MC2 right? It’s a continuum of energy and matter, and the two flow into each other, but neither is destroyed (according to the law of conservation of matter and energy.) So the tattvas are the states of matter and the three gunas are the frequencies of energy: low-frequency=tamas (inertia,) mid-frequency=rajas (motion) and high-frequency=sattvas (calm.)

The three gunas are manifested in human qualities as well, and I’m sure you know these qualities in yourself and in other people. Most people have one of the three gunas dominant in their personality and projection. Tamas=crude, lethargic, heavy. Rajas=passionate and action oriented. Sattvas=light, pure, calm and relaxed. When we say someone has a "high" vibration, we mean they are dominantly sattvic in nature.

- Guruka Singh

P.S. – We did an earlier video on the subject of free will and God’s will. I think it was the "fate and destiny" one, but I’m happy to revisit that topic. 

4 Responses to “What’s the world made of?”

  1. ordinary sikh says:

    the mention of three guns is not complete without the mention of fourth state in which a sikh is supposed to be. This has been mentioned over and over again in gurbani. Gurmukh stays detached from three guns and establishes himself in the fourth state of meditative remembrance of God. And i guess this is what waheguru mantra does… liberates you from these three states.

  2. Guruka Singh says:

    Thank you for that, ordinary Sikh. That state is called Jivan Mukta. As mentioned in the video, in the state of Naam we can live our lives not subject to the flow of the gunas and tattvas.


  3. Antonia D'Onofrio says:

    guruka ji,
    This essay is very important for Gurbani premis because the 5 elements of Creation are mentioned in the Shabads. To know that there is a metaphysical understanding of the elements makes the understanding of the Shabads more intelligible — more to the heart of the Shabad itself. Great essay.

  4. Gurinder Singh says:

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji ki Fateh
    Guruka Singh Ji,
    That would be great if you could revisit the topic on FreeWill and Gods Will and expand on it more. I look forward to it. Thanks =)