The Mahagunas | My guides on the journey home to myself


by Guest Contributor: Devon Ray Battaglia

I was first introduced to the mahagunas nearly a decade ago as part of a yoga teacher training. I was instantly intrigued, however not fully ready to be their apprentice at that point in my life. So, I’d file them away until becoming reacquainted during my Ayurvedic Health Advisor training.

This is when I was ready to fully receive their wisdom and to follow their guidance. And to have embodied experiences with them that would support me in coming home to myself – finally. 

The mahagunas, the trio of sattva, rajas, and tamas, are as inextricably linked to one another as sunrise is to sunset. They are all continually swirling within and around one another, influencing, adjusting, correcting, guiding, pulling, pushing, and directing each other. 

Despite having been on a spiritual path for some time, making big life changes, minding my senses, and having a totally aligned Ayurvedic ahar and vihar, something was still amiss within. 

A lot of the time, I felt stuck inside. 

Despite knowing who I authentically am – a soft, compassionate, loving servant of The Mother – I felt unable to actually be that person fully and completely

The mahagunas helped me see that there was a strong identification with traumatic childhood experiences and the “wounded” identity that stemmed from them. This was what was fueling the “stuckness” – the behaviors, beliefs, and actions that were keeping me from fully being myself. 

I came to appreciate this “stuckness” for what it was – tamas. There was an inability to move and act in a different way, despite the harm and suffering I was allowing the “wounded” identity to continually inflict upon my life. 

I have been defensive, resistant, avoidant, and overly protective of myself as I relentlessly pushed to reach “perfection” and mask pain, flaws, and insecurities. This was rajas – action and doing, although not in a supportive way that brought balance, wholeness, or joy to my body, mind, and spirit. 

Sattva, that deep, true, peaceful balance, wholeness, and joy, eluded me. I’d have glimpses of it, sure, however, it didn’t feel safe to sustain because the tamas and rajas had other agendas as fueled by a very wounded ego/ahamkara. 

Tamas is stubborn, which I’ve come to realize isn’t necessarily a helpful trait, despite my previous praise of it in myself. When tamas is dictating things for me, rajas has a tough time being directed towards actions that would yield wholeness. 

The pull of tamas can be strong, just like the attachments to that old identity and its beliefs, actions, and behaviors! I realized that the way to wholeness was to use rajas to pursue sattva, not appease tamas. 

And sometimes that’s easier said than done. Those old ways can be tricky, insidious, and appear to mean well. After all, they did serve a purpose at some point.  

I have come to realize that simply skimming or flirting with sattva without going “all the way in” isn’t the answer. 

Dipping one toe into the sweet waters of sattva, while keeping myself in a state of tamasic attachment to an insecure inner child who’s demanding I act in rajasic ways that have me in a constant state of pushing, striving, and forcing, is rather… hypocritical? Incongruent? Incomplete? All the above and more? 

I have come to finally let sattva be my North Star, coupled with the principles of Ayurveda and Yoga. I let sattva and the Divine Mother become the salve necessary to continually guide me towards contentment, acceptance, and flow. 

The joy of sattva and embodying my full, free self is sweeter than any unhelpful attachment.

Today, I am in the practice of no longer overusing my senses or pushing myself in ways that don’t feel good. I am letting rajas support me in making choices towards actions that bring more sattva and break tamasic tendencies or attachments. 

Overall, I am doing less in my life and focus on one thing at a time. I aim for depth, rather than quantity. I am more aware of the thoughts and internal dialogue and intervene when/if they become unhelpful or harmful. 

I am taking breaks and pauses throughout my day without guilt. I am blowing up old beliefs and stories about how to be “successful,” I must suffer and “work harder.” I am in communication with Little Devon and give her exactly what she most needed/needs. 

With sattva as my guide, I have no doubt the positive changes I’ve experienced will continue to compound – a clearer mind, more spontaneous joy, a greater sense of presence and equanimity, no longer seeking for contentment or “fixes” outside myself through food or consuming media, a greater acceptance of myself and others, and so much more.

My body feels healthier and more balanced, my emotions flow with greater ease and less intensity, my mind is calmer, more focused, and quieter, and my connection with Spirit deepens and deepens.

As my internal world has come to match the beautiful life I had already created for myself, I feel at home within. I feel integrated, authentic, and whole as I let myself receive the beauty, joy, and love that had already been all around and within me. 

With Sattva as my guide, as well as a devoted foundation of Yoga and Ayurveda as the basis for my life, I simply relish in the journey and am grateful for and humbled by each sacred moment of this life.

You can find Devon at InnerSpark Life Website | Instagram

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