NOTE: This question is NOT a duplicate of this question.

The Manusmriti has this verse about the types of bodies one can enter due to different Gunas. Here are the bodies can can be born in due to being Sattvic:

12.39 - I am now going to describe, briefly, in due order, those migratory states into which one falls through each quality [Guna] from among these.


12.48 - Ascetics and hermits, Brāhmaṇas, celestial beings, lunar asterisms, and Daityas represent the first state partaking of ‘Sattva.’

This verse talks about the bodies one can be born in due to partaking in Sattva, as well as the actual Guna composition of the bodies, because another verse says:

12.81 - With whatever disposition a man performs an act, the fruit thereof he reaps with a body of that same quality.

And Medhatithi's commentary for verse 81:

When a man performs a certain act with a disposition partaking of the quality of ‘Sattva,’ or of that of ‘Rajas,’ or of that of ‘Tamas,’—the act also partaking of one of these same qualities of Sattva, Rajas or Tamas,—then it is ‘with a body of the same quality’—i.e., by one abounding either in Sattva or in Rajas or in Tamas—that ‘he reaps the result thereof,’—this result also partaking of either Sattva or Rajas or Tamas.

But my question is, why are Daityas said to be Sattvic in this verse? Daityas are Asuras (demons) who live in Patala and frequently attack the Devas in Swarga, and commit planetary genocide. Here is what Hiranyakashipu, a Daitya, did on Earth:

SB 7.2.10 — While I am engaged in the business of killing Lord Viṣṇu, go down to the planet earth, which is flourishing due to brahminical culture and a kṣatriya government. These people engage in austerity, sacrifice, Vedic study, regulative vows, and charity. Destroy all the people thus engaged!

SB 7.2.11 — ..... When the brāhmaṇas are killed, no one will exist to encourage the kṣatriyas to perform yajñas, and thus the demigods, not being appeased by yajña, will automatically die.

SB 7.2.14 — The demons set fire to the cities, villages, pasturing grounds, cowpens, gardens, agricultural fields and natural forests. They burned the hermitages of the saintly persons, the important mines that produced valuable metals, the residential quarters of the agriculturalists, the mountain villages, and the villages of the cow protectors, the cowherd men. They also burned the government capitals.

This doesn't sound very Sattvic.

Now, elsewhere, in other scriptures, Asuras are said to partake of the quality of Rajas.

From the Srimad Bhagavatam:

SB 7.1.8 — When the quality of goodness is prominent, the sages and demigods flourish with the help of that quality, with which they are infused and surcharged by the Supreme Lord. Similarly, when the mode of passion is prominent the demons [Asuras] flourish, and when ignorance is prominent the Yakṣas and Rākṣasas flourish. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is present in everyone’s heart, fostering the reactions of sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa.

SB 11.25.19 — With the increase of the mode of goodness, the strength of the demigods similarly increases. When passion increases, the demoniac [Asuras] become strong. And with the rise of ignorance, O Uddhava, the strength of the most wicked [Rakshasas] increases.

What do other Manusmriti commentators, like Bharuci, say about this verse? Perhaps this could be a case of Kalpa-bheda, and Daityas were Sattvic in some Kalpa or time period.

  • Thenword Sattva does not necessarily mean the first of the three gunas. pl see sanskritdictionary.com/… – commonman Feb 6 at 15:53
  • 1
    @ParthaBanerjee In the case of these Manusmriti verses, it is talking about the sattva guna, and not any other meaning of sattva. – Ikshvaku Feb 6 at 16:03
  • what do you mean by always? A word can hwve different meanings in the same book or passage! If Daityas are sattwika, it can never mean sattwa guna. As there are three consecutive slokas all having the different grades of sattwa – commonman Feb 6 at 16:07
  • @ParthaBanerjee Those are the grades of Sattva guna: low, middling, and high. "I am now going to describe, briefly, in due order, those migratory states into which one falls through each quality from among these." – Ikshvaku Feb 6 at 16:17
  • yes, and that means its not just sattva raja and tama – commonman Feb 6 at 16:19

Sattva does NOT necessarily mean Sattva-guna. We get many meanings of sattva:

सत्त्वम् [सतो भावः] (Said to be m. also in the first ten senses) 1 Being, existence, entity. -2 Nature, essence. -3 Natural character, inborn disposition; अच्योष्ट सत्त्वान्नृपतिश्च्युताशः Bk.3.2. -4 Life, spirit, breath, vitality, principle of vitality; उद्गतानीव सत्त्वानि बभूवुरमनस्विनाम् Rām.2.48.2; चित्रे निवेश्य परिकल्पित- सत्त्वयोगा Ś.2.1. -5 Consciousness, mind, sense; वाक्च सत्वं च गोविन्द बुद्धौ संवेशितानि ते Mb.12.46.4; Bg.16.1; Bhāg.7.15.41. -6 An embryo. -7 Substance, thing, wealth. -8 An elementary substance such as earth, air, fire &c. -9 (also m.) A living or sentient being, animal, beast; वन्यान् विनेष्यन्निव दुष्टसत्त्वान् R.2.8;15.15; किं नो$पत्यनिर्विशेषाणि सत्वानि विप्रकरोषि Ś7; Māl.9; यश्चासूनपि संत्यजेत् करुणया सत्त्वार्थमभ्युद्यतः Nāg.2.1. -1 An evil spirit, a demon, ghost; अद्य नूनं दशरथः सत्त्वमाविश्य भाषते Rām.2.33.1. -11 Goodness, virtue, excellence. -12 Truth, reality, certainty. -13 Strength, energy, courage, vigour, power, inherent power, the stuff of which a person is made; निजमेव सत्त्वमुपकारि साम् Ki.18. 14; Mb.12.313.17; क्रियासिद्धिः सत्त्वे भवति महतां नोपकरणे Subhāṣ.; R.5.31; Mu.3.22. -14 Wisdom, good sense. -15 The quality of goodness or purity regarded as the highest of the three Guṇas q. v.; (it is said to predominate most in gods and heavenly beings). -16 A natural property or quality, characteristic. -17 A noun, substantive. -18 Intellect (बुद्धि); अघ्राणमवितर्कं च सत्त्वं प्रविशते परम् Mb.12.24.18. -19 The subtle body of individual soul (लिङ्गशरीर); गृहाणीव हि मर्त्यानामाहुर्देहानि पण्डिताः । कालेन विनियुज्यन्ते सत्त्वमेकं तु शाश्वतम् ॥ Mb.11.3.8. -Comp. -अनुरूप a. 1 according to one's inborn disposition or inherent character; सर्वः कृच्छ्रगतो$पि वाञ्छति जनः सत्त्वानुरूपं फलम् Bh.2.3. -2 according to one's means or wealth; सत्त्वानुरूपाहरणीकृतश्रीः R.7.32. (Malli's interpretation does not appear to suit the context). -आत्मन् m. the individual soul (लिङ्गदेह); वशे तिष्ठति सत्त्वात्मा सततं योगयोगिनाम् Mb.12.253.6. -उत्साहः 1 natural energy. -2 energy and courage. -उद्रेकः 1 excess of the quality of goodness. -2 pre-eminence in strength or courage. -गुणः the quality of purity or goodness. -तनुः epithet of Viṣṇu; श्रेयांसि तत्र खलु सत्त्वतनोर्नृणां स्युः Bhāg.1.2.23. -धातुः the animal sphere. -धामन् epithet of Viṣṇu. -योगः 1 dignity; Kau. A.1.9. -2 association with life; चित्रे निवेश्य परिकल्पितसत्त्वयोगा Ś.2.1. -लक्षणम् signs of pregnancy; तत्कथमिमामभिव्यक्तसत्त्वलक्षणां ... प्रतिपत्स्ये Ś.5. -लोकः a world of living beings. -विप्लवः loss of consciousness. -विहित 1 caused by nature. -2 caused by goodness. -3 virtuous, upright. -संशुद्धिः f. purity or uprightness of nature; अभयं सत्त्वसंशुद्धिः Bg.16.1. -संपन्न a. 1 endowed with goodness, virtuous. -2 equable, evenminded. -संप्लवः 1 loss of strength or vigour. -2 universal destruction. -सारः 1 essence of strength. -2 a very powerful person. -स्थ a. 1 being in the nature of things. -2 inherent in animals. -3 animate. -4 characterized by goodness, good, excellent. -स्थः a Yogi; कर्मस्था विषयं ब्रूयुः सत्त्वस्था समदर्शिनः Mb.12.238.6.

Please check the link : http://sanskritdictionary.com/?iencoding=iast&q=सत्त्व&lang=sans&action=Search

In the three consecutive slokas starting from 48, three different types of sattva it nentioned. So here is does not mean sattva guna as opposed to tamas and rajas I think.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .