Let's say there are two individuals A and B both destined to lose a loved one at a given point in life due to past life Karma. Now both can feel differently post this event. A can feel sad, dejected etc. while B can brush it off. So my first question is whether past life karma also plays a role in shaping our gunas pre/during/post event? If so, then is the corollary that as A's sin in past life was of higher magnitude than B, he feels the suffering more than B ?

Now I understand that in a given life gunas change with time (more like certain aspects of gunas are more prominent). Also, we can change our gunas in a given life through penance, austerity etc. Will this act of changing gunas be considered part of Kriyamana karma ?

  • A similar question - hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/36420/… – SwiftPushkar Oct 17 '19 at 4:33
  • @SwiftPushkar - Maybe similar but not duplicate. And I had participated in that question. My understanding of gunas differed from that of poster as well – Carmen sandiego Oct 17 '19 at 4:39
  • Ok , the comment is just for pointing out the similar posts to the readers. Not voted as duplicate:- ) – SwiftPushkar Oct 17 '19 at 4:43

What is karma's relationship with Gunas?

According to Hinduism, inferior gunas lead to sorrow, whereas superior gunas lead to happiness.

Each action is influenced by a guna or a combination of the gunas:


When, having done, or doing, or going to do a certain act, a man happen to feel ashamed,—every such act should be understood by the learned to be characterised by the quality of ‘Tamas.’

When, by a certain act, the man desires great fame in this world, and does not mind failure—this should be understood to partake of the quality of ‘Rajas.’

When, however, the act is one which he wishes to understand in all its details, by doing which he does not feel ashamed, and by which his heart feels satisfied,—it is characterised by the quality of ‘Sattva.’

And actions based on a particular guna cause one to be born in a particular birth that represents that guna:


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

Those partaking of ‘Sattva’ reach the state of the gods, those endowed with ‘Rajas,’ the state of men, and those characterised by ‘Tamas,’ the state of beasts; such is the threefold migratory state.


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

And then the Manusmriti gives a non-exhaustive list of created beings that one can be born as as a result of these gunas.

  • @Ikshavaku - thanks. But i can't get my head around the interplay between Iccha Prarabdha karma and gunas. Any pointers? – Carmen sandiego Oct 19 '19 at 6:33

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