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Tamas

Tamas

मस् tamas

darkness, ignorance, illusion, dullness, also "tamoguna"

Tamas is a static, suppressing principle; inertia, density, force of compression, resistance, and decay. In its capacity as tamoguna, Prakriti hides the Spirit (Sat). Therefore, tamoguna is usually spoken of as inertia, because inertia is the veiling force of Prakriti. In the context of human qualities, tamoguna manifests itself as ignorance and laziness.

"Bhagavad Gita" says:

Know tamas as a delusion born of ignorance. It binds all beings with carelessness, laziness and sleep, O Bharata. /14.8/

"Siddha-siddhanta paddhati" lists the following manifestations of tamas:

Argument, quarrel, suffering, murder, deceit - such is the five-qualitative tamas. /1.53/

  The influence of tamas is manifested in the following qualities:

  • vivada – useless debate, long discussion of what is already clear;
  • kalaha – getting bogged down in squabbling, quarrels;
  • shoka – sadness, suffering, grief, sorrow;
  • vadha (murder) – dependence on certain vicious states, imperfection, as a result of all this – destruction;
  • vanchana - deceit, manifested as the issuing of false as real and concealment of the true from the outside world; that is, the truth, which becomes individual and hidden, ceases to be absolute, and consequently it is destroyed from outside.


Tamas is the lowest, gross, slow or inert quality of material nature, like a stone or piece of earth. It lacks the energy of rajas and the purity of sattva.

However, the positive function of tamas is smriti or memory, as well as the ability to complete what was generated by sattva and realized with the help of rajas.



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