Definition - What does Tamasic mean?

Tamasic is an adjective referring to the Sanskrit word, tamas, which is defined by yogic philosophy as one of the three basic qualities of nature (gunas). Tamas is also considered a kind of kamya karma.

Tamas is associated with darkness. It is said that a tamasic person is concerned with the self, dissatisfied and materialistic. Yogic practices aim to balance the three gunas, including tamas, in the yogi in order to elevate his/her state of mind to a higher plane.

Yogapedia explains Tamasic

Tamas, rajas and sattva are the three gunas present in every individual. The Bhagavad Gita describes the three qualities, explaining that sattva corresponds to purity, knowledge and freedom from impurities; rajas to passion and attachment; and tamas to darkness, ignorance and dullness. When the gunas are imbalanced, the ability to realize the Self is lost and it becomes impossible to achieve oneness with the universe.

Kamya karma, which tamas is considered to be a part of, refers to the rituals performed to achieve personal desires. Tamas of the kamya karma kind, is the worship performed to fulfill one's desires, which are centered on the Self. Rajasic worship aims at achieving one's ambitions and the seeking of material comfort. Sattvic worship focuses on peace and cleansing of karma, and includes all three of the gunas in prayer.

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