Lord Shiva’s Trishul representing the trigunas of the universe
Lord Shiva’s Trishul (trident) that is held in His right hand represents the (trigunas) three Gunas—Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Prakriti (primordial “matter”) has three characteristics of sattva, rajas, and tamas. As per Samkhya philosophy creation happened when there was an imbalance between these three – Sattwa, Rajas & Tamas.
• Sattwa is the component nearest to divinity. Hence its predominance in a person is characterised by happiness, contentment, virtues like patience, perseverance, ability to forgive, spiritual yearning etc.
• Tamas component is the basest of the three. Its predominance in a person is reflected by laziness, greed, attachment to worldly matters etc.
• The Rajas component provides fuel to the other two, i.e. brings about the action. So depending on whether a person is predominantly sāttwik or tāmasik the subtle basic Raja component will bring about actions pertaining to Sattva or Tamas.
Shiva is beyond the three gunas, but He wields the world through these three gunas.
The way to achieve divine consciousness is also by achieving balance between the Sattva Rajas and Tamas in us. An average person might have 10% Sattwa, 50% Rajas and 40% Tamas. As Sushumna Kriya Yogis we must constantly strive to enhance our Sattva and lower our Rajas and Tamas.
How can we do this?
By adopting a Sāttwik lifestyle. Lifestyle would mean our choice of food, clothes, recreation ….. in fact, every action.
In order to keep track of how we are progressing in adopting a Sattwik lifestyle, every Sushumna Kriya Yogi should introspect every day at the end of the day and reflect upon what one has done well and thank the Gurus for their grace and also make a note of the areas where they could potentially make improvements in their action.
In fact, the Bhagavad-Gita defines sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic forms of food, actions, speech, mind, charity, sacrifice, knowledge, intellect, courage & fortitude, perseverance, and even overall temperament and happiness too. (Chapters XVII & XVIII). This can be a wonderful place to seek guidance on how to lead our lives. Besides this one can also practise the Yama Niyama of the Ashtang Yoga to purify oneself to make it easy to realize the divine consciousness.
In summary, the purpose of life is to achieve true bliss by being one with the divine consciousness or Shiva and this can happen when there is equilibrium in all the gunas and this can achieved by leading a spiritual sattwik life.