Tamas or tamo-guna (Sanskrit for "darkness", "obscurity") has been translated to mean "too inactive", negative, lethargic, dull, or slow. Tamas has also been translated as "indifference", the most negative quality because its rejection of Karmaic Law, and the central principle of dharmaic religions' that one's Karma must be worked out and not ignored.

Attribute[edit | edit source]

Tamas has two basic characteristics: gurutva(heaviness) and avarnaka (the capacity of covering or concealing). Due to its gurutva guna, it suppresses and dominates over rajas and sattva gunas. The third characteristic or the result of tamoguna is visada, which refers to ignorance (ajnana), delusions (moha or mithya jnana), depression and similar properties

Attributes of Tamo guna are darkness, death, destruction, ignorance, Sloth.

Complete delusion, ignorance, indecision in respect of action, sleep, haughtiness, fear, cupidity, grief, censure of good acts, loss of memory, absence of faith, violation of all rules of conduct, want of discrimination, blindness, vileness of behavior, boastful assertions of performance when there has been no performance, presumption of knowledge in ignorance, being unfriendly, evilness of disposition, absence of faith, invalid reasoning, incapacity for association, sinful action, senselessness, absence of self-control, degradation, – all these are the gunas of Tamas.

Taamasic food brings about these behaviours in life.

Food[edit | edit source]

Food which is stale, tasteless, rotten and impure is known as Tamasika food.

In general, Fish, Meat, Alcohol, cheese (prepared by using animal enzymes), stale or rotten food items, over-eating of any food item is Taamasic.

Specific Examples: Foods that have been strongly processed, canned or frozen or are old, stale, or incompatible with each other. Fruits such as avocado, watermelon, plums and apricots. Vegetables like mushrooms, pumpkin and all genetically modified products. Urad dal, black beans, pinto beans, pink beans. Pork, beef, lamb, dark meat chicken/turkey, bottom feeder fish and lobster, canned, dried, frozen or old flesh products, factory farmed products like five chickens to one small cage, de-baking – meat, fish, eggs are especially tamasika.

Lifestyle[edit | edit source]

Tamasic individual implies that a person with more of the qualities: has a negative, imbalanced, or self-destructive state of mind. A person with Tamas may think something while saying completely different. A Tamasic lifestyle is known to be the heaviest, slowest, and most dull. It is devoid of the vitality of the Rajas or insight of Sattva.

If they believe that they are given too short or that they are helped not in the “right” way, then they are ready to kill him who self-sacrificingly helps them. When they happen to be among wild nature (went for an outing or picnic in the forest, for example), they cannot enjoy its beauty and calm, but can only drink, yell, defile, kill living beings. In private life and in work, they conflict with each other, lie, steal without being aware that they commit crime: they worry only about the possibility of being caught. When they develop a sexual passion (lust), it may become so wild, especially in men, that they are ready to kill for the sake of satisfying themselves. Have you recognized them? This is the guna tamas in its worst manifestation.


A Tamasic lifestyle may exhibit attributes of aggressive, destructive, psychotic and/or arrogant behavior.

According to science, the ingestion of hormones such as testosterone and estrogen from another entity may be the cause of an imbalance in the state of mind, leading to these behaviors.

relation to other gunas[edit | edit source]

Tamas cannot be counteracted by Tamas. It might be easier to counteract it by means of Rajas (action), and it might be more difficult to jump directly from Tamas to Sattva.

The result of a whole life led by Tamas is thought to be demerit: demotion to a lower life-form.

Also see[edit | edit source]

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