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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Guṇātita literally means ‘one who is beyond the sway of the three guṇas’.

The quest for perfection has been a common characteristic feature of all religions and philosophical systems. Since perfection is only a concept, it can be understood only when tested through a person or a personality. The Bhagavadgitā has done this in three places.[1] The ‘guṇātita’ is the last of these three.


The guṇātita is the one who is fit to attain Brahman. The qualities of such a person are as follows:

  • He is the one who has transcended the three guṇas, sattva, rajas and tamas.
  • He is unaffected by the effects of the three guṇas like knowledge, action or delusion.
  • He is equanimous in happiness and even misery.
  • He looks upon a clod of earth, stone or gold as of equal worth being neither repelled nor tempted by them.
  • He is not influenced by the pleasant and the unpleasant.
  • He is unaltered either by praise or blame.
  • He treats friends and enemies equally, based on the merits of the case.
  • He serves God with undeviating love.


  1. Bhagavadgitā 2.55-72; 12.13-20 and 14.22-27
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore