Viṣṇu: Sattva Guṇa
Sattva (Devanāgarī सत्त्व) is the quality of purity and goodness. It is regarded in sāṁkhya philosophy as the highest of the three guṇa (i.e. among rajas, sattva and tamas) because it renders a person true, honest and wise. It makes things pure and clean. A guṇa is a constituent quality of prākṛti (nature) and this can be
- rajas which brings forth passion, creativity
- sattva which brings forth truth and purity or
- tamas which brings forth sloth and dissolution
However, such pure definitions of guṇa cannot exist freely in nature and they intermingle to produce four dominant forms in the created beings as defined by Maharṣi Parāśara. Yet among the devatā, the guṇa avatāra are the highest manifested definitions of divinity in Hinduism. They are bound to bless their worshippers.
- Brahma defines the suddha-rajas (pure unalloyed rajas) and exists with bhū-śakti (Sarasvatī)
- Viṣṇu is the very definition of suddha-sattva (pure unalloyed sattva guṇa) and exists with śrī-śakti (Lakṣmī)
- Rudra symbolises suddha-tamas (pure unalloyed tamas guṇa) and exists with nīla-śakti (Pārvatī)
There are three principal mantra for worshipping Viṣṇu called (1) Nārāyaṇa aṣṭākṣarī, (2) Vāsudeva dvādasākṣarī and (3) Viṣṇu ṣaḍākṣarī. The aṣṭākṣarī mantra ॐ नमो नारायणाय (om namo nārāyaṇāya). – aṣṭākṣarī means aṣṭa (eight) akṣara (syllable). The dvādasākṣarī mantra ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय (om namo bhagavate vāsudevāya) – dvādasa means twelve and akṣara means syllables, hence dvādasākṣarī mantra refers to the famous twelve syllable mantra of Viṣṇu. The ṣaḍākṣarī mantra ॐ विष्णवे नमः (om viṣṇave namaḥ). ṣaḍ means six and akṣara means syllable.
Śrī is the energy of Viṣṇu that enables the maintenance of sattva guṇa. She exists with Viṣṇu at the mahat level and then expands into the unmanifested worlds with Vāsudeva. She continues into the manifested worlds with Vāsudeva thereby maintaining the existence of all during their lifetimes. She is everything auspicious and includes food, clothing, shelter and everything else necessary for sustenance.