Guna is a difficult word to translate….It could mean having a certain quality…a certain property….a certain inherent law…
The property(guna) of fire is heat……That is easy to explain….
But what is the property inherent in nature? or in a human being ? Or what are the properties of a soul ?
According to the Hindu tradition there is not one Guna in Nature but there are three elementary gunas.Like the atom has electrons,protons and neutrons, Nature has the Tri Gunas which are Sattvic,Tamasic, and Rajasic……..
The Satvic is the positive energy,pure,luminous,stable,good for you.
The Tamasic is the opposite of Satvic-negative energy,impure,dark,inert,not good for you.
The Rajasic is the most difficult to understand-it is a force of action,active,in a state of constant flux-not pure not impure.It may be good for you or it could be bad for you.
To understand Gunas,you must understand that all these three exist simultaneously in nature,or in all human beings in varying proportions.
Let me try and explain through examples.
Take milk…..Like all of nature it too has three gunas…..
Milk may be good for you because of the calcium.But high fat milk may be harmful to you if you are a heart patient and have high cholestrol.Or if you take too much milk it may be harmful to you.So you could say milk is Satvic,Tamasic as well as Rajasic.An understanding of the right proportions of the three gunas is the first step to help to focus on reducing the negative and the indifferent gunas and increase the quantity of the positive satvic guna.