Another mechanics of Duality and Mundane-Time is the principle of the three qualities of material nature. These qualities in Sanskrit are known as guna. Duality lends variety to material nature. The fine and subtle shades and hues which exist between two opposite poles that constitute duality ascribe changes and differences in appearance and form in material nature. This material creation is ephemeral and mutable, always in a state of flux. Thus, everything and everyone in this mundane, temporal plane of existence is impermanent. This dynamism or motion in material nature is sustained by three mechanisms, namely creation, endurance and destruction. We read in the Bhagavad-Gita that everything that is created must experience disintegration. Anyone who has taken birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again. This is the innate characteristic of this creation. Therefore, we observe in nature that material objects are subjected to creation, endurance and disintegration. Whereas, all sentient beings are susceptible to six different phases of existence, namely birth, growth, reproduction, dissipation, old age and death. These different events in nature are instigated by the three qualities of nature or gunas. Creation is stimulated by the quality of rajas, or passion, endurance by the quality of sattva, or goodness, and disintegration is carried out through the agency of the quality of tamas or ignorance. These three mechanisms are thus incessantly in force. Everything and everyone in this material realm, both the gross and subtle, are subjected to their influences. Their influences on gross objects are easy to observe and comprehend, while their influence in the subtle plane is indiscernible. The physical transformations caused by these qualities in any object or in the body are overt, whereas the subtle ones like emotions, desires, thoughts etc. are covert.
For example, covert thoughts or desires influenced by passion will lead to creative impulse which then can be translated into overt action to produce something perceivable to the senses. When desires and thoughts come under the control of ignorance they prompt actions which are executed in obliviousness of their consequences, hence turn out to be destructive. The desire for work of endurance and sustenance of any creation is stimulated by goodness because the work of maintenance requires discipline and steadfastness. Only a controlled mind is willing to submit to regulation. For passion to find expression requires spontaneity, breaking away from the tedium of doing the same action. In endurance however, the mind is creative within, opening up new windows of perception, hence unaffected by the repetition of external actions. All human beings are born under the influences of ignorance, duality and illusion. Therefore any development of body, mind and consciousness is in fact a progress of the mental state from ignorance to goodness. This is accomplished through proper knowledge alone. Lack of knowledge about the body and it’s functioning, or about the mind and its functioning will keep a person in darkness about the means to be undertaken for any improvement. Thus progress in yoga or any other spiritual practice depends heavily on inculcating characteristics and habits in the mode of sattva or goodness.