I always choose sattvic places to stay when organising a pilgrimage, but why? And what exactly IS a sattvic place? These are questions I get asked often, and to answer them, first we need to know exactly what “sattvic” means.
What is sattvic?
In the Bhagawad Gita, Lord Krishna says – “Oh mighty-armed Arjuna, the material energy consists of three guṇas (modes) — sattva (goodness), rajas (passion), and tamas (ignorance). These modes bind the eternal soul to the perishable body.”
Krishna means that everything we see around us has these same three qualities and we each have all three within us, although some of us have more of one and less of another.
The three gunas
Tamas is full of chaos, it is ignorant and imbalanced. It makes people act impulsively without thinking and causes destruction to each other and our environment.
Rajas is passionate and full of desire. It causes people to act selfishly, doing whatever they want because it feels good to them, but not thinking of how that action will affect others.
The space between both is sattva. This is balanced energy, goodness and truthfulness. It causes people to act in ways that are kind and conscious.
Because of this, sattvic places are typically very clean and wholesome. Sattvic people are open-hearted, welcoming and practice traditional spiritual ways. This is why I always try to choose to stay with sattvic people.
Why we want to be sattvic
The purpose of practicing rituals in our culture is to eventually rise up to sattva guna. One of the most important rituals is cleaning and cleansing negative energy from our environment. This allows for clarity, helping us go deeper into meditation.
We all know that a messy and dirty environment causes distraction and that too many pleasures will make us lazy or entitled. Both rajas and tamas cause suffering due to their instability, negativity and attachment.
Instead, Sattva guna helps us to see the truth, the reality, it brings peace in one’s mind so the practitioner can realise his true self. Yogis attain the deep state of meditation known as samadhi with the practice of making their body and mind sattvic.
From here, we can even rise above sattva as well. The one who has risen beyond good and bad is known as Buddha, free of suffering and attachments – a liberated soul.
How I choose sattvic places
I have been organising pilgrimage treks for many years now and have explored hidden places deep in the valleys of the Himalayas. Due to its intense weather and recent modernisation, it can be very hard to find sattvic places along the trekking routes and beyond.
Of course, the Himalayas themselves are a therapist, they heal us no matter where we stay, but there is a huge benefit of staying in sattvic places and eating sattvic foods.
What is sattvic food?
Sattvic foods are always organic. I choose places where they grow their own vegetables and don’t use the harmful pesticides that you find commonly across Nepal and India.
The term organic is very popular in Nepal these days and unfortunately, almost everything is referred to as organic, even when it isn’t that.
You’ll see “organic” written on boards everywhere you go, but if you don’t know exactly where those veggies came from, how fresh they are, and what is seasonal here in Nepal, then it is difficult to find true organic food without someone to guide you.
It is a great shame that many people visit here and leave thinking that Nepal doesn’t have good food. We have some delicious, healthy and varied tastes, but you have to know where to find them.
Once you do find them though, you can guarantee that sattvic foods will increase your clarity and meditation power, healing you from within. You are what you eat after all!
What you gain from sattva
Lord Krishna says – “When wise people see that in all works there are no agents of action other than the three guṇas, and they know me to be transcendental to these guṇas, they attain my divine nature.
Those situated in the mode of goodness (sattva) will rise upward; those in the mode of passion (rajas) stay in the middle, and those in the mode of ignorance (tamas) go downward.”
So, on our pilgrimages, we want you to rise up.
We will take you to stay in our most wonderful sattvic places, to meet sattvic families and eat delicious organic sattvic foods. We will teach you to harvest yogic herbs along the route to add nutrition depending on the altitude and season, and we’ll practice yoga and meditation in the traditional ways.
From here, the only direction is up!