Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

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(3,265 words)

The Sanskrit word guṇa carries a variety of meanings, such as thread, constituent, quality and can be used as an adjective in the sense of secondary or subordinate. It is used in philosophical and theological schools as well as in grammatical, medical, and poetological literature as a technical term.

Of particular importance in Hindu traditions is the notion of the “three guṇas” (triguṇa), that is, the three constituents of the ultimate, single cause…

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Malinar, Angelika, “Guṇa”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 19 October 2019 <>
First published online: 2018

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