We humans are the only animal that can laugh, or even smile, for that matter. So, it can be safely said that humour is one of those ‘few’ things which separates us humans from our lesser (?) brethren.

Now, as with anything uniquely human, humour is used by us anywhere from the spectrum of “as an agent of general good” to “a cause of individual grief”. More appropriately it can be said that, as with all things human, humour too is associated with “inescapable” three modes of material nature: Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic.

Let us look a little deeper into this “Sanatana” categorization of humour:

The Sattvic Humour: As the name suggests, this type of humour is Divine. When used by the Wise, it conveys the subtler aspect of the topic, while tickling the funny bone in us. We need not go any further than the “Wisdom Section” at os.me to find innumerable examples of it.

The Rajasic Humour: Benignly, it is used to describe the peculiar predispositions of us humans. Like:

“How good one feels when one is full — how satisfied with ourselves and with the world! People who have tried it, tell me that a clear conscience makes you very happy and contented; but a full stomach does the business quite as well, and is cheaper, and more easily obtained“ *

Or,

“What the eye does not see, the stomach does not get upset over” *

The Tamasic Humour: This type of humour may hurt the feelings of others and thus may be avoided. For example:

“George goes to sleep at a bank from ten to four each day, except Saturdays, when they wake him up and put him outside at two” *

Or,

“Everything has its drawbacks, as the man said when his mother-in-law died, and they came down upon him for the funeral expenses” *

So humour can be a serious business. Choose and use it wisely.

*All quotes from the book “Three Men in a boat” by “Jerome K. Jerome”.

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Sorabh Agarwal

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