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Vasanas Do Not Obstruct the Path to Moksa
Anna: Hi, Tan, I hope you are well.
(First, excuse the spelling of these Sanskrit words!) It’s been a while, but I, Anna, have been patiently (and impatiently! ☺) working away at Vedanta sadhana (mañana, sravana, nididyasana and of course karma yoga).
I, Anna, have two questions:
1. Why worship and love Isvara when Isvara is just an impersonal deliverer of the results of the jiva’s actions? Is it just an expression of gratitude? Or perhaps love is not an action taken, but rather an expression of my, awareness’s, essential nature?
Tan: Hi, Anna, sorry for the late answer.
The answer is for us, you and me as jivas. First of all, Isvara has given all to the jiva. Her body, her mind, her thoughts, her feelings, her life, her heartbeat, her breath.
The jiva owes everything to Isvara. So for that it is appropriate to give something back to Isvara, to show gratitude for receiving all these things. The only thing that Isvara asks in return is to react to the things that the world asks of us, to play our role and take responsibility in line with our dharma.
Love is the normal response once the mind understands that all there is is awareness, all there is is your self. There is only your self wherever you look.
You can find your self in the smile of a baby, in the clouds in the sky, in the whisper of the wind, in the trees and in the mountains. Everywhere you look you can find your self.
What can be there other than love? You love your self deeply. If all you can find everywhere is your self, then all you can find is love.
Anna: 2. Speaking as the jiva now, I, Anna, have a strong vasana (samskara probably, as it’s in the family and prevalent) for entrepreneurship. Previously, a great business idea would arise in my mind, and I’d be off starting and running the business. It worked out quite well for Anna. Now, however I, Anna, am on the Vedanta bus and plan to stay on it! So now when the business-thought arises in my, Anna’s, mind, I, Anna, simply play the whole scenario out in my mind. I take no action, just entertain the notion in my mind. The thought burns out in a few hours, usually, and I return to sattva.
Tan: Vasanas leading to desires are not necessarily obstructing the path to freedom. Krishna in the Bhagavada Gita said, as Isvara, “I am the desire that is not opposed to dharma.”
So answering to your desire that is not opposed to dharma is a worship of Isvara as well.
If your entrepreneurship vasana is not opposed to dharma, it is not opposed to staying on the Vedanta bus.
You can exhaust a vasana by fully playing it out. If it is not a dharmic vasana/action, you may hit rock bottom, which is a very risky business to life and health.
If it is dharmic, it may just play itself out and disappear.
In order to see that you are free of the vasana, discrimination between your self and the vasana is key, whether you act on the vasana or not. If it is a dharmic action (leading to predominantly sattvic mind), it is even conducive to liberation.
If it is an action leading to a rajasic mind, it is more or less neutral. If it is an action leading to a tamasic mindset, it is not conducive to liberation.
Based on that, you can judge for yourself whether it is an action in support of liberation or not. You can judge the state of your mind (sattvic, rajasic, tamasic) in association with the result of your action and then decide whether that action is something you want to continue or not.
If uncertain, a karma yoga attitude can convert almost every dharmic action into a sattvic mindset.
It is also important to note that the state of the mind returns to a sattvic state, not you.
Anna: I wonder if indulging in this process is keeping the entrepreneurship vasana alive. It’s not a binding vasana, as I, Anna, am able to forgo taking any action, but I know how good the ego is at justifying and validating what suits it ☺, so I thought I’d check.
Thanks for your help.
~ Love, Anna
Tan: If it is not a binding vasana, it need not be an counterproductive to liberation if it is in line with dharma and you can act on it based on your judgment of the mindset that will be there as a result (sattvic, rajasic, tamasic).
~ Love, Tan