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All Vasanas Are Eternal Seeds
Sophie: I have a few questions:
1. What’s the difference between a samskara and a vasana?
Sundari: All vasanas arise from the three gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas, which are what make up maya – the dharma field, or creation. The gunas give rise to the jiva, the vasanas and their results (karma). As you know, a vasana is a guna-generated tendency or program that we keep repeating and which binds us to an incorrect idea about ourselves, our karma and life in general. A samskara is a conglomeration of vasanas, all interconnected, like mycorrhizal fungi “underground.” The mushrooms, like vasanas, will pop up here and there, and seem to be discrete and independent entities, but all vasanas are interconnected in vast network of vasanas in the underground of the causal body, or unconscious.
I recently made a discovery that a binding samskara was still hiding out in the causal body. Isvara sent an experience my way to which I had a deeply emotional reaction, which made me realise that I had to requalify for moksa and continue nididhysana. Since I surrendered to Isvara on this issue and allowed self-knowledge to crack the final shell of the ego, what transpired was literally mind-blowing. I saw for the first time, with the x-ray vision of non-duality, how that samskara had tentacles in every area of my life. Even though I know who I am, it was costing me in experiencing the true bliss of the self. I saw how it appeared, like a shadow, in every moment of my existence, stealing some of my freedom, like a thief in the night.
This little story highlights the fact that until we dissolve all binding jiva issues, however much we may see that they do not belong to us, we are not fully free. Many people with very refined intellects have a strong doubting function, which is not a bad thing. I have that too. But what I discovered is the downside of doubting can result in a subtle kind of arrogance – a lack of humility, without us realising it. The ego gets involved, and in my case, I would challenge James instead of surrendering to Ram’s authority as my teacher, whenever this particular tendency arose. It was quite a revelation to see this and how widely spread out this samskara was, like an undetected cancer.
When I realised that there was still a binding issue, I saw that I was not able to take a stand in awareness as awareness when it came up, even though I know who I am. At that moment, karma yoga did not work either, because the issue was still binding. It needed a wrecking ball to crack it so that I could surrender. We all need a wrecking ball as jivas, and if we are lucky, Isvara will send us one. It will not be a pleasant experience for the ego, but it is definitely grace.
Since I dissolved this last issue, I am the same as a person – and I am not. I am no longer a person and the Self. I am the Self. Full stop. The person is known, understood, unconditionally accepted – and dismissed. It is hard to describe freedom, except to say that true freedom is all or nothing. And the all is truly unbounded and unlimited. No fine print.
Sophie: In the Bad Meinberg Panchadasi video, James is talking about vasanas and karma. He gives the example of having a beer on a hot day and that one needs to have the beer vasana to want the beer. Someone said if one has never had a beer, how else do they develop a beer vasana? James said the person has to have the vasana to have the beer. I don’t understand how you can have a vasana for an experience if you’ve never had the experience. I may be thirsty, and someone gives me a beer and then develop a vasana. Can you explain?
Sundari: Vasanas are not inherently good or bad. They are the seeds – the knowledge – that drives Creation. Isvara invented them. Nothing stirs in the creation, or apparent reality, without a vasana driving it, whether it is a one-off thing or an often repeated pattern of behaviour. A vasana becomes a good one when it drives you into pleasant circumstances and it becomes a bad one when it drives you into an unpleasant situation. Drinking alcohol is a very nice vasana for certain people. It is a very painful vasana for others. A vasana is the momentum from a past action, the tendency to repeat it. It is purely a technical term. But vasanas can also sprout without any previously known tendency or desire because the seeds for all vasanas are Isvara, and therefore exist as potential in everyone.
It may seem like “our” vasanas are personal and original, but they are not. All vasanas are eternal because they originate in the causal body. Isvara churns them out over and over because there is really only one eternal Jiva, or subtle body, appearing as many seemingly unique individuals with seemingly unique “issues.” They are not unique (although the ego likes to think they are) but generic and timeless. It is impossible to put a timeline to this logic because as principles the gunas, the jiva and the vasanas cannot be separated, as they exist “out of time,” in infinite potential within the causal body, which is infinite because it exists in consciousness.
Sophie: Thank you so much for your help.
Sundari: Much love…