48. Discover 3 Crucial Key Elements – Samskaras, Vasanas and Vrittis That Could Revolutionise Your Life Instantly!

mind

“Because the mind is absorbed in desires for pious and impious activities, it is naturally subjected to the transformations of lust and anger. In this way, it becomes attracted to material sense enjoyment. In other words, the mind is conducted by the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance.

There are eleven senses and five material elements, and out of these sixteen items, the mind is the chief. Therefore the mind brings about birth in different types of bodies among demigods, human beings, animals and birds. When the mind is situated in a higher or lower position, it accepts a higher or lower material body.”       Bhagavata Purana 5.11.5

So, the key element that determines our future, is the mind.

The mind has an unsteady, ever changing nature which in sanskrit is called vikriti, because it is filled with desires, vasanas, and contaminated by lust.

Ayurveda says that we have our prakriti or original nature, our normal state but under the influence of matter, it turns into vikriti or a distorted, conditioned state. That is why no test can determine our real prakriti. It is possible only to determine one’s vikriti, a conditioned state, a state where we are now.

Similarly, the living entity, the soul, has one’s original normal state. But under the influence of various material desires, it becomes vikriti – a distorted, abnormal state.

The Vedas say that this material life is a disease of the soul. And the question is how did we contract the disease?

And the Vedas further explain the psychology of how our external position, appearance or physical body changes depending on the state of our mind.

We have senses and they are in contact with the objects of the senses. As soon as we hear, see or touch something, in other words when we get some impressions, these impressions literally leave imprints in us. This is called samskara in sanskrit.

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And as soon as there is an imprint, some deepening, it immediately gets filled with water, dust, dirt, or whatever. And this filling is called vasana. Vasana means filled or full of desires.

So, samskara is an impression, and it instantly gets filled with some content. This content can be spiritual or material.

For example, in the Vedic tradition and in the post-Vedic tradition there’s a Pancha Samskara or Dasa Samskara ceremony that accompanies human life as a spiritual inoculation which immunes or fills one with spiritual impressions, gives impulses or impetus for spiritual development.

But material samskaras get filled with material desires. For example, if I see someone enjoying, I get the same desire practically instantly. And what I see impresses me and now these impressions get filled with desires – vasanas.

And that gives rise to vritti. Vritti is a wave of desire, impulse, a certain stereotype of thinking. The vrittis could be positive or negative. The negative vrittis are called anartha. Anartha is a negative stereotype of behavior, habits, something that we got used to after long association with material nature or other people.

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Desires are like the seeds, they tend to grow. We see as a plant sprouts from a seed, a tender plant can even grow through asphalt. Thus the seed of desire grows, smashing everything in its way.

And as the Vedas say, ideally it should sprout, mature and turn into a powerful creeper of bhakti or devotion and love for God. It breaks even through the coverings of the universe if it is properly watered with transcendental hearing and chanting. And eventually this vine wraps around Krishna’s lotus feet and gives the fruit of Krishna Prema, pure love of God. It is an ideal use of our energy. Otherwise, these sprouts of desires grow somewhere else.

And if this vine of desires is not directed to God, to Krishna, it will be growing on various forms, images and dreams of this mortal material world and will keep us firmly in the world of illusions.

The living entity has a marginal nature. That is why it is important for us in which direction the wind blows, what influences or impacts us. And that determines either we’ll go up or down into matter.

And the Vedas offer us sadhu-sanga or an association with sadhus or self-realised persons who are aware of their eternal nature – sat. But now we have asat-sanga, an association with impermanence, with temporary nature.

We have developed a certain taste for material things. And this acquired taste is like a drug addiction, like a morbid attachment. There should be some external force that would pull us out of asat-sanga and switch us to another mode of development.

Thus the living entity is marginal by nature, which means that we can develop in either direction – material or spiritual. It is our choice.

This free choice is given to us by God, Krishna. Krishna has unlimited energies. Matter and spirit are His eternal energies. But one energy reveals Him and the other one hides Him, and it seems that there is no God.

But because we think in dual categories, we cannot understand simple and complex philosophy at the same time. We do not understand achintya-bheda-abheda tattva – inconceivable oneness and difference, in relation to the power creation and creator, and also between God and His energies.

We understand only bheda – how everything exists apart from God. An abheda understanding is a higher level of philosophy, which is very difficult to comprehend. One should be beyond duality to understand abheda.

And this is the reality, there is no difference between the internal spiritual and external material energy. This is one and the same energy but it manifests itself according to our urge.

At any time we can choose anything we like. We can even transform matter into spirit. The Absolute Truth covered by Maya or illusion gives an impression that everything around us exists independently of God and this is called matter, material energy.

But if with the help of knowledge we can connect or trace the material energy back to Krishna, the source of everything, if we can see the connection and understand that any seemingly material objects, events, manifestations, functions etc. have the only one source, immediately matter turns into spiritual energy, matter begins to show the effect of the spirit.

It is the same energy, in the Vedas it is stated: sarvam khalvidam brahma – all is Brahman; steam and ice are one and the same substance – water at different temperatures, heat it and water turns into steam, cool it down and it will turn into ice.

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In the spiritual world there is no gross maya, but there is a spiritual energy. And this spiritual internal energy (bahiranga shakti) and the external material energy (antaranga shakti) are one and the same energy.

There’s also the marginal energy in the spiritual world – the unlimited number of living beings with freedom of choice.

And therefore as soon as the living entity has a desire to imitate God, and it is only two desires: the desire to control everything and the desire to enjoy everything, immediately one is facilitated, but in the lower material energy. Instantly the spiritual energy is transformed into material.

And the question is how can we ever wish for these things if we don’t see how someone else does it. I cannot wish to have a house among the cave dwellers. I may wish to have a house only when I see that someone else has a house. I cannot wish an ice cream until I see that someone else is eating it.

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Only by watching others enjoying can one develop a desire for enjoyment. It’s the question of our choice, and instantly the spiritual energy turns into the material.

Children tend to imitate their parents. Where do I get a desire for an independent sensual pleasure if I do not see it in front of me? And in the spiritual world the living beings see how Krishna does it constantly, and seeing it all the time the living beings wish that too.

The problem is that we think of the Absolute reality in dual categories, and so we have constant logical inconsistencies. One can understand these things only when one rises above the duality. Only the non-dual consciousness can understand these things.

So, the material desires fill the mind and it determines our future direction. Wrong actions of the body affect the consciousness and the conditioned consciousness contaminated by twisted material desires certainly affects the body.

Consciousness and body are two qualitatively different substances, but in this world they are closely linked through the false ego. So when we perform particular physical actions, it certainly affects the consciousness. Existence determines consciousness and consciousness determines existence. To focus on the body and the body will affect the consciousness. To focus on the consciousness and consciousness will affect the body.

So, the mind is filled with desires, vasanas, and now these accumulated vasanas generate vritti or the call to action. For example, I can keep and hide my desires to myself  but sooner or later they will find their way our to be fulfilled. And new committed action creates new samskaras – impressions.

And now new samskaras again get filled with vasanas, desires, and it leads to new vritti, the new call to action – good or bad. The underlying psychology is the same for everyone: for the materialists and for the transcendentalists.

Some people get used to the materialistic selfish activities that drag them deeper into a material nature, while others are getting used to the spiritual activity that brings them closer to Krishna. But the mechanics are the same

The only difference is that as a result of the spiritual practice the materialistic mind gets digested or transformed. Just as the food in a stomach gets digested by the thermal energy or the fire of digestion, in the same way, a subtle body consisting of mind, intelligence and ego, gets digested in the process of devotional service. And such a transformation leads to an entire spiritual self-identification and a person begins to consider oneself a servant of Krishna.

Just as the pleasant events or samskaras, vasanas and vrittis have a tendency to repeat these pleasant experiences again and again, so do negative ones.

And since even the basest material things have certain tastes, the living being, weakened by separation from Krishna, easily gets used to them.

For example, animals can eat decomposed garbage and never complain, they are quite satisfied with it and ready to eat it again. It means that Krishna as Paramatma, the Supersoul, allows the living entity to enjoy even the lowest tastes. Jiva can adapt to any taste, but the taste must be there. No one likes tasteless.

Therefore mechanics of positive and negative samskaras are the same.
Those who practice yoga say: “yoga chitta vritti nirodha” ie yoga practice frees the mind (chitta) of various material motives (vrittis).

So when we look at something the samskara, the imprint, the impression takes place, then that imprint gets filled with desires, the vasanas, then they start to “brew”. And then the brewed desires make their way out to turn into actions – vrittis. This is a very primitive mechanics.

So how does a purificatory process of yoga system work?

First of all we can’t get rid of samskaras, we’ve seen and tasted a lot of things and all these samskaras – impressions or imprints can’t stay unfilled. All our impressions are already filled with desires. Now these desires, based on material experiences and association start to grow turning into vrittis, the constant urges, the compulsive behavior.

And since we live in the Kali Yuga, the bad times, our samskaras, vasanas and vrittis are of bad nature, and therefore we have a lot of bad material attachments.

And the yoga process of purification is called “anartha nivritti” or the liberation of unwanted vrittis. The yoga system advises on the one hand to limit or control one’s desires to gratify the senses, and on the other hand to absorb as much spiritual energy as possible like reading spiritual literature, hearing spiritual discourses, associating with spiritually advanced people etc. And in due course of time one should replace another, the substitution reaction.

But the secret is that this process is not automatic. Which means that if I don’t want to change myself internally, if I hold on to some of my attachments, I’ll never get rid of them no matter how much I try.

The living entity will never get purified if he does not want it. The process of spiritual progress works if a person wants it to work. The underlying principle is one’s desire.

And the key of success in spiritual life is an association, one should find the person with the spiritual desires and somehow or other get infected by these desires through some service.

In this regard the Bhagavata Purana 1.2.16-18 states:

“O twice-born sages, by serving those devotees who are completely freed from all vice, great service is done. By such service, one gains affinity for hearing the messages of Vasudeva.

Shri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.

By regular hearing of the Bhagavata Purana and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.”

In other words, the material desires disappear when Paramatma ( the Supersoul, the Superconsciousness within us) authorises that what we truly want. It’s a big mistake to think that we can get rid of the material desires and attachments by our own endeavours.

Spiritual life is a very delicate thing, the changes occur in the invisible plane, therefore there should be some constant serious reflection – what, how and why do I do things that I do.

If we can’t get purified as quickly as we’d like to, then we can try to develop our spiritual awareness in a passive mode, as a support program, just like the pension accumulation fund.

If we can’t progress quickly enough, we can progress at our own slow pace, but still progress. And spiritual development means that if we can’t immediately achieve the desired result of purity, then by slowly evolving we should become better and better with each passing year, we have to become a little bit better. Such is a support program.

Sooner or later the material life will break anyway: health, money, family or whatever. It can’t be otherwise, it is the nature of the material world.

This means that if we cannot make the development of spiritual consciousness a priority now, it should be at least some sort of a support program. If we do not want to solve material problems by spiritual means, at least we need to learn how to do it for the future.

The moment of truth is inevitable. While we are still young the maya or illusion can affect our brains and we may not understand everything, but as we slowly but surely move to our old age, it gets quite clear that the living entity, jiva, which is spiritual by nature, has to find shelter in the spiritual energy, because the material energy constantly rejects us. It kicks us as a soccer ball from one body to another.

One should clearly understand that no matter how much we may serve matter, it will betray us, it will reject us. Therefore one should have an alternative shelter.

Krishna is the supreme shelter, and if we cannot renounce everything at once and take His shelter, then at least we can take it to consideration.

Spiritual development is an accumulation, that is, our perception and understanding of God, Krishna, in our lives must become more and more, better and better.

And when one’s material life crumbles away, then one has a very clear alternative with no illusions, one has a clear understanding of where to go next.

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