Question 10: What is sankalpa?

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Sankalpa (Sanskrit) is commonly thought of as willpower, determinations, and desires to take certain actions. These are in fact modifications of consciousness which continue to accompany the body until all desire ceases.

It is necessary to give an explanatory note regarding a few key Sanskrit words. The central idea in this book is that manifest creation is of the nature of phurnasphurna or sankalpa. These words are repeated extensively in the text. It is difficult to find English equivalents for these words. The words ‘ideation’ or the phrase ‘modification in consciousness’ have been chosen as equivalents for these words. The reader must carefully understand the purport of these words ‘ideation‘ or ‘modification’ when they first appear in the text.

sphurna: To spread, to expand.
sphurna: To forget.
sphurna: outgoing movement of the mind, to move, to start, to start into view, to flash on the mind

ideation – the process of forming and relating ideas
kind of – thinking, thought process, cerebration, intellection, mentation

ideation – synonyms: contrivance, creativity, fancy, fantasy (also phantasy), imagination, imaginativeness, invention, inventiveness, originality

sankalp Hin. sankalpa San. m. a vow; will, a definite intention, resolve, plan.

sankalpa — mental conclusions, intentions
saṅkalpa — determination Bg 4.19, SB 2.9.28
saṅkalpa — material desires Bg 6.24
saṅkalpa — thoughts SB 3.26.27
saṅkalpa — of his determination SB 4.9.27
saṅkalpa — by determination SB 5.14.2

Question 9: Sir, why the worldly people do not have the peace of mind ?

Answer: Ramji, when a jiva (an individual, a person) strives for worldly objects, he is dragged into the whirlpool of sankalpas (ideas, ideation). Unless a jiva makes an intensive effort with full vigour to erase the sankalpas from his mind, he cannot attain peace and liberation. Nothing short of his personal striving or purushartha can lead him to his goal.

One’s attainments are determined by the way one lives. Nothing can be attained except by personal endeavour and striving. The mind is like a camera, it takes the picture. The mind takes the form of whatever it is pointed at, so be careful where you focus the lens of your mind. As the camera faithfully records, so also, the mind – a bundle of thoughts – takes shape and form of whatever it is focussed on.

Question 10: Sir, what is sankalpa ?

Answer: Ramji, the pure consciousness is the self and the true state of a jiva (an individual), and the ideas arising in it due to its very nature are the sankalpas or the ideations. I and mine are the primeval ideation (or modification) of a jiva, and with the power of this modification (sankalpa) arises the functioning of the senses. A jiva gains salvation when this ideation (modification) is annihilated with purushartha. Nothing other than purushartha helps in the salvation of a jiva.

The human is not the body, not the senses, not the mind. As Sage Vasishtha says, ahamkara (I, Me, Mine) is the primeval modification of consciousness or ideation; from this ideation arise the five senses, and the outward going mind. These are not the Self, for the Self has no desires and is in need of nothing. The antarkarana is the base of the senses, the mind, the chitta, consciousness. It is the eternal witness, from body to body, birth to birth.

It is necessary to eliminate the sankalpas, in order to have and act with human integrity, that is to say, unity of thought, word and action. What is more necessary is purity of thought, word, action. If sankalpas – the outgoing movement of the mind remains – then one remains entangled in a web of desires.


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