When we are born, we bring the mind with us. Mind and soul move on to the next birth, and within the mind are ideations, tendencies, unsatisfied – unfulfilled desires. We call these contents of the mind vasanas. Vasanas are an inherent mental tendency (conscious or unconscious), karmic seeds, impressions; the impressions of past experiences; desire for various objects and experiences. So the young Lord Rama asks the sage an important question: How do we rid ourselves of vasana?
Brahm-tattva the principle of Brahman, Pure Consciousness
brahman, brahma San. N. the impersonal Absolute – a supreme, unmeasurable and transcendent essence that exists simultaneously with all of creation; the ultimate Reality, the Source, Consciousness not aware of itself, all-pervasive and self-existent. (V. 663) Brahman envelopes and permeates everything: ‘Brahman is all there is’ (sarvam brahman-mayam). Creation is but a reflection in brahman.
sankalpa: ideation; modification of chitta or consciousness; idea, resolve, volition (will);
sankalpa – mental conclusions, intentions, material desires Bg 6.24
vasana: tendencies or desires
maya: Hin., San. f. magical or supernatural power; illusion, the deluding power of God, the ‘divine hypnosis’ that deludes us into forgetfulness of our true nature, so that we believe we are separate individuals with the power to act. This illusion of separateness is the raison d’etre of our identity with ego. Maya works with two powers using the mind – one enables it to veil the truth, and the other to project an illusory image, whereby the unreal appears as the Real and unity appears as multiplicity; maya creates forms in the formless. ‘Understand that to be maya (illusion) which is devoid of any purpose, which is not to be found in the Self and which is unreal, like light and darkness.’
Atma-tattva reality of the Spirit; the primordial element; the consciousness that is the primeval element of existence;
sattva Hin. m. sattva San. n. sattvoguna (sattva+guna) San. m. one of the three constituents (guna) of nature (prakriti) – the quality of light, the illuminating aspect that reveals all manifestation. It is expressed as harmony, equilibrium, purity, goodness, virtue, honesty, nobility, forgiveness, compassion, charity, wisdom, happiness.
rajas, rajoguna San. m. the activating quality (guna) of nature that allows the other two constituents to manifest themselves, and therefore this quality is associated with the creator, Brahma. It covers desire and ambition, attachment, passion, righteous indignation, pride, anger and envy.
tamas, tamoguna Hin., San. m. the quality of darkness, gloom and inertia – sleep, passivity, idleness, dullness, stubbornness, confusion, delusion, lack of discrimination, the inability to distinguish between right and wrong or falsehood and truth, having little interest or ambition; lust, fear, greed. Tamas is born of ignorance, yet darkness is not necessarily ignorance – it may yet be the darkness that exposes the light.
Question 175: Sir, how does one abandon vasana ?
Answer: Ramji, abandon the tamasic desires that are contrary to the injunctions of the scriptures, and promote these qualities within
(i) Maitri (Friendliness): to treat all with love, regarding them as equals, is called maitri.
(ii) Karuna (Compassion): to see Brahman in all, to show conceit and deceit to none, and generosity (daya) to those in suffering is called karuna.
(iii) Mudita: to be pleased to see a saint is called mudita.
(iv) Upeksha: to feel sorry for the sinner and not to condemn him is called upeksha.
When you are enriched with these qualities, and are not proud of them and at the same time are engaged overtly in mundane affairs, then all types of vasanas of the world will vanish from your mind and the vasana of Atma-tattva only will be stabilised within you. Thereafter, when you are able to abandon the vasana of Atma-tattva also, what remains then is Atma and that is your true Self. It is obvious that there is no other better way for the realisation of Atma than the renunciation of vasana. Only those who have conquered enemies like vasana are great, wise and peaceful souls.
Question 176: Sir, how did Brahma recreate the world after attaining to the Brahman state?
Answer: Ramji, Brahma recited the words ‘Brahm, Brahm’ at the time of his birth; hence he is called Brahma. In him arose sankalpa-like mind that created the illusion (maya) of the universe in which arose all kinds of jivas (souls, people) – sentient and insentient – and also light and darkness etc. The Sun, Moon and stars too are the ideations (sankalpa) of Brahma.
To begin with, Brahma creates Prajapati with his ideation, who in turn, produces many a creation with his ideation. The Vedas, scriptures, codes, joy and sorrow, birth and death, gain and loss, too are the ideations of Brahma. The three qualities of nature – sattva, rajas and tamas – are also the creations of his ideation. As is the ideation of Brahma, so is the creation manifested. All these are illusory but they appear as a grand spectacle to us due to our ignorance.
When you see smoke emerging from the hills, it is an indication that there is fire. When you see the fire directly, it is called direct experience. If you see only the smoke and not the fire, you presume that there is fire behind the smoke. It is only a possibility. It is a presumptive experience. It is possible that sometimes fog appears as smoke and, actually, there may not be fire in the hills. Therefore, presumptive experience gives rise to doubt.
Love is the only direct experience of divinity in a human being. When a question arises as to where is God, the immediate answer is God is love and love is God. Similarly, truth is God. There is nothing greater than truth. There is no divinity higher than truth. Truth is all pervading. The countries may be different; but, truth is one and only one. There is nothing like American truth, Japanese truth, German truth, etc. To make such distinction is the nature of petty minded people. We are not petty minded and mean. We are the embodiments of infinity. Man should always remind himself that he is the embodiment of Truth, embodiment of Love, embodiment of Bliss, etc. Man has got infinite capacity for spiritual thoughts and spiritual quest. But, does he realise his true nature? (01-01-2003)
Om Hamsaaya Vidmahe
Tanno Hamsa Prachodayat
“May we realise Hamsa that is our own Self as the Swan. Let us meditate on that Paramahamsa, the Supreme Self. May Hamsa illumine us.”