Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.
KINDLE LIFE. We continue exploring points raised by HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda-ji in the publication of this name. Remember, you can purchase, (very economically!), the book from Chinmaya Mission Publications or if you prefer, the Amazon Link. Thus you can read Gurudev's words directly and bring your own voice to the discussion.
Chapter Ten of Kindle Life looks at MECHANISM OF ACTION; what it is that compels us in life. It is one of the great developments of life, that Mankind has the ability to change his destiny. Despite all the basic animal mechanisms, those feelings and responses common to all species, Man alone has intellect - choice - with which to understand himself, that the tendencies (vaasanas) which motivate action can be monitored and altered and that by self-effort with persistent application of proven techniques, he can raise himself beyond simply 'living', to knowing Life itself.
What is behind 'action' though? Needless to say, the Rsis gave this much thought! What needs to be understood is that action is the end result of a process which begins with the seed of a desire in the individual. That seed is extremely subtle and is latent. It is known as a वासनाः/vaasana. For each individual these will be many and there are likely to be 'clusters'; that is to say lots of tendencies with similar characteristics.
Note that we all have lots of varied tendencies within us; not all of them are triggered. Once germinated though, the seed prompts desire and from desire arises thought; firstly of the 'I want..' variety and then quickly supplanted with the 'do this or that to get it' thoughts. Then action arises. For as long as our vaasanas are present, we will have the agitations of desire. Vaasana is Sanskrit for 'impression' or 'fragrance'. It could equally (given this is a conceptual language) mean 'suggestion', but this is by inference only. By use of fragrance we get 'the suggestion' of something being present but at that point of connecting with the fragrance there is nothing but a waft - no concrete presence.
Every one of us has our batch of fragrances which constitute the basis of our personality. Just as perfumes are grouped as floral, or oriental, or musk and so on, so we have artistic, sporty, prone to theft and all such things. The huge variety of the Human race is defined through the vaasana-s of the individuals which make up that race. Animals too have vaasana-s but will ever be at the mercy of their birth.
Man has a weapon however. He can overcome himself! Yes, he has the weapon of intellect with which to assess, understand his motivation and make decisions about whether to continue on that path or alter direction. The success of this will vary according to how close to his animal instinct each individual is. It takes a determined person to work on himself; especially when it comes to spiritual life, which can seem to demand so much of us. Consistent application of the scriptural instructions, however, can result in the eradication of all negative vaasanas, supplanting them first with positive ones and, finally, removing all vaasana-s completely.
Whilst we may be the victims of our own past there is no reason at all why we must continue to accept that debt. We can choose to pay it off ahead of time and work towards resetting our balance for the future. First we must see our vaasanas, those inner hurdles which hold us back. Secondly we must accept and forgive what cannot be changed. Thirdly we must make concerted effort to knock over what we can and to not repeat our errors, building for a better existence.