Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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All In The Mix

Hari Om

'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general review of the week so far…

Number four of the Gurudev clips. The subject of vaasanas comes up time and again in the study of Vedanta - important to grasp the theory and how it applies in life. Remember, philosophy fails if left as dry intellectualism; it's purpose to help us engage more fully and effectively in life as well as to understand ourselves more clearly. Our vaasanas - the 'fragrance of personality' - are many and varied and some will be dominant whilst others are merely background noise. All can be a nuisance when on the spiritual path, but if managed well, we can utilise our positive vaasanas and work out the negatives. The aim of spiritual, philosophical or psychological self-work is to improve our being.

The vaasanas, themselves, are further coloured, or add colour to, the trigunas; sattva, rajas and tamas. If we are inclined to spiritual study, musicality, peace-making it can be said that our dominant vaasana is, let's say, 'artistic' and falls within the category of sattva; whilst another who cannot sit still and says they feel useless unless doing something is demonstrating rajas with, maybe, 'guilt' vaasana; and still another could care less about what is going on for the other two and is therefore in a rajasic state, perhaps with dominant 'lazy' vaasana. Vaasanas themselves are anything which shows up regularly in life. For example, in childhood we show a tendency to love animals and throughout our life that fondness for furries never goes away. Whilst to meet a dog or a cat once, to interact and then not to think on them again means we can be caring and loving of animals, without being caught up in our hearts and minds about them - therefore it is not a vaasana. One of the interpretations of vaasana is 'habit'.

The presence of vaasanas is what defines much of what we call 'personality' and goes some way to explaining how each individual, given exactly the same circumstance or environment, will react and develop differently. It will be explored over and over as one progresses along the Vedantic route. This little clip of Gurudev's example on how trigunas and a dominant vaasana for coffee are interactive, is both entertaining and educational!

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