[Advaita-l] Re: Vasanas

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 19 12:36:03 CDT 2004

Namaste, Ramesh-ji (Others may want to read the earlier
post on Vasanas by me, in order to understand the
conversation here between me and Ramesh Badisa)

I am constrained to point out some misconceptions of your
post, which is a commentary on my elementary post on
Vasanas to promote layman's understanding. But you have
chosen to critique it as if it were a Vedantic treatise. I
did not intend it to be one. In a presentation in an
elementary way we have to slur some points at the same time
taking care not to present something wrong. That is the
style I followed. I follow the same style below, though I
know, when I am talking to you, I am not talking to a
VK: An important point in the central core of the Hindu
teaching is the transmigratory career of man's soul.

Badisa: Transmigration of soul is referred in Vedas as well
as in Upanishads. The Hindu religion started about 5000
years or less. It did not exist at the time of Dwapara yug,
while Vedas and Upanishads are present 
since the time of creation. In that case, where is the
question that the transmigration is the central point of
Hinduism?  It would rather appropriate to say that it is
the central point of sanatana dharma of Bharat 
Varsh. Right?

VK: When I said ‘Hinduism’ I am referring only to the
Sanatana Dharma that you are mentioning. The political
implications of Hinduism are not the subject under
discussion. I am talking to my lay reader and beginner in
VK : Man's soul travels from body to body in its journey of
evolution. Though man is essentially divine,....

Badisa: Is it man or soul it is referred here? I believe
you are referring to soul when you are saying that man is
essentially divine. Right?

VK: It is better we use the word ‘soul’ carefully. The
correct word to be used is ‘jIva’. But it may sound
technical.  For you, Ramesh-ji, ‘jIva is essentially
divine’ is a statement that makes sense. But for the lay
reader ‘jIva’ itself has to be explained. That is why I use
the inaccurate translation  ‘soul’.
VK : Vasana means smell.

Badisa: Vasana does not mean smell please. It can be called
tendencies or samskaras.

VK: ‘vAsa’ in Sanskrit means ‘odour, fragrance, smell’. The
longer word vAsanA comes from this. The meaning
‘tendencies’  is a derived meaning from the original
meaning ‘odour’.
VK: If you bring in, along with your birth, inherent
tendencies that are bad, you have to contend with them and
fight them yourself. This is the obligation implied in
karma theory.

Badisa: Karma is not theory please. It is the absolute
truth, and thus all holy scriptures, like Bhagawad Gita
(4/5), Uddav Gita, Upanishads etc reveal about karma. When
the scriptures reveal something, it should be taken or 
understood as based on the direct experience, but not be
understood as mere theory.
VK:I have no quarrel with you. Yes, Karma is not mere
VK: It is the receptacle of thoughts and imprints of
Vasanas and continues to exist after death, serving as the
vehicle of transmigration.

Badisa: Please see Bhagawad Gita, 15/8 for this.

VK: Gita 15/8 says exactly what I have said. ‘It’ in the
above sentence refers to the subtle body; if you go back to
the previous sentence in my original post, one can see the
connection . The subtle body includes the mind, of course.
The subtle body is the vehicle of transmigration.
VK: A human individual enters this world with a bundle of
Vasanas in the form of his mind.

Badisa: Vasanas won’t come in the form of mind please. In
the beginning of your answer you have indicated that the
vasanas cling to the mind. Here, how come you say that
vasanas form the mind? 
VK: Yes, without vAsanAs there is no mind. The vAsanAs can
be tAmasic, rAjasic or sAtvic.

Badisa: Vasanas and mind are two different things. A divine
experienced (self-realized) person will not have any
vasanas. Right? But he will still have the mind.

VK: His mind will have sAtvic vAsanAs. Read
Viveka-chudamani: Shloka 278. Also on the whole subject of
vAsanAs, read Shlokas 267 to 280 and shloka 318 therein.

 Badisa : But, in this case, this 
person will have total control over his mind and buddhi,
and thus these two things cannot influence him. The mind
only dissolves in divine at the time of attainment of
absolute salvation. Thus, we have Upanishads (Prasna Up. 
6.5), where it is said that all 16 parts of witness,
including mind, are dissolved in divine at the time of
absolute salvation for the qualified soul.

VK: In man's eternal journey to perfection, the ultimate
aim is to shed off all the vasanas of the mind, so that the
mind in its pristine, unloaded, crystalline purity may
reflect the presence of Divinity.

Badisa: Divine won’t be reflected in mind please. One has
to cross mind and buddhi, to have divine experience
(self-realization). The following is the order one has to
proceed to have divine experience.World, karma indriyas,
gjyana indriyas, mind, buddhi and paramatma (Gita 
3/42). Vast majority of people end at the level of mind and
buddhi. Very few people, after having control over mind,
will experience divine. Thus in Bhagawd Gita (2/25), Lord
Krishna says that this soul is invisible to senses 
and inconceivable by the mind. Then, where is the question
of reflection of divine or self in the mind?

VK: Ramesh-ji, it is difficult to decide what to tell you
and what not, because you already know enough. Please try
to understand that there are different ways of saying the
same thing. “One has to cross mind and buddhi to have
divine experience” is a correct statement. “The Supreme is
reflected in  the crystal purity of the mind” is another
way of saying the same. The mind becomes crystal pure only
when there is a total destruction of all vAsanAs. And in
that pure state it is nothing but the Bliss of Divinity.
The idea of reflection comes because, even in the ordinary
case the mind ‘thinks’ and is ‘live’ because the spark of
divinity is there. That is why technically they use the
word ‘cidAbhAsa’ – reflection of consciousness.  So it is
said when there is no non-self in the mind, the Divine is
‘reflected’ in the mind.

VK: Divinity, the vedas assure us, is there in every one of
us. And that state-- when the VasanAs are all exhausted,
and there is no more non-self in the mind,--  is what we
mean by the 'release' of the soul. In fact it is just the
regaining, by the soul, of its own natural state.

Badisa: Then what happens to this soul after the death of
the physical body?

VK: There is no more ‘soul’. There is only brahman, the
Ramesh-ji, Thanks for the detailed critique of my
elementary explanation to the layman. As I said earlier, do
not take it as a Vedantic treatise to be subjected to
criticism  by scholarly dialectics.

PraNAms to all seekers of Truth.

Prof. V. Krishnamurthy
My website on Science and Spirituality is http://www.geocities.com/profvk/
You can  access my book on Gems from the Ocean of Hindu Thought Vision and Practice,  and my father R. Visvanatha Sastri's manuscripts from the site.
Also see my webpages on Live Happily, the Gita Way at http://www.geocities.com/profvk/gohitvip/contentsbeach11.html

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