In the previous five blogs, we have seen that our true Self is something other than the physical body and the mind. We have also seen how to make use of this knowledge. We must look upon the body and mind as instruments, maintain them properly and use them for the purpose they are meant for. We must not abuse or misuse them. The implication of the fact that I am different from the mind is that likes, dislikes, fear, sorrow and other negativities are not my properties; they belong to the mind. We have to learn how to deal with them, without coming under their sway. We may eloquently explain to others that the mind alone is the cause of bondage and the means for liberation, but we continue to complain about various things that cause us sorrow. As long as we continue to blame others, we have not truly understood Vedanta. The Pramana The subtle body (sukshma sharira) is nothing but desire. This desire manifests at the physical level as karma. All of us have desires, but they are very different. This is because the causes of the desires in each of us are different. Vedanta calls this subtle, unmanifest cause of desire a ‘vasana’. A vasana is an impression that creates desire in our minds. Since childhood on, we have undergone countless experiences and each one has left an impression on our mind. But not every impression creates a desire. A vasana is a very strong impression, which is why it creates desire. Different people have different vasanas – noble, ignoble, mediocre – and therefore their desires are also of that nature. Their karmas too are of that nature. The vasana is the cause of all this. Although the vasanas and the desires they manifest as are different, underlying all desires is the idea that the fulfilment of the desire will make us happy and complete. So in the origin of desire as such, there is this ignorance. This ignorance is the root cause, the causal body (karana sharira) and it is common to all. It manifests in different forms, because we identify different things as the source of our happiness. Therefore there are different vasanas and desires. To summarize, Vedanta pramana tells us that the cause of both the gross and the subtle body is the causal body. And the causal body is ignorance – not knowing our true Self. All vasanas and desires are symptoms of this disease. The Darshana Ignorance can be removed only by knowledge and we have to put in efforts for that. At the same time, vasanas cannot be ignored, though they are not the causal body. So how do we deal with them? We should start by being extremely alert and observing our actions and our desires. This will give us an idea of what kind of vasanas we have. We must pay particular attention to the intention behind our actions. Often, our actions may appear good, but the intention may not be very pure.
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