Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Insights & Inspirations (Venkatesa Daily Readings Vol 2) — Samskara

June 12, 2019


      What is the cause of what we call evil thoughts and so on arising in us? Aggression is frustrated craving. Where craving arises, that craving itself becomes aggression, violence and hate. The object is not the real cause of the craving arising; but the craving arises in me.

   First I must dismiss the illusion that there is an external cause and I begin to investigate the internal cause. I see that I had a glass of champagne and I liked it. When in the enjoyment of a certain object I decided that it was pleasant, the experience leaves a mark on the mind. In Sanskrit it is called samskara. It is possible to translate it easily in English as 'some scar' — some scar is formed. Then it is possible that if there is a glass of champagne in front of me, that scar starts itching. Sometimes I only need to think about it and the scar comes to life — I must have it. If the scar isn't there, there is no craving.

      The samskara is a bit dangerous. It is possible when there is a reaction for me to take that reaction quietly, calmly, happily. I can accept an insult or injury patiently and without reactions and that will be settled. It is also possible that my reaction is not so strong as to create an influence, but the samskara is the risky part of it, for the samskara demands repetition. The moment a favorable situation arises, the samskara wants to express itself again. To say that by fulfilling a craving you are working it out, may not be right because every time you repeat this experience, the samskaras get stronger and the craving becomes even more intense.

      Is there a method which avoids both the suppression and the expression at the same time? Suppression leads to explosion and expression strengthens the samskara. We should find another method by which the samskara can be diffused: that is to go to the root of the problem, which means deep contemplation. It is the mind that calls an experience 'pleasure' and runs after it. If I can see the process taking place now, I have seen the whole thing.

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