top of page

Vasanas in the Path of Sadhana

We paraphrase Shriman Adinarayanan's response to the question "why is it important to get over our vasanas".

Vasanas, those subtle imprints left by our actions, thoughts, and desires, are formidable barriers on the path to spiritual growth. They silently shape our behaviors, preferences, and reactions, often without our conscious awareness. Picture a stream carving its path through soft earth, gradually deepening its groove with each passing drop of water. Similarly, our repeated actions etch patterns into the fabric of our being, forming entrenched pathways of habit and compulsion.

The conditioning process, as described, is a fundamental aspect of human psychology and behavior. It begins with our initial encounters with the world around us, shaped by a myriad of factors such as our environment, upbringing, and individual predispositions. These early experiences leave indelible imprints on our psyche, influencing our perceptions, preferences, and reactions in subtle yet profound ways.

Consider the scenario of trying something new for the first time. Whether it's tasting a new cuisine, engaging in a novel activity, or forming a new social connection, our initial response is often colored by a mix of curiosity, anticipation, and openness. In this state of receptivity, even the slightest hint of enjoyment can leave a lasting impression, planting the seed of preference within our consciousness.

For instance, imagine savoring a delicacy for the first time and experiencing a surge of pleasure at its taste and texture. This pleasurable sensation registers deep within our psyche, creating an association between the sensory experience and the feeling of satisfaction. Over time, as we repeatedly indulge in this culinary delight, the neural pathways associated with pleasure and reward become increasingly fortified, reinforcing our inclination to seek out similar experiences in the future.

Conversely, encountering something distasteful or unpleasant can elicit a diametrically opposite response. Whether it's the bitterness of a medicinal herb or the discomfort of a challenging task, our instinctual aversion leaves its mark on our consciousness, evoking a sense of displeasure or avoidance. This aversive response, too, becomes ingrained through repetition, forming a barrier of resistance that colors our interactions with similar stimuli in the future.

In essence, what begins as a neutral encounter--an objective action devoid of inherent preference--becomes imbued with subjective meaning through the lens of our personal experiences and conditioning. Like a painter adding layers of color to a canvas, each encounter leaves its mark, shaping the landscape of our inner world with hues of attraction and repulsion.

The conditioning process operates as a silent architect of our perceptions and preferences, molding our reality in accordance with the impressions left by our past experiences. Understanding this process illuminates the intricate interplay between cognition, emotion, and behavior, offering insights into the mechanisms underlying our choices and actions. By cultivating awareness of these subtle influences, we gain greater autonomy over our responses.

As these patterns become more deeply ingrained, they begin to operate beyond our conscious control, dictating our responses with an almost mechanical certainty. We find ourselves ensnared in cycles of desire and action, bound by compulsions we struggle to resist. It's as if we're caught in a current, carried along by forces we can neither see nor fully comprehend.

Yet, amidst this turbulence, there are pathways to liberation. That is where the idea of Prasada and Arpana buddhi comes handy! Prasada buddhi teaches us the art of acceptance, inviting us to embrace each experience with open arms, free from the shackles of judgment or resistance. Through this practice, we learn to soften the grip of desire, loosening its hold on our psyche.

Similarly, arpana buddhi calls us to transcend the narrow confines of self-interest, offering our actions as offerings of gratitude to something greater than ourselves. Whether we dedicate our efforts to a beloved deity or to the service of humanity, this act of surrender transforms our motivations, infusing our actions with purpose and meaning. In doing so, we reclaim agency over our choices, steering our course with intention and clarity.

These ideas, though simple in concept, carry profound implications for our spiritual journey. They serve as antidotes to the insidious grip of vasanas, weakening their hold and restoring our capacity for free will. Through diligent practice and unwavering commitment, we can navigate the currents of desire with grace and discernment, charting a course toward greater freedom and self-realization.

By diligently chiseling away at the layers of conditioning that bind them, individuals can gradually loosen the grip of vasanas, reclaiming agency over their thoughts, emotions, and actions. In doing so, they liberate themselves from the confines of habitual patterns, opening pathways to newfound flexibility and autonomy. However, amidst this journey of transformation, it is paramount to safeguard the precious gift of freedom--the freedom to choose, to evolve, and to chart one's own course in alignment with their deepest values and aspirations. This freedom, though often tested by the currents of conditioning and circumstance, remains an essential cornerstone of spiritual growth and self-realization. Thus, it is incumbent upon each individual to cherish and nurture this freedom, recognizing its pivotal role in the journey toward greater wisdom, fulfillment, and inner peace.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page