by Swami Sivananda
The summum bonum of existence is the attainment of knowledge of the self, the realisation of the one homogeneous self. The knowledge of the self can only dawn when there is extinction of all the vasanas. Vasanas are subtle desires; they are gross in nature. Some philosophers define vasanas as tendencies or inclinations. Others say they are blind clinging to sensual objects, through intense longing or craving, without deliberation or thinking.
There are two kinds of vasanas - the pure and the impure. Pure vasanas liberate one from rebirth. Impure vasanas cause the mind to fluctuate, producing agitation in the mind and affinity for objects. If you are led by pure vasanas, you will soon attain the immortal seat of ineffable splendour. The vasanas generated by you in past lives will cling to you in future births. But if pure vasanas cling to you, you will easily attain knowledge of the self, and through this you will attain liberation. If the impure vasanas cling to you, you will experience pain and sorrow; you will get rebirth in this world, again and again.
The tree-mind has two seeds - one is vasana and the other is the fluctuation of prana (life). The seeds produce a big tree and the tree again produces seeds. So also the vibration of prana arises through vasana and the vasana operates through the movement of prana. If either perishes, both soon perish.
Egoism is the first asuric (demoniac) son of avidya (ignorance). Egoism has two asuric daughters - raga and vasana. There is an intimate connection between vasana and raga. Raga is attachment. Mamata (mine-ness) is due to raga. If you want to kill raga and vasana, you must annihilate egoism. If you want to kill egoism you must first kill avidya. Destroy avidya first - raga and vasana will die by themselves.
Mind is the cause for bondage and freedom. A mind filled with impure vasanas leads to bondage, whereas a mind destitute of vasanas tends to freedom. When mind is no-mind (through destruction of vasanas), then you become mindless. When you become mindless, intuition dawns and you are endowed with the eye of wisdom. You will enjoy indescribable peace.