Updated: Jun 17, 2020
Vasana & Sanskara are “synonyms” means their meaning is same as “physical, mental, emotional, energetic, experiential manifestation of a Chitta-Vritti”. It can be said that Sanskara is a “Vedic Era word” and “Vasana is a Vedanta Era word”. Patanjali used the word Sanskara. After Adi Shankaracharya wrote the word Vasana, people after that like Ramana Maharishi used the word “Vasana” in his teachings.
It’s very important for everyone to understand the relationship between Chitta-Vritti and Vasana/Sanskara.
Vasana & Sanskara are “synonyms” means their meaning is same as physical, mental, emotional, energetic, experiential manifestation of a Chitta-Vritti”. Sanskara is a “Vedic Era word” and “Vasana is a Vedanta Era word”. Patanjali used the word Sanskara. After Adi Shankaracharya wrote the word Vasana, people & Gurus after that like Ramana Maharishi used the word “Vasana” in his teachings.
The five Chitta-Vrittis are Abhinivesha (fear of loss & resistance to change), Dwesha (aversion), Raga (attachment), Asmita (seed of identities), Avidya (ignorance).
Chitta-Vritti is the ROOT of the “Tree of Sanskaras/Vasanas”. Sanskaras are “many” from “one” Chitta-Vritti.
For example –
One Chitta-Vritti of “Abhinivesha (Fear of loss - of life, body, anything & everything and resistance to change)” will result into many Sanskaras/Vasanas like –
Saving one’s resources to extreme
Saving one’s money and keeping it all to himself
Having paranoia kind of fears
Going for no adventures
Confining themselves into a room for life-long
Running after body-health to great extent
Creating “safe” haven to live in many ways
Having “no-courage” whatsoever and running/hiding if there is a need for courage
Fearing every-day even for any small thing in life
And so on and on.
Sanskaras are physical-mental-emotional manifestations of the Chitta-Vritti and when a Sanskara happens it STRENGTHENS the Chitta-Vritti and then that Chitta-Vritti creates even “more Sanskaras (Physical Manifestations, Life Situations)" hence its important to remove Sanskaras. But Sanskaras are like the branches & leaves of the Tree and Chitta-Vritti is the ROOT.
Can you kill a Tree by removing its leaves and branches?
How long will you go on removing leaves & branches?
It will take many-many-many lifetimes if you go on just removing the Sanskaras/leave-branches of the tree and “do-nothing” to understand the “root/Chitta-Vritti” and if you do not try to remove the root, you are never going to be free.
Removing Vasana could be a start of understanding and removing the root Chitta-Vritti. But it's not necessary that by removing one Vasana you have removed the Root Chitta-Vritti. You will be tested by the Universe to make sure Chitta-Vritti has been removed.
For example -
If someone has Abhinivesha and it has taken the form of a Sanskara and an event has happened in their life where they have displayed cowardliness (lack of courage) instead of courage then removing the Sanskara or Vasana of that situation/event may or may not burn the root of the Chitta-Vritti of Abhinivesha. If exact situations happen again then they may or may not have "courage".
To remove the root Chitta Vritti of Abhinivesha one needs to have FAITH/TRUST on Divine/God, one needs to have DEVOTION within. Having no faith/trust/devotion for divine makes you feel as if you are alone in the Universe and everything and everyone is trying to get you, so you create this “Abhinivesha” Chitta-Vritti.
In order to have devotion, one needs to melt their “ego/AHAM/identities” sufficiently. Else Ego and one or more Identities will keep telling you that “oh no don’t worry, we will fix your fear, let’s change this or that, let's hide, run-away”, they will not let you have “Devotion/Faith” on Divine that “nothing can harm you” if it’s not for your own evolution/spiritual progress. Not even a fly would sit on someone’s face if there is no Karmic Reason. Universe is designed strictly to follow the Laws of Karma. Divine/God’s Law & Order is for our “benefit” and it’s not some kind of “punishment system”. So when a person has trust, faith on this “Universal Law & Order and System of Karma” then he/she is not scared, has no Abhinivesha, and goes on living freely with “Devotion” in their Heart! This Trust/Faith in “Universal Law & Order System” is what opens Anahata Chakra and holds Devotion within.
Hence the reason Patanjali did not say "Sanskara or Vasana Nirodhah" is Yog, he said "Chitta-Vritti Nirodhah" is Yog.
Now you also, need to understand that "One Root (One Chitta-Vritti)" can give birth to not only the "Leaves/Branches (Sanskaras/Vasanas)" but also to "other roots (other Chitta-Vrittis)".
For example -
This one Chitta-Vritti of Abhinivesha (fear of loss & resistance to change) will also create -
Chitta Vritti of Raga (attachment) which will result into Sanskaras/Vasanas like:
- Raga with body, excessive care of body, being possessed by physical existence
- Raga with property, possessions in life
- Raga with present life conditions and obsession to keep them as is, resisting change
even if present life is miserable, having Raga with one's own misery (Dukkha)
- Raga displaying as "greed" for material life
- Raga with relationships for physical, mental, emotional, financial security in life
Chitta Vritti of Dwesha (aversion) which will result into Sanskaras/Vasanas like:
- Dwesha with anything that "harms" the body or material possessions or changes the present condition of the body, mind, emotions & energy
- Dwesha with people, situations that "could" pose any harm on life/body
- Dwesha with less-fortunate people, poor people, inefficient people, ignorant people
instead of having compassion for them
- Dwesha with anyone, anything that forces "change"
Chitta Vritti of Asmita (Identities) which will result into Sanskaras/Vasanas like:
- Having a "Fearful Identity" which keeps on imagining fearful people/situations and
stays obsessed with fears in many ways
- Having a "Saviour Identity" which keeps on working at physical and emotional
fronts to save the "Fearful Identity"
- "Greedy or Selfish Identities" which will go on saving the "interest" of above Identities
- Nastika (Atheist) Identity who keeps on strengthening disbelief in God, Karma and
stops one from the learning the Truth
- DOER Identity, who thinks and works as if he/she has the burden of life on himself/oneself only and that all aspects of life can be controlled and driven as per
- Change Guard Identity which makes sure nothing in life conditions, body
conditions, mental & emotional conditions changes at all, keep everything "as is"
Chitta Vritti of Avidya (Ignorance) which will result into Sanskaras/Vasanas like:
- Ignorance about oneself, others, society, humanity
- Ignorance about one's own existence
- Ignorance about one's own purpose of living life in Human Body
- Ignorance about Universal Laws of Karma
- Ignorance about Law and Order of Karmic System; Wheel of Karma
- Ignorance about Birth-Death Cycle
- Ignorance about God/Divine, Creation, Sustenance, Dissolution, Maya, Moksha
So you see One Chitta Vritti gives rise to all these other Chitta-Vrittis and Sanskaras.
Now can "Abhinivesha" be truly removed without removing all other Chitta Vrittis?
If you removed Abhinivesha but Asmita/Identities related to it are alive, then they will create the Sanskaras (Physical Experiences, Life Situations/Events) again.
So then what should be done?
Let's see the Mother Root Chitta-Vritti.
Which one is the "Mother Root Chitta-Vritti"?
AVIDYA (IGNORANCE) is the mother, is the ground in which other 4 Chitta-Vrittis (Asmita, Raga, Dwesha, Abhinivesha) are born, grown and nourished. These 4 can stay in 4 States: Sleeping, Weak, In-Active in present, Active in present. More & deeper the ignorance, stronger will be these 4 Klishta Chitta-Vrittis.
How can we remove Avidya?
By having Jnana (Wisdom) from Vedas, Upanishads, Darshan Shastras and Gurus. When this ground of "ignorance" is replaced with "wisdom" these 4 Klishta Chitta-Vrittis becomes weaker and do not have the hold on the person.
Is everyone ready to "receive" Jnana (Wisdom) at all times?
No, they are not.
Because they are not Conscious enough, they are being driven & played by their Sanskaras & Chitta-Vrittis.
How to make them Conscious enough to receive & accept Jnana?
That's what Kriya Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Yantra, Mantra, Tantra are all about.
Once they are conscious can they "receive" Jnana (Wisdom) and "accept" it?
No! They can "receive" Jnana, but "acceptance" requires "Surrender through Devotion".
Unbreakable, Unshakeable Devotion! Surrender through Devotion helps "Realize the Wisdom", burn all Sanskaras, burn all the roots of Chitta-Vrittis, burn the "seeds of all Chitta-Vrittis" and Sanskaras. Such surrender happens gradually as and when the hold of Klishta Chitta-Vrittis starts to become loose as the hold of Aklishta Chitta-Vrittis starts to become stronger.
Klishta Chitta Vrittis - Those which binds one into Samsara. They are five;Avidya, Asmita, Raga, Dwesha, Abhinivesha.
Aklishta Chitta Vrittis - Those which takes one towards Moskha.
How to create & increase Aklishta Chitta-Vrittis?
Deeksha/Initiation of different types from time to time are actually the "creation" of "Aklishta Chitta Vrittis" which works like double-edged swords to cut the roots of Klishta Chitta Vrittis.
Jnana (wisdom) through Self-Study of Vedas, Upanishads, Darshan Shastras, Guru's Words strengthens the existing Akilshta Chitta Vrittis. Bhajan (Devotional Singing/Listening), Mantra Japa, Satsang with Gurus also strengthens the Aklishta Chitta Vrittis.
Only a Samadhi Guru (Self-Realized) Guru can "create" Aklishta Chitta-Vritti, because only such a Guru whose own Chitta has attained the "Niruddha State" (Seedless state; Seeds of Sanskaras/Chitta-Vrittis) have access to other's Chitta in such a way that he/she can "create" Aklishta Chitta-Vritti.
Jnana, Satsang, Devotion etc will "strengthen" that existing Aklishta Chitta Vritti.
What is required to meet and/or invoke a Samadhi Guru or Self-Realized Guru or take Deeksha/Initiation or Jnana (Wisdom)?
Enough good Karma. And a "Desire" to get rid of "All Karmaphal (Results of Karma)" in other words a desire for Moksha, Samadhi, Self-Realization.
Hence the reason initially some people focus on doing good Karma, charity and all that as they do not have the "desire for Moksha" yet. And there may be a Samadhi Guru in their family, but they do not have enough good karma & desire for moksha to be able to "receive" Deeksha/Initiation and hence first they are balancing their bad karma with the good Karma. Soon they will realize that doing bad karma or good karma has no-end, life will still be like riding a roller-coaster. As a result the desire for Moskha will arise. And then some day they will be able to "receive" Deeksha and from there on their Journey of Moksha will go on for multiple life-times to come.
Does Deeksha/Initiation from Samadhi Guru bears fruit in the present lifetime?
It depends how many Initiations/Deeksha that person has taken in this lifetime or previous lifetimes and "how strong" are his or her "Aklishta Chitta-Vrittis". Aklishta Chitta-Vrittis are weapons and one must have "strong weapons" and "enough weapons" to be able the fight the battle against his/her own army of Klishta Chitta Vrittis, because "LOSING IS NOT AN OPTION".
When you are ready for the battle, you start "seeing", "understanding" and "removing" your Klishta Chitta Vrittis, with the help of Kriya Yoga, Jnana (Wisdom) from Scriptures or Guru.
In whichever lifetime "ALL" Chitta-Vrittis are removed, "the Samadhi (Nirvikalpa) happens".