WHAT ARE SAMSKARAS?
Samskaras are not things that are impressed upon something. According to ancient philosophers, there is something called the mind-stuff of which the mind is composed. But the mind-stuff is composed of nothing else but thoughts, and thoughts become self-existent once thought is thought. It has its motion, and that motion, as in everything else, is perpetual.
Although they have been shed from your mind, these various forms of thoughts that are perpetuating and are an eternal motion will go on and on and on. So, the present ideas you would have now will naturally attract thoughts from the whole universe, from the atmosphere of the universe, and that would strengthen the self-existing tendencies.
Thought also has gradations, a grosser level and a more refined level; the finer level is what we would term impressions. Impressions are thoughts in a more refined form. It is like taking rough material and sifting it like you would sift coarse flour to get the fine flour. Those are impressions, and those impressions which form one’s tendencies are called samskaras. There is no such factor on which thoughts must lean or be based. If samskaras had a basis, they could never be thrown out of our systems. But because they have no solid foundation, something on which they are implanted, they can be got rid of.
But samskaras cannot get rid of themselves by themselves. Another factor is needed, and that factor is the strength that is within us. It is the activation of the strength that is within us that will remove those samskaras from us.
SAMSKARAS STICK TO NOTHING
The samskaras will not be destroyed, but those samskaras will float around in the universe and land up where there is another likeness to be found. If a person has the samskara of hatred and through the spiritual power, which we activate, the hate is thrown out, it will be picked up by another person who has similar hatred in him.
Samskaras are not necessarily bad. You have good samskaras as well, and good samskaras are also thrown off. They are not kept excellent and bad; they are both thrown off. When good samskaras are thrown off, they will go to people with similar goodness. Like the old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.”
Nothing is ever destroyed in this universe, not even a single thought. Even if your thought is weak and if it carries on in the mind, that thought will become strengthened by itself and by what it would attract. That is the basis of samskaras which are self-existing, and it is a baseless basis.
Samskaras sticks to nothing. What is there to which air would adhere? It attaches to nothing. It is a free-flowing self-existing agent and what we usually do with our practices is by activating the inner Force, we throw out the grosser things, which are bad samskaras, and we hold on to a certain amount of the subtler thoughts or the good thoughts so that our lives in this world, our relative lives could be better regulated and made happier. But you have to go beyond relative happiness, where you discard the good and the bad and reach that stage of neutrality, which is pure consciousness. Because without reaching the location of neutrality, you will always be affected. Because in every good, there is some little bad, and in everything bad, there is also some little good. Therefore, imbalances are created.
TO LIVE IN THE MOMENT IS TOTAL BLISS
If the bad, the Tamasic side of yourself rises, there are more problems. If the Sattvic side of yourself rises, there are lesser problems. But it is like a pendulum swinging. The pendulum has a moment of rest when it swings to the left, there is a momentary pause before it swings to the right, and again there is a brief pause before it turns to the left. But when it comes to the centre, that is death. There is no swinging. So, we have to capture the momentary pauses on either side of the pendulum, and there lies eternity. There lies the motionlessness. There lies the changelessness. Yet the motion carries on in the centre between those two poles of non-motion. That is how samskaras function.
We know that every pleasure we have, which we call happiness, has the germ of pain. If you are high, then remember there is a low coming. You move to the right, knowing you will have to move to the left. To live in the moment, either left or right, where there is no motion, is neither happiness nor pain but total bliss, indescribable. The activation of the Spiritual Force gives one the realisation of moments when the pendulum is still, and that is eternity.
Yet we allow the pendulum to work on pleasure today and pain tomorrow, but our minds are so immersed in those still moments on either side that we do not notice the swaying of the pendulum. So let the samskaras come and go; they have no foundation whatsoever.
PEOPLE THAT HAVE RISEN ABOVE SAMSKARAS ARE TRULY GODS
The purpose of the pendulum swinging is to give the clock time; wherever there is time, there has to be space. The pendulum requires space to move. So, time and space in the universe are associated. And who has made time? We make time. It takes me twenty-two hours to travel from South Africa, from Cape Town to London. That twenty-two hours at five hundred miles per hour in the plane. I am not only counting time but also measuring space, and all time and space are limited. But where the pendulum stops at either end, that is limitless. Do you understand this?
So samskaras they will come and go and go and go and go until you become so merged into that split second that it permeates your entire Self, and you become the observer of the pendulum. Time does not touch you. Space does not feel you. You become spaceless, vast as the universe, which is spaceless without boundaries. You become timeless. Then you have recognised the meaning of eternity, self-realisation, and the authentic Self, and you become that Self. Honestly, I can say that people that have risen above the samskaras, good or bad, have become timeless and spaceless; they are genuinely Gods. They are the ones only that could honestly say, “I and my Father are one.”
It is not impossible for anyone to reach that stage. Our good Lord Christ and neither Krishna nor Buddha held no monopoly. None whatsoever. Everyone has that right. They were just examples of the capacity of man to reach those heights that the relative man thinks he cannot reach. And that is why we worship these Gods. Christhood – Jesus was a man – Christhood is pure consciousness. Gautama was a man, but Buddha was that consciousness which had transcended all samskaras.
WE CAN RISE ABOVE THE LAW OF KARMA
But living in this relative world, we say what capacity have we to transcend those samskaras because what I have sown, I will reap? This is very true but on a significantly lower plane of existence. If you rise above that, no sowing and reaping are involved. You are above that. Here on the relative plane, it will rebound on us if we do something wrong. If we do something good, it will also backfire on us. But if you have risen above all that, there is no bounding or rebounding.
People say, “I have done this thing wrong, and so I must suffer the consequences.” It is not necessary. All your wrongs and rights can be balanced by activating the inner Forces. You burn up the seeds of karma so that it will not bear any kind of fruit at all. Eastern philosophers come with their laws of karma, okay, fine. But it is still of a much lower plane than what existence is all about. We think we exist; we do not.
DIVINITY IS THE ONLY REAL EXISTENCE
We do not exist because there is only one actual existence: Divinity. And if we cannot realise the Divinity, we are not living. It is a mirage, and that is what they call illusion. In the mirage, you see the water in the desert, and you run after it, and the more you run after it, the further and further it goes away until you stumble and fall and die of thirst. But the man of actual realisation would not run after the mirage. He says, “Mirage come to me, and I will turn you into water.” That is the power of the Spirit. All-powerful, all-permeating, all-pervading and nothing is impossible there.
I might have quoted this little story of Milarepa, the Tibetan Yogi. He said, “When I was young, I did black deeds. When I grew up and had some sense, I did white deeds. And now, having come to the realisation, I do neither.” That is why you find some Yogis – and I am not talking of the escapists that go to sit in a Himalayan cave because they cannot face the world’s troubles and their problems – but real true Yogis, they would sit in a cave and just be gone away in their bliss because they want to do nothing more with this world. Nothing with those samskaras. Nothing with the pendulum. They have found that stillness, and they have remained there in that stillness.
Samskaras are there, impressions are there, and we need not be afraid or lose heart because of those impressions. In the Ayurvedic system of medicine, they say that to remove a thorn, you use another thorn, and then you throw both away. And that is what we have to do. Take away the lousy thorn with the good thorn, and afterwards throw both away, the good and the bad. That only happens when we unfold ourselves to that which is ourselves, and when that unfoldment comes, there is nothing else but peace because peace is synonymous with God. It is synonymous with Grace. Just different names for the same thing.
LIFE IS BUT A WONDERFUL GAME
You often sit down and say, “I feel so, so peaceful today.” That is in the morning. The afternoon comes, and you feel agitated. So, was there peace? If it were peace, it would have been everlasting. So many times, people bluff themselves. Something nice happens, and they feel at peace, but in the afternoon, something else happens, and there is dis-ease instead of peace. So, life is such a fantastic game. It is a game, nothing else but a game.
If he is a true sportsman playing soccer for Liverpool, he will not think I want to score ten goals. He wants to play the game for the sake of the game, and he wants to enjoy the game. Life is like that. It is a game; enjoy it to its fullest, I mean within certain norms, because other kinds of enjoyments can also come to sick minds. But I am talking to the reasonable, average person who is neither ill nor well, and that is what we are, neither sick nor well, but hanging in between.
YOUR SAMSKARAS CAN BE MADE INEFFECTIVE
Very often, at least thrice a week, I have to go to our hospitals in Cape Town. The Cardiologists call me in. The Psychiatrists call me in. If a problematic patient is going for a heart operation, the Cardiologists ask me to come in. Professor Beck is in charge of the Cardiology Department at the Groot Schuur Hospital, which is very famous because of the first heart transplant there by Dr Chris Barnard. They have found that if a person is very upset or emotionally distressed, the chances of the operation being successful are minimal. But if they have a calm attitude and are emotionally jubilant, perhaps, then the process has far greater chances, a hundred percent chances of being a success.
This shows that even while you are in an anaesthetic state, where they put you to sleep, what is being arranged to sleep? That is the question. Your body is put to sleep; your mind is put to rest. But even when the mind and the body are asleep, there is an impression there, a subtle impression of a certain calmness which helps the operation to be successful. It is not turbulent because there is that inner Self which goes beyond emotions and feelings, which are the creations of your mind.
There is that higher level of the mind, which I usually call the Superconscious Mind, which cannot be put to sleep with anaesthetics. And while the mind and body are deadened, that comes into play. And whatever samskaras in our touching that Superconscious level of the mind affects the surgery. Do you see how it works?
But we do not need to be anaesthetised to touch that level. We can anaesthetise ourselves, our bodies, and our minds by the Spiritual Force we draw from within ourselves. Samskaras can be made ineffective. Within three to four weeks, you can make all your samskaras invalid within a brief period. You can make them like invalids, put them in a wheelchair and push it away into the sea. It works. I know. I have gone through it all. I have tried it. I live it. I experience it.
DO NOT LET SAMSKARAS BOTHER YOU
Therefore, no samskara would ever be attached to me in anything I want to do because I am above them. I talk of experience. Every word I have ever spoken in the three or four thousand talks I have given around the world; every word comes from experience. Therefore, you seldom find me quoting any great author, writer, or philosopher. Just now and then to substantiate or illustrate a certain point.
So do not let samskaras ever bother you; if it bothers you, then have the attitude that no one else but I have created those impressions. Even Divinity can never generate a samskara in you, and you would be using Divine energy to create samskaras, but being neutral, Divinity can never make a samskara in you. Just you. This little mind goes on from life to life, taking on bodies and bodies because the mind has not reached that neutral stage.
EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS HAPPENS FOR YOUR EVOLUTION, FOR YOUR GOOD
If a person lives a good life and has not reached the neutral stage, he will be born into more conducive circumstances. He will be taken into a family that would be conducive, a happy family. At the same time, a person that might have been doing bad deeds all the time will be born into a family where there is illness and disease and all kinds of things. After you leave this body, that mental Self carries on for one purpose: to rise above all the karmas and samskaric levels, those impressions there.
At death, the physical body is left behind; it is a piece of wood. The Spirit is never touched; nothing can touch it; it is a neutral Force. But the mental body or the samskaric body goes on for one purpose only; to repeat, it is to clarify itself.
Most of you must have heard of ghee. Ghee is clarified butter. Do you know about that? You take ordinary butter, first grade if preferable, and you put it in a pot, and you boil it. And as you cook it, you will find all the stuff, the salts and all, whatever impurities in the butter come to the top. Then you strain the top, all the impurities off, and you have clarified butter.
If you leave ordinary butter out of the fridge for some days, it will become rancid. But clarified butter, or ghee as the Indian name goes, can be left for six months out of the fridge, and it will never go wrong. It is the impurities in it that make butter go bad. And those are the samskaras, all mixed up, yet the ghee is in that butter. The purity is in that butter just mixed up with the impurities.
But what does the butter not suffer in that intense heat when it is boiled? That is the process. That is why people suffer, and they need this boiling process. So, thank God that people suffer. They are boiling up the impurities to be strained off. Yet the suffering could be minimised by having the attitude that I need the heat of this fire to clarify myself and become clarified butter.
We take the milk, and all milk contains cream, but you have to churn it and churn it until the cream rises to the top. That churning could be painful to the milk. The boiling of the butter and the heat could be hurtful to the butter. So that is the attitude we have to develop in life that all these things happening are for my good. Everything that could happen in your life is for your evolution; that is all for your good.
ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
If a man has an accident and his leg is chopped off. Very good, good for him. He will learn something from it. It depends upon his attitude, and it will not help him to sit and mope all along. “Oh, I have one leg, one leg, one leg.” What about when he meets a person that has no legs at all. That is how we count our blessings.
Always look at the positive side of things that any calamity might come. I might have a million-pound business, and I might just lose the lot by just one wrong deal, and I am bankrupt. I would say, “Perfect for you.” Because you had a million pounds in your business, you had become prominent and even pig-headed. This must bring you to your senses, and when you start again and make the next million, you will have a more excellent feeling of heart. Because if you could make the first million you lost, you can make the second million. Because you have been trained in that line. But when you make the second million, those thoughts will always be remembered, and you will lose that pigheadedness and big-headedness, that swollen head. You walk down the street with your chest as if you were the cat’s whiskers.
SAMSKARAS HAVE NO LASTING VALUE
Everything has its advantages. Samskaras play a big part in our lives. Samskaras control our lives all the time. Those impressions that are there within us have to find expression. That is a comparative law of nature. But the Absolute law says that those samskaras can be overcome by infusing within them that Spiritual Force within you and blowing those samskaras to kingdom come. So, the point is that samskaras can only have a lasting value if you allow them to be endless if you want to perpetuate them.
Samskaras can have no lasting value if you want to destroy them by infusing that Spiritual Self within you. Therefore, the old saying, which we can repeat a million times over, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven within and all else shall be added unto thee.”
TRANSCEND THE MIND AND FIND SO MUCH PEACE AND JOY
Little machines rule even great minds. Great minds, no such thing. The most extraordinary mind is no mind. Did you know that? No reason means when you go beyond the mind and speak from the realms of the heart. That is where all the Divinity resides. Because the mind is mixed up with the samskaras, that is where it is. When you have no mind, that does not mean to go off your mind, but no mind means to transcend the mind, where you do not consider the samskaras.
There you will find so much peace and joy. If any person lives with me for four to six weeks and is sincere and earnest, I promise you one thing; I will make you go beyond the mind. But you will go off the mind if you are not sincere and genuine.
THE SPIRITUAL FORCE IS A LIVING REALITY
The Spiritual Force though indefinable, is such a living reality. You cannot see it, but you can see its expression demonstrated to you every moment of the day. We do not deny the existence of air, yet you cannot see air. You do not deny the existence of atoms. You cannot see atoms. You do not deny the existence of microbes; millions float around here, and those microbes can only attack you if your body is weak. But if your body is strong, they cannot attack you. Likewise, if we develop that inner strength through our spiritual practices, nothing in the world can disturb us, nothing can harm us, nothing at all, because you are still like the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling. The whole world can go haywire, but you keep your head. That is the gist, and then you are a man, my son. Yet there are so many things that are not understood in this world.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang UK 1984- 13