Force of Samskaras
Sri Swami Sivananda
This article is from the book God-Realisation.
Some time ago, there lived in Karur, a big mercantile town, in Trichinopoly District, a fully developed Raja Yogi, by name Sadasiva Brahman. He was as famous as Trilinga Swami of Benares. He used to sit in Samadhi for six months. He was a great Titikshu and a Vairagi. He used to have a Kowpeen only and sleep on bare ground. Once, there was a huge flood on the Cauveri River, and Sadasiva Brahman, who was in Samadhi, was carried away by the floods and deposited in some other place. One day, he was lying on the bare ground and had two pieces of bricks as his pillow. Some boys who were tending the cows mocked at him saying: “Look at this Mahatma; he has nothing except a Kowpeen and yet, he wants comforts. He wants a pillow. Can he not lie down without pillow?” This little word produced a sudden vibration in his mind and affected him a bit. He immediately threw away the bricks.
This goes to show that even great saints who can remain in Samadhi even for months together are liable to be affected by praise or censure. Such is the force of Samskaras. From time immemorial, praise and censure have produced their impressions of exhilaration and depression on the mind. Yajnavalkya also once cursed a man to death. It is said he had also minute traces of anger, subtle desire for money and cattle as was shown in the court of Janaka despite of his Brahma Jnana. There is a popular view that Jnanins also will have a slight trace of Raga, Dwesha, anger, etc. But this is Abhasamatra, for namesake only. Not real. The difference between a Jnani and a wordly man is that in the case of the former, it will be momentary as in the case of children, while in the latter it will be continuous. A Jnani will forget it immediately, but the worldly man will keep it in the heart for a very long time. The impression of anger that is produced in the mind of a Jnani may be compared to the impression produced in water by a stroke of a walking stick. It is not lasting. The wave dies instantaneously.
Most of the difficulties in our daily lives come from being unable to hold our minds in proper check. For instance, if a man does evil to us, instantly we want to react evil, to revenge, to pay him in the same coin, to extract tooth for tooth, tit for tat policy–to return anger for anger. Every reaction of evil shows that we are not able to hold the Chitta down. It comes out in waves towards the object and we lose our power. Every reaction in the form of hatred or evil is so much loss to the mind and every evil thought or deed of hatred, if it is controlled, will be laid in our favour. It is not that we lose by thus restraining ourselves but we gain infinitely. Each time we suppress hatred, or feelings of anger, it is so much good energy stored up in our favour and that energy will be converted into higher power. Anger, when controlled properly, becomes transmuted into an energy so powerful as to move the world.
The sum total of impressions always remains in the mind. Impressions, though they become latent for a time, remain in the mind all the same and as soon as they get the right kind of stimulus, manifest themselves. The vibrations of the Chitta subside externally, after each direct perception, but continue to go on in it like atomic vibrations, and when they get the right kind of impulse, come out again.
Only a word is uttered and we do not wait to consider its meaning, but jump to a conclusion immediately. It is a sign of weakness. The weaker the man is, the less he has the power of restraint. Measure yourself always with the standard of restraint.
When you are going to be angry or miserable on hearing some news, reason it out, for yourself and see how it has thrown your mind into such Vrittis. Restraint does not come in a day, but by long continued practice. Suppose, when you are passing through the bazar, a man comes and takes away forcibly your nice walking stick. That throws your Chitta immediately into the form of a wave, termed anger. Do not allow that wave to develop. If you can prevent the formation of that wave, you have strong will-power, renunciation and Vairagya.