Ramana Maharishi in his talks state that: “Experience gained without rooting out all the vasanas cannot remain steady. Efforts must be made to eradicate the vasanas. Otherwise rebirth after death takes place. ~ Talk 172”

I understand that all our current inclinication, tendencies, hobbies etc etc are based on our Vasanas. For example: I have a strong liking for Advaita, studying financial markets etc etc.

So my question is: 1. When did the Vasanas FIRST start? 2. Do these Vasanas change over time with knowledge or they always remain and it’s just that our knowledge is able to subside the Vasanas? 3. Also, as we know that major events in our life are pre-destined to some extent due to Karmic law. Is my past Karma related to my Vasanas? 4. are Vasanas and samskaras the same?

  • Yes Vasanas are your past Karmic impressions which you have collected from more births previously and which you'll collect in subsequent births. Once you erase the Vasanas, you will be liberated! Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 2:55
  • What Ramana Maharishi also means in his talk in above quote - without rooting out Vasanas, even if you are engaged in highest Yoga for Moksha - it will lead you to rebirth. But once your thoughts are cleared by rooting out VASANAS, you will be liberated. Thoughtless mind means no Vasanas Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 2:58
  • Vasanas are like Vyasanas or addictions for example of women, money, comfort and biggest of all of Ego(that is self is superior to others). Your Vasanas can never be cleared unless you do Dhyan Dharana or better known as Bhakti in Kaliyuga. Moksha is something u dont get after death but with open eyes alone like Buddha and many sages got in past
    – user16678
    Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 10:17

2 Answers 2


We have the senses (eye, ear, nose, tongue etc) right? Now, all these senses are linked with their respective external objects of enjoyments.

These external objects of enjoyments, which the various senses always want to enjoy, are called Vasana or desires.

Like the eyes always desire to see (beautiful) things, the nose wants to smell fragrance, the tongue wants to taste delicious foods, the penis long for sensual enjoyment etc.

So, good view, smell, delicious foods etc are the Vasanas.

The following is Kathopanishad 2.1.1:

Paranchi khani vyatrinat swayambhustasmat parang pashyati naantaratman |
Kaschiddhirah pratyagatmanamaikshad avritttachakshuramritatvamicchan ||

The outwardly-focussed senses are destroyed by Swayambhu (Paramaeswra); Therefore the Jivas see the objects of the outer world and not the inner soul. But, some conscious being, who is desirous of immortality, by controlling his senses, witnesses the inner-soul (antrataman).

(Here khani=senses/Indriya and Paranchi refers to natural outward inclinations of the senses).

If you see, all the senses are naturally attracted to their respective objects of pleasures (Vasanas) and their tendency is to go outward. But in that state the true nature of the inner self can not be realized.

When, Indriya Samyam (subjugation of the senses) is attained and the senses' natural outgoing tendencies are blocked, the inner self is revealed.

Thus, as long as the senses are attracted to their respective Vasanas, true knowledge of self is not attained. This is the purport of the verse given.

So, senses are naturally framed to go outward and they are naturally attracted towards their respective objects of pleasures (or Vasanas). But only if this outwardly nature of the senses can be curbed and if they can be made to focus inwards, one can attain the true knowledge of the self.


Your whole current life runs on Prabhada Karmas(or unwinded Karmas) and is product of your past life Sanchit Karmas.


Three Kinds of Karma are everywhere even in horoscope

  1. Sanchita Karmas are accumulated works

  2. Prarabdha Karmas are ripe or fructuous actions

  3. Kriyamana or Agami Karmas are current works

Sanchita are destroyed by Brahma Jnana. One should enjoy the Prarabdha anyhow (Vyavaharika Drishti). Kriyamana are no actions, as the Jnani has Akarta and Sakshi Bhava. Tarash, the case in which arrows are accumulated, represents our Sanchita Karmas; the arrow that is ready for discharging represents our Agami Karmas; and the arrow which has already left the bow, which cannot return, which must hit the target, represents the Prarabdha Karmas. The articles in the store-room represent the Sanchita; the articles that are put in the shop for sale are Prarabdha; the daily sale proceeds are the Agami.

There are three kinds of Prarabdha, viz., Iccha Prarabdha, Aniccha Prarabdha, and Paraiccha Prarabdha. There is difference between the Iccha Prarabdha of Vivekins and non-Vivekins. Non-Vivekins think that they are the agents of all actions. They are egoistic. They do mischief to other people. They always do evil actions. They are always full of misery. Vivekins eradicate attachment, desires and egoism. They have no desire for money. They lead a peaceful life and serve others.

Aniccha Prarabdha is common to Vivekins and non-Vivekins. Both suffer from the heat of the sun, wind, rain, disease, accidental injury to the head by striking against the door, lightning-stroke, etc. Paraiccha Prarabdha is common to both. One man prostrates before a Vivekin or a non-Vivekin and implores him to render some help or service. He has to undergo the pleasure and pain that accrue from this work.

The seed-like subtle impressions of the entire accumulated actions lie dormant in Chittakasa (the mental space). When a great Jnani gets illumination through direct intuitive knowledge, that he is not the five sheaths but transcendental to them and also their witnessing intelligence (Sakshi), the Atman, then the subtle impressions of Sanchita Karma lying in Chittakasa of the Manomaya Kosha remain in the sheath only; they can no longer enchain the liberated Jnani.

Just as a potter, having set in motion the wheel by a rod, removes his hand and rod from it, allowing the wheel to revolve till the momentum previously imparted to it is exhausted, in the same way, the Jnani, even after his attainment of Jivanmukti through Self-knowledge, continues enjoying the fruit of his Prarabdha Karma up to the end of the present body. Prarabdha is exhausted by no other means than by enjoying its fruit.

Just as the potter's wheel, after being set in motion continues revolving, even after the connection with the potter is cut off, so also a Jnani continues to enjoy the fruit of his Prarabdha Karma; but they cannot produce the seed of Sanchita Karma on account of his non-attachment or absence of craving for them.

The enjoyment of the fruit of Prarabdha Karma falls to his lot by the force of Prarabdha. He has not the least desire for them as he has realised, through Self-knowledge, their impermanent and unreal nature. So their enjoyment does not in any way affect him. The experience of happiness and misery, owing to his non-attachment, is impotent to produce the seeds of Sanchita Karma, as the parched grains are impotent to germinate and produce any crop.

Brahma Jnana annihilates Agami Karmas (current works) of a Jnani as he has no contact with them, that is, he is untouched or unaffected by his Karmas, like the lotus leaf which is unaffected by the drops of water on it.

The accumulated and current actions of a Jnani take shelter in Brahmanda Prakriti.

Those who serve and adore a Jnani acquire his merit of current actions, while those who hate and censure him get the demerit of his current actions.

Thus the Jnani gets disentangled from the fetters of all Karmas (Tattva Bodha).

Vasanas can only be destroyed by Kaivalya Moksha http://sivanandaonline.org/public_html/?cmd=displaysection&section_id=925


Kaivalya (perfect independence) comes when the Gunas (qualities), devoid of motive, become latent. Or the power of consciousness gets established in its own nature.


On the equality of purity between Purusha and Sattva comes Kaivalya (perfect independence).

Whole focus should be on realization of self or Brahman as described in Upanishads as Vedas. Realization of self can destroy zillions of past Vasanas(desires) and Samskaras(addictions). Neti Neti is the secret for that

Which Āstika schools mention the different types of Muktis?

What is Kaivalya Moksha?

I-i-15-17. Hanuman: Rama, sages speak differently: some say there is only one kind of liberation. Others say it can be got by worshipping your name and by the Taraka mantra at Kashi. Others speak of Sankhya-Yoga and Bhakti-Yoga, the enquiry into Vedanta-Vakyas etc.

I-i-18-23. Rama: Liberation is of four kinds: Salokya, Sameepya etc. But the only real type is Kaivalya. Others are waste of human life and time

What is the source of Sat Chit Ananda mantra?


Why rebirth takes place was explained by Yama to Nachiketa in Upanishads

The sound Om! is the syllabus of the supreme Brahman

The Atma, whose symbol is Om is the same as the omnipresent Brahman. Smaller than the smallest and larger than the largest, the Soul is formless and all-pervading. The goal of the wise is to know this Atma.

The Atma is like a rider; the horses are the senses, which he guides through the maze of desires.

After death, it is the Atma that remains; the Atman is immortal.

Mere reading of the scriptures or intellectual learning cannot realize Atma.

One must discriminate the Atma from the body, which is the seat of desire.(Kaivalya Moksha or Purush from Prakriti or self from non-self i.e. Neti Neti)

Inability to realize Brahman results in one being enmeshed in the cycle of rebirths. Understanding the Self leads to moksha

Thus having learned the wisdom of the Brahman from Yama, Nachiketa was freed from the cycle of births

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