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Vasana In Hinduism

Vasana is desire in Hinduism. The word vasana has several different connotations in Sanskrit.

Meanings Of Vasana In Hinduism

  • Knowledge derived from memory
  • The impression unconsciously left on the mind by past good or bad deeds which produce pleasure or pain
  • Fancy, imagination, idea.
  • Ignorance
  • Wish, desire, inclination (resulting in a chain effect in the world).

It is, however, the meaning wish desire, inclination (resulting in a chain effect in the world), which has epistemological significance in Hindu philosophy.

Man has had an infinite number of past lives o the most varied nature, and the instincts of each kind of life exist dormant in the life of every individual, and whenever he has any particular birth as this or that animal or man, the special instincts of that life (called vasana) come forth and the person passes through painful or pleasurable experiences in accordance with these vasanas as determined for him by his actions. Thus vasana generally refers to the tendencies of past lives, most of which lie dormant in the mind and only those appear which can find scope in his life.

Good And Bad Vasanas

Vasanas may be good or bad. Fearlessness, piety, dexterity in work – Yoga; mercy – daya; charity – dana; control of senses – dama; non-violence – ahimsa; truthfulness – satya; absence of anger – akrodha; renunciation – tyaga etc are the good Vasanas.

Arrogance – darpa; pride – dambha; anger – krodha; lustfulness – kamopabhoga; greed, jealousy – matsarya; ego, etc., are the negative or bad Vasanas.

According to Bhagavad Gita, good vasanas lead to divine excellence, the bad ones lead to demoniac exuberance. Eternal prayer alleviates and washes off the result of the bad vasanas.