Symbols of the world's religions



Meher Baba

The evolution of the limited individual is completely determined by the sanskaras accumulated by him through ages; and though it is all part of imagination, the determinism is thorough and automatic. Every action and experience, howsoever ephemeral, leaves behind it an impression in the mental body. This impression is an objective modification of the mental body; and as the mental body remains the same, the impressions accumulated by the individual are capable of persisting through several lives.

When the sanskaras thus accumulated begin to express themselves (instead of merely lying latent in the mental body), they are experienced as desires, that is, they are apprehended as being subjective. The objective and the subjective are the two aspects of sanskaras; the former is a passive state of latency, and the latter is an active state of manifestation.

Through the active phase, the accumulated sanskaras determine each experience and action of the limited self. Just as several feet of film have to pass in a cinema to show a brief action on the screen, many sanskaras are often involved in determining a single action of the limited self. Through such expression and fulfillment in experience, the sanskaras get spent up. The weak sanskaras are spent up mentally; the strong ones are spent up subtly in the form of desires and imaginative experience; and those sanskaras that are powerful are spent up physically by expressing themselves through bodily action.

Though this spending up of sanskaras is going on continually, it does not end in freedom from sanskaras because new sanskaras are inevitably being created — not only through fresh actions, but even through the very process of spending up. So the load of sanskaras goes on increasing, and the individual finds himself helpless before the problem of throwing off the burden.

The sanskaras deposited by specific actions and experiences render the mind susceptible to similar actions and experiences. But after a certain point is reached, this tendency is checked and counteracted by a natural reaction consisting in a complete changeover to its direct opposite, making room for the operation of opposite sanskaras.

Very often the two opposites form parts of one and the same chain of imagination. For example, a person might first experience that he is a famous writer — with wealth, fame, family, and all the agreeable things of life — and later in the same life, might experience that he has lost his wealth, fame, family, and all the agreeable things of life.

Sometimes it seems that a chain of imagination does not contain both the opposites in the same lifetime. For instance, a man might experience throughout his life that he is a powerful king always victorious in battles. In this case he has to balance this experience by the experience of defeats or the like in the next life, taking one more life to complete his chain of imagination. The purely psychological compulsion of the sanskaras is thus subject to the deeper need of the soul to know its Self.

DISCOURSES, 7th ed, pp. 26-27
1987 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


 Sanskaras | Anthology | Main Page Norway | AvatarMeherBaba USA | HeartMind | Search