Expand Your Horizons

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

How can we understand and transcend the samskaras when we have no knowledge of them?

If you have no knowledge, then gurus are there for that particular reason. It is like asking the question, “How do I split an atom when I have no knowledge of splitting the atom.” If you want to split the atom, then you have to become a nuclear scientist. In the same manner, in order to realize one’s karmas, samskaras, vasanas, deep-rooted obsessive inhibitions, one has to go through that process under the guidance of a competent master or teacher. That external direction is needed.

How can one become aware of what samskaras are? How can one become aware of what a habit is? There are so many habits in life of which we are not even consciously aware— mannerisms in speech, performance, behaviour, attitude and action. There are many people who, when you speak to them, go “Huh?” They are not aware of that particular mannerism, so how can they be aware of their samskara? If they are not even aware of their expressions of speech, do you think something subtle like samskara can be known? It is impossible! Samskaras and karmas are not so simple that you can become aware of them at the first try.

Let us be frank and clear. When we cannot be aware of our mannerisms which can be irritating, repulsive, and different to what is expected of us, how can we become aware of something which is very subtle? Although we can talk of samskaras and karmas, we have to realize, know and understand that it is not the knowledge of samskaras and karmas which is going to transform our life, rather it is the development of awareness which is going to transform it.

So, instead of worrying about samskaras and how to deal with them, worry about how to expand your horizons of perception and awareness. That will be the right beginning.

8 August 2008, Ganga Darshan