A problem in life is a challenge to be faced. The outer problems, created by the arrangement of happenings and the pattern of the available environment are all actually interpreted by the mind, judged by the intellect. Then only responses arise from us towards them. Behind the hands and the legs, we have a set of intricate and highly sensitive equipments which evaluate and judge the out world for us, and finally discriminate and decide what our outer equipment of action must do in response to the challenge ahead. These are the mind-intellect equip¬ments. The beauty and strength, smartness and alertness of the mind-intellect decide the quality of the individual’s performance in life; his success in life.
In order that his intellect may come to the right decision, it must have correct data. But the reading of the outer problem by our unbridled senses is often gnarled by the unsteady, confused and even severely disintegrated state of the mind. The mind gathers the sense reports and presents them to the intellect to decide how, as an individual, it should respond to the external challenge. When the mind is unsteady, the data presented becomes a confused, misinterpreted jumble, and the intellect, even if its decisions are right, is not effective in solving the problem as its decisions are based upon false data.
In short, if we do not care to cultivate a system of order in our inner equipment of experiences, and do not discipline the outer sense-organs of perception and action, then, like an untuned instrument, we will get but a clamor of noises, never the liquid melody, the dancing rhythm, the tilting notes and the stupendous harmony of a life lived dynamically, rich in its successes and achievements.
The subtle technique of re-tuning our shattered mind-intellect equipment is achieved through what is so famously known as Karma-yoga—the path of selfless dedicated activity.
When we perceive an object, or try to evaluate a situation, not only do the sense-organs bring in their reports and the mind compiles and presents them to the intellect for the final judgment, but the very ability to think, rationa¬lize, judge, etc., of the intellect is conditioned by a factor in us, which modern psychologists call the ‘Unconscious’. This Unconscious is composed of impressions the personality has gathered from its own thoughts and actions in the past. These impressions are called by the Hindu Rishis as Vasanas.
Thus if I am a drunkard, I have drink Vasanas, and so when t see a bottle of whisky, my reaction is to grab it immediately, while you, a perfect teetotaler, will turn your face and walk away in disgust. Later, I cannot complain that I was tempted by the bottle. Really speak¬ing, the whisky bottle has no such powers, else how could you walk away so easily?
These Vasanas in each one of us, gathered from the past, march out into their expression—first as a ‘desire’ in the intellect, then as a ‘thought’ in the mind, and lastly as an ‘act’ at the body level. Each one of us is thus a helpless expression of our own past—our Vasanas.
These Vasanas are to be intelligently exhausted or eli¬minated. They are first to be purified and then exhausted through appropriate actions.
When the Vasanas are healthy ones, the problems get easily solved by our correct evaluation of them and our apt counter-actions. Where the Vasanas have ended, problems also end.
Therefore, the apparent problems outside the individual’s environment, are but reflections ordered by the Uncons¬cious in him. The world is the final projection of the total Vasanas playing in life. Thus, world problems or national-problems are all essentially eruptions caused by the Vasanas in all the individuals put together. Through individual perfection alone can world perfection be achieved—this is the declaration of all scriptures. Now the question is, how best can we individually purify and ultimately redeem ourselves from the compelling en¬crustations of Vasanas? The technique advised in the Geeta is Karma Yoga—the way of performing all actions in an attitude of selfless dedication to a desirable goal.