Vasana, samskara and karma: There are three interrelated concepts, termed vasana, samskara and karma, in Sanskrit.
Vasana is the seed of desire. For example, you are walking and you happen to see a dazzling necklace displayed outside a shop. A desire arises inside you to possess it. This is vasana.
Samskara is the plant that grows when the seed of vasana sprouts. When you see that necklace again and again, the desire to possess it.
Anything done out of samskaras adds more and more bondage to you. From our young age we collect so many different samskaras in so many ways. We accumulate them and also reproduce them. Samskaras do reproduce themselves even without any further action from our part.
Samskaras get strengthened in different ways. There are some samskaras that get strengthened only by action, when you repeat the action. There are some samskaras that get strengthened just by receiving information with regard to them, when you receive input from the world about them. There are some other samskaras that need neither action nor information, just remembrance is enough, and they get strengthened!
We collect these different levels of samskaras, engraved memories, and store them in our system and expand them.
Finally when driven by the desire you execute the action and it becomes karma. The power of desire drives you into finally buying the necklace. That is the action, the karma.
Anything half done leaves a samskara (engraved memory) in your being. Anything not lived fully leaves an imprint or samskara in your being, which time and becomes stronger in you. When you feed the desire to possess the necklace, it is like supplying water and nutrition to the seed of vasana. The corruption that happens to the inner space is what I call samskara or engraved memories. They are the memories that go and sit in your inner space and pull you to go through the same experience repeatedly. They pull you to do the same kind of actions repeatedly, pull you to run through the same kind of thought patterns, even if you don’t want to. Those memories are what I call samskaras.
Any samskara that is operating in your conscious or unconscious layer is nothing but a hindrance to the fulfillment of your life. There is no such thing as good or bad samskara. No samskara is good. An inner space filled with samskaras is hell. An inner space without samskaras is heaven. Do not try to classify samskaras as good or bad.
A samskara by itself, by its very nature, is negative. By its very nature samskara is depressive. Anything done out of samskaras will reduce everything to boring emptiness. Anything that happens with a deep understanding, just out of your pure inner space, always adds value to you.
The cause of addiction is also related to samskaras. In my own experience of having worked with millions of people personally, at least a few thousand cases of addiction have been healed by meditation. The basic truth about addiction is that you have lived your life vaguely, not fully or with the whole being. Unfulfilled desires create a samskara in you pulling you back to fulfill the desire by re-experiencing the same desire again and again.
Any emotion lived intensely simply liberates you of that emotion, be it anger, fear, desire to eat or attachment to any object or person. You are liberated fully of anything when you live it fully. If a person keeps going back to a problem time and again, it only means that he or she has not lived out the problem fully.
When we live, half our mind is somewhere else. Patanjali says beautifully, ‘The more the quantity, the less the quality.’ The moment the quality of enjoyment of any object increases, its quantity decreases in direct proportion, of its own accord. Therefore, it is the quality that needs to be increased.
Life is not a brief candle. It is a bright shining torch. Make it burn as brightly as possible in your life.
source: Living Enlightenment